12th Dec, 2017

Coventry historians use Edwardian photographs to show 'Forgotten Foleshill'

Felix Nobes 6th Dec, 2017 Updated: 6th Dec, 2017

TWO Coventry historians are set to release their new book revealing early 20th century images of Foleshill ward.

David Fry and Albert Smith have just produced their fifth self published book on Coventry through the lens of Edwardian photographers.

‘Forgotten Foleshill – The Coventry we have Lost’ is their second book that focuses on just one of Coventry’s suburbs, following the 2011 book on the Earlsdon area.

In 100 pages, using almost 200 illustrations, they tell the story of the how Foleshill evolved at the turn of the 20th century.

The historians focus on Foleshill being the largest and most diverse of Coventry’s suburbs, saying it has a complicated but fascinating history.

The duo want to encompass Foleshill as including not just the Foleshill Road but also Longford, Bell Green, Alderman’s Green, Hawkesbury, Courthouse Green, the Stoney Stanton Road and even part of Holbrooks.

The writers assert that although Foleshill looks a bit of a muddle today, old photographs and estate plans help to show the pattern of its growth from a late nineteenth century semi-rural parish.

They want to illustrate the wards significance, showing that in the nineteenth century when large landowners restricted development in other directions, Foleshill offered the city the main opportunity for expansion for housing and industry.

This has continued during the twentieth century, but war and redevelopment have meant that only old photographs reveal the change from old fields to a built-up area.

David Fry has been interested in Coventry’s industrial history since working as a teacher in the city from the 1970s.

Albert Smith has worked in many aspects of the city’s post-war engineering industry and has experienced at first hand the boom and bust periods, as well as a spell working in Detroit.

Their mutual interest in old Coventry photographs and photographers led to the publication of their first books in the 1990s.

But now, in their retirement, they have more time to write books and to promote what they describe as an appreciation of the unique character of the different areas of Coventry.

The book is being launched at the Coventry Archives and Research Centre, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum 10.30am to 3.30pm, Friday 8 December where the authors will be available to sign the book.

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