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Shakespeare, 18 Spon Street

These premises have been known by different names during their history:FROMTONAME
Shakespeare C1910This photo shows the Coventry Sunday Schools King George V Coronation Day procession. In this view, to the right of the Shakspeare (without the middle 'e') is court 7; then before the works entrance to Rotherhams at no. 19 is M. Ricks Provision Dealer. Just out of the picture to the right is the Old Windmill. The Shakspeare has since been refaced and the buildings to the right have been demolished. Shakespeare Spon StWilliam Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) was born in Stratford and married Anne Hathaway there in 1582. Little is known of his life, but we have 37 plays and some wonderful poetry, yet he has not had the effect we might expect on pub names. There are more references to Dickens and his novels than to Shakespeare and his plays on British inn signs. This building is locally listed, being a modern re-fronting of a 19th century building. Behind lies Court No.7, the last to survive, albeit only in part, of the many that were built in Coventry in the last century to house a growing working population. The frontage is basically 19th century with heavy 21st century modifications. The reputed date of building of the pub is 1808 and in 1811 the Freemen of Spon Street held a meeting there to defend their rights and privileges on Common and Lammas grounds. In 1844 an inquest was held here. In 1850 a man was fined for 'fighting in Spon Street on Sunday afternoon and assaulting P.C. Symonds in the execution of his duty'. The quarrel had started in the Shakespeare's Head public house and the police had been called to expel the person. ShakespeareIn July 1879 the Midlands experienced violent thunderstorms and lightning struck a chimney at the rear of the Shakespeare. There you are, extreme weather is nothing new! Debris fell through the roof of a house in Shakespeare Yard and into a room occupied by three children. Fortunately no-one was harmed. For the children there was a 'children's wake' in the early years of the 20th century. The throng marched to a field off the Allesley Old Road where sports and games took place whilst the menfolk brought food in washing baskets. The procession was led by a banner saying, 'Welcome to the Shakespeare Inn'. I'm not sure whether this was aimed at the children or the menfolk or families or what, but it would seem to be a counter to the temperance movement, showing what a respectable healthy lifestyle the pub represented. Still does too! In 1984 Chris Arnott found 'an equally depressing scene: faded yellow walls and strip lights, a pool table and a television mouthing off to nobody in particular'. Today the pub looks much brighter, but no more inviting.


1822 - 1823 R. Sanders 1835 William Sanders 1841 Joseph Cleaver 1850 John Heslop 1861 Benjamin Shepherd 1868 William Read 1871 - 1874 Joseph Arch watch finisher & victualler 1879 Arthur Statham 1881 Philip Hakewise 1886 W. S. Lucas 1890 - 1891 B. Duggan 1893 - 1924 Charles W. H. Statham 1926 - 1927 E. G. Statham 1929 W. Luckman 1931 - 1932 W. Burton 1933 - 1940 E. Read 1960 John Corbin (see clipping above) 1986 Mat & Pauline Moten
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