J.C. Clarke, Wheelwrights, Bridge Street – Then & Now

J.C. Clarke, Wheelwrights
J.C. Clarke, Wheelwrights, Bridge Street

Another shot of the timber framed tannery buildings that later housed J.C. Clarke, Wheelwrights up until 1952, which stood on Bridge Street until it was demolished in May 1961. The Ministry of Housing had endorsed the Council surveyor’s view that the buildings had become dangerous, despite them having been listed as having architectural or historic interest since July 1949.

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Tilt Yard Mill, 1964 – Then & Now

Castle Mill Sluice
Charles Blick and John Drew at Tilt Yard Mill site, 1964

1964 – Charles Blick and John Drew at Tilt Yard Mill site. Now obscured by the more recent 1960s bridge and undergrowth, this 1964 picture shows the excavation of one of a number of watermills surrounding the castle and abbey.

As Rob Steward put it in Kenilworth History 1997/98 “To control the water of the new ‘Mere’, a sluice and mill were built at the south end of the ‘Dam’ at ‘Floodgate Tower’ discharging into a channel on the south side of the ‘Lower Pool’, where it picked up the outflow from the Brays mill.”

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The Castle from the Brays, 1907 – Then & Now

Mortimer's Tower
Mortimer’s Tower

The Castle from the Brays. – Old post card postmarked 1907. Mortimer’s Tower was originally a Norman stone gatehouse, extended in the late 13th and 16th centuries. Following the slighting of the castle by Colonel Hawkesworth at the end of the Civil War, the Tiltyard became impassable and thus in the ‘then’ picture it is shown as fenced off, with access to the castle via other entrances.

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The End Cottage, Castle Green – Then & Now

Castle Green End Cottage
Castle Green End Cottage

The End Cottage, Castle Green met with a sorry fate, having been struck on more than one occasion by passing motor vehicles. It was eventually demolished in the 1960s. The remaining end cottage now bears a plaque above the door stating “These eight cottages were restored & improved by Kenilworth Urban District Council with financial help from the 1966 commemorative committee & many private subscribers”.

Another shot of Castle Green End Cottage
Another shot of Castle Green End Cottage

Another shot of the end cottage of Castle Green in a dilapidated state, having been struck on more than one occasion by passing motor vehicles.

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Queen & Castle – Then & Now

Queen & Castle
Queen & Castle

The Queen & Castle, Castle Green, Kenilworth. According to Rob Steward’s book ‘The Inns and Roads of Kenilworth’ (Odiborne Press, 2000) the first mention of this establishment was when it was known as The Castle Inn in 1835.

It was once a hotel with fine oak panelled corridors, with some panelling rumoured to be taken from the castle itself, ghosts and all. In 1985 it was sold to the Beefeater chain, who gutted the building, losing much of its character. It has been refitted since then and now provides a more salubrious venue befitting its enviable location.

The ‘then’ photo is from the 1960s, which remains largely unchanged today apart from some 1970s additions to Little Virginia.

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The Priory, The High Street – Then & Now

The Priory, High Street
The Priory, High Street

The High Street, Kenilworth, looking largely unchanged with the exception of the house on the extreme right hand side. This house, known as The Priory, was the subject of the book ‘A House in the High Street’ by Joyce Powell (Odibourne Press, 1987).

The Priory was built in 1770, replacing some older ‘messuages’ of about 1700.

By 1855 the house had become unfashionable to the sort of owner who could afford such a property and in too poor a state of repair to be let. It was bought by the Leamington Priors Bank who pulled its frontage down, along with number 11, to build a grand Jacobean style combined bank and post office.

It remained in similar usage up until the 1980s, where it finished up being a Midland Bank. Finally, it was broken up into small commercial units known as the Bank Gallery, which it remains today.

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Manticora – Then & Now

John Drew Manticora
John Drew points to the Manticore

March 1966 – John Drew indicating position of ‘the Manticora’ carved on the wall which sits opposite the castle’s modern gift shop. A manticore is a Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth, sometimes bat-like wings, and a trumpet-like voice.

The picture below, also taken in 1966, shows a close-up of the manticore with a ruler for scale:

The Manticora
The Manticore

More details on the origins of the manticore and is use in English heraldry can be found on Wikipedia.

