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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 Old Ball Hotel

Coventry-The Old Ball Hotel

The obvious nature of this symbol has made it a popular sign since the fifteenth century.

King Richard II visited Coventry in 1385. Two of his favourites, Thomas Mowbray of Caludon, Duke of Norfolk, and Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, had made various accusations against each other including treason and murder. The matter was referred to trial by combat to the death. The King himself chose the meeting place - open ground on Gosford Green - and tradition has it that he pitched the royal camp with a huge attendant army on rising ground overlooking the site where the Old Ball now stands. The combat never took place because King Richard halted it and banished both combatants: Mowbray for life; Henry for 10 years. The latter was back long before that to overthrow Richard and become King Henry IV.

The rising ground on which the Old Ball stands was originally known as Stoke Knob. It is said that the name Ball Hill was derived from the Ball Inn, which became the Old Ball Hotel in the early years of the twentieth century. On 23rd. February 1802 the pub was advertised to let.

In 1907 the license of the Turks Head in Warwick Lane was given up in consideration of the Justice's permission for alterations to the Old Ball.

A Coventry Evening Telegraph article from 16th September 1960

1835 Francis Howes (Ball)
1841 Joseph Duggins
1845 W. Johnson
1850 David Sidwell
1863 - 1866 Joseph Hall
1868 - 1892 William Chattaway & coal retailer
1903 R. W. Hammerton
1905 - 1909 Robert Herbert
1911 - 1913 Arthur Charles 'Nat' Robinson & footballer (28/2/1878 to 15/5/1929) (see clipping and Wikipedia entry)
1919 Walter Gawthorp
1921 - 1924 P. Carew
1926 - 1927 A. Cave
1933 - 1936 A. S. Remington
1937 - 1940 H. S. Remington
1955 - 1957 Frank W. Bird
1960 Wilfred Finn (see above, previously also at the Five Ways Inn, Harnall Lane from 1957 - 58 and at the Binley Hotel from 1958 - 60)
1960 - 1962 Walter Bromley (also at the Biggin Hall, Binley Road from 1963 - 66)
1982 Greg Rogan

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