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Thursday, 14 January 2021

Memories of Westwood Heath in the 1950s and 60s

Memories of living along Westwood Heath Road during the 1950s and 60s by Sue Podmore (nee Whick)


Westwood School speech day 1959 (photo from Stuart Barratt). Sue is the girl with fair hair sitting in the front row nearest to the camera.
Westwood School speech day 1959
(photo from Stuart Barratt).
Sue is the girl with fair hair and curls
sitting in the front row nearest to the camera.
When growing up I used to describe where I lived as 'In Westwood Heath, the last but one of the eight cottages and eight houses just past the church on Westwood Heath Road'.  It usually needed this explanation as during the 1950s and 60s it was quite a remote place compared to the large  housing developments in Canley and Tile Hill, and Westwood Heath Road did not lead to anywhere in particular unless you knew the back roads to Kenilworth. However, we were lucky to have a regular bus service every hour each day between Coventry City Centre and the terminus at Red Lane, Burton Green. The No 12 bus would leave Pool Meadow at a quarter to the hour and leave Burton Green back into Coventry at a quarter past the hour. The 9.15am from Burton Green on a Friday morning was full of chattering ladies going into Coventry to do their weekly food shopping. The alternative shops were at Prior Deram in Canley and Dockers opposite the Peeping Tom pub on Cromwell Lane. Also, Mr Chick who ran the newsagents' in Tile Hill Village brought his small van along Westwood Heath Road every afternoon about 2pm and supplied us with newspapers, magazines, sweets, cigarettes and a small selection of tinned groceries and pet food. Every few weeks the lorry from Chattaways, the hardware store in Balsall Common stopped by, which was fascinating as it had roller shutter sides that revealed household cleaning items and small tools.  Also, a milkman delivered each day except Sunday, Mr Powers brought his large van of fruit and vegetables on a Saturday, Mr Trepass the butcher called bringing his weekly special cuts of meat to each door in a metal bowl, the Co-op baker called twice weekly carrying a large wicker basket from his van to our back doors offering various loaves and cakes (but often the choice was limited as we were the last call on his round) and Miss George who ran a general store in Burnsall Road near Canley Station used to deliver a weekly order on a Tuesday evening. When I was young I had a small metal trolley that I used to 'help' her take the boxes of groceries from her car to about four of the houses and cottages – I am sure she could have done it more quickly without me.

The Cottages

Westwood Cottages
Modern photo from Google
The picturesque front view of the terrace of the four cottages just past St John's church has changed little since my childhood in the 1950s, with the exception of an extension to the first cottage on the left, initially I remember in the early 1980s, to allow the owners to offer bed and breakfast facilities and further changes have been made since then. This particular cottage, where Ada Savage and her two brothers lived until the 1970s used to have an enormous cordon-trained pear tree on their end wall, reaching right up to the eaves of the roof. 

Before the modernisation of the cottages in the 1970s the rear and inside of the cottages were very different to their present layout. Inside, the front door opened directly onto the front living room with its open fire with boxed-in stairs running up the middle of the ground floor dividing it in two, with a kitchen/dining room and pantry to the rear. Upstairs there was a tiny landing and two bedrooms. The cottages were built with a blue brick yard about 8 feet wide which ran the length of the terrace and parallel to this ran the wash-houses, toilets and pig-sties, one for each cottage. There was also a communal bakehouse in the run of washhouses, with a wood or coal-fired range for cooking. However, once electricity had been installed, the cottages each had an electric cooker in their kitchen within the cottage.There was no running water in the cottages themselves but the wash-houses contained a large sink and electricity for plugging in a copper for heating water. All water was taken from a single hand pump in the yard but when the four houses were built next to them in the mid 1930s and a fresh water tap installed across the road, the cottage residents were able to use that.  The toilets to the rear of the wash-houses were not linked to the main sewer so consisted of buckets under two wooden seats with a hole in - one seat being lower for children to sit on. Toilet buckets were emptied weekly by the council on a Friday night at about 9pm. The men arrived in a large tanker with a suction hose to which they took the buckets and returned them to each property again once emptied. None of the residents kept pigs by 1950s but the styes were often used for storing firewood. Running along the back of these wash-houses was a general thoroughfare for the cottages that led out into Featherbed Lane and subsequently Westwood Heath Road. Beyond this were the cottages' very large allotment gardens. 

At this time the residents of the cottages were: No 79 Ada, Bernard and Harold Savage; No 81 Mr and Mrs Drane; No 83 Mr and Mrs Simpson and daughter Dianne and Mrs Gallimore; No 85 Mr and Mrs Davenport and daughter Joan.

The Houses

Modern photo from Google
The houses, which were built approx 1936, had a touch of  Art Deco style about them with a curved end to the downstairs metal front window. As the curved glass became broken over the years the frames were replaced with three more modern tall, thin panes on the end to accommodate the curve. There was a lawned garden at the front of the house with a hedge fronting the road and a ditch running between that and the road. For some reason these hedges used to be home to extraordinarily huge brown hairy spiders that used to throw their webs across the gateway of the shared drive between number 91 where I lived, and number 89, and were particularly noticeable on frosty mornings! The back gardens were about 70ft long which was enough to accommodate a small yard, shed, vegetable patch, flower beds and a lawn.

