• Phil

Hints of industry lost

Following my investigations into the Craven Colliery (covered in my previous post), I have spent some time this week looking around the site and walking along the embankment which is the remains of the tramline which transported the coal from the south side of what is now Henley Road to be transported along the canal and railway. The colliery buildings stood roughly at the point on Henley Road where the One Stop shop and nearby industrial units now stand. The embankment which held the tramway can be found in the field directly opposite (on the other side of Henley Road) and provides a pleasant quiet walk towards Woodway Lane.

A further hint of the area's industrial past stood at the north end of Woodway Lane until recent years in the form of the Jolly Colliers pub just opposite Sowe Common. At the other end of Woodway Lane was the Craven Arms (one of three in the City reflecting the influence of the family which held residence at Coombe Abbey) and owned the Craven Colliery. They were also owners of Henley Manor Farm (a neighbour of the Craven Colliery) which is where the "Wyken Pippin" apple was first grown in this country - giving the original name to the pub at the junction of Ansty Road and Hipswell Highway. The pub has partially regained its heritage having recently been renamed the "New Pippin" from the "Coventry Oak".

My walk which had started on the embankment continued past the site of the Jolly Colliers - now a residential house, over the road bridge to the canal - previously used to transport the coal. The first marina on the walk towards Hawkesbury Junction sits on the arm of the canal which was built to connect the Wyken Coalfields to the network. I came off the canal close to the site of the old electricity plant at Hawkesbury and walked down past the lake at Wyken Slough - another product of the mining industry. The lake (like Stoke Floods near Binley Fire Station) is a result of subsidence caused by the colliery workings. It is also purported that some of the ponies which can be seen in the field just beyond the Slough (at the North end) are descended from the pit ponies which used to work the Wyken collieries.

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