|This little pub stands on Bond Street, right in the heart of the city. However, two centuries ago, whilst housing had developed along Hill Street and Well Street, it had left the valley of the Radford Brook inbetween untouched. These two streets were connected by a narrow foorpath following the foundations of the City Wall. The footpath was bounded on the city side by gardens and on the country side by an orchard and peppermint plantation. The footpath was actually called 'The Town Wall'. It later became Bond Street and the first buildings, including the Town Wall tavern, were erected in 1825.
The first licensee that I have found is Silvester Penn in 1850. The Town Wall overloks the site of another pub on the opposite side of the road called the Buck and Crown, which closed in 1914. The Town wall appers to have been a home-brew pub until c1914.
The list of licensees shows that the pub was kept for 24 years from 1881 to 1905 by the Hewins family and by Francis Albert Murphy for 20 years from 1919 to 1939. More recent notable licensees have been Terry Jones in the mid 1970s, who went on to the Old Windmill (Ma Brown's), Ray Hoare from 1977 to 1983 and Martin McKeown in the early 1990s. Martin now runs the Gatehouse, just up Hill Street.
The Town Wall has had a somewhat fraught existence since the last war. It had a compulsory purchase order served way back in 1957, and subsequently there were five successive redevelopment schemes. In 1964, the cottages alongside the pub were demolished to make way for the car park. However, the Town Wall had always been well supported by the journalists of the Coventry Evening Telegraph and the acting profession from the Belgrade Theatre, so it has had vociferous and influential defenders.
In 1975 M&B's policy of removing hand-pumps and replacing them with electric pumps reached the Town Wall. The licensee at the time, Terry Jones, and the customers, refused the M&B engineers access, so they retired hurt, never to attempt the exercise again.
In 1976 the city council unveiled their plans to have a hotel built where the Town Wall stands. In order to appease the regulars, the hotel was actually going to incorporate the pub! Fat chance of that happening! Again the customers organised a petition and sought publicity, reaching the national press with the Guardian on 19th September 1980. As may be imagined from the time between these two dates, the hotel project was not exactly speeding ahead. In fact, by the time the Guardian article appeared, the council had already declared that, due to the recession, the developers had pulled out and the hotel scheme was abandoned. The compulsory purchase order remained though. It was not until 1982 that it was rescinded, 25 years after originally being imposed. And so the Town Wall sails imperturbably on.
See also BEERHOUSE, Town Wall, Shilton.|