The entrance at the front of our house opened into a lobby with the stairs running straight up and the door to the front room on the right. We used to keep our everyday coats in the lobby and, as it was the coolest spot in the house and we had no refridgerator, the meat safe (a small homemade wooden cupboard with a fine mesh panel in the door) was placed here in which we kept our meat, and milk which was delivered in bottles each morning. The loft hatch was tiny and situated above the small landing off which were the three bedrooms. Mum and dad had the largest bedroom which spanned the whole width of the house at the front overlooking the road and had an open fireplace faced with a lovely powder blue tile across the corner of the central wall. The larger back bedroom was mine, the windows overlooking the gardens and fields towards Hurst Farm on Bockendon Road. It also had a fireplace but of black cast iron and an open fire was lit when I was unwell and confined to bed with mumps and measles. The third bedroom was a box room where grandma slept when she came to stay. This room overlooked the fields too but was above the big rainwater tank that was situated on top of the coalhouse and outside toilet. As all of the family laundry and personal washing water came from this tank it was essential to maintain it so dad used to climb out of this bedroom window every year and clean the tank in the summer when there wasn't much water lying in it. I used to be very excited at this activity and joined my dad in my wellies sloshing around above the outhouses with mum in the yard looking anxious and telling me to be careful! Our drinking water came from a standpipe in a small wooden hut on the other side of the road and I remember mum and the other ladies taking their large white enamel buckets there to fill them. They all walked very carefully, especially in the winter to make sure they didn't slip over or spill the water. The tap used to freeze in winter so we had to make sure we had enough water until it thawed. I think it was about 1958 when we had mains water taps fitted to our properties although we still used rainwater from the tank for laundry and hair washing. 

Downstairs there was a front room with an open fireplace across the corner, which was only used for visitors and at Christmas when we moved the television in there for about two weeks, making a special event seem even more exciting!  Beyond the front room was what we called the kitchen (approx 11 ft x 11 ft) where we lived as a family, eating, playing cards, board games, darts, knitting, sewing, drawing and watching television. Originally this room had a cast iron hearth across the corner, open fire and ovens for cooking, but in 1950s this was only used as a fireplace as we had an electric cooker in what we called the back kitchen (approx 8ft x 5ft) which we used instead. It was grey enamel and stood on legs, with three solid hotplates on top and a grill underneath and a small oven with a thermometer and dial set on the front which switched between High, Medium and Low so we could regulate the temperature while something was cooking. Alongside this was a Belfast sink with a tap on the water pipe coming down from the tank outside. On the other side of the cooker, at right angles, was a bath with a wooden lid over it which acted as a kitchen worktop and was hinged to lift up and hook back to the wall when we wanted to use the bath. On bathnights or washday (usually Monday), a large heavy copper water heater that was kept in the shed was brought into the kitchen and filled with rainwater from the tap, ladling it in with large saucepans. When the water was hot the sheets and towels were put in, then as the water cooled it was used for our clothes. For bathing, once the water had reached a fairly hot temperature it was ladled out again into the bath. Thankfully the bath did have a normal plughole out into a drain! There was also a separate pantry accessed off the kitchen we lived in, with shelves for crockery and food and a cold concrete tile-topped slab for keeping things cool. A coalhouse and outside toilet were immediately outside the back door. The toilets were of the same arrangement as the cottages (except we were upmarket with a metal seat!) with them being emptied weekly by the Council. In around 1974 the Council offered the opportunity to the houses to have cesspits dug in each of their front gardens, meaning a flushing toilet at last! Some of the houses made their own improvements at this time by having kitchen and bathroom extensions or the small bedroom made into a bathroom. 

At this time residents of the houses were: No 87 Mrs McCoy and daughter Jeanette, No 89 Mrs Taylor, Dennis her brother and children Gloria and John (older son Peter had left home by mid 1950s); No 91 Mr and Mrs Whick and daughter Susan (my family); No 93 Mr and Mrs Eden and daughter Corrinne (the two sons Clive and Colin had left home by 1950s) Mr and Mrs Eden and family had originally lived at No 81 of the cottages until moving to the house at No 93 when first built.

Stoneleigh Estate Sale

Until 1928, the Westwood Cottages had been part of the Stoneleigh Estate. In 1928, 1,598 acres of the Stoneleigh Estate were sold by auction. The sale included 5 farms, and the Westwood Cottages.

The images below, from the original Sale Catalogue, have kindly been provided by the Davenport Family who were residents of Westwood Cottages in the 1950s.

