Then & Now

Tannery Cottages – Then & Now

Tannery Cottages - Then & Now
Tannery Cottages – Then & Now

This wonderful colour image seems somehow tangibly recent and yet it captures a long vanished snippet of old Warwick Road, shortly before its demolition. We’ve glimpsed these cottages from a distance before, in 12 – 16 Warwick Road – Then & Now, but it’s interesting to see them close up and in colour.

Robin Leach covers the history of these Tannery cottages in his book Kenilworth People & Places vol. 3 (Rookfield Publications, 2018) including some more pictures of the properties (see p.65). Robin describes in detail how Robert Draper had inherited the Bridge Street tannery from his father and how he subsequently bought one of the above Warwick Road properties, so that he could establish a new town-centre tannery on the land behind it. It was this new Warwick Road tannery which would expand to employ over a hundred people on the sprawling site, which would become Talisman Square after its demolition in 1965.

If you look closely at the ‘then’ image, you can see that, of these three rather ancient looking properties, the one on the extreme right of the ‘then’ image rather improbably remains intact in the ‘now’ image, today housing Brian Holt estate agents. The other three were demolished as part of the Talisman Square development in 1965. As per the previous Then & Now article above, Robin Leach believes the rationale for their demolition was to make for a more contiguous block of retail units, linking the new Talisman Square development to the main thoroughfare. How the surviving cottage managed to avoid the wrecking ball is less clear but it does perhaps suggest that their demolition could have been avoided by simply converting all three cottages into retail units in the first place. The remaining cottage is not listed.

These cottages were not the only historic properties to fall foul of the bulldozer in 1956, as these images of The Limes and the Almshouses further along will testify.

Unfortunately, I have lost my records as to who it was who submitted the ‘then’ image. My sincere apologies to whoever it was. Please send an email to and I will rectify this accordingly and credit you in the article. Apologies once again.