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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 Ivy Cottage

An ivy bush was often considered to be the favourite haunt of an owl. The plant was also dedicated to Bacchus, in the beleif that it could cure drunkeness.

The first houses erected in Hillfields were in King William Street in 1828, so the Ivy Cottage probably dated from the very origins of Hillfields. Prior to this date Primrose Hill House is described as being about half a mile from Coventry and the Hillfields area could only be reached by two roads - Swan Lane and Harnall Lane. The direct approach was by footpath from New Buildings under the arch ot the old city gates In Hales Street and past Swanswell Pool.

The pub first appears in directories in 1841 as the beerhouse, King William Street, with Thomas Gill as licensee. The Gills retained the license for the next forty years. In 1844 the Ivy Cottage was used for auctions.

In 1926 Charringtons sold the pub, when the annual rent was 80/-. This must have been when Phipps brewery acquired it and it remained with their successors since that time.

In the developement plan of 1951 the City Council designated Hillfields a Comprehensive Developement Area. There were at this date 25 pubs and 3 licenses in suspension in the area. They estimated that 3 pubs were needed to serve the area at a rate of 1400 persons per pub. 23 licenses were transferred to other areas It seems that the three retained pubs were the Queens Head (later the Queens), Ivy Cottage and Vauxhall. In 1982 the Ivy Cottage was described as a 'typical working class local', that the owners had 'obviously spent a lot of money and effort on the place' and that the public bar had 'a pleasanty relaxed atmosphere'.

However, in 1992 the pub was closed by the magistrates and in 1995 it was demolished and replaced with a car park for the next door casino.
Known Licensees are;
1845 - 1850 Thomas Gill
1861 Sarah Gill
1868 - 1881 William Gill butcher & licensed victualler
1886 Mark Eld
1890 - 1891 Mrs Eld
1893 J. C. Cashmore
1894 - 1896 George Kaye
1903 - 1913 Henry Summers
1921 - 1924 A. H. Smith
1926 - 1929 W. Goss
1933 - 1934 A. H. Essam
1935 - 1936 W. A. Cotton
1937 - 1938 F. H. Cook
1939 - 1940 C. Jones
c1960 Charlie Tebbutt (see also Rose and Woodbine, North Street, Wyken Pippin, Ansty Road, Swanswell Tavern, Swanswell Street)
1982 John & Ann Calvey
to 1926 Charrington

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Dict PN An ivy bush was often considered to be the favourite haunt of an owl. The plant was also dedicated to Bacchus, in the belief that it could cure drunkeness.

See Lost Pubs No 3

Source 9 Expansion of Coventry

In an advertisement printed in 1820 Primrose Hill House is described as being about half a mile from Coventry. Hillfields district could only be penetrated by two roads - by Swan Lane and Harnall Lane, the direct approach being fromNew Buildings by a footpath going under the arch of the old city gate in Hales Street and by the Swanswell Pool.

In 1848 Sir Thomas Whites Trustees disposedof a large quantity of land for building purposes, and the construction of Hales Street, White Street, Norton Street, Bird Street and Jesson Street, named after former benefactors to the city followed. The Hillfields district was further extended by the sale in 1850 of the ground upon which stand Leigh Street, Albert Street, Aylesford Street, Bradford Street and other thoroughfares in the neighbourhood. About the same time Queen Street, Bath Street, Swanswell Street and Spencer Street were set out. The Spittlemoor district comprising Raglan Street, Lower Ford Street and Hood Street was opened up in 1855. Less than 16 years ago much of the land between City Mill and Charles Street consisted of fields. These have disappeared and the extension of the district has been carried to the verge of Stoke parish.

1828 Source 9 The first house erected in Hillfields, or as it was called, New Town, is situate in King William Street,a row of houses adjoining the field in Harnall Lane having been reared a short time before.

1841 See BEERHOUSE, King William Street

3.5.1844 JA16 CS Ivy Cottage, King William Street, used for auctions

1841 - 1861 Source 9 A majority of the 2000 houses built in Coventry between 1841 and 1861 were built in Hillfields.