You can click on the Summary of Estate Lots (right image just below) to enlarge the image and read the details. Several properties in Burton Green are mentioned in the list of lots for sale. It includes 9 plots of building land at Burton Green, 3 plots of building land in Red Lane, The Hollies, Black Waste Wood, Broadwells Wood, Rough Knowles Wood, Lodge Farm, 8 plots of building land in Westwood Heath, and numerous other properties.

Lot 58 - Westwood Cottages

Westwood Cottages were bought by Mr E Bostok, who farmed Gibbet Hill Farm. Mr Boctock died in 1955 and the Cottages were again put up for auction......

Other properties along Westwood Heath Road

Until 1980s there were two adjoining red brick cottages opposite Gibbet Hill Road standing within  large gardens which used to get flooded when rain was heavy and the stream running alongside it burst its banks. Mr Rogers and his collie dog lived in one of these cottages but they were demolished when Westwood Way was constructed as a link to Westwood Busines Park and Mitchell Avenue. 

On the same side but a little further towards the church was another detached red brick cottage, which still stands and is now run as a Bed and Breakfast. I can't remember the name of the lady who lived there but she made wonderful home made wine from the fruit bushes in the garden.

On the left of the bend on the road leading towards St John's church was the blacksmith's forge, situated on the land of Mr Dawkins who ran a steamroller business from this site until 1960s. The forge was where Mr Duggins and subsequent blacksmiths offered their services. On two of the external red brick walls local children had scratched their initials in the brick, dating back to at least the 1920s. However, quite regularly part of the forge was demolished by a car taking the corner too fast and was rebuilt again, the last time the etched initials being painstakingly restored by the son of  Mr Dawkins. The church wall also suffered a few knocks in this way. When the steamrollers were in service the great rumbling of these machines would be heard coming along the road and children from the houses would often run out to watch them trundle by, giving a wave to Mr Dawkins. In those days the road was so quiet the local children could play tennis or football in the road with plenty of time to gather the ball and get onto the side before an oncoming car passed by. The whole length of the road from Gibbet Hill Road to the houses at the top of Lodge Hill near Cromwell Lane had grass verges and footpaths worn along it with cow parsley and wild flowers growing in the roadside hedges and ditches.

Following on from the cottages and houses on the same side as the church was the gymkhana field where the Tile Hill Riding and Driving Club had its base. I believe it first started in the 1950s and shows were held fortnightly between April and September until the 1990s. Next to this field was the William and Mary Country Club and most of the residents of Westwood Heath were members before and during the Second World War. Houses are now on this site. Next door is Richmond House where Mr and Mrs Witherspoon lived and opposite this was a pair of pebble-dashed semi-detached cottages standing within their own large gardens. I remember Mrs Salmon occupied one, and in the other was Mr Frost who rang the bell for the church on Sundays and for funerals. After being demolished the land on which these cottages stood was used for a business making garden compost for a short while before the land was used for housing. After the pebble-dashed cottages on the right stood a lovely old barn where owls roosted for years until it burnt down one summer in the early 1960s. I remember the smoke billowing up into the air and neighbours being very upset about the loss of the building.

The allotments currently next to Richmond House were created in the1980s from arable land farmed by the Powers family of Hurst Farm on Bockendon Road, as was most of the farmland on the left side of Westwood Heath Road up as far as Bockendon Road.  The sports ground next to the allotments belonged in those days to the Coventry Radiator factory which was located on Sir Henry Parkes Road near to Canley railway station.  

Interspersed with the few dwellings, ameneties and two public footpaths that led through the fields across to Ten Shilling Wood and Park Wood in Canley there were fields all the length of the right hand side of Westwood Heath Road until the large houses at the top of Lodge Hill. This included the land opposite the church that is now playing fields and all were farmed by the Barnett family who lived at Westwood Heath Farm on the right of the brow of the first hill on the bend just before The Westwood Working Men's Club. My dad, Mr Whick, was a founder member of the Club as was Mr Dash from the Post Office who I understand was Treasurer. I remember walking to the club as a youngster with my dad, and while he consumed a quick pint I would wait outside with a bottle of Britvic pineapple juice and a packet of crisps and, along with our dog would sometimes wander around the orchard which was part of the club grounds before the extension to the building was made.  

