Bell Green is a residential suburb in the North East of Coventry. It is part of Longford Civil ward. Historically it was part of the district of Foleshill, as can be seen from the OS map of Coventry. Bell Green incorporates the neighbourhoods of Bell Green, Hall Green and Alderman’s Green. At its heart is the shopping centre of Riley Square, which is suffering from changes in retailing in the city.
It is said that the district was named Belgreen in 1725, and got its name because the church bells were cast on the green.
Nearby Hall Green, had a watermill on the River Sowe in 1367 and was near the 12th century church. It also had a windmill nearby in the 18th century. In those times the Sowe was a good water-supply for cottages from Hall Green to Henley Green, where there was another mill. Another watercourse joined the Sowe near Henley Mill and provided a water supply to the partings of the Heath, Spring Road, the 18th century workhouse and Courthouse Green to the south of Bell Green.
The Bell Inn is first mentioned in 1764, the Green Man in 1793 and the Rose and Crown in 1838. At this time Windmill Lane was specifically created by the Enclosure Act.
The Wesleyans founded a chapel at Bell Green in 1813 and by 1824 there was a Free Methodist Chapel at Aldermans Green. By 1851 most people were silk ribbon weavers but there were also miners, as an inquest was held on a miner at the Miners Arms in 1847. In 1842 Bell Green reverted to Warwickshire and did not return to Coventry until 1928-1932. Despite this, a regular tram service began in 1900 with Bell Green as its terminus. Because Bell Green was away from the cycle and motor industries of the city and south Foleshill it was marginalised and its people tended to work in weaving, mining, agriculture and on the canal.
After 1930 Lord Nuffield developed the Morris works and the planning of Sewall Highway in 1932 set off extensive housing development.
Today the district is dominated by estates of Council built houses, currently under the control of Whitefriars Housing. The district is also the home of Henley College, one of the city’s three technical colleges. Although teaching a wide range of practical subjects, the college is mostly known for its catering courses.
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