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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 Windmill Inn

Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper article from 9th September 1960

1886 1970 WINDMILL INN

This name probably marks the site of a former windmill. The pub was close to Spon St Bridge which was built in 1767/68

In 1756 four soldiers were billeted here. In 1798 the premises were occupied by William Ratcliff. In 1881 and 1886 see the WINDMILL VAULTS.

Between 1830 and 1837 the licensee was John 'Fatty' Adrian, a renowned local prize fighter. He gained his nickname not from his physique but because he once won a suckling pig for scaling a high pole that was covered in goose grease. Naturally, after completing the feat he was covered in goose grease so after that he was always known as 'Fatty'.

On 14th November 1830 a fight took place between Fatty Adrian of the Windmill and a Mr. Betteridge for £20 a side in a field behind the Engine pub in Longford. The police interfered so the fight was reconvened in Fillongley five months later. Adrian lost and this is thought to have been the last bare-knuckle bout in Coventry, although the banned sport is rumoured to have been a regular fixture in secret rooms at The Albany Club in Earlsdon during the 1950's and 60's.

John Adrian also kept the Leopard Inn in Smithford Street and the Pitts Head in Gosford Street at different times.

The pub was known as the Wrexham for a while in the nineteenth century because it sold Walker's Wrexham Ales.

Known Licensees are;
1822 - 1823 J. Simmons
1830 - 1837 John 'Fatty' Adrian
1841 William Alliban (See also the Beerhouse, Sherborne Street)
1850 - 1851 James Baker & watchfinisher
1861 - 1874 Charles Banbury (See also the Beerhouse, Stoney Stanton Road)
1879 Peter Walker & Co.
1890 - 1905 J. Pearson
1909 O. Clarke
1911 - 1913 Frank Piper
1919 - 1924 Susannah Piper
1926 - 1940 A. Loach
1952 - 1960 and onwards Albert Arnold (see above and also at the Nugget, Coundon Green 1942 - 44, and at the Three Horseshoes, Stoney Stanton Road from 1944 - 51)

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This name probably marks the site of a former windmill.

1756 Alderman Hewitt 4 soldiers billeted

19.12.1798 CR 315/5 Certificate for redempyionof :and Taxon the above occupied by William Ratcliff.

c1800 COC P40 Mentioned in Napoleonic Poem

1835 William Alliban is at the Beerhouse, Sherbourne Street. As the Windmill stood on the opposite side of Spon Street from the start of Sherbourne Street, this cannot be the same premises. Alliban must have moved to the Windmill by 1841.

1835 COC P9 ' Fatty Adrian ',licensee in 1835, was a boxer.

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P33 WINDMILL, Spon Street Alehouse
Owner : Gustave Francis Antoine Gray
later John Walker, 64 Dukes Street, Liverpool
10.7.1879 TOL to Joseph Bagnall
6.11.1879 TOL to William Toye
3.11.1881 TOL to Joseph Pearson
2.11.1882 TOL to George Parker
13.11.1885 TOL to Joseph Pearson
6.3.1873 fined 20/- & costs prohibited hours
11.12.1876 fined 10/- & costs Sunday trading

1881 & 1886 See WINDMILL VAULTS

Spon P 72 & 73 Nos 105 & 106 formed the Windmill public house. Like so manu of the pubs in the area it is difficult to establish exactly when it first opened its doors. It was certainly trading by the middle of the eighteenth century and continued to do so until closure in May, 1970.

At one time the pub was commonly referred to as the Wrexham as was the Horse and Jockey in Much Park Street. The reason for this was that at some time both pubs sold Wrexham Ales. The one claim to fame that can be attributed to the Windmill is that for a few years the prize-fighter John ' Fatty ' Adrian ( 1806 - 1856 ) was landlord. He acquired the nickname ' Fatty ' from the occassion when he climbed to the top of a high pole covered in goose grease. The prize for this most difficult feat was a suckling pig. As a result of the challenge he was covered in goose grease - his friends thereafter called him ' Fatty '.

14th November 1830 the Coventry Mercury reported that a fight had taken place between John Adrian of the Windmill pub and a man called Betteridge. ' In consequence of a challenge from Betteridge on Monday last, a fight between these two men took place on Tuesday last, for £ 20 aside, in a field near the Engine public house at Longford, near this city '.

P72 Photo
' Walkers Noted Burton Ales '.

P74 In 1837 when John Adrian's wife Elizabeth died the couple were living at the Windmill.

At various times John ' Fatty ' Adrian was a licensed victualler at the Leopard Inn in Smithford Street, the Pitts Head in Gosford Street and of course the Windmill in Spon Street.

CovHG P87 Other city prize-fighters were John ' Fatty ' Adrian, who kept the Windmill in Spon Street and later the Pitts Head in Gosford Street.

1904-11 OS Map

9.9.1960 Citypubs

31.5.1970 Closed


1822/23 Pigot J. Simmons

1828/29 Pigot William Clayton

1830 Spon P73 John ' Fatty ' Adrian

1835 Pigot John Adrian

1837 Spon P74 John ' Fatty ' Adrian

1841 Pigot William Alliban

1841 Census William Alliban 40 yo b Wks m Hannah, 46 & 1 child

1845 Pigot W. Alliban

1850 CS James Baker

1851 Census James Baker42 yo watchfinisher b Coventry m Elizabeth, 39 & 3s,1d

1861 Census Charles Banbury 44 yo b Atherstone m Elizabeth, 48 & 1 servant

1868 Buchanan C. Banbury

23.11.1868 Lantern Charles Banbury

1871 Census Charles Banbury 43 yo b Atherstone m Elizabeth, 45 & 1 lodger,

1874 C&B C. Banbury [ 1 servant
1879 LJ Vol 1 P33 Joseph Bagnall
1879 LJ Vol 1 P33 William Toye
1879 Stevens Peter Walker & Co
1881 LJ Vol 1 P33 William Toye
1881 LJ Vol 1 P33 Joseph Pearson
1882 LJ Vol 1 P33 Joseph Pearson
1882 LJ Vol 1 P33 George Parker
1885 LJ Vol 1 P33 George Parker
1885 LJ Vol 1 P33 Joseph Pearson
1890/91 R&G J. Pearson

1893 Reporter J. Pearson

1894 R&G J. Pearson

1896 R&G J. Pearson
1898 LJ Vol 1 P33 Joseph Pearson
1903 R&G J. Pearson

1905 R&G J. Pearson

1909 R&G O. Clarke

1911/12 Spennell Frank Piper

1912/13 Spennell Frank Piper

1914 Source 52 Charles Alfred Hitchcox

1919 Spennell Susannah Piper

1921/22 Spennell Susannah Piper

1924 P, James Susannah Piper

1926/27 P, James A. Loach

1929 P, James A. Loach

1931/32 P, James A. Loach

1933/34 P, James A. Loach

1935/36 P, James A. Loach

1937/38 P, James A. Loach

1939/40 P, James A. Loach

1953 LTSD

1953 JA Albert Arnold


1878 LJ Vol 1 P33 Gustave Francis Antoine Gray
later LJ Vol 1 P33 John Walker, 64 Dukes Street, Liverpool
1898 LJ Vol 1 P33 John Walker, 64 Dukes Street, Liverpool

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