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Hales Street

Camera No. 34

Very little of this next scene now remains as you stand under the new Whittle Arch and look up Hales Street towards Corporation Street. It has seen many changes throughout the 20th century; two Hippodromes and an Opera House have come and gone on the right hand side of the street, and the left side, in 2021, is dominated by the towering Millennium View student accommodation block. It is perhaps no longer surprising to us in Coventry that one of the only surviving buildings in this ever changing scene is also the oldest.... but only by around 600 years!
The place to which I refer, of course, is the Old Grammar School, across the road at the farthest end of the street.

Here, in a break from the usual, is a triple "now and then... and then again" set of photos, to better demonstrate the changes that have taken place: The years pictured are 1912, 1938 and 2021.

Hales St 1912
My thanks to David Fry for permission to use this image.

The first scene shows Hales Street before Trinity Street was built to join up with it. The opening that the three young lads are passing on the left is New Buildings.

Hales St 1938

By 1938, the new Hippodrome and Trinity Street were both only a year or so old. Trinity Street looks set to stay a while longer but the Art Deco style Hippodrome is sadly no longer with us. The New Hippodrome opened on the 1st November 1937 and was renamed The Coventry Theatre in 1955, then in 1979 became The Apollo. Its proud run as the "Showplace of the Midlands" ended on the 6th June 1985 with a near capacity audience watching Barbara Dickson.
An archive of the shows performed there can be viewed on this page.

Hales St 2021

Sadly, from there on the building saw out its final few years as a bingo hall, before demolition in 2002 to make way for Millennium Place. It's a shame that the people of Coventry didn't give better support for this fine building, which seated an audience of over 2000, boasted one of the biggest stages in England, and could easily host the most ambitious performance. I've even performed there myself, as part of the Coventry Scout Gang Show in 1977 (Silver Jubilee year) and 1978. Acts that I've watched there include Tommy Cooper, Mike Yarwood and Basil Brush in the early 70s, and many Coventrians still have fond memories of the place.

In early 1901 this street would've more easily been travelled by boat, and was even reported in the London Daily Graphic at the time.

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