e begin this section with an outing - in a slightly more relaxed manner than we're used to today! This wonderful photograph was sent to me by Simon Shaw, and belongs to June Gibson of Wyken, Coventry, who has several photos that were from her granddad, William Kent. Most of the photographs appear to be from the 1900 to 1920 period.
Maybe you can recognise a relative in this photo? Or maybe the pub or its location? Perhaps one of the horses??? Whatever you might know, please contact me so we can share it with the world.
Well, we appear to have an early success with this old photo! Huge thanks go to Kim Pateman, who wrote to say; "I think the pub in the picture is the old Hand and Heart in Far Gosford Street before it was extensively rebuilt."
I certainly have to agree with Kim about this. When we compare the above photo with the one on the left, which appears, as Kim pointed out to me, in John Ashby's great book "The Character of Coventry", we can see that the window design, the recessed panels below the upper bay windows and the trapezoid lintel above the doorway, all perfectly match.
So, thanks go to Kim for working out the location so quickly.
We also have a further contribution from Luciano Giampaglia....
"In your first photo, look at the windows on the left building - there's only one set of buildings that had windows like that in the entirety of the city`s history. The old silk weavers. They were specially made to allow as much light as possible into the premises.
"Whilst I can't narrow it down more than that, I am confident that this is indeed somewhere on Far Gosford Street. I hope this helps."
Now, I wonder if anyone can tell us anything about the people in the photograph?
Indeed we do have more.... the plot thickens! Jacqui Adams has emailed me with some more wonderful old pictures, and we have a possible match for the driver of the above charabanc.
Her husband's great grandfather was Richard Adams, known as Dick 'Crack' Adams, who I display here on the right to see if he might be cracking the whip in the first photo above. He ran a charabanc service known as 'Pride of the Midlands'.
Another possible link between these photographs comes in the form of the chap standing at the front of the horses in the last photo, below. On the left is a close-up of this man, and he bears a certain possible resemblance to the chap in the same position outside the Hand and Heart in the first photo on this page. Both have a fob-watch - are they the same person?
Brian Stote, who successfully located the village pub on the "Leamington Ales" page, also adds weight to the argument for the connection between the two photographs....
"One further link between the two key pictures might be the horses themselves. One of them is clearly a grey in both pictures and seems to be slightly smaller in both cases than its companion. We cannot see enough of the right rear foot of the darker horse paired with it in the lower picture to match it exactly with the one outside the Hand and Heart, but it is certainly possible. Carrier companies would probably have worked horses in pairs because they were used to each other, and it strengthens the possibility that these two photographs were taken within a very short time of each other and of the same personnel."
Keith West has added another family connection to this most charming "mystery". Keith's mother, Brenda West, has been able to confirm that Dick 'Crack' Adams was her Great Uncle, and although she doesn't actually recall meeting him, she does remember returning to Longford after a family holiday in West Bromwich by pony and trap - driven by a man who may have been 'Crack'. Keith adds this to the story....
"She and my late father, Leonard West, met Crack's grand-daughter many years later at a reception in Coventry. Crack Adams' sister became Mary Jane Embray when she married Thomas Embray. It is likely my grandparents - Edward and Hannah (nee Embray) Ferguson - moved to Longford from West Bromwich because of the Adams family connection. Edward worked at the Longford brickworks, rising to become charge hand and devised a means of equalising the temperatures inside the kilns by having holes drilled around the bases of the kilns, with plugs which he opened or closed as he judged necessary. He called the holes 'blowers', which saved the company what would be millions of pounds at today's values, preventing burned (brittle) or under-fired bricks. Edward and Nance were among the founder members of the Longford Ward Labour party and voted against the adoption of Dick Crossman as a post war Coventry parliamentary candidate; his view being that a privileged academic could not understand the experience of the working man; how ironic."
M. Treadgold has written to say that not only does this pub appear to be the Hand & Heart, but her great uncle and aunt, Charles James Bromfield Bailey and his wife Mary (Hanson), were at one time landlord and landlady.
Ian Gentles has a wonderful anecdote, which gives us a little more behind the legend of Dick "Crack" Adams....
When I was first married in 1970, we rented a small terraced house in St Michael's Road, Stoke. The owner's father was a coal man who had a horse and cart. He had no whip to spur the horse on, so he used to shout "crack" to mimic the sound of a whip. Apparently they used to call him "Crack Adams" and he lived in Nuneaton. The house had no inside toilet, and only a zinc bathtub hanging on the wall in the outhouse. It was cold and damp, but was a happy house. I live in Lincolnshire now, but still have fond memories of St Michael's Road.
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