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Staying in Coventry.... or not

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PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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1 of 21  Fri 18th Jan 2013 9:04pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3838

Hi all Wave I do hope that all of our members feel at home, when posting on our Historic Coventry Forum. Human nature makes us want to belong. I want to invite you that live away from Coventry, to post what in your own minds is the major difference between your memories, or what you know of Coventry, and where you live now. Why did you move away and if you have regrets. During the seventies, I had a number of good opportunities to move away, overseas as well as the UK. My parents lived in Bodmin in Cornwall & every time that I read the posts from our Cornwall members, my mind is taken to my thoughts of what if I had moved there, and also all of my happy memories of being stuck in traffic jams at Honiton where the A30 joins the A303. That does give my pre-motorway age away, hey! Wave
Staying in Coventry.... or not
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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2 of 21  Fri 18th Jan 2013 9:40pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1043

I think this is a great idea for a topic - and a very "Coventry" topic at that - to find out what sort of things have lured our members and/or their families away from our city. I'll bet there are all sorts of reasons, ranging from work commitments to just being plain bored of a dull, tired, city centre. Since being born here over 47 years ago I've visited many other lovely parts of our country, my favourites being Cornwall, North Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight - and whenever we're in those places my wife and I tend to think along the lines of "could we live here?".... and the answer is usually "yes". So, if it wasn't for having to work here, the presence of family and friends, or interruptions to the childrens' schooling - would we actually get up and leave Coventry to see if that green looking grass still appears as green on a permanent basis? We might find out one day.... it's a constant temptation!
Staying in Coventry.... or not
flapdoodle
Coventry
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3 of 21  Fri 18th Jan 2013 11:04pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:829

If my job ever changed circumstances, I would not hesitate to leave, I'm afraid. I'm not from the city, and until I came here in 1989 to study at the Poly, I didn't know much about the place apart from Lady Godiva and the Blitz. My dad told me that he came here (from London) on a school trip to visit the new precinct, but he did not like it much. As he was an engineer he also knew about the local machine tool trade, and he had owned Jaguars. I later found out that a great uncle of mine worked on the Owen Owen store (he once told me when he was working here he found the locals a 'funny lot'). I do not know whether this was the first Owen Owen store or the one after the war. I think it might have been the post-war one, but it could have been the pre-war store. I still have a few friends around from Poly days, but they are gradually moving away, and to be totally blunt, most people are quite pleased to leave. My work colleagues all live outside Coventry, and always have done so wherever I've worked. I have always found it quite an odd city - I have worked for three companies here and it has been the same. Always stuck on sites on the outskirts, with no real attachment to the city, and no 'social' life based around the city. It's probably why Coventry has no life in it past 5:30. If you visit other cities, the workers spill out into the pubs and bars for drinking and eating. I know a few people who are desperate to leave. I'm not desperate to leave, as I like Earlsdon a lot, and would rather be here than anywhere else in the West Midlands, but go back 10 years when I lived in Stoke (Coventry), I have never lived anywhere so dirty, depressing and populated by such a miserable bunch of horrible people. It was a pretty horrendous four years. All the houses on the street were rented, and those that weren't seemed to change owners every few months. Litter and discarded food all over the floor, and drunks and students making a racket until the early hours of the morning. We saw that it was in severe decline and moved. And it was like moving to a different town. People are totally different here. If I did move I'd miss Earlsdon, but I wouldn't miss the city. I'm not fussed about fields and greenery - I was brought up in small towns and villages and have no wish to go back to them. Neither would I want to live in a grim sprawl like London or Birmingham/Black Country. Somewhere about Coventry's size should be perfect. Big enough to have the facilities and diversity and culture of a city, and small enough not to be grim sprawl of dual carriageways and run down suburbs. Except something has gone badly wrong. As the amount of jobs in Software in the city has dwindled, my next move will probably be south. I quite like Bristol, somewhere with a bit of life and a sense that things are going on. This city just feels dead, and somewhat 'small town' in outlook despite its size being comparable to places like Cardiff. (I could happily move there as well.) I have no family here so I guess I don't have the ties, and the friends I've had here are slowly moving away. I'm quite fond of the city, but to be honest, if given the chance, I would leap at it to live somewhere else. It's so depressing visiting friends in other cities and coming back to this... crumby precinct, dreary squares and a horrendous ring road. It's quite scandalous what they've done the place, really. I've probably offended a lot of 'Coventrians' here, but I've lived in another city (Sheffield) and the difference is astonishing. Sheffield was a bit of a dump, but the people living there loved it, the city still had some character, and there was absolutely loads of culture and nightlife. The only mistake they had made was building a big shopping mall by the M1. The only other city I've visited that I thought was as dismal as Coventry city centre was Plymouth, but even that has the Hoe and the Barbican area. Cities are about streets. They eliminated them in Coventry city centre. So the place has died. I actually have a lot of things to thank Coventry for - I studied at both its universities, and have had good jobs in the city thanks to its industry, but that has dwindled. After being a student here I left for a few years and lived elsewhere whilst I did some more studying, and coming back really did highlight the sorry state of the place. My current issue is that I have two young children, and I am not impressed by the schools locally. That may be a reason why we move in the near future.
Staying in Coventry.... or not
Beesman
Cornwall
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4 of 21  Sat 19th Jan 2013 1:29am  
Member: Joined Mar 2012  Total posts:366

