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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 Recruiting Sergeant

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NAME RECRUITING SERGEANT
ALTERNATIVE NAMES BEERHOUSE
ADDRESS 14 SPON STREET
ALTERNATIVE ADDRESSES 24 or 15 SPON STREET

The Recruiting Sergeant was the man who would tour the country, setting up an office at a tavern, to induce local men to join the army. The men bound themselves by accepting the King's shilling.

There was a barracks in Coventry. The earliest record of the pub that John Ashby has found is 1808 and it closed in 1929, whilst Coventry Barracks opened in Smithford Street in 1793 and closed in 1922. In 1835 the Recruiting Sergeant was recorded as being a BEERHOUSE.

The building in fact is much older than this, dating to the mid-to-late 15th century. It was one of the higher quality houses in Spon Street, originally being a four-bay open hall house with a two-bay open hall in the centre and jettied bays on either side. It was restored in 1977 and 1985. The building was split in two with the pub being No14 and No 15 housing a succession of retail businesses. It was not until 1919 that the two premises became one and the pub occupied the whole building. The remarkable thing is that from the first recorded licensee in 1841 until the closure of the pub in 1929 it was kept by just two families - the Smiths and the Athersuchs. Note the prevalence of female licensees amongst the Smiths - four of them.

All of this time, the pub also brewed. The licensee was not always the brewer. I can remember in the early 1970's the only sign that this had been a pub was an exposed barge-board that proclaimed ' Fine Home-Brewed Ales'. It has in recent years gained the name 'Tudor House' and following restoration now bears little resemblance to the Recruiting Sergeant of all those years ago.

Known Licensees are;
1841 Edmond Smith
1850 - 1868 Mary Smith
1868 Sarah Smith
1871 Harriett Smith
1874 - 1886 William Smith
1890 - 1896 Mrs. Mary Smith
1903 - 1905 John Smith
1909 - 1913 Sidney G. Athersuch
1919 - 1924 John Athersuch
1926 - 1932 Mrs. Sarah Jane Athersuch
Brewers;
to 1887 William Smith
1887 - 1895 Mrs. Mary Smith
1895 - 1902 John Smith
1902 - 1906 Harry Smith
1906 - 1914 Sidney G. Athersuch
1914 - 1923 John Athersuch
1923 - 1926 Mrs. Sarah Jane Athersuch
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Dict PN The man who would tour the country, setting up an office at a tavern, and induce local men to join the ranks of the army. The men bound themselves by accepting the King's shilling. There was a barracks nearby in Coventry.

See Lost Pubs 23

SSTS Listed Grade II
Mid to late 15th century ? restored 1977 and 1985
Architects : Coventry City Council
Contractors : Sapcote & Sons
The building was formerly the ' Recruiting Sergeant ' public hoiuse and its present rear wing was No 1 Court 5. One of the higher quality houses in the street, it was originally a four-bay hall house with a two-bay open hall in the centre and single floorde and jettied bays to either side. The hall space extended into the outer bays at ground level, leaving the upper floors protruding as a jetty. There is a ' clasped purlin ' roof, but note that the supporting struts curve between the tie-beam and the principal rafters and not between tie- beam and collar. The open hall bays have fine cusped wind-braces in the roof. The two projecting windows on the first floor, known as oriels, are reconstructions, based on evidence found during reconstruction.
Photo c1900 Fine hone brewed ales.Licensee J. Smith

1808 Spon P 9-10 A pub, the Recruiting Sergeant, was for many years No14 and the earliest record I have been able to establish is 1808 .......... between 1808 and c1909, No 15 housed anumber of businesses including a tailor, jeweller, hairdresser and umbrella maker ......... in 1850 Mary Smith, who was born c1816, was listed as the landlady of the Recruiting Sergeant but between 1881 and 1886 it was in William Smiths name. By 1890 Mrs Smith was in charge again. John Smith held the license briefly in 1905 and by 1907 Harry Smith has replaced him. Two years later the Athersuch family took over and held the pub for at least twenty years. By 1919 the tow buildings had become one; the Recruiting Sergeant eventually closed in the 1930's

