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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 Meriden Tavern

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NAME MERIDEN TAVERN
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Later ALHAMBRA
ADDRESS 64 NEW BUILDINGS
ALTERNATIVE ADDRESSES PRIORY LANE
1746
MERIDEN TAVERN
1966
=
1966
ALHAMBRA
2000

This pub gets its name from the village a few miles west of Coventry. Meriden is said to be the centre of England.

New Buildings seems an odd name for such a central street with old properties on it. In fact, it crosses the site of the Benedictine Abbey of Coventry, which was founded in 1033 by Leofric and Godiva. In 1095 this became Coventry's first cathedral. However, in 1539, the abbey was dissolved and the building demolished. Coventry ceased to be the seat of a bishop and the land remained derelict. During and after the Civil War, a refugee camp was established on the site; makeshift buildings were erected in 1643 and remained there until 1671. Only after then were permanent buildings erected, so the street is now called New Buildings because it only dates back to the 1670's!

The Meriden Tavern was said by Jimmy Taylor in his City Pubs article of 7.4.1961 ( see below ) to date from 1729, but we have been unable to verify this. The earliest date we have been able to find is 1746. Until redevelopement, the Meriden Tavern stood on the corner of New Buildings and Priory Lane. It was leased by Phillips and Marriott between 1891 and 1905 and remained a home-brew pub until 1920. It later came into the hands of Ansells and in 1961 it was said that the beams were sagging with age and the cellars were cut out of the old red sandstone bedrock. Originally it was entered by way of two stone steps that lead into a tap room and adjoining smoke room.

In 1746 the monthly meetings of the Society of Gentlemen of Improvement of Learning and Natural Knowlege were held at the Meriden Tavern. In 1756 six soldiers were billeted here.

In 1891 the pub was leased by Phillips and Marriott for 14 years for £24 per annum rent from M. D. Reeve and Mrs A. Lee. In 1905 the lease lapsed. The pub remained a home brewer until 1920. The digging of the 1930's foundations of the Alhambra pub (it was the Meriden Tavern at that date) brought pottery dating from anything between 1470 and 1900 to the surface.

In 1966 it was renamed the ALHAMBRA though I have no idea why this name was adopted.

Known Licensees are;
1822 - 1835 Thomas Church
1841 - 1851 John Clarke
1861 - 1868 Samuel Freeman
1868 Joseph Jelley
1871 John Stanley, publican & plasterer
1874 - 1881 Joseph Reeve
1886 Mrs. Anne Reeve
1890 - 1891 H. D. Reeve and Mrs, Anne Lee
1894 William Thomas Chandler
1896 - 1903 Frederick Edward Cowin
1905 Henry Herbert Shufflebotham
1909 Mrs, A. Cooke
1911 - 1913 David Cooke
1919 Edward T. Horton
1921 - 1924 J. Warden
1926 - 1934 F. H. Makepiece
1935 - 1940 S. R. Hall
1960 - 1962 O. S. Perry
1960's Dennis McCallum see also Canal Tavern, Court House Inn
1960's Eric Stout (see above)
Brewers
to 1877 Joseph Reeve
1877 - 1887 Mrs, Anne Reeve
1887 - 1895 William Thomas Chandler
1895 - 1902 Frederick Edward Cowin
1902 - 1906 Henry Reeve
1906 - 1920 William Sagar

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Click here to see Research

Name A local place name. Meriden is said to be the centre of England.

St Mary P112 The digging of the 1930's foundations of the Alhambra pub (?) has brought pottery dating from anything between 1470 to around 1900 up to these later surfaces.

News 2-22 History of New Buildings and the pub.

Lost Pubs 10 New Buildings seems an odd name for such a central street with old properties on it. In fact, it crosses the site of the Benedictine Abbey of Coventry, which was founded in 1033 by Leofric and Godiva. In 1095 this became Coventry's first cathedral. However, in 1539, the abbey was dissolved and the building demolished. Coventry ceased to be the seat of a bishop and the land remained derelict. During and after the Civil War, a refugee camp was established on the site; makeshift buildings were erected in 1643 and remained there until 1671. Only after then were permanent buildings erected, so the street is now called New Buildings because it only dates back to the 1670's!

The Alhambra was said by Jimmy Taylor in his City Pubs article of 7.4.1961 to date from 1729 when it was called the MERIDEN TAVERN, but we have been unable to verify this. The earliest date we have been able to find is 1746 Until redevelopement, the Meriden Tavern stood on the corner of New Buildings and Priory Lane. It was leased by Phillips and Marriott between 1891 and 1905 and remained a home-brew pub until 1920. It later came into the hands of Ansells and in 1961 it was said that the beams were sagging with age and the cellars were cut out of the old red sandstone bedrock. Originally it was entered by way of two stone steps that lead into a tap room and adjoining smoke room.

1746 JA10 Wilson Monthly meeting of the Society of Gentlemen of Improvement of Learning and Natural Knowledge held at the Meriden Tavern.