I moved to the wilds of Bodmin Moor from Allesley Village 21 years ago. I enjoyed living in Coventry during my teens and early 20's but as I got older I realised that I wanted something different out of life and I didn't want to live in a big city for ever. As with most people, work kept me in the same place, but with the demise of GEC and not wanting to be part of the newly formed GPT in Liverpool(!) I took the opportunity of redundancy. My girlfriend, a schoolteacher in Birmingham, was luckily as keen as me on a move. I run a small taxi business here in Cornwall, which is something I wouldn't have dreamed of doing in Coventry. People here are very friendly and appreciate the service I provide. I do miss some aspects of Coventry, mainly my sister and her family in Kenilworth, my long standing friends, The Sky Blues and going 'up the Bees!' However the plus points of living in this beautiful part of England far outweigh the negative aspects. (holidaymakers ha ha!!) I enjoy my occasional visits back to the town of my birth but I know that I will never return to live there. As I'm sure is the case with most people, I can express a view here in Cornwall on Coventry, but if anyone (non-Coventrian) tries to make derogatory comments about my home city I defend it to the hilt!,
Staying in Coventry.... or not
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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5 of 21  Sat 19th Jan 2013 5:40am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2866

I second that Beesman. We wanted our children to see what the rest of the world looked like before we were too old to show them and we have not regretted it after 38 yrs., but have always stressed to them to always remember their roots. My only regret is my husband and I never made the trip back for a visit in his lifetime. I am proud of my hometown and have, on the odd occasion met up with fellow Coventrians who think likewise. Wave
Staying in Coventry.... or not
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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Thread starter
6 of 21  Sat 19th Jan 2013 7:29pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3838

