This quaint postcard of Kenilworth Common shows a pair of semi-detached Victorian houses, with smoke pouring from the chimney stack. A family gathering of the inhabitants poses for the camera.
A side-by-side map comparison with the OS 25 Inch, 1892 – 1905 map shows that these houses were reachable only by a trackway which ran down from behind Crackley Hall. In fact, the pathway still runs along the same route today, and still exits onto The Common where the five bar gate is shown in the ‘then image’. The ‘S’ shaped boundary markers on the map show that the houses, the ‘U’ shaped stable block and Crackley Hall itself were in common ownership, so presumably these houses were for staff employed at the house or its stables.
Crackley Hall seems to have an enigmatic early history, about which not much was known other than it appeared to have been in existence from the 1886 OS Map onward and became St Joseph’s Convent in 1945. Robin Leach’s book Kenilworth People & Places – Volume 1 (Rookfield Publications, 2011) contains probably the best account of the history of the Hall itself and also dates our houses as 1875. He adds a detail that they have the letter ‘N’ above the doorway, presumably for Charles Nelson who occupied the Hall at the time.
The stable block is just visible to the left of the houses in the background of the ‘then’ image. Today the houses are accessed via Littleton Close. A row of houses on a private drive at the end of Littleton Close was built on the site of the stable block in the 1990s.