Walsgrave

How much can be said to be left of the community spirit that was once so apparent in this village? What was the village is now decidedly part of the larger community of Coventry, but it was not always so. In 1927 when proposals were being put forward for Walsgrave to be incorporated within the city boundary, it was stated that there was “no community of interest between it and the city”. Walsgrave was a sizeable village with a self contained identity based on its two main sources of employment, mining and agriculture. However, the closure of the village pit and the expansion of housing soon ended such isolation and the road development schemes of the 1960s ripped out what heart there was left in the village centre. Though there is little romance in having a coal mine on your doorstep, the centre of the village did present an aspect that once rivalled that of Allesley. Though there were not many individual buildings of great historical or architectural importance, together they made up a village community that reflected many centuries of its 1000 year old life. It is a loss that should be condemned every bit as much as if Allesley were bulldozed tomorrow – a village also on a busy road but one fortunate enough to be saved by a by-pass and a conservation order.

1. Walsgrave Church c1935 (Unknown)

Before the hospital, before the traffic lights, before the dual carriageway Walsgrave village is in the period of transition during the inter-war years from the quaint village depicted in the first book to the busy thoroughfare that exists today. The road has already been widened in this picture from the situation at the beginning of the century to cope with the increasing traffic that the booming Coventry was attracting. The need for a SOmph limit is already evident. The Red Lion, just out of the picture to the right, has a notice up for its car park, a clear ‘sign’ of the times! The church of St Mary the Virgin and the buildings just beyond it flanking Hall Lane remain largely unaltered, the gravestones in the churchyard were landscaped away in the mid 1950’s.

Walsgrave upon Sowe Coventry Photographic history Sowe Common2. Sowe Common c1920 (Unknown)

The open countryside beckons and the pony and trap could easily be on route to Barnacle or Hawkesbury. Not today, however, with the M6 cutting off this end of Woodway Lane, turning it into a cul de sac. The Jolly Colliers just survived beyond the last house on the right and the houses on the left are relatively unaltered. But the wide verge that represents all that is left of the common has been cut through by a number of driveways and Ringwood Highway has been built through the land in the immediate foreground.