Hi all Wave I went as far as having an interview at an engineering company based in Hale in 1975, Beesman. The salary was ok but the pension provision was not a patch on Courtaulds. My job in Coventry brought me into contact with businesses all over & I visited most of them at some point or other as well as construction sites. It meant that I saw the real aspect of places, not just the romance or imagination that I might have otherwise dreamed. I can honestly say that when I have been away somewhere, whether on holiday or otherwise & even when my visit has been superbly enjoyable, I am always glad to come home. Home for me as an adult has always been Coventry. Gosh Dreamtime, until the mid seventies, we might have both been in Pilgrim's newsagents in Beake Ave where I had my standing weekly order for the weekend FT. Wave SUNDAY Hi again Wave Something that I do like about living here in Coventry is the convenience of it. I have just returned, walking from our sell anything corner shop, which is fabulous, run by a loving family. Knowing that we have bad weather they stock the big bags of cooking salt. Another three hundred yards & we have a Morrisons store. My mum & dad could only dream of that convenient living where they did live in Bodmin. When they were too old to drive, it often required a taxi, Beesman, which several of the neighbours would share the cost of & all travel together. A taxi operator cottoned on to this & provided almost a public service a couple of times a week. Whilst we are young & have our health, we can almost live anywhere, but as I become more & more a clapped out banger, I value the convenience of what is near to hand. Anyway, must get on & brush more snow & salt the paths. Wave
Staying in Coventry.... or not
gangan
Stockton, Southam
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7 of 21  Mon 21st Jan 2013 3:25pm  
Member: Joined May 2012  Total posts:126

I am Coventry born and bred, and being born in Gulson Road Hospital in 1950, I consider myself a Coventrian in the truest sense. However, I abhor what Coventry has morphed into. Pull down anything of interest and erect a monstrosity seems to be the order of the day. A city centre shopping area with many charity shops and a plethora of dowdy people who appear to have lost the ability to smile. There is absolutely no way that I would venture into the city centre at night, not just Coventry but any city centre. I moved to Rugby in 1971 because I couldn't afford a decent house in my city and I now live out in Stockton. I have 2 years to pensionable age and I intend to move to my house in Spain, in a coastal village called Alcossebre. It's not paradise but it is better than here. I don't feel threatened at night, and crime, whilst it does exist, is at a much lower rate. People smile and the sun shines! It would appear that I have fallen out of love, not just with Coventry, but with England as well. I don't like being negative and I feel that I am in order voicing my feelings, BUT if any outsider was to slag off the city of my birth, they would have me to answer to.
Staying in Coventry.... or not
IslandCafe
Modbury, Devon
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8 of 21  Fri 25th Jan 2013 12:28pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:86

Reasons for leaving Coventry, an interesting topic but where to begin? In my case it was solely to give my children a better life. I had left Frederick Birds school at 14yrs and had worked at various jobs until my wife and I opened the Island Cafe at the roundabout in Torcross Avenue in 1963. We did well financially but I suffered with various illnesses and was in and out of hospital and was told I would be dead in 10yrs, I was still in my twenties then. In 1970 I looked at my life and the city I had grown up in and realised I did not like the rapid changes that were taking place and decided to take my children out of it. My son was by then 12yrs old and at Bablake and my daughter was full time at Pattisons so it was now or never. I sold the cafe and my home in Baginton and we bought a run down bungalow on the cliff top in Bigbury on Sea which is in south Devon, it had steps from the garden directly down to a sandy beach. I got a job at a small boat builders in nearby Plymouth making fibreglass boats earning around £19 a week, when I gave my wife that first pay packet she was shocked, she was used to having that amount for pocket money but we managed to get by and it was worth the struggle, my kids were having the life you could only dream of, spending every day on the beach surfing, water skiing and generally having fun. They became lifeguards and were involved in many rescues (my son receiving an award from Princess Michael of Kent), they both had part time jobs and learned a good work ethic. To this day they are both very successful in life which I put down to the total change in their early years. I myself went from working on the shop floor for the firm which employed ten staff to managing one of the factory units employing 400 workers with a total of 1500 in various units. I stayed with that firm until I had to retire due to ill health. I am quite satisfied that I made right move all those years ago and am now 79 yrs old so I think I beat the doctors' predictions a little. Thumbs up
Alan

Staying in Coventry.... or not
nirvana
coventry
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9 of 21  Fri 25th Jan 2013 1:28pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:115

Well a truly successful story. John Lennon always said never be frightened to make a move so as to improve your life and you did that IslandCafe, well done.
Staying in Coventry.... or not
LaurenC
Coventry
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10 of 21  Tue 29th Jan 2013 3:19pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:3

