title artwork
Here is what we think is the only comprehensive record of pubs and beerhouses within the Coventry city boundaries going back as far as available records allow. This is an ongoing project so contributions, corrections or additions to this archive, especially anecdotes, photos and media are most welcome. Feel free to contact us for a pint and a chat anytime.

The Black Swan

Black Swan Terace

Black Swan Terrace. At the beginning of the 20th century this was The Black Swan pub which closed in 1903. The building was split into two units and the corner shop's last incarnation before closure was as "Moira's Wet Fish" so named from the shop sign which read "Fruit & Veg MOIRA'S Wet Fish". The green tiles from this period have been retained although the underlying building is medieval.

Source: "Spon End & Spon Street" by John Ashby (2003)

NAME BLACK SWAN
ADDRESS 123 SPON STREET

THIS PREMISES HAS BEEN KNOWN BY DIFFERENT NAMES DURING ITS HISTORY

See all available records HERE

FROM TO KNOWN AS
c1791 c1903 BLACK SWAN / SWAN INN
1850 BEERHOUSE, Spon Street
The Black Swan was one of the many pubs that used to stand in Upper Spon Street, all of them now gone. The Black Swan was a mythical beast that first appeared in the works of the Roman satyrist, Juvenal, who was quite ignorant of the fact that such a beast actually existed in the then undiscovered parts of the world. He jokingly referred to a 'black swan' as an example of a rara avis, a 'rare bird'. The Black Swan appeared as a pub sign in the sixteenth century, when it was meant to be a signal of the phenomenon or prodigy of the pub or landlord. Later references may well be to Australia since a black swan is the emblem of Western Australia

The Black Swan was the end property in a row of medaeval houses that was once intended to be removed to Lower Spon Street. By the 1990's the attitude to the moving of buildings had changed; it was now thought that a building should not be divorced from its archaeological and physical context. A Buildings Preservation Trust was set up in the mid 1990's to restore the buildings in situ.

Black Swan terrace was built as six cottages in 1454 and rented out to tenants by Coventry Priory, who were the owners until the dissolution in 1536. The terrace then passed to the ownership of the Mercer's Company in the late 16th century and from 1678 the onership of the houses passed to a series of individuals. On the 2nd May 1791 the Black Swan was used for an auction and this is the first definite reference to the pub. In 1823 Isaac Abel Kevitt bequeathed the Black Swan to his daughter, Ann Lees.

Ann Lees and her husband sold the pub to Edward Phillips in 1825 and he passed it on to his eldest son, also Edward, on his death in 1855/6. By 1878 it was in the hands of James Eadie's brewery from Burton on Trent. The Black Swan closed c1903. In 1909 the Glover Brothers, Hubert and Henry, were using stables to the rear of the building as a small factory to build cyclecars. They also started to build an aeroplane in order to compete for the £10,000 prize for the first flight over the English Channel. They were probably at a disadvantage starting from Coventry and were beaten by some French bloke called Monsieur Bleriot!

Now the restoration of the terrace has been completed according to current conservation principles by the Spon End Buildings Preservation Trust. These are rather compact medaeval buildings with the hall at the front and an interior jettied chamber occupying part of the hall space at the rear.

See the BEERHOUSE, Spon Street, Wall

Known Licensees at the BLACK SWAN are;
1778 Ann Pickering
1822 - 1823 W. Saunders
1828 - 1829 Ann Bradshaw
1835 - 1841 William Wall
1851 Elizabeth Wall ( widow )
1861 Frederick Wall
1868 John Timms
1868 Josiah Morton
1871 William Mason
1874 - 1879 Charles Jones
1881 Josiah Hart
1886 - 1903 S. Fox

Known Licensees at the BEERHOUSE are;
1850 Sarah Wall

Owners
1778 Ann Pickering
to 1823 Isaac Abel Kevitt
1823 - 1825 Ann Lees & husband
1825 - 1855/6 Edward (I) Phillips
1855/6 Edward (II) Phillips
? George Septimus Phillips
1878 James Eadie Brewery
photo


+ -
Click here to see Research

Dict PN The Roman satirist Juvenal jokingly referred to a' black swan ' as an example of a rara avis, a ' rare bird '. He did not know that such birds existed in Australia. Black swan appeared as a pub tavern sign in the sixteenth century, at which time it may be meant to be a signal what a rara avis, a remarkable person, the landlord was. Later reference may well be to Australia, since a black swan is the emblem of Western Australia.

1778 Source 42 JCM Ann Pickering, owner of the premises, was landlady of the Black

Swan pub.

2.5.1791 JA16 JCM Black Swan, Spon Street, used for auctions

c1800 COC P40 Mentioned in Napoleonic poem

1831 SEF P61 Frequented by Mary Higgins and Edward Clarke, poisoners

Photo ( later ) - Licensee S. Fox

c1837 CR 101/8/731 Will of Edward II Phillips left the Black Swan to his son George Septimus Phillips. Tenant W. Wall

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map

1859 Spon P12 An inquest was held at the Swan Inn, Spon Street

25.8.1863 JA141 Transfer of license from Charles Warrner to Jemima Coleman

13.5.1868 JA137 Transfer of license from John Powney to Walter Edwards

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P25 BLACK SWAN, Spon Street Alehouse
Owner : James Eadie, Burton on Trent
Licensee : Charles Jones
5.6.1880 TOL to Josiah Hart
18.1.1885 TOL to Samuel Fox

c1903 Closed

1909 Spon P51 By 1909 they ( Hubert & Henry Glover ) opened a small factory in what were the stables at the rear of the Black Swan pub in Barras Lane.