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map

24.6.1859 JA122 CS Transfer of license to Sarah Gill, widow of late landlord

28.8.1878 LJ Vol1 P17 IVY COTTAGE, King William Street Alehouse
Owner : Thomas Allsop Gill, Warwick
later Mark Makepeace, Coventry
Licensee : William Gill
6.7.1882 TOL to Mark Eld
23.5.1889 TOL to Eliza Eld
3.3.1892 TOL to John Checkland
1.3.1894 TOL to George Kaye
7.6.1879 fined 10/- & costs for keeping house open

1887 COC P54 Cov Times Inn signs

1.1926 News 86 Annual rent £ 80, Sod by Charringtons

DYKC P48 Photo


Source 9 There are, within the comprehensive development area, 25 public houses and a further 3 licenses in suspense. Three of theses public houses will remain in the area but not neccessarily on their existing sites. It is estimated that these 3 local public houses, together with two others which, despite being ' central area ' public houses, will also serve the comprehensive development area, will provide adequate facilities in the future ( This is at the rate of say, 1400 persons per license ). 23 licenses should, therefore, be transferred to other areas.

General Description

The bulk of the residential development was carried out before 1875.....

There are 14 dwellings, or 2.5% of the total number of dwellings properly classified as ' unfit '. On the whole the resedential streets present a drab and depressing appearance.

The area suffered considerable war damage and 13 acres of land, scattered fairly evenly throughout the district, were cleared. This constitutes 8.2% of the total area. The heaviest war damage was around Albert Street

The Programme.

Erection of houses on bombed sites within the first 5 years. 6 sites of 9.82 acres selected for 198 dwelling units plus slipper baths in East Street. Proposed school site to be developed in the first instance as a children's playground. 10 year programme demolition of 750 dwellings and provision of 450 dwelling units on cleared sites.

1982 WRAG 3 Typical working class local

1982 Pubscrawl 34 Obviously spent aa lot of money and effort on the place. Since the alterations, pool tables and video machines have a large area to themselves at the back of the pub. It leaves the public bar free for traditional pub games in a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere.

19.11.1992 JA16 CET Closed by magistrates

1995 To be demolished to make a car park for Annabelle's casino.


1845 Kelly T.Gill

1850 Lascelles Thomas Gill

1859 JA122 CS Sarah Gill ( widow of Thomas )

1861 Census Sarah Gill 65 yo innkeeper b Coventry widow & 1s, 1d

1868 Buchanan William Gill

1871 Census William Gill 44 yo butcher & licensed victualler b Coventry

1874 C&B W. Gill [ m Maria, 38 & 3s, 2d, 1 sister-in-law, 1 visitor
1878 LJ Vol1 P17 William Gill
1879 Stevens William Gill

1881 C&B William Gill
1882 LJ Vol1 P17 William Gill
1882 LJ Vol1 P17 Mark Eld
1886 C&B Mark Eld
1889 LJ Vol1 P17 Mark Eld
1889 LJ Vol1 P17 Eliza Eld
1890/91 R&G Mrs Eld
1892 LJ Vol1 P17 Eliza Eld
1892 LJ Vol1 P17 John Checkland
1893 Reporter J. C. Ashmore
1894 LJ Vol1 P17 John Checkland
1894 LJ Vol1 P17 George Kaye
1894 R&G George Kaye

1896 R&G George Kaye
1898 LJ Vol1 P17 George Kaye
1903 R&G Henry Summers

1905 R&G Henry Summers

1909 R&G Henry Summers

1911/12 Spennell Henry Summers

1912/13 Spennell Henry Summers

1921/2 Spennell A. H. Smith

1924 P. James A. H. Smith

1926/27 P. James W. Goss

2.1926 News 86 Mrs S. Croft

1929 P. James W. Goss

1931/32 P. James Licensee not named

1933/34 P. James A. H. Essam

1935/36 P. James W. A. Cotton

1937/38 P. James F. H. Cook

1939/40 P. James C. Jones

1953 LTSD

c1960 Citypubs 33 Charlie Tebbutt

1982 Pubscrawl 34 John & Ann Calvey


1878 LJ Vol1 P17 Thomas Allsop Gill, Warwick
later LJ Vol1 P17 Mark Makepeace, Coventry
1898 LJ Vol1 P17 Mark Makepeace, Coventry
1926 News 86 Charringtons

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