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Meriden Tavern, 64 New Buildings

Alternative Addresses:Priory Lane
These premises have been known by different names during their history:FROMTONAME
Meriden TavernThis pub gets its name from the village a few miles west of Coventry. Meriden is said to be the centre of England. New Buildings seems an odd name for such a central street with old properties on it. In fact, it crosses the site of the Benedictine Abbey of Coventry, which was founded in 1033 by Leofric and Godiva. In 1095 this became Coventry's first cathedral. However, in 1539, the abbey was dissolved and the building demolished. Coventry ceased to be the seat of a bishop and the land remained derelict. During and after the Civil War, a refugee camp was established on the site; makeshift buildings were erected in 1643 and remained there until 1671. Only after then were permanent buildings erected, so the street is now called New Buildings because it only dates back to the 1670s!
Meriden Tavern c1930
Meriden Tavern c1930. (Photo courtesy of Peter Williams.)

The Meriden Tavern was said by Jimmy Taylor in his City Pubs article of 7.4.1961 (see below) to date from 1729, but we have been unable to verify this. The earliest date we have been able to find is 1746. Until redevelopement, the Meriden Tavern stood on the corner of New Buildings and Priory Lane. It was leased by Phillips and Marriott between 1891 and 1905 and remained a home-brew pub until 1920. It later came into the hands of Ansells and in 1961 it was said that the beams were sagging with age and the cellars were cut out of the old red sandstone bedrock. Originally it was entered by way of two stone steps that lead into a tap room and adjoining smoke room. Meriden Tavern New Buildings In 1746 the monthly meetings of the Society of Gentlemen of Improvement of Learning and Natural Knowlege were held at the Meriden Tavern. In 1756 six soldiers were billeted here. In 1891 the pub was leased by Phillips and Marriott for 14 years for £24 per annum rent from M. D. Reeve and Mrs A. Lee. In 1905 the lease lapsed. The pub remained a home brewer until 1920. The digging of the 1930s foundations of the Alhambra pub (it was the Meriden Tavern at that date) brought pottery dating from anything between 1470 and 1900 to the surface. In 1966 it was renamed the ALHAMBRA though I have no idea why this name was adopted.


1822 - 1835 Thomas Church 1841 - 1851 John Clarke 1861 - 1868 Samuel Freeman 1868 Joseph Jelley 1871 John Stanley, publican & plasterer 1874 - 1881 Joseph Reeve 1886 Mrs. Anne Reeve 1890 - 1891 H. D. Reeve and Mrs, Anne Lee 1894 William Thomas Chandler 1896 - 1903 Frederick Edward Cowin 1905 Henry Herbert Shufflebotham 1909 Mrs, A. Cooke 1911 - 1913 David Cooke 1919 Edward T. Horton 1921 - 1924 J. Warden 1926 - 1934 F. H. Makepiece 1935 - 1940 S. R. Hall 1960 - 1962 O. S. Perry 1960s Dennis McCallum see also Canal Tavern, Court House Inn 1960s Eric Stout (see above) BREWERS: to 1877 Joseph Reeve 1877 - 1887 Mrs, Anne Reeve 1887 - 1895 William Thomas Chandler 1895 - 1902 Frederick Edward Cowin 1902 - 1906 Henry Reeve 1906 - 1920 William Sagar
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