P11 Photo
Also a photo of Mary Smith

BOC P45 Tudor House ( Nos 14-15, latter half of the fifteenth century )

Bears littleresemblance today to photographs of the Recruiting Sergeant pub of a century ago. It was restored in 1977 and 1985 and contains a recessed hall in the centre with two flanked jettied and gabled cross-wings. the curved and cisped ( scalloped ) wind braces in the roof of the present shop are well worth seeing and indicate that this was one of the highest quality buildings in the medaeval street.

P46 Photo

1835 See BEERHOUSE, Spon Street

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P41 RECRUITING SERGEANT, Spon Street Alehouse
Owner : Mrs Ann Hassall, Thomas Street
later William Smith
Licensee : William Smith
31.10.1889 TOL to Mary Smith
20.5.1897 TOL to John Smith

1887 COC Cov Times Inn signs

c1900 SSTS Photo
Fine home brewed ales. Licensee J. Smith

1910 Cov AIW Photo 33

to 1926 Friedrich Home brewery

c1928 Closed

LICENSEES

1828/29 Pigot Jno Smith
1841 Census Edmond Smith 30 yo innkeeper b Wks m Elizabeth, 25 & 5 others

1841 Pigot Mary Smith

1845 Kelly Mrs M. Smith

1850 CS Mary Smith
1851 Census Sarah Smith 42 yo b Coventry & 2 sisters, 1 neice
1861 Census Sarah Smith 55 yo b Coventry unmarried & 1 neice, 1 sister

1868 Buchanan Mary Smith

23.11.1868 Lantern Sarah Smith
1871 Census Harriett Smith 26 yo b Coventry unmarried & 2 neices, 1 neice's son

1874 C&B William Smith
1878 LJ Vol 1 P41 William Smith
1879 Stevens William Smith

1881 C&B William Smith

1886 C&B William Smith
1889 LJ Vol 1 P41 William Smith
1889 LJ Vol 1 P41 Mary Smith
1890/91 R&G Mrs Smith

1893 Reporter Mrs Mary Smith

1894 R&G Mrs M. Smith

1896 R&G Mrs M. Smith
1897 LJ Vol 1 P41 Mary Smith
1897 LJ Vol 1 P41 John Smith
1898 LJ Vol 1 P41 John Smith
1903 R&G John Smith

1905 R&G John Smith

1909 R&G S. G. Athersuch

1911/12 Spennell S. G. Athersuch

1912/13 Spennell S. G. Athersuch

1919/20 Spennell John Athersuch

1921/22 Spennell John Athersuch

1924 Spennell John Athersuch

1926/27 P. James Mrs S. A. Athersuch

1929 P. James Mrs S. A. Athersuch

1931/32 P. James Licensee not named
14&15 = Abbey Road Building Society
Hubert F. Allen, Auctioneer & Estate Agent
Allen, Prentice, Weaver & Co, Accountants
Allen & Smith, Insurance Brokers

BREWERS

1887 Friedrich William Smith

1887 Friedrich Mrs Mary Smith

1895 Friedrich Mrs Mary Smith

1895 Friedrich John Smith

1902 Friedrich John Smith

1902 Friedrich Harry Smith

1906 Friedrich Harry Smith

1906 Friedrich Sidney G. Athersuch

1914 Friedrich Sidney G. Athersuch
1914 WB Sidney Athersuch

1914 Friedrich John Athersuch
1923 WB John Athersuch

1923 Friedrich John Athersuch

1923 Friedrich Mrs Sarah Jane Athersuch
1926 WB Mrs Sarah Athersuch

1926 Friedrich Mrs Sarah Jane Athersuch

OWNERS

1878 LJ Vol 1 P41 Mrs Ann Hassall, Thomas Street
later LJ Vol 1 P41 William Smith
1898 LJ Vol 1 P41 William Smith

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