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Britannia Vaults, 38 Fleet Street

These premises have been known by different names during their history:FROMTONAME
15741851RAM INN, RAMME, RAM HOUSE INN
18411841BEERHOUSE
18511866ROYAL EXCHANGE
18661866WINE & SPIRIT VAULTS
18681871BRITANNIA MUSIC HALL
18711892BRITANNIA VAULTS
18741877VICTORIA THEATRE
1874?BRITANNIA THEATRE OF VARIETIES
Britannia was the Roman name for Britain. The first mention of the symbolic female figure occurs in Samuel Pepys's diaries and refers to a medal struck in 1665. Many pubs refer in some way to a ship named Britannia. The Royal Navy has been using the name since 1682. The building had become a Co-Op stores by 1896. There are references to this pub in 1574 and 1630 as the RAM in records held by the Coventry Records Office. It is leased in 1610, 1618 and 1634 by Coventry Corporation, who owned it at the time. In 1770 and 1800 the pub is still there but by 1808 and 1834 the Ram Society, a Friendly Society, was meeting in other pubs. On the 1851 Health Map it is shown as the ROYAL EXCHANGE, which appears to have been a Music Hall as well as a pub! In 1841 see the BEERHOUSE, Smithford Street (Dalton). In 1851 the Coventry Standard notes the change of name fron the RAM to the ROYAL EXCHANGE and later in the year the same paper says that Mr Miller opened a Music Hall at the inn and changed the name. In 1866 the ROYAL EXCHANGE, previously the RAM, was demolished and re-opened as the WINE AND SPIRIT VAULTS. In December 1866 James eaves advertised in the Coventry Standard that on the 20th December the new premises, BRITANNIA VAULTS, 37 Fleet Street, would be opening for the retail sale of "every description of wines, spirits, home-brewed, Burton, bitter, and mild ales and porter, foreign cigars, &c." In the 1871 census, James Eaves (licensed victualler), aged 42, lived at the Britannia Music Hall, 38 Fleet Street. In August that year he had an application for a "Theatrical License" refused, on the grounds that it might "open the door for applications from other houses"! By 1874 this had also become known as the Britannia Theatre of Varieties. In each March of 1877 through to 1880, the Coventry Standard published that the Theatrical License of the Britannia Theatre, Smithford Street, was to be renewed for another year. 1879 saw the place referred to as the Britannia Theatre of Varieties. At various times, this section of street has been known as either Fleet Street or Smithford Street, depending upon whether the numbering began and ended at Ram Bridge, or the junction with West Orchard.

LICENSEES:

1610 - 1618 William Gibbons 1634 Thomas Stiffe 1800 Mr Cheslin 1822 - 1823 John Bradshaw 1828 - 1829 James Eaves 1841 - 1850 Absolom Dalton 1851 Mr Miller 1861 Richard Miller 1866 - 1880 James Eaves 1881 William Bennett 1886 R. E. McIntosh 1890 - 1891 J. Dunnicliff 1892 H. H. Askee

OWNERS:

1610 - 1634 Coventry Corporation
Britannia Vaults
Street plan of 1851
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