Longford is a neighbourhood in the north of Coventry. Until 1932 it was part of Foleshill Rural District Council and was absorbed into Coventry in the local government reorganisation of that year.
The name “Longford” is believed to relate to a “long ford” on a Roman Road passing through the district. The name “Tackley” was also applied to parts of the district but that name has now disappeared. Other neighbourhoods within Longford include Foxford, Hawkesbury and Victoria Farm.
Longford was historically a rural district, but from 1682 it became the location for a number of scattered coal mines. In this area coal was very close to the surface and was gained through shallow pits and later deeper collieries including the Victoria Colliery and Hawkesbury Colliery. The opening of the Coventry Canal in 1769 took coal to the centre of Coventry for sale.
Another industry in the neighbourhood was concrete manufacture. The Longford and Midland Concrete Works manufactured concrete products including kerb stones that were used all over the midlands. During the Second World War the company manufactured concrete air raid shelters. Other companies in the district included brick and tile manufacture and canal boat building.
Near the junction of the Coventry Canal and the Oxford Canal, at Sutton Stop or Hawkesbury Junction lies the Hawkesbury Engine House, now a listed building. Unfortunately the Newcomen beam engine that used to pump water from a deep well into the canal system was relocated to the Thomas Newcomen Museum in Dartmouth.
Before the creation of Hawkesbury Junction, the Coventry Canal and the Oxford Canal ran in parallel as far as Longford Road. Hawkesbury Junction is unique in having a lock with only a 6” difference between the levels of the Oxford Canal and the Coventry Canal. It was the first Conservation Area to cover two local authority areas. Recently the whole of the Coventry Canal has been declared as a Conservation Area.
Weaving was a cottage industry scattered across the district. In later years a lot of the weaving was undertaken as outworking for larger companies, such as the Steveograph Company in Cox Street.
Longford became the primary location for energy supplies to Coventry, being the home of both Foleshill (or Longford) Gas Works and Hawkesbury Power Station. The gasworks was demolished in 2004 and is now the location of the Ricoh Arena and the Arena Park. The power station was demolished in the 1980s and is currently vacant land awaiting development.
Today Longford retains a village atmosphere and has a wide diversity of cottages from different ages and an attractive environment.
David W Hargreaves 31/1/2013
I grew up in Grange Road from 1948 to 1971 when I got married I have many happy memories of playing on Victoria Farm and Sutton Stop by the Greyhound If any one is interested in any further information ref i.e The Prior Pitts, The Nelsons, The Sephtons and Joe and Rosie Skinners boat Friendship moored in the canal I would be only too glad to put this down for pupertuity