Annex: Doing Your Own Research

Secondary Sources


For sound background material any of the booklets by Mary Montes, especially Brown Boots in Earlsdon (1998), published by the Coventry Branch of the Historical Association and the article in the Warwickshire History journal (Summer1984) are very useful. The Victoria County History for Warwickshire Vol. 8 is the best for pre nineteenth century history of Earlsdon and Chapelfields (p48-50), but is not easily digestible.


Two booklets; ‘Memories of Chapelfields and Hearsall’ Vol 1 & 2 were produced by a Chapelfields group in 1997 and 2000. They give interesting snippets of information from locals of life in the general area, mainly from the recent past. Again the Victoria County History for Warwickshire Vol 8 has bits and pieces of value scattered through various sections.

Primary Sources

Some of the best material is still waiting to be uncovered in the Coventry History Centre. With a bit of patience you can find the original plans for your house and your street and, with luck, maybe the deeds. These can reveal who built it and a little about the people who lived there. The best starting point is the excellent database of records. This is available online at Even better is to use the standalone version at the History Centre that allows searches within searches and organisation of results by date or type of record. This should help you find the plans to your house, but unfortunately some plans were destroyed in the war, especially amongst the earliest ones from the 1890s. Also the database does not currently list plans beyond the mid-1930s. However, the complete list is also available on microfiche, organised by street, and is quite up to date. This is also the starting point for a house deed search. The History Centre’s full set of Street Directories can also show who lived in the property as more houses were rented than owner occupied in the first half of the last century. For the broader picture about activities of the City Corporation (Its official name until 1974 when it became the City Council) there are some excellent minute books. The ‘Minutes of the General Works Committee’ cover many decades of the nineteenth and twentieth century providing insights into the development of the City’s suburbs. Sadly many of the records of the Sir Thomas White’s Charity, including its minute books were destroyed in the War. They would have been very helpful in understanding more about the development of the original Chapelfields suburb as well as the twentieth century estates there (and much of western Earlsdon). Nevertheless, what is left is worth examining. The Land Tax Assessment was a short lived government initiative just before the First World War that bears comparison with the Doomsday Book in its scope of detailing all property holding in the country and its worth. The Values Books include of details of owners and occupiers organised by street and are lodged in the History Centre. For fuller details it is necessary to visit the National Archives in London. Access to old maps is easy in the History Centre fr original paper versions or with the website which allows you to examine a location over the years using various scales of Ordnance Survey maps. Those used in the introductions to each section of this book are taken from the 6 inch 1923/4 Series with some 1938 updates