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Widow’s Charity Houses – Then & Now

Widow’s Charity Houses, High Street
Widow’s Charity Houses, High Street

Widow’s Charity Houses, High Street, founded in 1644, rebuilt 1840s.
To the right of the ‘then’ photo can be seen a single storey, windowless brick building which was demolished much later providing an alleyway through to the 1960s Elmbank Road, as well as the entry to the slaughterhouse behind the butchers owned by John Bausor.
Since the closure of the butchers, the slaughterhouse outbuildings were demolished to make way for the modern Monmouth Close development, built sympathetically in a Victorian style.

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Bridge Street – Then & Now

Bridge Street
Bridge Street

Bridge Street, Kenilworth. The old timber framed houses to the left of the ‘then’ photo were demolished in May 1961, despite having been listed as having architectural or historic interest since July 1949.

Harry Sunley in his book ‘A Kenilworth Chronology’ (Odibourne Press, 1989) tells us that these buildings had housed J.C. Clarke, Wheelwrights, up until 1952 and that the Ministry of Housing had endorsed the Council surveyor’s view that the buildings had become dangerous.

The Kenilworth Society was formed in the same month as their demolition due to concerns about destructive development around the town.

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December 2015 Newsletter

KHAS Christmas


Kenilworth Castle in the Snow

Advanced notice of the AGM in February 2016. Barbara Platten will, sadly, be resigning from the Committee for personal reasons, so that there will be a vacancy. Tonight, self-explanatory nomination forms are available. Please take one and nominate someone you know who would be an asset to the Society’s functioning. Do be sure to obtain their permission, however!

» Last month Gordon Cain took us through the complicated process whereby the pro-cathedral of S. Phillip, Birmingham was saved from serious damage through the deterioration of the cupola on the dome. As ever, his account was clear and very well-illustrated. If ever one thought that S. Phillip’s was one of the less interesting cathedrals England, Gordon’s talk brought it sharply into focus as a most interesting building with a fascinating history, short though that may be.

» Tonight Paul Thompson, assisted as ever by his very able wife, Alex, reveals something of the Christmass of yesteryear. We then do our best to anticipate the great festival by socialising, imbibing and nibbling!

» Next month January 11th : Dr Nat Alcock is talking about The Mediæval Peasant House in the Midlands. Even Kenilworth had peasants in the past

» A CD containing every issue of Kenilworth History from 1981 to 2015 (inc) is now available. It has on it also a file of all the ‘Tables of Content’, six spreadsheets of those contents sorted by date, author, title, and three subject categories, and one continuous file of all the KHs so that it can subjected to a wordsearch from beginning to end – a really valuable resource for any researcher. The Society is charging £5 a CD, which, if you consider that people in the Town bought over 60 copies of KH2015 alone for £5 from the Bookshop this year, is incredibly good value for money.

» You will have been emailed about voting for the Society in the “Kenilworth Worthies” contest. If you don’t do so tonight when you get home, or in the next 24 hours, you will have missed your chance! Go to http://kenilworthchamber.co.uk/survey/kenilworth-worthiesvoting-form/ and look for the “Organisation of the Year” category.

» Kenilworth Family History Society 13 Jan. 2016 Richard III & DNA by Dr. Turi King University of Leicester, Dept.of Genetics & Archaeology. SCC 7.30pm

» Warwickshire Local History Society Tuesday 16 February 2016: Dr Kat Iles, ‘The Birmingham Assay Office’. 8.00pm, preceded by coffee at 7.30pm, in The Friends’ Meeting House, 39 High Street, Warwick, CV34 4AX

» Kineton Local History Soc. Friday 15 January – Stratford upon Avon’s Historic Spine – Dr Robert Bearman All meetings at 7.30pm at Kineton Village Hall

» Warwickshire Geology: 20 January: Prof. David Siveter (Leicester): Exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils of the Chengjiang Lagerstatte, China: the flowering of early animal life. All meetings take place at S. Francis’ Church Hall, Warwick Road (Kenilworth main street), Kenilworth CV8 1HL, with coffee at 7pm before a 7.30pm start

What’s Under Your Feet? A galaxy of rocks, fossils and minerals comes to Kenilworth on Saturday 20 February at the Senior Citizens’ Club 10am until 3pm Come and see Stunning specimens; Great displays; Learn something about how our Earth has evolved Why is the Warwickshire landscape like it is Rocks under the microscope; Meet a Geologist & ….. have your rocks, fossils & minerals identified!

