Welcome to The Coventry We Have Lost
This is a site dedicated to older photographic images of Coventry and the photographers who took them. It illustrates the city centre and the suburbs in a way that the modern visitor or even resident might find surprising. Any thriving industrial area will damage its past more than a quiet market town might. As the fastest growing city in Britain for much of the first half of the twentieth century, Coventry suffered more than most (even before the Blitz made its contribution to the destruction).

The Coventry We Have Lost Books
The creators of this site have published a number of books illustrating the changes to the built environment of Coventry’s city centre and suburbs. The first two books focused on the whole of Coventry; another took the themes of the Godiva Processions and Coventry’s Industry. The latest books concentrate on the development of just one Coventry suburb. The first was on Earlsdon, work has now finished on the latest book dealing with the Foleshill area (see left). To find out more about the contents and how to buy the book look under the ‘books’ tab.



Latest News

November 2022 – It is with great regret that I have to report the death of my co-author, Albert Smith after a short illness. Albert was an archetypal post-war Coventrian, he worked in the car industry both here and in Detroit. His love of the city and its history had been with him all his life. It was a priviledge to have known him and be entertained by his knowledge of living through some of the most important changes in Coventry’s twentieth century history. Fortunately that knowledge lives on in the Coventry We Have Lost Books (and with hopefully more to come).

December 2021 – David has contributed an article to the Coventry Society website entitles ‘Don’t Call them Top Shops’ – a brief review of the terminology used in describing Coventry’s domestic silk ribbon weaving cottages. See: https://news.coventrysociety.org.uk/2021/12/13/dont-call-them-top-shops/ 

September 2021 – The article on Coventry’s early silk ribbon industry (‘Lies, Damn Lies and the Eighteenth Century Coventry Silk Ribbon Industry), referred to below, has now been published in the Journal of Warwickshire Local History Society, Warwickshire History.

 11.00 -12.00pm Monday 3 July 2021 – David is giving a presentation  on The Coventry Canal and its imact on the communites in Foleshill over the last 250 years. This is one of the talks in The Herber’s seies on Treasured Tales Online (see https://www.theherbert.org/whats_on/1561/treasured_tales_online_coventry_canal__five_and_a_half_miles_of_history)

May 2021 – Although work on this site has been rather quiet David has been busy looking into the history of Coventry’s silk ribbon trade. The Foleshill book led him down the rabbit hole of the so called ‘top shop’ architecture of the ribbon weavers, which in turn made him realise that he needed to understand more about the origins of the trade. That in turn made him appreciate how little of the topic had been commited to print, and what little was found there was often misleading. His resolution to this can be read in an article to be published in Warwickshire History this summer entitled ‘Lies, Damn Lies and the Eighteenth Century Coventry Silk Ribbon Industry’. The lockdown has meant that time has been available to extend the research into the nineteenth century rise and fall of the trade. Hopefully, it will be possible for this to be published as a book at sometime in the future. Unfortunately the original focus on the characteristic built environment that ribbon weaving gave to Coventry looks to be only the final chapter! 

2.00pm Monday 7 January 2019 – Hear David give a presentation  on The Hidden History of Coventry Top-Shops at Stoke History Group, Stoke Church Hall, Walsgrave Road

2.00pm Friday 7 September 2018 – Hear David give a presentation  on Forgotten Foleshill at Foleshill Library, Broad Street

7.45pm Friday 24 August 2018 – Hear David give a presentation  on Forgotten Foleshill at Greyfriars Society, Unitarian Hall, Holyhead Road CV1 3AE

11.00am Saturday 28 July 2018 – Hear David give a presentation  on Forgotten Foleshill at the Nuneaton Local History Group Meeting, Attleborough Church Hall Nuneaton. 

11.30am -12.30am Saturday 26 May 2018 – Hear David give a presentation  on Forgotten Foleshill at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Jordan Well Coventry.

7.00pm Monday 5 February 2018 – Hear David give a presentation to the Bedworth Society on Forgotten Foleshill at the Old Meeting United Reformed Church (opposite Tesco)

Monday 18 December 2017 – At last the Coventry Telegraph gives the book some coverage today. A full page at the front of the paper – a bit late for Christmas sales but better late than never.

Thursday 14 December 2017 –  Nice double page spread article on  Forgotten Foleshill in this week’s Coventry Observer, though no mention of where to buy it. If you are looking in Waterstones it is downstairs in a pile on a table – beware it gets hidden under another pile of Coventry We Have Lost Vol 1 !

Monday 11 December 2017 – Forgotten Foleshill now available at Coventry Waterstones, WH Smiths (they have had it a fortnight but not put it out), Earlsdon Post Office,  and of course at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (as well as this website!).

Friday 8 December 2017Forgotten Foleshill was launched at The Herbert. See here for details. There was a pleasing turn out given the cold weather with many Foleshill people sharing photographs and memories of the area. Thanks to those who braved the chill. But it was also a day when everyone was able to share in the good news about Coventry becoming the new UK City of Culture in 2021 in the centre of Coventry Culture!