Coundon

A flavour of the old Coundon can still be appreciated by a wander through that rare stretch of green in the city, Coundon Wedge, (apart from the link road built for the Jaguar factory). It is a landscape of twisting narrow lanes, small hedge fields, trees, streams, ponds and the occasional farmhouse. The original Coundon was little different. There was never a village centre as such, perhaps a small settlement near Coundon Court. However, by the last century the hamlet at Brownshill Green provided the focus of what village life there was in the area, while nearby Keresley shared any missing facilities. The character of Coundon began to change with the arrival of wealthy house hunters from Coventry in the latter part of the 19th century. The attraction of healthy living in this area of relatively high ground, where there was not a monopoly of ownership, as in so many other of Coventry’s satellite villages, meant a real growth in the construction of large houses, especially along the Tamworth Road. This was to prove only the beginning of the urban invasion and today only the foresight of those who protected the Coundon Wedge prevents a complete loss of the past.

1. Smithy, Brownshill Green c1905 (Sidwell)

The blacksmith, Joe Sparrow, can be seen by the side of his forge. The business survived into the sixties but the premises were soon taken over by the expanding garage that can still be seen there today. The house itself exists but is no longer a good example of sleepy country living. It has been almost swamped by the roundabout at the northern exit of the Coundon Wedge Road, the road surface having been raised above the surrounding ground level

2. Rialto Picture Theatre c1930 (Unknown)

Opened in 1928 the Rialto was one of a number of suburban cinemas opened at this time to serve the needs of the new estates and satisfy the interest created by the introduction of the ‘talkies’. It was taken over by the Odeon cinema group in 1940 but was soon to fall victim to a German bombing raid. A similar victim was Barclays Bank seen in the background on the opposite corner of the Barker Butts, Moseley Avenue junction. Its style, however, was very similar to Lloyds bank which did survive on the east side.