» CADAS: 12th January Title: Roman Woman: a Costumed Food Demonstration Lecturer: Jane Arnold All meetings are held at the Friends’ Meeting House, Hill Street, Coventry, at 19:30

Ideas for Christmass presents:

  • The third edition of A Portrait of Kenilworth in Street Names, originally produced by former Secretary, Geoff Hilton, is out, edited now by Robin Leach.
  • The second edition of The Story of the Abbey by Sunley & Stevens, first published 20 years ago but now enhanced with discoveries made in the 20 year gap, largely by members of this Society, is now available. Published price is £10, but copies are available to members tonight at £8. Last time!
  • The Deeds of King Henry V by Geoff Hilton drawn from John Strecche’s 1420s Chronicle. Deals with the Agincourt campaign of 600 years ago. £7.50, but £6.50 to members for the last time tonight!

» Miscellaneous guide books to places all over the country and of various dates are available for sale at the back of the room – 5p each, to the Society’s funds.

» Website Chris Blunt has made an excellent job of setting up a new Website for the Society. As you will remember, in the past Dr Pats included the Society in his ‘MidWarks’ on-line assembly. Since his illness and death, the site has been locked and become hopelessly out of date. Chris has established a new domain name for us, and published a trial version for us to expand. You are recommended to look at the site for yourself, and if you have any suggestions, please contact, in the first instance, your Editor. Do, however, bear in mind that what you will see is largely a proposal for your information – please don’t tear it to bits (no-one has yet). There is still work to be done on it, but your help will be appreciated, although it might be worth noting that since it went on-line at the end of November, we have had 1008 hits from all over the world! Try it! Use it!

Contacts: Chairman – 01676 532654; Secretary – 01926 858670; Treasurer – 01926 852655;
Vice Chairman & Editor – 01926 858090 moc.l1493067156iamto1493067156h@sne1493067156vetsr1493067156on1493067156

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From the Archives: Last Night at ‘The Globe’

The moving story below was first published in the 2003 / 2004 edition of the Society’s Kenilworth History publication, written by Roy Stanley. It tells the story of the tragic events of November 21, 1940 when a Luftwaffe parachute landmine fell on Abbey End, killing 26 people. Kenilworth recently marked the 75th anniversary of these horrific events with a service and a wreath laying by the mayor Michael Coker at the site of the former Globe Inn, which was destroyed by the explosion

The original story follows:

Roy Stanley recalls his boyhood experience: the night’s events and the people who were there

The Globe was located in the Square at the south end of what is now Abbey End, almost opposite the Clock Tower. One of Kenilworth’s old pubs, it was popular with locals and visitors alike. Unlike most pubs, its hanging sign was not a flat board but a genuine world globe, as old photographs testify. It had a gated side entrance wide enough for the passage of horse-drawn carts. There was a large yard at the rear with stabling on the north side above which was a large club-room. An outside wooden staircase provided access.

The Globe circa 1910
The Globe circa 1910 (Courtesy of the Kenilworth Weekly news)

In 1939 the tenancy of The Globe became vacant and a Mr James Stanley was installed as the new landlord. Jim had been apprenticed to toolmaking. He became interested in politics, joined the Independent Labour Party and soon found himself in conflict with employers in his pursuit of better wages and conditions, resulting in his sacking and blacklisting so that he had to seek employment outside the city.

He was happily married to Polly, who gave birth to two sons, Ralph and Lewis. When the boys were in their early teens, however, Polly died, leaving Jim to raise the boys alone.

In the years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Jim found employment back in Coventry, and, like most working men, was fond of a glass of ale. During this period a friendship developed between Jim and Florrie, a barmaid at his local pub. The friendship blossomed into romance, and they married. Florrie sensed that Jim’s outgoing personality was suited to the role of publican, and with her knowledge of the trade found little difficulty in persuading him to apply for the tenancy of The Globe.

September 1940 saw the beginning of German air-raids on Birmingham and Coventry. There were frequent night alerts when warning sirens would send folk scurrying to seek relative safety in reinforced indoor an outdoor shelters. Jim and Florrie had many relatives and friends living in Coventry. They thought Kenilworth, a few miles away from the industrial target, would be a safe haven and invited them to spend the night sleeping on the floor of the unused club-room. So when the men left off work in factories in the early evening, they would collect wives and children and leave the city for Kenilworth.

The Square, Kenilworth showing the Globe (right)

On arrival at the club-room, rolls of makeshift bedding were placed against the walls on each side of the room. Then the men would disappear downstairs to the busy bar, to reappear with trays of drinks for their families. Later the men would return to the all-male company of the bar.