Hi, I hope no one minds me contributing here as I'm not actually from Coventry! I've been posting a few things on the forum in relation to some university work but that's a different topic! This topic really caught my eye as I hear a lot of people complaining about living in Coventry so I thought I'd join in the conversation. I moved here in 2010 for university and I'm originally from a small town in South Yorkshire, the village I lived in is ok but the surrounding town is awful. I'll be moving back to my home town this summer though I would much rather stay in Coventry. Although I miss the greenery of Yorkshire I really don't mind living here. I laugh when I hear people moaning about Coventry as I think they really should pay a visit to where I come from. My home town is extremely run down and for want of a better phrase full of people on benefits. Yes there are much better places to live in the UK (and certainly abroad!) but I really quite like living here and I would definitely have definitely stayed here if I could after university.
Staying in Coventry.... or not
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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Thread starter
11 of 21  Tue 29th Jan 2013 4:12pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3838

Hi & thank you for sharing with us. I have loved reading it & look forward to more. Wave
Staying in Coventry.... or not
dutchman
Spon End
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12 of 21  Wed 30th Jan 2013 1:45am  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

On 25th Jan 2013 12:28pm, IslandCafe said: my kids were having the life you could only dream of
Please don't take this the wrong way IslandCafe but I had a life growing up in Gosford Street in the 1960s that most kids could only dream of. I had the biggest 'adventure playground' in the world on my doorstep thanks to Hermann Goering. There were five cinemas within easy walking distance, specialist bike and model shops, an amusement arcade and the trendiest cafes in the country to choose from. The roof of the former GEC strongroom provided a viewing platform from which I could watch air displays at Baginton and the lifting of the spire onto the new cathedral. My walk home from school took me through the old cathedral graveyard in which I could 'smell' 500 years of history. For a kid my age it was paradise. All my friends envied me and came to stay as often as they could. I did visit the seaside occasionally but was happiest when arriving back in Gosford Street.
Staying in Coventry.... or not
mattash
Rugby
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13 of 21  Wed 30th Jan 2013 8:21am  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:589

Well Dutchman, Growing up in Lower Ford street I could not add much more than you have stated, even the Cathedral graveyard which I loved. What a playground! Thumbs up I had better just add, in 1969 when we bought our first house in Cov we could afford a two bed terrace in Nod Rise or a new three bed semi with garage for little more money in Nuneaton. That was the reason for leaving the city, the only trouble is, the city never left me. Thumbs up
Staying in Coventry.... or not
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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Thread starter
14 of 21  Mon 11th Feb 2013 5:40pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3838

Hi all Wave Other than visiting or having temporary accommodation, I have never lived anywhere else other than Coventry. Pam & I have visted friends overseas, but as to what it is like living day to day anywhere else I can only imagine. I have enjoyed all of the posts on here, trying to soak up the atmosphere of your experiences. Before the war, my grandmother lived in both Australia & New Zealand, but she returned here in 1939. I know very little about her twelve years there, other than it took several weeks journey time on the boat. What a technology that we have now, where we can exchange as we do on here, in seconds. Wave I hope that this next picture makes our Bigbury member feel at home. I had some lovely holiday times in that area & around Salcombe. The next pic is for all of our down-under friends. The loco originally called Bittern has been renamed Dominion of New Zealand. It was my delight to have a ride aboard a train travelling from Waterloo to Weymouth, pulled by this athletic loco two years ago, where it maintained the modern high-speed schedule. Wave We truly value all of our members, whether you are in Rugby, Bedworth or from wherever. Wave None of you are more that a few seconds away. Wave
Staying in Coventry.... or not
NormK
bulkington
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15 of 21  Mon 11th Feb 2013 6:06pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:847

I've been on the that Sea Tractor, Philip, the small island it goes to used to have a pub, and it was the only building there. What more does a man want! Cheers Cheers
Milly rules

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