Grand unveiling for town’s historic pound

From left to right: Gordon Cain, Roy Shearing, Pat Cain, and Helen Allen
From left to right: Gordon Cain, Roy Shearing, Pat Cain, and Helen Allen

The long-awaited opening of the Kenilworth Pound will finally take place on Saturday September 19 after a protracted planning period lasting almost two years.

The mayor of Kenilworth, Michael Coker, will be opening the pound on High Street alongside the current chairman of the Kenilworth Civic Society, Cllr Gordon Cain, local historian Robin Leach, Town Councilors and with members of the public encouraged to attend.

It’s been two years of really hard work, and I’m delighted to have been a part of it.

Pat Cain

Although Cllr Cain is the current chair of the Civic Society, it is the former chair and his wife, Cllr Pat Cain, that really moved the project forward with her refusal to let delays stop it in its tracks.

Cllr Cain said: “It’s down to Pat’s persistence - she’s been the driving force despite the setbacks she’s had.

“I have taken up the mantle to wrap up the loose ends.

“I’d like to say well done to everyone who supported the project.” 

Cllr Mrs Cain and the Kenilworth Civic Society proposed the idea of converting the land into an accessible historic open area with reclaimed York stone paving for the public to stand on and appreciate the space and an interpretation board.

The project was supported by the Kenilworth History and Archaeology Society, the Friends of Abbey Fields, and Kenilworth Town Council.

Following the detailed proposal put together by the Civic Society’s committee, a £2,500 grant for the project was eventually awarded by the Kenilworth Community Forum, and £3,000 grant from the Kenilworth Town Council in June 2014.

There was further fundraising by Peter James and Graham Gould in conjunction with the Talisman Theatre.

A memorandum of agreement was finalised with Warwick District Council in September 2014, and work finally began on the pound in earnest in May 2015.

Cllr Mrs Cain said: “It’s been two years of really hard work, and I’m delighted to have been a part of it.

“I was tempted to give up a couple of times when it got tough, but fortunately I had good people on the committee who told me: ‘You’ve come this far and you’re going to finish it.’

“You have to have a bit of strength and tenacity, but you can’t move forward without support.

“You also have to be enthusiastic, because it rubs off on others.

“Once it’s opened I’m hoping that people will go and have a look and take time to read the history board, because it’s for the people of Kenilworth.”

She added that other towns have contacted her for advice on how to preserve their pounds, such as the Kent town of Hythe.

Mr Leach provided the historical content and graphic designer Jon Foster-Smith created the presentation of the interpretation board, Mick Smith of Smiths Nurseries donated and planted shrubs and a tree, and the benches were donated by Peter Joslin in memory of his wife Kathleen, who loved the space. 

The pound dates back to at least 1642 and had been used to house stray animals for hundreds of years.