Standing back from the road next to the club was the headmaster's residence as part of Westwood C of E School. The retired headmaster, Mr Right, lived in this house while those teachers still at the school lived in their private homes locally. During my time at the school Mrs Bull taught the infants, Mr Hancock (also the Headteacher) taught the intermediate class and Mrs Lancaster the juniors. Also, for a few weeks of the year we children would enjoy the novelty of a student teacher from the Coventry College of Education (now part of Warwick University). There were just three classes of children.  The intermediate class used a small room off the entrance hall which I believe used to be the Headmaster's study, and a folding partition in the big main room divided the infants and juniors.  The partition was pushed back for our Christmas party each year and Speech Day when a local dignitary, or for really special occasions the Archbishop of Coventry or Lord Leigh came to present the awards for various achievements. There was a small school office which also doubled as the kitchen where our morning milk and school dinners were delivered to and served from by the dinner ladies Mrs Dash, Mrs Goddard, Mrs Davenport and Mrs Simpson, and in the entrance hall and cloakroom where everyone's coats were hung, there was a large sink where children washed their hands before lunch. The separate boys and girls toilets were at the back of the school outside but there was nowhere to wash hands near to the toilets as far as I recall. I remember in about 1960 being told there were 73 pupils at the school. We had gymnastic apparatus to climb on in the playground in the summer months, played team games outside and learnt country dancing and marching to brass band music, all played on a gramophone in the school kitchen with a large speaker fed out through the window with Mr Hancock giving instruction on a microphone and the other teachers trying to organise us all – wonderful memories! School trips I particularly remember were visiting Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust when it first opened, a trip to Windsor with a boat ride on the Thames, and in about 1964 a trip to Heathrow Airport where we stood outside on a terrace of the main terminal building watching the planes and had a sit down lunch provided of sandwiches, cake and strawberries before having free time in the terminal to explore before heading home - how times change! I enjoyed it so much mum, dad and I went there on a coach trip later that summer!

A small field was next to the school and beyond that stood a pair of red brick semi-detached houses with large gardens. In the first of these lived Mr and Mrs Dash who had a small building next to the house in which they ran the Post Office. Jars of sweets lined the shelves behind the counter which were weighed into a little paper bag for consumption on the way home. Outside their gateway on the road stood a telephone box and postbox. Next door lived Mr and Mrs Rogers and family.

Further along next to these properties as you went up the hill, and still standing today, were a pair of semi-detached pebble-dashed cottages with small front gardens but large gardens to the sides and rear. In the first of these lived Mr Kendall, an elderly man who always wore a trilby. There was a much larger detached red-brick cottage neighbouring these cottages which stood in the centre of its large plot of orchard and allotment garden, then at the top of the hill were a pair of semi-detached red brick houses, each standing in their own large plot of land. I remember the Morris family living in the second of these two houses and I know I went to a child's birthday party in the first house during the late 1950s, but unfortunately I can't remember who lived there.

On the left at the bottom of Lodge Hill, Bockendon Road lead all the way to Kenilworth passing between the fields of Bockendon Grange Farm, the cottages of The Pools, and fields of Hurst Farm and eventually South Hurst Farm on the right just before the beginning of Roughknowles Wood was reached on the left. The road then led through to Crackley Woods and out onto the Kenilworth Road with the turning for Cryfield Grange Road on the left.

Featherbed Lane Bridleway

I would like to also mention Featherbed Lane, running alongside St Johns Church field which is now the car park. Walking along the bridleway from Westwood Heath Road the rear entrance to the cottages is on the right. Immediately opposite on the left is the vicarage, built in the late 1960s. Until then I always remember the whole field at the side of the church was let for grazing horses (mine was kept there from 1966/7 until 1993).  Until 1950s, a little further along on the right, there was a corrugated iron bungalow in an orchard occupied by Mrs Sadgrove, a very elderly lady. When she passed away her son went to live there and built a detached brick bungalow in about 1960. Since then it has been sold on and a larger property built. As the first gateway across the lane was reached there were two caravans on the left, permanently occupied, one either side of the hedge. 

The bridleway then followed a hedgerow between the fields along to the second gateway. Just after the caravans the long narrow field on the left dropped down alongside a pond which appears to still be there, but during the 1980s some of the fields were used for exploratory drilling for potential coal mining in the area and to accommodate the lorries carrying away the excavated soil, the whole of this low-lying field was filled with hardcore and the hedgerow removed. This is why there is a broad hard pathway all the way along the field just after the caravans. Many other hedgerows were also removed from these fields at this time. A second pond where the bridleway turns sharp left was filled in when Warwick University was being built. It was just past here, halfway down the slope on the bridleway that the mining excavations took place. 

At the bottom of the slope where the bridleway goes across the stream, there is a footpath directly ahead across to Hurst Farm. The bridleway turns left following a high hedge and as the first wood, Whitfield Coppice, is approached there were two brick farm labourers' cottages next to a huge oak tree. These cottages were demolished, I believe in the late 1960s or early 1970s – I always wish I had taken a photograph of them. I went to school with some of the children who lived there and remember them wearing wellingtons to school as the path was often very muddy. It must have been dark some evenings when they arrived home in the winter and quite a precarious journey!

The rest of the bridleway went across a field to the end of Roughknowles Wood where an old sheep dip was. This consisted of a cement/stone side to the stream with a bridge across although I never saw it in use. The bridleway wound around the curves of Roughknowles Wood – it was more extensive until the 1980s - passing another pond on the right at the side of the wood and came out on Cryfield Grange Road. There was a field opposite where Hilary Williams ran a riding school until the 1970s. The bridleway continues on across this road and out onto Crackley Lane.

