|Plot No. 131 Warwick Street was purchased by Joseph Aston Atkins on 10 May 1852. He was the son of a weaver and was a watch motioner by trade. It was another three years before he built his house on the plot. He built a double fronted cottage with a living room on one side of the front door and the parlour on the other, with two bedrooms above. The kitchen was at the back with his workshop above this. The privy (there were no flush toilets in Earlsdon for another 50 years) was at the bottom of the garden. Joseph converted the house into a pub in about 1867, the name simply described the pub. It must have been a good pub in those days. He died only some four years later on 21 November 1871.
His wife, Eliza, married a neighbour, George Harper (who spelt his name Harpur) of Arden Street. He took over the license and moved in with his four sons and one daughter. The Cottage stayed in the family until it was sold in 1901 for £2000 to Bishop and Bates, Wine and Spirit Merchants of Coventry. In 1924 they sold it to James Eadie, Brewers of Burton on Trent and the pub was extended and refurbished. A smoke room was built on the side and Joseph's workshop upstairs became a concert room.
There followed a succession of tenant licensees. In the twenties the inn was kept by George Chaplin, a former fullback and captain of Coventry City Football Club. There has been a stream of interesting licensees over the years, who have all put their own individual stamp on the pub, such as William Clews who was a first class runner. He was at the Cottage for 28 years until 1957. Another former licensee was Reg Nott and Beattie who started live music concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings.
In the later 20th century it became a well known music venue. There was live music seven nights a week, with jazz on Mondays and Thursdays and a free-and-easy session the rest of the week. I well remember Wal Haydon's renditions of 'Delilah' and 'Red Feathers', shouting at the top of his voice was what he called singing: also Speedy's musical gut was a sight to see!
Wally wouldn't have any coin-operated machines in his pub so there was no jukebox or fruit machine. He wouldn't even have a 'johnny' machine in the gents and kept them in a jar behind the bar, labelled 'sporting goods'. Wally's ability to make Draught Bass presentable was legendary in the pub trade, the stuff is notoriously difficult to condition. He was previously the landlord of the Coombe Abbey Inn in Craven Street but moved to Earlsdon in 1967 after the nearby Four Provinces was granted a license.
In the 1990s it became an M&B managed house with a succession of managers and a popular venue for its Free & Easy and rock bands - who remembers 'Mister Bridger' on a Sunday afternoon?
In 2006 the Cottage was extensively 'renovated' to be 'relaunched London style', as a 'champagne and piano bar', by the then licensees, Steve and Ian Carvell. A newsletter was released entitled the 'Earlsdon Cottage News'. In this modest publication Steve and Ian Carvell referred to themselves 40 times. Not the shy and retiring types, then.
As of the beginning of 2015 following court proceedings by the Council regarding excessive noise, the Cottage is now closed for business following a gradual scaling down of operations and opening times over the last few years.
In 2016 the name was changed to the WATCHMAKERS, which closed in 2017 but reopened in 2018 as KIKI LOUNGE AND LOFT. It closed again, but reopened in 2019 as THE COTTAGE.|