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Sydenham Palace Hotel, 1 Lower Ford Street

Alternative Addresses:Cox Street
These premises have been known by different names during their history:FROMTONAME
SYDENHAM PALACE MUSIC HALL
SYDENHAM PALACE WREXHAM STORES
Sydenham Palace Sydenham Palace was in fact the Crystal Palace, in Sydenham, London. It was commissioned by Prince Albert to house the international exhibition of 1851 and was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. It was destroyed by fire in 1936. This pub is thought to have been built as a railway hotel at some time when there were plans to drive a railway through the city centre. The first record we have is in the 1860s whn the great tightrope walker Blondin visited Coventry and 'gave an exciting exhibition, walking from the top of the Sydenham Palace to the fields behind the Blue Pig in Gosford Street'. In 1891 it became a music hall, which meant that it combined drinking with entertainment. It was occupied for one week by the 'Tichborne Claimant' Arthur Orton, who talked to packed audiences about his claim to be Sir Roger Tichborne, heir of the Tichborne estate. The real Sir Roger's predecessor had attended the Roman Catholic school in Radford and married Miss Petre of Whitley Abbey at St Osburg's church. From 1921 to 1927 the pub advertised that it was the headquarters of the Godiva Harriers and also the Fur and Feather Society, which sounds like a hunting club to me. It closed in 1971 and was demolished, thus we lost what was perhaps the grandest of Coventry pubs. The licensees for 1879 and 1881 are interesting. The first Peter Walker was from Ayr in Scotland and owned breweries in Warrington and Burton-on-Trent. His son, the second Peter Walker, bought the Willow Brewery in Wrexham and it rapidly expanded. In 1882 he moved his brewing empire to Burton-on-Trent and the only link to Wales after that was the use of a Welsh goat as a trade mark. It looks as though at this time Peter Walker was using the Sydenham Palace as a depot for his Wrexham beers. By the way, this has nothing to do with the Wrexham Lager brewery.

LICENSEES:

1868 Robert Higgitt 1871 Ann Clarke 1879 Peter Walker & Co 1881 Licensee is not named, but it is called the Sydenham Palace Wrexham Stores 1886 - 1913 Thomas Owen 1921 - 1927 S. Croft 1929 - 1936 W. F. Stanton 1937 - 1940 F. E. Browning 1960 - 1962 R. Ryan
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