Street packed with hidden gems marks 100th birthday

Residents celebrate 100 years of Avenue Road. Picture by Bryan Ferriman
Residents celebrate 100 years of Avenue Road. Picture by Bryan Ferriman

Bunting and balloons were rolled out on Sunday as the families in Avenue Road celebrated 100 years of their ‘very special’ street life.

The row of 13 houses all joined by a footpath and closed off to traffic, was built over 100 years ago- with the very first families buying up in 1914.

The houses are a rare example of the Arts and Crafts movement and are unique in the town in terms of layout and design.

Now part of the conservation area around the castle, the 13 Edwardian houses were designed by Coventry architect, JH Gilbert and inspired by garden suburb styles.

And as a result, neighbours say they experience a ‘unique’ sense of community spirit which has kept families going for one hundred years.

The first residents bought up in early 1914 -just months before the outbreak of the First World War.

And to coincide with commemoration events to mark the poignant anniversary, people in the street came out to hold a party and celebrate.

Long-standing resident Bryan Ferriman said it was the ideal way to look back on 100 years and build ties for a strong future in the town.

And during the day, the street’s history was recalled for home owners and tenants to trace their homes back.

A woman called Matilda Hemming was the very first to move into the newly built estate in January 1914.

She was followed a plumber called Charles Savory and his wife Nellie who moved in at No 2, while miller George Fewtrell with his wife Edith and their young family moved in at No 4.

By the following year, ten out of the new semi-detached houses were lived in.

And while it is not clear how many men were drawn into military service, residents have not forgotten the sacrifice made across the town as the war went on.

As well as setting up a Red Cross Hospital for wounded soldiers in the Parochial Hall, the new residents helped send food parcels to those serving overseas, were hit hard by rationing and news of the loss of family members and friends.