See Also

Memories of Burton Green in the 1950s by Stuart Barratt (includes Westwood School)
Reminiscences of Burton Green by Rick Jowett (includes Westwood School)
Reminiscences of Burton Green by Anthony Richards
Reminiscences of Burton Green by Joan Pulham and Angela Loughran
History of Westwood Heath
Burton Green Local History


If you also have any memories, or would like to comment on any of this material, you can add your own comments in the comments box just below.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Ancient Woodlands in Burton Green

From The Telegraph, 7th October 2020 (from here):

'A Culture is no better than its woods' -
The captivating history of England's
ancient trees

One of the earliest poems written in English is the Dream of the Rood, conserved in the 10th century Vercelli Book, which tells the origin story of the cross on which Christ was crucified. In part the poem is narrated by the Rood, or 'upright post', which recounts how an enemy entered the forest and felled it, separating it from its companion trees before carrying it away to bear the saviour in his passion. The Rood offers both a justification and a vindication for its felling, which at the time must have seemed a catastrophe. Seven hundred years later Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, wrote A Dialogue between an 'Oake', and a 'Man cutting him downe', in which the oak tree argued the case against its felling most eloquently, as a result of which its life was spared... 

The latest challenge to our ancient woodland is HS2. In September the 300 year old Hunningham Oak near Leamington was felled as part of the development. At the time of writing, England’s ‘2015 Tree of the Year’, the 250 year old Cubbington Pear, was likewise awaiting the chainsaw. 
So what are we to do? "A small grove massacred to the last ash… This great society is going to smash", wrote W.H. Auden, adding: "A culture is no better than its woods’"  


Eight hundred years ago this area was known as Burtonswode. The name occurs on a 12th Century map. Burtonswode formed part of the Forest of Arden. The Forest of Arden was not continuous forest, but a patchwork of woods and open spaces. 

Five hundred years ago all of the local woods were fairly similar to today's woods and had their familiar names, Black Waste Wood is named in a document dated 1542. Stonymoor and Long Meadow Woods are mentioned in 1581. 

Little Poors Wood and Big Poors Wood are so-named because they were owned by the Berkswell Charity for the poor. There is another Poors Wood at Honiley, which was owned by the Wroxhall Charity. 

All of our local woods are oak woods, with fern, bramble and bluebells. Although our woods are Ancient the individual trees in them are generally not ancient. Trees such as the 300-year old Hunningham oak are uncommon. Part of Broadwells Wood has been replanted since WWII with ash, spruce and pine.

The map shown below is based on current information held by DEFRA. 

Click image to enlarge
The green shaded areas are classed as Priority Habitat. The Poors Woods are not priority habitat. Woods owned by charities may have been harvested regularly for timber to provide income. 

The areas on the map with faint vertical hatching are Ancient Woodland; this includes the Poors Woods, Black Waste Wood, Broadwells and part of what remains of Longmeadow Wood. 

The dark brown shading (38 acres, 15 hectares) was called Red Lane Wood. Red Lane Wood was cleared between 1830 and 1900.

The light brown (approx 80 acres, 32 hectares) indicates Ancient woodland cleared since 1920. 

Red Lane Wood (Completely Disappeared)

At the right is the Ordnance Survey map of 1831, nearly 200 years ago.

This map shows the area of Red Lane Wood, though the wood is not named on this particular map. Red Lane Wood is clearly shown and named on a map of 1692.

The gap between Stonymoor Wood and Red Lane Wood is marked on the 1831 map as Long Meadow. The gap between the woods is also called Long Meadow in 1581.

By 1900 Red Lane Wood had completely disappeared.

Stonymoor Wood (1972 Felling)

In 1972 30 acres of Stonymoor Wood were felled by the landowner.
Click image to enlarge

There was a public outcry involving Dudley Smith the local MP, a petition from Kenilworth residents with 100 signatures, the Ministry of Agriculture, Warwickshire County Council, the Forestry Commission and the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment. Click on the image if you wish to read it.

Although 120 acres (48 hectares) of ancient woodlands in Burton Green have been felled in recent history most of that happened at a time when the environmental consequences were not fully understood. 

That is quite different to the situation today with HS2, when many of the issues are understood. Boris Johnson virtue signals that he is promoting a green agenda while in reality destroying the environment. 

It is nonsense to claim that planting some saplings is an adequate replacement for ancient woodland. Those saplings will not be comparable to the trees being destroyed for 60 years or more.

See Also

Friday, 4 December 2020

Bugle - December 2020

The December 2020 edition of the Bugle has been published.

Just below are thumbnails of the page images. To enlarge any page image, click on the thumbnail below. Once you have the individual page, you may also need to click on the magnifying glass in your browser, where you can view the page at its original size...

The text of the Chair's Report has also been added to the Residents' Association page.

The archive of back issues of the Bugle is here: Bugle Archive.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Draft Minutes of Residents' Association Committee Meeting November 25th 2020

The meeting was held virtually via Zoom because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic restrictions.


