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Whitefriars Monastery and Workhouse

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Helen F
Warrington
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46 of 50  Sun 4th Jul 2021 11:42am  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2634

Hi Cathers, welcome to the forum. Wave By 1937 much of Whitefriars was taken by the Poor Law Institution and the hospital. Where there was housing was along the very old Whitefriars Lane and the newer Whitefriars Street. The stretch of Whitefriars Street north of Whitefriars Lane to Gosford Street was built just before 1905 and may have been classed as part of Gosford Street. The southern half existed as a lane before 1750 and maybe back to the demolition of the Whitefriars church in Henry VIII’s time, but it didn’t have housing until some time between 1807 and 1840. I’m not entirely sure where Whitefriars stopped in 1937. In the north it had the boundary of Gosford Street but those houses had gardens and courts attached, so Whitefriars could have been south of them, starting at the south side of Whitefriars Lane. To the east the river was the border. Herbert's Row to the east was built on the city wall but had been demolished by 1937. To the south Whitefriars originally stopped at Gulson Road but by 1937 there were new houses to the south of that and I’m not sure if they were lumped into Whitefriars or not. To the west Whitefriars stopped at the end of the gardens and courts on Much Park Street. Easier to see on the map than describe. Whitefriars Lane goes all the way to Much Park Street. Possible north west corner of Whitefriars in 1937 You will need to zoom out a few times to see the old map. Try looking at the maps older and newer to see how the area changed. Area in 1934 on Britain From Above. Consider a login to this site, it's free and allows you to zoom in. Your area is to the bottom left. There are 3 markers Jordan Well, Gosford Street and Much Park Street. That last one is wrong and should be Whitefriars Street. Whitefriars Lane starts at the bottom left. Another image of the area in 1939 half way up, right had side There are more images and if you search for Coventry you can get a feel for the area, though there aren't any really good images of the south end of Whitefriars Street as far as I remember. I hope that this was what you were after Smile
Whitefriars Monastery and Workhouse
Cathers
Hertfordshire
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47 of 50  Mon 5th Jul 2021 9:08am  
Member: Joined Jul 2021  Total posts:3

Thank you so much! I’m so glad I found this group! You’ve given me some great leads to follow. I’ve fallen into a bit of an ancestry rabbit hole over the last few weeks to solve the mystery of my grandma’s past! It is quite colourful to say the least. She was born in Coventry in 1922, her parents were unmarried until 1938 and she was brought up at Father Hudsons. She had some contact with her mother and obviously knew they were living at Whitefriars as she used to take me to the toy museum often when I was a child. Her father was described as a labourer and died of tuberculosis in 1939. He was injured in the first world war and was possibly left disabled in some way. She always believed her mother had died in the Coventry bombings, although I can’t find her listed anywhere and I’ve found her possibly living in a women’s boarding house in Birmingham in 1940. I was aware that Whitefriars was a workhouse at some point but I’d read that it changed hands in 1930 and wondered what became of it then. I believe the Foleshill workhouse was converted into 27 flats in the 20s and also became an ‘occupational centre for the unemployed’ in 1932. I wondered if something similar happened at Whitefriars. Addresses are described as ‘1 court, 4 house’ or ‘1c, 4h’. Whether it was some kind of refuge, place for the unemployed or some kind of church run charitable mission I don’t know. I can’t wait to be able to visit the Coventry archives to see what else may be hidden away! Catherine
c hemming

Whitefriars Monastery and Workhouse
Helen F
Warrington
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48 of 50  Mon 5th Jul 2021 10:38am  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2634

Ah, that helps. Courts were rows or a full courtyard of houses behind a street front house. Houses had a number within the court. Court 1 on Whitefriars Lane Zoom out a few times to see the map. I think I've marked house 4 but I'm not totally sure (additional - I now think that there were 11 houses in the court so number 4 is the same property from both ends). These properties may or may not have had anything to do with the workhouse but it wasn't part of the workhouse complex. Originally they had little gardens on the other side of the path but by 1937 the gardens were probably merged to form a play and washing hanging area. The buildings were gone after the war but some may have been demolished before the war as there was a program of slum clearance at the time, (additional - I've now found the record of that.) Search at Coventry Collections for court 1 Item 2 is about the planned slum clearance of court 1 in 1938 so not destroyed by the war. Picture below shows the court and the arrow points to number 4. Edited by member, 5th Jul 2021 1:27 pm
Whitefriars Monastery and Workhouse
Cathers
Hertfordshire
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49 of 50  Fri 9th Jul 2021 5:19pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2021  Total posts:3

Wow this is absolutely fascinating, thank you! And this would completely explain why my GG may have moved to Birmingham. Are you able to see the Coventry collections items online as I can only see an inventory? xx
c hemming

Whitefriars Monastery and Workhouse
Helen F
Warrington
All posts by this member
50 of 50  Fri 9th Jul 2021 6:07pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2634

Glad to help. Sadly the Coventry Collections is mostly just an index although sometimes the description is useful. The records are a real mix of document types from plans to office memos, often collected from solicitors. There may be rental records. Many of the photos and plans are beginning to appear online but I'm not sure what they're going to do with all the other stuff. They're doing a grand job of making stuff accessible so it's worth keeping an eye on their images (see Library pictures button to the left) or here as we post stuff as we find it. It does look like you GG had a lucky escape, although it might not have felt that way at the time.
Whitefriars Monastery and Workhouse

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