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. Tile Hill Lane c1939 (Richards)
Another picture taken at the same time as those on the opposite page shows the Standard Picture House not long after it was first opened. The interesting thing is that one of the compilers of this book, could have been inside at the time, as his father’s Pontiac car reg no. BOX 667 is shown on the left. Although a hairdressers and other shops exist today, only the Standard Stores in the small part jutting out to the right of the Cinema existed then. Barclays Bank on the opposite corner would not be built for another twenty years. The island complete with ornate lamp standard and “Keep Left” bollards is worthy of note.
2. Fir Tree Avenue c1931 (Teesee)
Lime Tree Estate was constructed in the late 1920’s not only to house the increasing population, but to accommodate people whose houses in the Well Street area were demolished for the building of Corporation Street. Fir Tree Avenue, seen here from the intersection with Beech Tree Avenue looking towards Elm Tree Avenue, is still “Unadopted” at this time, the road still being poorly surfaced with no kerbs yet existing.
3. Tile Hill c1923 (G&Co)
It is hard to believe that this is a view looking towards the cross roads from Station Road with Banner Lane disappearing into the distance. The only clue is the building with the three gables seen on the left which today is the general store and off-licence. Further along on the same side is the “Bell Inn”. Where the small pathway is on the immediate left Rex Close is now situated, with modern houses on the opposite side of Station Road, on the site of the Tile Hill Mission Room.
4. Tile Hill Cottage c1923 (G&Co)
Visitors to the Midland Sports Centre for the Disabled at Tile Hill would not realise that this cottage still exists today on the opposite side to the railway station. When the picture was taken it was in open countryside. Today the tidy garden is now overgrown and the cottage can hardly be seen from Cromwell Lane, which was named after this cottage. The year on the postcard is incorrect; ‘Cromwell Cottage 1653″ being indicated over the door! The large pine tree on the right still exists, but double gates have now replaced the single wooden gate and path leading to the front door.