Dianne Adams; Hilary Cox; Paddy Deeley; Andy Gibbs; Judi Hibberd; Janet Hickinbottom; Bron Putnam; Rona Taylor; Faith Ward; Mary Webb.

1  Apologies and Minutes of the last meeting (September 9th 2020)

Apologies had been received from Helen Hehir, Bron Putnam and Faith Ward.

Summary of actions following the September meetingResponsible
Contact HS2 about the well on Cromwell Lane bridgeRona 
Report back on progress with metal Christmas treeMary and Hilary
Increase Bugle print runMary
Arrange Zoom meeting for AGMJudi
Submit Chair’s Report etc. for distribution via the email loopRona
Liaison with school regarding Christmas card competitionFaith
Further ideas for chosen charity to be supported at ChristmasAll to Judi by September 25th
Community Fund item to remain on agendaJudi 
Maintain list of suggestions for funding requestsJudi


Minutes of the last meeting and Matters Arising

See Minutes of September 9th 2020 meeting

Matters Arising from the previous minutes

  • Contact HS2 about the well on Cromwell Lane bridge – matter still being progressed by Diana Dean, Community Engagement, LMS
  • Report back on progress with metal Christmas tree – agenda item
  • Increase Bugle print run – completed. There are now 513 dwellings in Burton Green
  • Arrange Zoom meeting for AGM – completed
  • Submit Chair’s Report etc. for distribution via the email loop – completed
  • Liaison with school regarding Christmas card competition – completed. Agenda item
  • Further ideas for chosen charity to be supported at Christmas – food collection to be organized for Trussell Trust food bank 
  • Community Fund item to remain on agenda – ongoing
  • Maintain list of suggestions for funding requests - ongoing
  • The minutes of the September meeting were approved.

2  Village Hall Update

Paddy reported that a contractor had now been appointed but much time was being spent sorting out the legalities. On the site work on the pipeline was underway as was the Greenway diversion. It would be at least January before the site becomes available.

3  Treasurer’s Report

A report had been circulated which Dianne explained. This was accepted.

There was still £931 of the Parish Council grant to be spent before March 2021. Expenditure still to be covered included Bugle costs and the Christmas tree.

The BGRA Year End accounts were also accepted. A letter of thanks had been sent to Marlene Hills for arranging this at short notice following the untimely death of Peter Tacon as Independent Examiner. The committee was reminded that arrangements for the following year needed to be sorted.

Action: Dianne and all

Thanks were given to Dianne for her efficient handling of the accounts. 

4  Residents’ views/concerns

HS2 issues

  • Access to and use of Greenway- there had been many complaints about the state of the temporary Greenway because of lack of regular maintenance. The surface was not fit for purpose and frequent and sufficient resurfacing with wood chippings was not taking place in spite of reassurances.
  • The route of the temporary Greenway from the top of Red Lane across to the existing Greenway would be frequently re-routed because of on-going work there and this would exacerbate the problem of accessibility and re-surfacing of the route.
  • A compound of welfare units had been established in the field at the top of Red Lane without consultation with neighbours or the community.  This showed appalling disregard for the community engagement that was much spoken about but not implemented.
  • It seemed the contractors felt they should communicate only about traffic management and not all the accompanying issues.
  • The committee felt the basic courtesy of communication was not taking place and considered this insulting. 
  • Why should it be left to residents to check the state of everything rather than HS2 employees themselves?

Other HS2 related matters

  • A local elderly resident had fallen from his cycle because of the way barriers had been left. The resident had been put in touch with Diana Dean.
  • A resident of Hodgett’s Lane had complained about contractors – maybe involved in bat watching – parking outside her house during the night and causing a disturbance with chatting loudly, leaving engines running etc. Her verbal complaints had met with abuse. Again, she had been put in touch with Diana Dean
  • Contractors at the top of Red Lane frequently sit in their vans with the engines running constantly. This is in spite of HS2 claiming they are raising the bar on air quality.

A46 Link Road

Communication about this has been delivered to all homes and residents wishing to be involved in the consultation are asked to register their interest at  a46linkroad@warwickshire.gov.uk


There have been reports of blocked drains in Cromwell Lane at the Westwood Heath Road end.  Rona agreed to investigate and to contact Peter Hallam as necessary. Action: Rona

5  Update on and discussion of Residents’ Association initiatives and issues

  • Christmas tree – It was decided to defer the idea of the metal tree for a variety of reasons and plans are now in progress to buy and install a “real” tree with help from Mike Hibberd and Adrian Hickinbottom who are overseeing the project.
  • Christmas cards – Thanks to Faith for liaising with the school.  She and Mary judged the entries and the cards are now being printed.
  • Planting – Thanks to Mary and Hilary for re-planting the flower tubs at the entrances to the village. It was agreed they lift people’s spirits. Plans were taking shape for the schoolchildren to plant bulbs in areas at the top pf Red Lane that have been disturbed by all the construction work. The bulbs would be funded by LM.
  • Cala Homes update on the site – There remain only three unsold properties on the site. The remainder of the empty properties are going to a housing association. Builders aim to be off site by June 2021.
  • HS2 fund- what should we ask for? (Further suggestions welcome) Action: all
Entrance gates
Trees around the village
Top of the tunnel ideas
Village hall signage recycling
A suggestion had been made by LM to put in a bid for tree planting. Mary said consideration was being given to trees with the greatest environmental benefits.Action: Mary
  • Priorities for precept money- ideas so far (Further suggestions welcome) Action: all
Bugle funding
  • Bugle -the next edition was to be distributed on the weekend of December 4th /5th 

6 Greenway Trust Update

Nick Hillard had written an article in the forthcoming edition of the Bugle.

The temporary Greenway was being opened in phases.

A question was raised about accessing the existing Greenway from the Balsall Common end. Paddy said this was now possible. It was stated that the temporary Greenway would be maintained for only 12 months by HS2.

Were there plans for preventing motorbikes from accessing the Greenway?  Hilary would raise this. Action: Hilary

7. Parish Councillor's Report

The Parish Council had agreed to pay WCC£500 to draw up a plan to deter speeding in the village (e.g. installation of speed cushions). WCC had requested a formal consultation to see if a majority of residents agreed with this idea.

8.  Any Other Business

  • Bookings had been placed for use of the Green Room on Wednesdays in 2021.  However, as virtual meeting were likely for the foreseeable future, the committee decided Thursdays were preferable.  Judi agreed to circulate a calendar of dates for virtual meetings. It was also agreed to add the link to each virtual meeting on the agenda. Action: Judi
  • Food bank – collections of donated foods would be collected by volunteers on Sunday December 13th. Details would be in the Bugle. It was pointed out that CALA Homes residents were already donating to a food bank.
  • The Village Hall AGM was to take place virtually on Friday November 27th. Details had been circulated via the Village loop.

9. Date of next Meeting

The next committee meeting was scheduled for January 21st 2020 via Zoom. 

Summary of actions following the meetingResponsible
Community Fund item to remain on agendaJudi
Maintain list of suggestions for funding requestsJudi  
Arrangements for next year’s end of year accountsDianne
Investigation of blocked drains in Cromwell LaneRona
Suggestions for HS2 funding All
Tree planting bidMary
Priorities for precept moneyAll 
Query to Greenway Trust about preventing motorbike accessHilary 
Dates for future meetings and inclusion on agenda of Zoom detailsJudi

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Burton Green Halloween Puzzle

 How many items can you identify in this image? Why are they significant?

You can click the image which will enlarge it, and click again which will enlarge it to a much larger size. That will make some of the text more legible.

Some answers are easy, some are more difficult, and some may require clever guesswork.

The centre of Burton Green used to be along Hob Lane near Moat Farm. That's where the old village green used to be. 

Burton Green expanded up Cromwell Lane and down Red Lane in the 1900s. In the 1800s part of Hob Lane was called Witches Lane. There is a farm named Hob Farm, and also a particular field that used to be named Hob Field.

We do not know exactly why the road was ever called Witches Lane or Hob Lane, or why Hob Field was so-called. 

These are the various symbols which appear in the image...

This is the Hob Lane road sign, at the top of Red Lane. 

The word Hob is related to Hobgoblin.

This is the name on the original Hobgoblins Cottage, in Hob Lane. The old cottage also used to have a black-cat weather vane. 

The original cottage was demolished around 2006 and a new building erected on the same spot

This is the Hobgoblins name on the present building that stands on the site of the old Hobgoblins Cottage in Hob Lane.

Deeds of Hobgoblins Cottage. 

The most recent owner of the cottage (before it was demolished) told me that a cottage had existed on that spot since 1661. 

The cottage was not originally called Hobgoblins; the cottage was given that name much later.

Front cover of a pamphlet published in 1638 titled 'Robin Goodfellow His Mad Prankes and Merry Jests'. 

This is the same character in folklore as Hob, or a Hobgoblin.

Front cover of an edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare. 

It shows the same woodcut figure as the image just above. 

Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream is the same character. 

In the play Puck is addressed as Robin Goodfellow. 

Part of a map of Coventry from 1748.

If you look very carefully you can see a site named Hobbes Well, near the centre of this image. 

This was near to the far end of what is now Fairfax Street (near the bus station). 

Spirits were associated with wells and underground places. 

A Mayor of Hob's Hole was elected each year and forcibly ducked in this well. 

Bilbo Bagins and Gandalf from the Tolkien's story The Hobbit. 

Tolkien said that he invented the name hobbit and intended it to mean 'hole-dweller'. 

He would certainly have known about the word Hob and its various folklore associations.

Scene from the Harry Potter films with the house-elf Dobby. 

Dobby is the term used in Lancashire and Yorkshire  for a hobgoblin. 

The film includes a scene where Dobby is presented with clothes. The notion of presenting a hobgoblin with clothes is part of the folklore tradition.

