Transcript of Coventry Evening Telegraph Urban Walk 5-May-2001
An elegant reminder of bygone age
STOKE Park in Coventry, a haven of calm and elegance, has survived intact against the ravages of the 20th century.
Walled on three sides with local pink sandstone and gated on three corners, it sits comfortably alongside another survivor, Stoke Green, with its terraces of cottages and school from a bygone age. This weeks walk starts from the Bull's Head pub on Binley Road and takes in both.
Cross Bull's Head Lane to the road on the edge of a pleasant green corridor running parallel to Binley Road.
We pass neat 19th-century terraced cottages, students hard at work in Pattison's Theatre building, Henry Ison's funeral parlour at no 80, and reach the historic National School dated 1840 with hop-scotch marked out on the playground. It's now part of Pattison's College, whose pupils wear distinctive green and yellow striped blazers.
Make a left turn into Stoke Green, pass a series of detached houses and cross into Bollingbroke Road.
A footpath skirts the playing field, passing Hollis Road and Hugh Road, the pavements lined with pollarded trees.
Continue to the old horse pond on the edge of Binley Road, now a concreted paddling pool modernised in the 1930s.
Nearby is the monument to Joseph Levi, founder of philanthropic societies in Coventry. They are engraved in the stone: Coventry Society, 1854; Chapelflields Society 1880; Earlsdon Society 1900; Foleshill Society 1904. Notice the unusual small-faced clock, but ignore the graffiti.
Head off in the direction of the city centre, passing a cattle trough abreast a godcake island. It harks back to the days when transport was horse-drawn, and carved in the stonework are the words: "Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association".
Cross to Marlborough Road using the island refuge and make for the adjacent South Avenue.
Pass through the stone gateposts and notice the Victorian postbox. We are now inside Stoke Park, laid out in the second half of the 19th century with a distinctive road pattern and unique in Coventry. Turn into West Avenue and reach no 7, a large Victorian villa complete with conservatory. A few yards away opposite is a charming terrace of cottages nos l8-22.
Enter North Avenue and notice Central Avenue to the right, where modern houses and bungalows have been built in the garden of an old mansion.
We pass ornate iron gates and come to Elm Bank, once the home of industrialist Siegfried Bettman, founder of the Triumph works and Coventry's Mayor when war began in 1914. It is now offices for the council's education department.
Before turning into East Avenue enjoy the semi-detached houses with corner turrets in Bray's Lane. In East Avenue look for Park Cottage. It is said a local builder, Alfred Malt, used old timbers from St Marys Hall to create his timber-framed home. It was the first of many residences in the grand style on the estate.
At the next junction turn into South Avenue. Many of the properties here are double-fronted also facing onto Binley Road. Look for Margaret's Vicarage with its stained glass window and no 26 where nurseryman Joseph Webb lived. As we turn the corner back onto Binley Road a door in the wall is the entrance to an unusual assembly hall, a perfect community room for local residents. Return along the path set back from Binley Road, heading for Empress Buildings, dating from the 1930s.
Investigate its central shopping arcade. The Big Breakfast Cafe was closed, but Caflney's Irish shop was humming with ceilidh music.
Finally, take the crossing hack to the Bull's Head and the replica stocks.
End of transcript - other information below
Stoke Green or Gosford Green are OK for dogs, but you will need to use a lead for most of this walk.
Visit Ralph Ames' page at: