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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 Lord Nelson

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Smithford Street 1900. Classic old turn-of-the-century view of Smithford Street looking westwards from the junction with High Street, Hertford Street and Broadgate. The Kings Head Inn is on the left. Photo courtesy of Rob Orland

NAME LORD NELSON
ADDRESS 56 SMITHFORD STREET
THIS PREMISES HAS BEEN KNOWN BY DIFFERENT NAMES DURING ITS HISTORY FROM TO KNOWN AS
c1800 1868 LORD NELSON, NELSON
1879 1887 LADY GODIVA
1881 1891 GODIVA VAULTS
1910 1928 EMPIRE VAULTS
1845 1925 GODIVA, GODIVA INN
Horatio Nelson (1785 - 1805), 1st Viscount Nelson was probably England's greatest hero. All in all there are more pubs named for him than any other person. He was born at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, and died on board HMS VIctory at Trafalgar. His naval career began in 1770, and by the age of twenty one he was a post-captain. He came to notice in the 1790's in the war with France. His destruction of the French fleet at Aboukir (1798) ended Napoleon's plan of conquest in the East. In 1801 he defeated the Danes at Copenhagen, but his greatest vistory was at Trafalgar, where he destroyed the combined French and Spanish fleets.

The premises is thought to date from c1800 and Lord Nelson visited Coventry in 1802 staying at the KINGS HEAD HOTEL.

In 1801 JCM records the name, The LORD NELSON. By 1822 it was the LORD NELSON, but according to an advertisement in the CH&O in 1846 it was referred to as the NELSON TAVERN and by 1868 the name had changed to the LADY GODIVA. Between 1871 and 1879 it was the GODIVA VAULTS and then from 1881 until 1891 simply the GODIVA.

From 1892 it was leased by Phillips and Marriott for 21 years at £95 per annum, from J. Laxon, 2 Bath Terrace, Holyhead Road, Coventry. In 1903 Phillips and Marriott record that the cellar was taken away and they were allowed £5 per annum off their rent for this.

Finally in 1912, it became the EMPIRE VAULTS. It looks likely that the pub took this name from the Empire Palace of Varieties which was on the opposite side of Smithford Street. In 1928 the license was removed to the MAUDSLEY HOTEL. The ROBIN HOOD, Cox Street, was closed in consideration of this license removal.

Licensees (to be confirmed)
1822 - 1823 J. Stowe
1828 - 1829 William Johnson
1835 - 1841 Samuel Pearson
1845 Mrs Elizabeth Pearson
1850 - 1851 John Lydiatt
1861 William Kirkpatrick
1868 Joseph Barker, Bond Street
1868 - 1871 Abraham Jennings
1879 Charles Alexander, Smithford Street
1881 B. Lazenby (G. Lazenby)
1886 George Small
1890 - 1891 W. Taylor
1893 J. Padgett
1894 H. Bowkett
1896 William J. Jarrard
1896 - 1902 William 'Smiler' Raven
1902 - 1903 Harry Parkes
1903 C. H. Parkes
1904 - 1905 Thomas George Porter
1906 - 1908 James Betts
1908 Thomas Stone
1909 - 1912 Thomas Phipps
1912 - 1922 Alfred Hurst
1922 - 1924 John Leeson
1926 - 1929 W. E. Morley

Owners
1892 - 1913 J. Laxon, 2 Bath Terrace, Holyhead Road, Coventry
1913 Phillips and Marriotts
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Dict PN Horatio Nelson ( 1758 - 1805 ), 1st Viscount Nelson, probably England's greatest hero. All in all, in a variety of ways, there are more pubs named for him, directly or indirectly, than any other person. He was born at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, and died on board the Victory at Trafalgar.

