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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 Craven Arms

In 1844 an inquest was held at the Craven Arms. In 1879 this pub was sold by the Barnett family at the Red Lion in Walsgrave. The buyer was Ratliff's brewery, who held it until 1899 . They were taken over by Phillips and Marriott in that year and the pub, with a paddock, valued at £750.

In the early 1900's the pub was run by the Chaplin family. At that time pubs were open all day and Sowe Wakes was held in the pub's paddock, now the car park. The Craven Arms stood next to the Red Horse on Woodway Lane. The Red Horse was demolished on the grounds of redundancy. They had stood next to each other for many years but with the demise of the local mining industry and restrictions on the numbers of pubs, one had to go. The Craven Arms was rebuilt in 1925 so it seemed appropriate that the Red Horse should be the one to go. It was also appropriate that William Jones, licensee in the latter part of the 19th century, should also have been a coal dealer as well as hay dealer and publican.

Fred Horsley was the licensee once but I have been unable to find him in directories. He had a reputation for being a stickler for discipline. If you so much as held it (a pint) up to the light he'd take it off you, return your money and tell you to leave. There was also the fire. 'Not until Fred was ready was the fire kindled, until then the coal and sticks lay stacked upon the fire grate.....Larry recalls being chased from the pub by Fred, wielding a bucket of water, all because Larry had thrown a match onto the fire grate'.

In the twenties the old living quarters were pulled down and underneath the floorboards they discovered an old and very deep well, still full of water. The occupants had to live in the scullery. The well had been used for brewing and it was blocked up at that time.

In 1981 Mitchells and Butlers applied to Coventry City Council Plans' sub committee to have the pub demolished and replaced with a larger building. After a campaign by locals to retain the pub, the sub committee concluded that the pub should stay but granted permission for extensions which went ahead in 1982. In that year it was described as 'a friendly local. The pub has a cellar which dates back to the 17th century and has recently been saved from demolition'. A bagatelle table was installed at this time which must have been one of the last such tables in Coventry.

Coventry Telegraph clipping from 1963

Known Licensees are;
1845 - 1851 Richard Barnett
1861 - 1880 William Jones, coal dealer and hay dealer
1888 George Ludgate
1892 Charles De Ville
1900 - 1910 William Henry Chaplin
1910 - 1913 Joseph Pugh
1913 - 1922 Thomas S. Kemp
1922 Florence Clara Kemp
1924 - 1955 John (Jack) Harwood
1956 - 1963 F.G. Horsley (see above)
1981 Neil Roberts
1862-1864 Joseph Barnett
1864-1879 Hannah Barnett
1879-1899 Ratliffs Brewery
from 1899 Phillips & Marriott, the Midland Brewery
1982 Mitchells & Butler
Map from 1887

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