Styvechale

Styvechale, Canley and Tile Hill were amongst the last Coventry suburbs to be fully developed in the mid twentieth century. They cover most of the southern boundary of the city. Until the 1930s they had no significant residential or industrial incursions, excepting that of the Standard Works built at Canley during the First World War. The reasons for their long reprieve and the subsequent shape of their development, was a combination of the conservatism of the landed gentry and the foresight of the city council.

Styvechale, was in the hands of the Gregory family since the sixteenth century and remained a rural parish on the edge of the city centre until the start of the 1920s when the War Memorial Park was laid out. Improved access to all three areas was affected with the construction of the Coventry by-pass in the mid to late 1930s, which provided the necessary stimulus to various building schemes. Styvechall hamlet was preserved thanks to a gift to the city by the owners in 1932. Fortunately, Styvechale Common, Canley Ford, the avenue on Kenilworth Road, and various woodland in the Tile Hill area, were also preserved by the purchase of 200 acres of land from Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh by the City Council. Knowing that planning regulations were very loose in those days this was the only way that the Council felt they could control development and preserve significant rural features. The foresight of the council has certainly been to the overall benefit of the ratepayers over the years.

1. Leamington Road c1928 (Unknown)

This postcard shows the road to Leamington at the point where today Styvechall Croft meets the Leamington Road. The signpost indicates \l/z miles to Canley, the lane meeting up with Coat of Arms Bridge Road further to the left. Coventry (Broadgate) is indicated IV’4 miles to the right with Stoneleigh and Leamington 2a/2 and ll/2 miles respectively further along the Leamington Road. Armorial Road would soon be built between Styvechall Manor House seen to the left and the Kenilworth Railway line embankment seen in the background. The Manor House has since been demolished.

2. Leamington Road c1938 (Richards)

This view shows the uncompleted end of the Leamington Road, which with the Stonebridge Highway behind the cameraman would not be fully completed until after the War ended. The cyclists are travelling towards the City Centre, with the Baginton Road crossing just beyond the group of trees where a small island seems to have been constructed. To the right the other side of the Baginton Road is where Styvechall Hall stood before this area was developed. The first house on the left is No. 136.

3. Welsh Bill Protest, 1913 (Waterman)

It is interesting to see the issues that moved the Coventrian of eighty years ago; certainly matters of church and state concerned these marchers – all 2,000 of them. They were protesting about the separation of the Church of Wales from being an official part of the state. Not very important in reality but of great significance in principle. The march, made up of the congregations of many parish churches in Coventry, converged on Styvechall Hall and met in the grounds by the permission of the owner the Hon. Alexander Gregory. The family had lived there for many generations and provided the land from which Memorial Park was created. The family and the Hall are long since gone. It stood a little south of St James’s Church, before the Leamington Road cut through its grounds to join up with the newly constructed Stonebridge Highway.

4. Styvechall Common from Green Lane c1930 (Teesee)

Although this bungalow appears to be isolated, No2 Green Lane originally known as Bide-a-Wee still exists, being on the corner of Green Lane and Woodside Avenue North. At the time it can be seen that Coat of Arms Bridge Road, which passes across the view, beyond the telegraph pole, is still quite narrow. The footpath seen in the distance took pedestrians across Styvechall Common from Green Lane to the Kenilworth Road.

5. Green Lane c1931 (Teesee)

Before the Kenpas Highway was built Green Lane was an important route from the Kenilworth to Leamington Roads, the road being cut in two when the Highway was opened. The top view is looking towards where the Highway will shortly cross in the distance, with Gregory Avenue on the left just past the tree and the car. All of the trees in the picture have now gone, but on the right one still remains near the entrance into Oak Tree Avenue. The lower picture will bring back happy memories to many people on the south west-side of the city in a similar way that Gosford Pool does for those on the east.

6. Kenpas Swimming Pool c1933 (Unknown)

The entrance into Kenpas Swimming Pool was off Green Lane on the other side of Kenpas Highway to the above picture. A small close of bungalows known as Poolside Gardens, have been built on the site. A certain amount of artistic licence has been used in this advertising postcard as none of the houses in Bathway Road or the Kenpas Highway are shown.

7. Moat Avenue c1931 (Teesee)

8. Wainbody Avenue c1931 (Teesee)

Both of these recently constructed avenues show houses, that have that uniformity and freshness. Although some drop kerbs are visible and some double gateways are to be seen, at that time very few householders would have even owned a car let alone a garage. Most of the gates have now gone, the fronts being open with cars parked in front of the houses. However, the large telegraph poles have also now gone and the trees planted soon after these pictures were taken are now fully mature. The top view is taken looking towards Kenpas Highway with Medland Avenue to the right. In the bottom view it would seem that during the War some houses on the right were destroyed in the bombing. Today two pairs of semi-detached houses Nos. 72-78 are more modern than the remainder, making it appear that two pairs were demolished. The view is looking away from the Kenpas Highway.

9. Kenpas Highway c1932 (Unknown)

Originally Kenpas Road, when this section of the Coventry By-pass was constructed in the early 1930’s it became Kenpas Highway. This view taken from the corner of Wainbody Avenue shows the row of shops with the corner of Woodside Avenue just being out of the picture in the distance. In the foreground is Beaumonts Kenpas Supply Stores followed by the confectioner La Maison Superieure, W.A. Bales Chemist, Archie Barnacle Butcher, J.A. Fanshawe Fruiterer then J.H. Fuller Ironmonger in that order. At the far end was L.R. Hodson Newsagents and Green Lane Post Office.

10. Woodside Avenue c1931 (Teesee)

This postcard like the two opposite were part of a set issued soon after the Green Lane Post Office opened. The post office is seen on the end of the row of shops above, being run at that time by Mrs. I.M. Harris. The view is looking towards the Kenpas Highway, just around the bend to the left being the Green Lane Methodist Church. Today the view is very similar but mature trees now adorn the footpaths. Just behind the cameraman to his left where Regency Drive is today was Spinney Path leading to the Kenilworth Road.