Pubs: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Beerhouses

Sun Dial, 34 Lord Street

Until the nineteenth century Coventry was almost completely contained within the City Walls. The first suburb was Hillfields, which started with King William Street in 1828 and then grew towards toi city. Meanwhile, Chapelfields had followed in 1846 as a watchmaker's 'New Town'. At the same time, as a response to the growing power of the common brewers and the threat from gin drinking, in 1830 the Duke of Wellington pushed through parliament the Beer Act which established the right of any householder to sell beer upon the purchase of a 2 guinea license fron the Excise. All the illicit alehouses came out of hiding and traded legally and every craftsman's shop obtained a license and sold ale as a refreshment for waiting customers. Within the first year of the Act, 24,000 new licenses were taken out - Liverpool witnessed fifty new beershops opening every day for weeks. In Coventry the number of beer sellers rose from 112 in 1823 to 194 in 1835, 190 in 1850 and 222 in 1868. Both the new suburbs became heavily pubbed as the inhabitants took advantage of the Act, whilst Earlsdon, developed from 1852, was more in the sway of the Methodist and temperance movemnents and for much of its existance has only had three public houses. Whilst Chapelfields is still heavily pubbed with five pubs and two clubs, it is not always realised that it has actually lost two pubs over the years. One of these was the Sun Dial in Lord Street. The first mention I have seen is the 1861 Census. The name is an obvious reference to the occupation of the majority of its customers. The Sun Dial would have been an ordinary house with a license, probably only for the sale of beer. It was four doors up from the Nursery and would have looked much as the Nursery did before it was extended into the next door property in the 1970s. I remember it. At some time Marstons bought the Sun Dial. Although pubs were being snapped up at a rate in the latter nineteenth century, at first glance the Sun Dial would not seem a very attractive proposition being such a small property. However, it would be the license that Marstons were interested in. By this time the authorities were aware of the mistake they had made with the Beer Act; a reaction had set in and they had begun to compulsorily close pubs. In Coventry the magistrates operated a system whereby a license for the construction of a new, approved, pub was only granted if two old licenses were surrendered. Hence the need for breweries to buy any pub, no matter how small and unpromising. In 1907 the license for the Sun Dial was surrendered, along with the Blue Pig in Gosford Street, in consideration of a new license being granted for the Albany Hotel in Albany Road. So the Sun Dial had been purchased and sacrificed for the much grander Albany Hotel and reverted to being just a terraced house.


1861 - 1871 Thomas Deeming 1874 - 1879 Reuben Deeming 1881 G. Budd 1886 - 1893 John Malin 1894 - 1905 J. Bates
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