1904 - 1911 OS Map

News 2-21 14th century timber framed building being restored bySpon End Building Preservation Trust. On the corner of Spon Street and Barras Lane. Photo. Stables to rear were used by Glover bros in 1909/10 to build their first production car.

Lost Pub 12

Spon P75 Repeats my ' Lost Pubs ' article.

In the last few years important work has been done by the Spon End Building Preservation Trust in obtaining a lease and then launching a £ 1.2 million project to renovate Nos 119 - 123 - Swan Terrace. Coventry Priory records show that the Priory owned the buildings in 1410. They are described as a block made up of a tenament and four cottages belonging to the Treasurer's Office in the Priory and rented.

Spon P76 Photo

BOC P47 In Upper Spon Street ( Nos 119 - 124 ) at the corner with Barras Lane, west of the Ring Road, is a row of medaeval houses which was originally intended to be removed to Spon Street. By 1990 the attitude on the moving of buildings had changed; it is now thought that a building should not be divorced from its archaeological and physical context. It is also accepted that timber - framed buildings should no longer be restored to their original form but have the alterations of later periods also preserved in their own right, A Buildings Preserrvation Trust was et up in the mid 1990s to restore the buildings in situ. At the time of writing, due to its efforts, the restoration of two of the six houses in the terrace have been completed according to current conservation principles. these are rather compact medaeval examples with the hall at the front and an interior ' jettied ' chamber occupying part of the hall space at the rear.

News 2-68 Black Swan Terrace was built as six cottages in 1454 and rented out to tenants by Coventry Priory who were the owners until the dissolution of the Priory in 1536.

The Tarrace passed into the ownership of the Mercer's Company in the late 16th century, then from 1678 the houses passed to a series of individuals. In 1823 Isaac Abel Kevitt bequeathed the Black Swan to his daughter Ann Lees and this is the first definite identification of the Black Swan as a pub, although it is found in a poem of some fifteen years earlier.

Ann Lees and her husband sold it to Edward Phillips in 1825 and he passed it on to his eldest son, also Edward, on his death in 1855/56. In 1878 it was in the hands of James Eadie's brewery from Burton on Trent.

In the 1841 Census the publican was William Wall, who lived there with his wife, Sarh. By the 1851 Census Sarah, aged 52, was a widower and running the pub herself.

LICENSEES

1778 Sourde 42 JCM Ann Pickering

1822/23 Pigot W. Saunders

1828/29 Pigot Ann Bradshaw

1835 Pigot William Wall

c1837 CR 101/8/731 W. Wall

1841 Census William Wall 40 yo b Wks & 8 others

1841 Pigot William Wall

1851 Census Elizabeth Wall

1861 Census Frederick Wall 26 yo b Coventry m Emma, 25 & 1s, 1d
1863 JA141 Charles Warrner

1863 JA141 Jemima Coleman

1868 Buchanan J. Timms

23.11.1868 Lantern John Timms
1868 JA137 John Powney

1868 JA137 Walter Edwards

1871 Census William Mason 26 yo b Charlton m Elizabeth, 22 & 1d, 1 sister,

1874 C&B C. Jones [ 2 lodgers
1878 LJ Vol 1 P25 Charles Jones
1879 Stevens Charles Jones
1878 LJ Vol 1 P25 Charles Jones
1880 LJ Vol 1 P25 Josiah Hart
1881 C&B Josiah Hart
1885 LJ Vol 1 P25 Josiah Hart
1885 LJ Vol 1 P25 Samuel Fox
1886 C&B S. Fox

1890/91 R&G S. Fox

1893 Reporter S. Fox

1894 R&G S. Fox

1896 R&G S. Fox

1903 R&G S. Fox

OWNERS

1778 Sourde 42 JCM Ann Pickering

to 1823 News 2-68 Isaac Abel Kenitt

1823 - 1825 News 2-68 Ann Lees

1825 - 1855/6 News 2-68 Edward I Phillips

1855/6 News 2-68 Edward II Phillips

? CR 101/8/731 George Septimus Phillips.
1878 LJ Vol 1 P25 James Eadie, Burton on Trent
1878 News 2-68 James Eadie's Brewery, Burton on Trent

1898 LJ Vol 1 P25 James Eadie, Burton on Trent

Website Content © 2016 Real Ale Rambles. All rights reserved.
Credits and Copyrights for photos and images have been given where possible. We apologise for any omissions.

HTML5 Powered with CSS3 / Styling, Device Access, Graphics, 3D & Effects, Multimedia, Performance & Integration, and Semantics logo

Website Design © 2016 Go Graphix.