Wyken & Caludon

As an area remembered for its coalmines as much as anything else, it seems difficult to decry the building over of Wyken as it has swept the colliery away as well. Furthermore two of the most important buildings of the thirty or so standing in 1900 still survive – the Church and Manor Farm on Henley Road. Yet much of Wyken was open farmland without a nucleated centre. That based around the church disappeared centuries ago, most housing was centred about the various farms. It was not an area chosen by fashionable Coventry society to build their large houses. However, the scenic aspects it did have were to be rapidly eroded during this century. Initially the odd terrace of colliery housing was built along the Ansty Road followed by the Stoke Heath Estate, created by the Council during the First World War (It was later transferred to Stoke parish). At the outbreak of the Second World War suburbia was within a quarter of a mile of the church and had reached the gates of Caludon Castle.

Shops Ansty Road Wyken Coventry Photographic History Suburb 19571. The Shops, Ansty Road c1957 (Landscape)

Where shops are concerned every picture is soon made historic as small businesses quickly rise and fall. Of Nicks greengrocers, H. Whitehead high class butchers, Robinsons Chemists, and W. Mitchell newsagent none remain with their original owners. The rest of the scene has changed in more subtle ways; the road is now cluttered with markings; there is far more street furniture than one small bus stop sign, a telephone box and a telegraph pole. Today, the trees are grown up making the view more pleasant but the traffic creates more of a visual and aural ugliness.

Kelvin Avenue Wyken Coventry Photographic History Suburb 19352. Kelvin Avenue c1937 (Teesee)

To the east of Sewall Highway, near its junction with Ansty Road, Kelvin Avenue had only recently been built. In fact it was not yet complete. The trees for a start which would justify its name seem to have been missed, in fact there does not even seem room for them. The pre-war railings are still there as are one lamp post on each side of the road. The end of the street and Olive Avenue beyond are still countryside – where trees can be seen!

3. Browning Road c 1935 (Teesee)  

4. Hermitage Road c 1935 (Teesee)

Bright and fresh as all new estates look, there is a certain attractiveness in the clean uniformity of the architects’ original plans, heightened by the use of black and white photography. Today the addition of cars, different styles of decoration and various other more substantial alterations make this more of a messy scene, especially in winter. But the compensation comes in the spring when the gardens that have been carefully tended in some cases for more than half a century bring a different brightness to the scene. The view of Browning Road is looking up from its junction with Longfellow Road. That of Hermitage Road is looking east from the crossing with Mellodew Road. It is interesting to note that in the latter picture the garden walls on the right of the road are brick but on the left and early version of reconstituted stone has been used. As the original walls only survive in patches in might be assumed that such stone always has its enemies!