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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 Sun Dial


This is a view from the top end of Lord Street looking down towards the Nursery and then open fields beyond: The children are probably from the Sunday School which is the large building on the left.

This beautiful building still survives but is in a much neglected state. Someone should put it to good use - make it a microbrewery pub.


Until the nineteenth century Coventry was almost completely contained within the City Walls. The first suburb was Hillfields, which started with King William Street in 1828 and then grew towards toi city. Meanwhile, Chapelfields had followed in 1846 as a watchmaker's 'New Town'.

At the same time, as a response to the growing power of the common brewers and the threat from gin drinking, in 1830 the Duke of Wellington pushed through parliament the Beer Act which established the right of any householder to sell beer upon the purchase of a 2 guinea license fron the Excise. All the illicit alehouses came out of hiding and traded legally and every craftsman's shop obtained a license and sold ale as a refreshment for waiting customers. Within the first year of the Act, 24,000 new licenses were taken out - Liverpool witnessed fifty new beershops opening every day for weeks. In Coventry the number of beer sellers rose from 112 in 1823 to 194 in 1835, 190 in 1850 and 222 in 1868.

Both the new suburbs became heavily pubbed as the inhabitants took advantage of the Act, whilst Earlsdon, developed from 1852, was more in the sway of the Methodist and temperance movemnents and for much of its existance has only had three public houses.

Whilst Chapelfields is still heavily pubbed with five pubs and two clubs, it is not always realised that it has actually lost two pubs over the years. One of these was the Sun Dial in Lord Street. The first mention I have seen is the 1861 Census. The name is an obvious reference to the occupation of the majority of its customers.

The Sun Dial would have been an ordinary house with a license, probably only for the sale of beer. It was four doors up from the Nursery and would have looked much as the Nursery did before it was extended into the next door property in the 1970's. I remember it. At some time Marstons bought the Sun Dial.

Although pubs were being snapped up at a rate in the latter nineteenth century, at first glance the Sun Dial would not seem a very attractive proposition being such a small property. However, it would be the license that Marstons were interested in. By this time the authorities were aware of the mistake they had made with the Beer Act; a reaction had set in and they had begun to compulsorily close pubs.

In Coventry the magistrates operated a system whereby a license for the construction of a new, approved, pub was only granted if two old licenses were surrendered. Hence the need for breweries to buy any pub, no matter how small and unpromising. In 1907 the license for the Sun Dial was surrendered, along with the Blue Pig in Gosford Street, in consideration of a new license being granted for the Albany Hotel in Albany Road. So the Sun Dial had been purchased and sacrificed for the much grander Albany Hotel and reverted to being just a terraced house.

1861 - 1871 Thomas Deeming
1874 - 1879 Reuben Deeming
1881 G. Budd
1886 - 1893 John Malin
1894 - 1905 J. Bates
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NAME A referance to the watch trade in a watch making area.

1861 Census Charles Francis watchmaker - no mention of pub - not open yet

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P13 SUN DIAL, Lord Street Alehouse
Owner : John Johnson, Chapel Fields, Coventry
later Jane Clarke, Willford & Co
Licensee : Reuben Deeming
19.3.1880 TOL to George Budd
14.6.1886 TOL to John Malin
26.7.1894 TOL to James Bates
3.3.1873 fined 20/- & costs open after hours

1887 COC P51 Cov Times Inn signs

1907 Police Closed ( with the Blue Pig in Gosford Street ) in consideration of a new license for the Albany Hotel, Albany Road

1910 JA16 Pub closed. Licensee Alfred Widlake



1868 Buchanan T. Deeming

23.11.1868 Lantern Thomas Deeming

1871 Census Thomas Deeming 55 yo publican & watch maker b Coventry m Ann, 36 1874 C&B R. Deeming [ & 1s, 5d
1878 LJ Vol 1 P13 Reuben Deeming
1879 Stevens Reuben Deeming
1880 LJ Vol 1 P13 Reuben Deeming
1880 LJ Vol 1 P13 George Budd
1881 C&B G. Budd
1886 LJ Vol 1 P13 George Budd
1886 LJ Vol 1 P13 John Malin
1886 C&B John Malin

1890-91 R&G John Malin

1893 Reporter J. Malin
1894 LJ Vol 1 P13 John Malin
1894 LJ Vol 1 P13 James Bates
1894 R&G J. Bates

1896 R&G J. Bates
1898 LJ Vol 1 P13 James Bates
1903 R&G J. Bates

1905 R&G J. Bates

1910 JA16 Alfred Widlake


1878 LJ Vol 1 P13 John Johnson, Chapel Fields, Coventry
later LJ Vol 1 P13 Jane Clarke, Willford & Co

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