Upcoming Events

May 2024

Wednesday 29/05

14:00 – 15:30
Visit to St. Barbara's Church

June 2024

Friday 14/06

All Day
CovSoc Visit to Pershore

Saturday 15/06

All Day
Civic Day

Monday 17/06

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

Thursday 20/06

14:30 – 16:00
CovSoc Visit to Warwick University

July 2024

Monday 15/07

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

Thursday 18/07

14:00 – 16:00
CovSoc Visit to Maxstoke Castle tbc

August 2024

Friday 02/08

09:00 – 11:00
Visit to Finham Sewage Works
Finham Sewage Works

Thursday 08/08

14:00 – 16:00
CovSoc Visit to Sherbourne Valley Project

Monday 19/08

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

September 2024

Sunday 15/09

All Day
HOD at Draper's Hall

Wednesday 18/09

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting

Monday 23/09

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting

October 2024

Wednesday 09/10

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting
Recurs monthly

Monday 14/10

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting

Saturday 19/10

All Day
Heritage Conference

November 2024

Wednesday 06/11Friday 08/11

Feister gathering

Wednesday 13/11

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting
Recurs monthly

Monday 18/11

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

December 2024

Wednesday 11/12

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting
Recurs monthly

Monday 16/12

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

January 2025

Wednesday 08/01

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting
Recurs monthly

Monday 20/01

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

February 2025

Wednesday 12/02

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting
Recurs monthly

Monday 17/02

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

March 2025

Wednesday 12/03

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting
Recurs monthly

Monday 17/03

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

April 2025

Wednesday 09/04

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc AGM

Monday 14/04

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting

May 2025

Wednesday 14/05

19:30 – 21:30
CovSoc Meeting
Recurs monthly

Monday 19/05

19:00 – 21:00
Coventry Society Committee Meeting
Recurs monthly

History of Holbrook

The multicultural suburb of Coventry called Holbrooks sits on the secret of its origin. The “Brooks” are buried along most of their length now. They criss cross the district along valleys from east to west so that in the grounds of both Park Gate and John Shelton schools children play unwittingly over one or more of the four “Holbrooks”.

A century ago at least four brooks would have been visible in Holbrooks. Today Coventry City Council maintains the culverts which hold them under the built up area of the suburb. The brooks descend from the relative heights of Corley which overlook the City. The Hall Brook said to be linked to Keresley Hall is behind the naming of “Watery Lane” where today it enters its culvert adjacent to the old bus depot site before running under the length of the same lane. The Victoria County History describes two main brooks running through the ancient Whitmore Park, the Hall Brook, heading east to the River Sowe and the Springfield Brook, heading west for the River Sherbourne.

Council plans show how, crossing Penny Park Lane from Watery Lane, the culverted Hall Brook cuts between Holy Family School and Church to cross Beake Avenue north of no. 528. Maps as late as 1925 show a sheep dip sluice near here where farmers would dip their sheep. Late memories of the open brook in Holbrooks recall children playing in it as well as unconfirmed reports of it going foamy when it was bath time at Keresley Colliery. Another theory on the foam comes from the Coventry Herald of Sept. 26th 1923, “At Keresley….the washing tub of Coventry there are about 14 hand laundries.” At Keresley….. The Hall Brook continues along the southern perimeter at Parkgate School grounds where it is joined by the Keresley Brook. It then proceeds along the northern perimeter of Finbarr’s Sports ground, across the south east corner of the supermarket car park and under Holbrook Lane.

At the turn of the 20th century the former green fields of “Holbrooks” had given way to suburban housing as compacted as any in Coventry. Industrial development over the last century has led to urban growth along the major lines of communication – the canal, railways and roads – north of Coventry. The establishment of new factories has led in turn to the building of houses for employees in such a fashion as to swamp the old village of Holbrooks with dwellings whose age generally decreases in proportion to distance from the City Centre.

The “Wheelwright’s” served the horse and cart as Dunlop was later to serve the motorcar. Wheelwright Lane certainly takes its name from the necessity of former days. Lythalls Lane and Parkgate Road also existed at the turn of the 19th Century as did Nunts Lane. According to Margaret Smedley’s “The meaning of the Street Names of Coventry” the former “Foleshill Hall Lane” was renamed “Lythalls” in honour of Edward Lythall “who occupied the Foleshill Hall Estate as a single farm of 165 acres in 1839”.

A century ago the industries familiar to Holbrooks’ villagers would be coal mining and silk weaving as well as watch making in Coventry and stone quarrying near Nuneaton. The development of Holbrooks as a community over the last century can be traced back to the expansion of industry starting with Dunlop. 1996 saw a celebration of the centenary of car production in Coventry. It was in 1888 that John Boyd Dunlop, a Scottish veterinary surgeon practising in Ireland, invented the first practicable pneumatic tyre. Establishing itself as a supplier to the rapidly expanding motor car industry the Dunlop Rubber Company opened a Rim and Wheel manufacturing Company in Coventry in Alma Street, Hillfields. The 1921 Coventry Directory gives first mention of Dunlop on the White & Poppe site. Eventually a quarter of the present ecclesiastical parish of Holbrooks was to be occupied by the Dunlop factory.

“Black pad” an ancient road from the Keresley area into Lockhurst Lane parallel to the present Burnaby Road, was closed so that a shell filing works could operate on what is now Dunlop Sports Ground. The girls who worked there were known affectionately as the Canary Girls since their work filing the shells with Tetrol led to an unfortunate yellowing of the skin.

[With thanks to Coventry City Council]