1756 Alderman Hewitt 6 soldiers billeted

9.11.1842 Poole P105 Boundary of Bishop Street Ward. The term Priory Lane, here made use of, means the thoroughfare leading from the bottom of Hill Top as far as the Meriden Tavern, and where Priory Lane is spoke of as ' the point where it joins Mill Lane ', what is meant is, the point where the road from the Priory Yard and Hill Top joins the Meriden Tavern to Chauntry Place: the Mill and Mill Dam as existing when the Boundary Act was passed, being now discontinued, and the river culverted over.

1851 Source 49 Boad of Health Map

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P38 MERIDEN TAVERN, New Buildings Alehouse
Owner : Joseph Reeve, representtive Henry Dalton Reeve
later Annie Reeve
Licensee Joseph Reeve
9.8.1883 TOL to Annie Reeve & Henry Dalton Reeve
30.6.1887 TOL to Annie Reeve ( wife of James Reeve )
16.4.1891 TOL to William Thomas Chandler
27.2.1896 TOL to Emma Chandler
11.6.1896 TOL to Frederick Edward Cowin
27.1.1876 fined 20/- & costs Sunday trading

1887 COC Cov Times Inn signs

25.3.1891 P&M PR Leased by Phillips & Marriott for 14 years for £ 14 rent and £ 26 GLO (?) from M. D. Reeve and Mrs A. Lee, rent to J. P. Hughes, Hertford Street, Coventry. Clause in lease ' not to assign to common brewer '.

25.3.1905 P&M PR Phillips & Marriott's lease lapses

to 1920 Friedrich Home brewery

7.4.1961 Citypubs 37

c1966 Became ALHAMBRA

LICENSEES

1822/23 Pigot T. Church

1828/29 Pigot T. Church

1835 Pigot Thomas Church

1841 Pigot John Clarke

1845 JA27 Kelly John Clarke

1850 CS John Clarke

1851 Census John Clarke 50 yo b Coventry m Mary Ann, 50 & 1s

1861 Census Samuel Freeman 40 yo b Kenilworth m Eliza, 35 & 1d,

1868 Buchanan S. Freeman [ 1 neice, 1 servant

23.11.1868 Lantern Joseph Jelley

1871 Census John Stanley 30 yo publican & plasterer b Coventry m Matilda, 26

1874 C&B J. Reeve [ & 1 servant
1878 LJ Vol 1 P38 Joseph Reeve
1879 Stevens Joseph Reeve

1881 C&B J. Reeve
1883 LJ Vol 1 P38 Joseph Reeve
1883 LJ Vol 1 P38 Annie Reeve & Henry Dalton Reeve
1886 C&B A. Reeve
1887 LJ Vol 1 P38 Annie Reeve & Henry Dalton Reeve
1887 LJ Vol 1 P38 Annie Reeve ( wife of James Reeve )
1890/91 R&G H. D. Reeve & Ann Lee
1891 LJ Vol 1 P38 Annie Reeve ( wife of James Reeve )
1891 LJ Vol 1 P38 William Thomas Chandler
1894 R&G W. T. Chandler
1896 LJ Vol 1 P38 William Thomas Chandler
1896 LJ Vol 1 P38 Emma Chandler
1896 LJ Vol 1 P38 Frederick Edward Cowin
1896 R&G Frederick E. Cowin
1898 LJ Vol 1 P38 Frederick Edward Cowin
17.8.1899 P&M PR F. E. Cowin

1903 R&G Frederick E. Cowin

2.1.1905 P&M PR Henry Herbert Shufflebotham

1905 R&G Henry H. Shufflebotham

1909 R&G Mrs A. Cooke

1911/12 Spennell David Cooke

1912/13 Spennell D. Cooke

1919 Spennell Edward T. Horton

1921/22 Spennell J. Warden

1924 P. James J. Warden

1926/27 P. James F. H. Makepiece

1929 P. James F. H. Makepiece

1931/32 P. James F. H. Makepiece

1933/34 P. James F. H. Makepiece

1935/36 P. James S. R. Hall

1937/38 P. James S. R. Hall

1939/40 P. James S. R. Hall

1955/56 Barrett Not listed in street section

1957 Barrett Licensee not named
1960's Citypubs 37 Dennis McCallum

1960's Citypubs 37 Eric Stout

1960 Barrett O. S. Perry

1961 Barrett O. S. Perry

1962 Barrett O. S. Perry

1966 Barrett

BREWERS

1877 Friedrich Joseph Reeve

1877 Friedrich Mrs Anne Reeve

1887 Friedrich Mrs Anne Reeve

1887 Friedrich William Thomas Chandler

1895 Friedrich William Thomas Chandler

1895 Friedrich Frederick Edward Cowin

1902 Friedrich Frederick Edward Cowin

1902 Friedrich Henry Reeve

1906 Friedrich Henry Reeve

1906 Friedrich William Sagar

1914 WB P20 William Sagar

1920 Friedrich William Sagar

OWNERS


1878 LJ Vol 1 P37 Joseph Reeve, representtive Henry Dalton Reeve
1891 P&M PR M. D. Reeve and Mrs A. Lee

later LJ Vol 1 P37 Annie Reeve
1898 LJ Vol 1 P37 Annie Reeve

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