A good community spirit developed in the temporary dormitory of the clubroom. Impromptu concerts were organised to raise money for parcels of little luxuries for the fighting forces. There was a small stage at one end of the clubroom and Jim would leave Florrie serving at the bar to appear on stage to deliver one of his monologues – “The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God”, “Gunga Din” and other offerings of a similar nature. His younger brother, Will, was an accomplished amateur magician whose wife Daisy played the piano and sang, sometimes accompanied by Jim, who had a good baritone voice. The finale usually consisted of a singsong in which everyone joined: good old music hall favourites and the wartime songs such as “Run, rabbit, run”, “Roll out the Barrel”, etc.

Closing time saw the return of the men from the bar, when bedding was unrolled, most of the lights turned off, and everyone exchanging “Good Nights” before settling down for the night’s sleep.


On the night of the 21st of November, 1940, one week after the worst air raid on Coventry, the Globe was full of people from the city, seeking respite from the terror of possible further attacks, and content to sleep in any available space. Just before closing time, a tired-looking man with ginger hair entered the bar, ordered a drink, and asked Florrie if he could stay for the night. Florrie at first said there was no space left, but when he told her he had been walking all day and was on his way to take up a job in one of the factories in Coventry she relented and said he could rest on one of the seats in the bar. He thanked her and attempted to make himself comfortable on the hard wooden settle. Glasses were cleared, ashtrays emptied, doors bolted, and lights extinguished; Jim and Florrie retired to bed.

It was a relatively quiet night. About 2 a.m. a solitary German aircraft arrived over Kenilworth. Whether its crew had any specific target, or were unable to find it – whatever their mission – the decision was made to release the canister containing a ton of explosive. The crew headed for home, no doubt eager to avoid searchlights, anti-aircraft shells and R.A.F. night fighters. As they changed course, the deadly canister, suspended beneath a parachute, descended silently.

The weapon was designed to explode on impact and cause maximum blast damage. It contacted the earth yards to the north of The Globe and immediately exploded.

The Globe
The rubble of The Globe (© Leamington Courier)

A fourteen year old boy asleep on the floor of the clubroom awoke to find he was unable to move, aware of an overbearing weight that seemed to be crushing the life out of his body; hardly able to breathe, his mouth and nostrils clogged with the dust of plaster and brick. Screams and cries for help penetrated the debris.

His agony gradually succumbed to unconsciousness.

As his senses returned he became aware of cold air, someone’s arms holding him, a soldier, the rough khaki of a battledress jacket against his face; of stars, bright as bright in a dark sky. The man spoke words of comfort as he carried the lad across the uneven mounds of rubble. Someone wrapped a blanket around his shivering body and placed him in the back seat of a car parked alongside the clock tower. In the dim light he discerned a figure in the front passenger’s seat.

The person’s head turned and a voice, that of his Aunt Florrie, said: “Oh – it’s you, Roy – I’ve seen your mum and dad; they are all right.” Someone got into the driver’s seat, started the engine and drove the car south along Warwick Road as far as St. John’s Church. There they were led into the brightly-lit church hall. It had become a casualty clearing station. Volunteers were busy with blankets, bandages, cups of tea. The boy looked at fellow-victims, dazed, lying or sitting on mattresses. Distraught faces, barely recognisable, not the familiar smiling faces of a few hours ago. He heard his name called and saw the look of relief on the faces of his parents. Across the room he saw Uncle Jim, shirt sleeves rolled up, blood caked on his face and arms; one arm clutching a half-empty whisky bottle – the arm which had held the lifeless body of his son Ralph – he had found him lying in the pub yard. Ralph was in the R.A.F. He was on home leave awaiting the imminent birth of their first child – born a few hours afterwards .

Abbey End Rubble
Removing Abbey End Rubble (© Leamington Courier)

Twenty-eight people died that night, many were injured. The man with ginger hair was among the dead. Florrie never even knew his name. The following morning, victims with minor injuries were transferred to the ballroom of the Abbey Hotel and eventually taken back to their respective homes. They were left to cope as best they could after brief examination by their G.P.s. The full shock of the event began to register hours later, fits of trembling and waves of nausea.

In the days to follow the survival instinct gradually took hold and, combined with the daily routine of life, normality was achieved, but, as with most trauma, scars not visible to the eye remained.

Square 1950s
The Square in the 1950s (© KHAS)

Today, nothing remains of The Globe, except in the memories of a few and in Abbey End, where there is a small stone plinth bearing a bronze plate recording details of the fateful event.

Further Reading

The following sources contain some excellent information on The Globe, the raid itself, the aftermath and the commemorations:

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