Past Times

Photos of Old Nuneaton 

The old bus terminal is now The Close Complex opposite the Library.  Dempster Court is in the background. The chimney in the centre is the Union Wool and Leather works and the one next to it is the Roller Mills on the river.

The Town Hall under construction in May 1932 when the River Anker and the Wash Brook flooded.  The footings were completely washed away and the build had to be started again, delaying the opening until 1934.  Milliner’s is now the Tool Box.

Coton Road.  In the distance is the old Mining School on the corner of Riversley Road.  The first cyclist is just going past where the Roanne is now.  Hiding behind the first tree is the now derelict ‘Redroofs’,  home to Mr L E Price, Mayor of Nuneaton in 1929 and the house later became ‘Redroofs’ surgery.  Floods were common in Nuneaton in the 1950’s.

The original Pingles Leisure Centre in the early 1970’s.  Built in 1965 it closed in 2003 to be redeveloped into the new running track and sports complex whilst the new Pingles Leisure was built on what was the the car park.

The old J C Smiths furniture awaiting demolition in 1967. The site became Sainsburys supermarket and next to it on the left was Tandys.  The Granby Head public house (just in view on the left) was not affected.  To the right of the new Sainsbury was the Post Office and next to that the Tax Office.

Bond Gate again.  The single deck bus on the right is parked outside the old Hippodrome Theatre, now long gone.

The view from outside J C Smiths looking across to the Newdegate Arms Hotel on the corner of what is now the Harefield Road/ Newdegate Street junction. The hotel was demolished in the 1960’s clearances and the Heron Arcade built on the site.  The Heron later became the Abbeygate Shopping Centre.

Riversley Park in (we believe) 1958 floods.  Way in the background you can see the old bridge that connected the park to Lovers’ Lane that ran at the back of Union Wool and Leather (now Sainsburys).  Before the flood relief scheme was implemented, the park was prone to severe flooding.

In the centre of the picture is the original Nag’s Head public house.  You can see the ‘nag’s head’ just above the lady in the white coat.  The photo was taken circa 1920.  At the bottom of Coventry Street is the Westminster Bank.  The white blinds are Woolworths original site.  On the corner of Mill Walk is ‘Millinery Modes’ ladies fashion shop, now ‘The Toolbox’.  The grocers on the left is now an empty shop (was an estate agents?) and next to that (not on photo) is Masons.

The same view a decade or more later.  It was decided to widen Coventry Street and of course the ‘Nags’ and Woolies had to go.  You can recognise the ‘streetscape’; by the white wall there is now a telephone box.  If you look carefully at the 1920 photo (above) you can see the top windows of a building behind the pub.  In this photo – the whole of the pub and Woolies has gone and the windows are clearly visible.  It does indicate just how narrow Coventry Street originally was.  The number plate for the lorry in the photo was registered in 1932 in Radnorshire, now part of Powys in Wales.

The Heritage Centre as it was just after the Second World War when it was still a school.  If you look at the roof you can see the repairs from the damage received when Coton Church was hit by stray incidendaries on the night of 17th May 1941. 

The Boer War statue fondly known as ‘Old Bill’ originally stood in Bond Gate alongside the river.  When the Hippodrome was demolished and the road widened, ‘Old Bill’ was moved to Riversley Park.

Stirling Metals, part of the Birmid Industries Group.  It was the biggest employer in Nuneaton.  It closed in 1987, unable to compete with the allegedly subsidised competition from Spain and Brazil.

Coventry Street in the 1950’s (possibly 1958) showing the flooding which was not uncommon. In the background you can see the old Police Station (now Virgin Bank), next to it is Armstrongs and the first of the small houses is Evolve Hair Stylists.  All the other shops and houses have gone to be replaced by the Multi Storey Car park and the Roanne.

Looking across from Vicarage Street to the redevelopment on Church Street.  The untouched Granby Head can be seen on the right.

Photo taken from the corner of Wheat Street looking across to St Georges Hall at the Bond Gate/Newdegate Street junction.  Warwick House would be eventually built on the cleared land.

View from the corner of the Town Hall looking across to the Police Station which became the Yorkshire Bank and then Virgin Bank.  The tree in the foreground is still there but a lot bigger!

The Bus Garage in Coton Road, just up from the Town Hall. At  the back of the garage was the Nuneaton Electric Light Company.  When the garage was pulled down in the mid 60’s it was replaced by the open space seating area and fountain.

Nuneaton in 1962.  Although the shops have changed, the buildings are vitually the same. Weaver to Wearer is now Vodaphone, Iliffes is O2, Burtons at the bottom of Market Place is Clintons, Lesters Chemists is Boots.  Pedestrianisation was far into the future.

This photo is late 1800’s.  The clock tower has not yet been built, though the ‘streetscape’ of Bridge Street, Market Place and the corner of Wash Lane (Queens Road) are instantly recognisable.

The Town Hall, originally called the Council House. The postcard is 1950’s and shows quite clearly the original ‘footprint’ of the town hall before the in-fill that removed the small layby (for use only by the Mayor and visiting dignitaries).  Note the two flagpoles, now replaced by a single short flagpole on the central balcony and no disability access ramps.  The top floor was accomodation for the Chauffeur and the Sergeant at Arms who lived on the premises.

‘Old Bill’ stood at the bottom of the bank in the Remembrance Gardens (now known as the ‘Wedding Gardens’ because of the proximity of the Registry Office).  If you go down the steps from Vicarage Street to the gardens, ‘Old Bill’ stood approximately 2 metres to your right.

The Museum in Riversley Park in the 1958 flood (we believe).  Off to the right you can see the old metal bridge that used to span the River Anker.  The statue in the sunken gardens is the Mother and Children.  It was removed in the 1960’s.  The ‘Old Bill’ statue stands there now.

Church Street in the floods. 1950’s. The white building on the left is the Saracens Head that stood on the corner of Bridge Street.  The car was registered in August 1949 (according to the number plate) so the photo is early 50’s.  Floods were common right up until the flood relief scheme was installed.

Bond Gate, year not known but probably late 50’s early 60’s.  The ‘OXO’ bus on the left is parked by the bus shelters alongside the river.  The shelters were removed and became a taxi rank.

View from the small gardens looking down to the Town Hall.  At the bottom of the gardens you can see the fountain.  With its benches and art deco flower tubs it was a peaceful spot and very pooular at lunchtimes in the summer.  It was destroyed to build the new Council House, which in 2020 became a council run HMO for the homeless.

Believed to be the 1948 visit of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery to Nuneaton to attend the re-dedication of the War Memorial in Riversley Park. The photo is looking at the exterior of the Town Hall where the civic party is awaiting Montgomery’s arrival.  The Mayor is Alderman G. Comley.

Nuneaton Flour Mill.  The photo was taken by the agents for the sale of the mill in 1903.  The mill was sold and continued to work until the late 60’s.  It was demolished in 1973 and the DSS building replaced it.

“Reproduced from the “Our Warwickshire” website ©

The photo shows the demolition of the flour mill in 1973.  In the background you can see the side profile of the Town Hall and the George Eliot Building. 

Another flood photo.  This is Church Street looking towards Leicester Road.  Next to Deans is Wheat Street, which is now the exit for traffic using Justice Walk and at the centre of the photo is the old Hippodrome Theatre.  The Hippodrome was demolished on the 14th September 1968 after two fires had made it unsalvageable.  Deans is now the The Black Swan in Hand.  The white walled building on the other corner of Wheat Street/Justice Walk and the other two buldings next to it have been demolished and FED EX now stands there.