His naval career began in 1770, and by the age of twenty one was a post-captain. He came to real notice in the 1790's in the war with France. His destruction of the French fleet at Aboukir ( 1798 ) ended Napoleon I's plan of conquest in the East. In 1801 he defeated the Danes at Copenhagen, but his greatest victory was at Trafalgar, where he destroyed the combined French and Spanish fleets. Before the battle he had hoisted the famous signal ' England expects that every man will do his duty '.

c1800 COC P40 Mentioned in Napoleonic Poem as ' NELSON '

1802 Poole P408 Nelson visited the city and stayed at the Kings Head - see entry for & COVHG P82&85 Kings Head

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map

c1854 - 79 The name LADY GODIVA use for a while

JA25 CCA/2/3/161 See GODIVA INN, otherwise EMPIRE VAULTS

28.8.1878 LJ P3 Owner : James Walker, Holyhead Road, Coventry
later Phillips & Marriott Ltd
Licensee : Charles Alexander
9.11.1880 TOL to George Frederick Lazenby
13.4.1883 TOL to George Small
28.6.1888 TOL to William Taylor
31.7.1890 TOL to Joseph Baker
1.12.1890 TOL to John Padgett
21.6.1893 TOL to Thomas Henry Brick
26.10.1895 TOL to George Rush
12.4.1894 TOL to Harry Bowkett
27.1.1896 TOL to William John Jarrard
10.12.1896 TOL to William Raven
24.10.1873 fined 20/- & costs. Harbouring prostitutes

24.6.1892 P&M PR Leased by Phillips & Marriott for 21 years for £ 95 p.a. from

J. Laxon, 2 Bath Terrace, Holyhead Road, Coventry.

29.9.1903 P&M PR Cellar taken away - allowance £ 5 p.a.

1911/12 Spennell See EMPIRE VAULTS

from c28.8.1912 EMPIRE VAULTS

1912/13 Spennell See EMPIRE VAULTS

5.1913 P&M PR Property purchasd with adjoining shop by Phillips & Marriott for

£ 6,000

24.8.1801 JA34 JCM ADMIRAL NELSON

1822 JA34 NELSON

1845 JA34 LORD NELSON

1879 JA34 LADY GODIVA

1891 JA34 LORD NELSON

1912 JA34 EMPIRE VAULTS

LICENSEES

1822/23 Pigot J. Stowe

1828/29 Pigot Wm Johnson Nelson

1835 Pigot Samuel Pearson "

1841 Pigot Samuel Pearson "

1841 Census Sam Pearson 35 yo b Wks m Eliza,35

1845 Kelly Mrs E. Pearson Lord Nelson

1845 JA27 Kelly Elizabeth Pearson

1850 CS John Lydiatt

1851 Census John Lydiall 43 yo b Combrook m Ann, 45 & 1s

1861 Census William Kirkpatrick 60 yo innkeeper b Balidare m Mary, 62 &

1868 Buchanan A. Jennings [ 1 servant

23.11.1868 Lantern Abraham Jennings

1871 Census Abraham Jennings 49 yo b Ware m Harriett, 45 & 2s, 4 lodgers

1878 LJ P3 Charles Alexander
1879 Stevens Charles Alexander - Lady Godiva
1880 LJ P3 Charles Alexander
1880 LJ P3 George Frederick Lazenby
1881 C&B B. Lazenby - Godiva Vaults
1883 LJ P3 George Frederick Lazenby
1883 LJ P3 George Small
1886 C&B George Small - Godiva Vaults
1888 LJ P3 George Small
1888 LJ P3 William Taylor
1890/91 R&G W. Taylor - Godiva Vaults
1890 LJ Vol1 P3 William Taylor
1890 LJ Vol1 P3 Joseph Baker
1890 LJ Vol1 P3 Joseph Baker
1890 LJ Vol1 P3 John Padgett


FROM 1893 THIS IS THE GODIVA IN DIRECTORIES.
1893 LJ Vol1 P3 John Padgett
1893 LJ Vol1 P3 Thomas Henry Brick
1895 LJ Vol1 P3 Thomas Henry Brick
1895 LJ Vol1 P3 George Rush
1894 LJ Vol1 P3 George Rush
1894 LJ Vol1 P3 Harry Bowkett
1896 LJ Vol1 P3 Harry Bowkett
1896 LJ Vol1 P3 William John Jarrard
1896 LJ Vol1 P3 William John Jarrard
1896 LJ Vol1 P3 William Raven
1898 LJ Vol1 P3 William Raven

OWNERS

28.8.1878 LJ P3 Owner : James Walker, Holyhead Road, Coventry
24.6.1892 P&M PR J. Laxon, 2 Bath Terrace, Holyhead Road, Coventry.

later LJ P3 Phillips & Marriott Ltd

5.1913 P&M PR Phillips & Marriott

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