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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 Holly Bush

photo
NAME HOLLY BUSH
ADDRESS 5 COOK STREET
ALTERNATIVE ADDRESSES COOK STREET SQUARE
This evergreen shrub with its bright red berries, is now associated with Christmas decoration. Previously it was used by the Romans during the Saturnalia, the period of riotous celbrations extending over seven days, often ending in drunken debauchery. The Saturnalia was also celebrated in December.

This pub is thought to date from before 1800 and by 1808 a Friendly Society was meeting here. In 1854 an inquest was held at the Holly Bush into the death of Eliza Webb, who ws murdered by her husband, Nelson Webb, at the Black Dog in Cook Street. He then turned his pistol on himself. Perhaps the goriest part was when the bodies of Nelson and Eliza were laid on the floor before the inquest in an upper room of the Holly Bush. I get the impression that inquests at that time were usually conducted in the presence of the dead bodies.

In 1926 the pub was sold by Charringtons and it closed in 1940. Must have been war damage.
Known Licensees are;
1822 - 1835 Joseph Rigg
1841 Thomas Sheffield
1845 H. G. F. Sheffield
1850 - 1851 Elizabeth Sheffield
1861 - 1868 Thomas H. Beecroft
1869 - 1871 Thomas Wilkinson
1874 A. Dowse
1879 Thomas Dowse
1881 Thomas Bateman
1886 G. Morgan
1890 - 1891 Thomas Bateman
1893 - 1896 E. Simpson
1903 - 1909 Isaac Greaves
1911 - 1912 Ernest Williams
1912 - 1922 Robert R. Harris
1924 F. Bedder
1926 - 1936 Mrs E. F. Bedder
1937 - 1938 John Gray
1939 - 1940 A. C. Ross

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Dict PN This evergreen shrub, with its bright red berries, is now associated with Christmas decorations. Previously it was used by the Romans during the Saturnalia, the period of riotous celebartions extending over seven days, often ending in debauchery. The Saturnalia was also celebrated in December.

c1800 COC P43 Mentioned in Napoleonic Poem

1808 JA32 PA56/108/31-32 The society ( friendly ? ) now at the Holly Bush ( Cook Street ) which used to meet at the Crane ( Bishop Street )

1834 JA32 PA56/108/38-39 The Crane society ( friendly ? ) which still meets at the Holly Bush, Cook Street

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map - corner of Pig Market / Cook Street

1854 FDSDC P93 Inquest at the Holly Bush into the death of Eliza Webb, murdered by her husband Nelson Webb at the Black Dog Inn, Silver Street ( Cook Street )

P54 I was in the street with my cart.near the Holly Bush and heard the report of firearms. Someone ( Hopkins ) came up to me and said ' For God's sake go into the Black Dog, the landlord has shot two persons.

P96 Perhaps the goriest moment of the day was when the actual bodies of Nelson and Eliza Webb were laid on the floor before the inquest in an upper room of the Holly Bush.

5.11.1869 JA63 CH&O Transfer of license from Thomas Beecroft to Thomas Wilkinson

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P13 HOLLY BUSH, Cook Street Alehouse
Owner : Joseph Rigg, Well Street, Coventry
later Thomas Watson, Whitacre Heath, Nr Coleshill
later Charrington & Co, Burton
Licensee : Thomas Dowse
4.11.1880 TOL to Thomas Bateman
19.1.1882 TOL to Thomas Dowse
6.11.1884 TOL to Thomas Bateman
2.7.1885 TOL to George Morgan
2.8.1888 TOL to Thomas Bateman
22.5.1890 TOL to Enoch Simpson
15.4.1897 TOL to John Martin Pratt
27.10.1898 TOL to Edwin Morgan

1887 CPC P54 Cov Times Inn signs

2.1926 News 26 Sold by Charringtons

18.11.1940 Closed

LICENSEES

1822/23 Pigot J. Rigg

1828/29 Pigot Joseph Rigg

1835 Pigot Joseph Rigg

1841 Census Thomas Sheffield 25 yo b Wks m Elizabeth, 25 & 3 others.

1841 Pigot Thomas Sheffield [ Cook Street Square

1845 Kelly H. G. F. Sheffield

1850 JA CS Elizabeth Sheffield

1851 Census Elizabeth Sheffield 37 yo b Coventry & 1 d.

1861 Census Thomas H. Beecroft 51 yo b Castle Bytham & 2 servants,

1868 Buchanan T. H. Beecroft [ 1 housekeeper

1869 JA63 CH&O Thomas Beecroft

1869 JA63 CH&O Thomas Wilkinson

1871 Census Thomas Wilkinson 42 yo innkeeper b Foleshil m Ann, 41 & 3d, 1874 C&B A. Dowse [ 1s
1878 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Dowse
1879 Stevens Thomas Dowse
1880 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Dowse
1880 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Bateman
1881 C&B T. Bateman
1882 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Bateman
1882 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Dowse
1884 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Dowse
1884 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Bateman
1885 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Bateman
1885 LJ Vol 1 P13 George Morgan
1886 C&B G. Morgan
1888 LJ Vol 1 P13 George Morgan
1888 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Bateman
1890/91 R&G Thomas Bateman
1890 LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Bateman
1890 LJ Vol 1 P13 Enoch Simpson
1893 Reporter E. Simpson

1894 R&G E. Simpson

1896 R&G E. Simpson
1897 LJ Vol 1 P13 Enoch Simpson
1897 LJ Vol 1 P13 John Martin Pratt
1898 LJ Vol 1 P13 John Martin Pratt
1898 LJ Vol 1 P13 Edwin Morgan
1903 R&G Isaac Greaves

1905 R&G Isaac Greaves

1909 R&G Isaac Greaves

1911/12 Spennell Ernest Williams Cox Street

1912/13 Spennell R. R. Harris

1919 Spennell Robert R. Harris

1921/22 Spennell Robert R. Harris

1924 P. James F. Bedder

1926/27 P. James Mrs E. F. Bedder

1929 P. James Mrs E. F. Bedder

1931/32 P. James Mrs E. F. Bedder

1933/34 P. James Mrs E. F. Bedder

1935/36 P. James Mrs E. F. Bedder

1937/38 P. James John Gray

1939/40 P. James A. C. Ross

OWNERS

1878 LJ Vol 1 P13 Joseph Rigg, Well Street, Coventry
later LJ Vol 1 P13 Thomas Watson, Whitacre Heath, Nr Coleshill
later LJ Vol 1 P13 Charrington & Co, Burton
1926 News 26 Charringtons

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