Quatermass and the Pit was a series originally made in black and white by the BBC in 1957. The action takes place at a fictional location in London called Hobb's Lane which is an important key throughout the story. 

A later version was filmed in colour by Hammer in 1967. Both films follow roughly the same plot. 

Still image from the BBC version of Quatermass and The Pit showing the Hob's Lane name plates.

Still image from the Hammer version of Quatermass and the Pit showing the cover of a fictional pamphlet titled 'The True Historie of the Hobs Lane Ghostes Authentic Testimonial Concerning The Amazing Events At Hobs Lane''

Friday, 23 October 2020

Kenilworth Community Forum Policing Priorities Online Vote October 2020


Suggested priority options:

• Kenilworth Town Centre – Crime Reduction/Prevention Patrols

Burton Green – Speed Checks/Monitoring

• Dalehouse Lane, Kenilworth – Speed Checks/Monitoring

• St Nicholas CofE Community Primary School, Kenilworth – School Safety Patrols

• Crackley Hall School, Kenilworth – School Safety Patrols

Visit https://app.sli.do/event/labxfqyg/live/polls to cast your vote online. 

Voting closes Tuesday 27-OCT-2020. DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!


Kenilworth Safer Neighbourhood Team

01926 684404 

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Draft Minutes of Residents' Association AGM September 28th 2020

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Burton Green Residents’ Association held on September 28th, 2020 via Zoom

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the AGM was held virtually, via Zoom.

Rona welcomed everyone, especially the District and Parish councillors who had joined the meeting.

1 Apologies

Apologies had been received from Dianne Adams, Faith Ward and PCSO Rachael Clayton.  Judi was asked to invite PCSO Clayton to the next BGRA committee meeting.

Action: Judi

2 Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting of September 30th 2019 were accepted.

Proposed: Eileen Nisbet

Seconded: Alan Marshall

3 Matters Arising

Any matters arising were to be covered by agenda points.

4 Chair’s Report

A report had been circulated in advance as follows:

Although COVID-19 has led to a number of disappointing cancellations, the Residents’ Association has still been able to respond to residents’ concerns and support the community in very challenging times. We have been holding our meetings using Zoom.

We are currently developing plans for Christmas 2020 and hope, as in previous years, to collaborate with the Balsall Common Lions in a Santa Sleigh evening which is pencilled in for Saturday December12th. Last year we raised £730 for the Warwickshire Air Ambulance and suggestions for this year’s charity include the Coventry Boot Fund, which provides shoes for needy children, and Trussell Trust Food Bank, Warwick. A decision will be made at the AGM regarding this year’s chosen charity. 

An amendment was made to the report as information had been received that, in the current situation, it would not be possible to arrange the Santa Sleigh at Christmas 2020 and so no charity collection would be held.

It is hoped Burton Green Academy children will again take part in our annual Christmas card competition and plans are afoot for festive lighting on the Jubilee Verge.

As usual, we have published four editions of the Bugle over the past year. This newsletter, greatly valued in “normal” times, has played an even more important role through the pandemic and is the community’s only form of communication which reaches every household. So many elements of the community contribute to it and so many members of the community distribute it. Particular thanks are due to Mary Webb, the editor.

VE Day and VJ Day anniversaries have been commemorated with displays on the Jubilee Verge and residents have appreciated this opportunity to mark the end of World War Two 75 years ago.

It is really disappointing that Burton Green is currently divided for a 16 week period by HS2 road closures, despite promises this would never be imposed on our community. The Residents’ Association has worked in partnership with the Parish Council to challenge HS2 Ltd, calling on Jeremy Wright to champion our cause. We were also very disappointed to have the Greenway closed prior to the full diversion open: another broken promise from HS2.

Despite the ravages of HS2, we continue to look after our environment. Issues concerning roads and pavements are regularly followed up with Warwickshire County Council and the troughs at the entrances to Burton Green are well maintained thanks to residents’ watering and tending.

This has probably been the most challenging year in Burton Green since World War 2. I would like to pay tribute to the people of Burton Green who have maintained our community spirit throughout. I hope next year to be able to report on the return of normal activities and events.

With sadness, Rona added grateful thanks to Peter Tacon who had served the Burton Green community so well and condolences were extended to his wife Lesley and the family after Peter’s untimely and sudden death in July 2020.

Should anyone have any questions regarding the report they were asked to email them to Rona for a response.

5 Treasurer’s Report

Dianne had submitted a report which had been circulated.

The Income & Expenditure Account and Balance Sheet are attached separately.

Rona thanked Dianne for keeping the accounts. If there were any question these too should be sent to Rona who would forward them to Dianne for a response.

6 Election of Independent Examiner

In light of the death of Peter Tacon, Marlene Hills had agreed at short notice to arrange for the accounts to be independently inspected. Thanks were expressed to Marlene for stepping in at very short notice to arrange for the accounts to be examined and for providing her professional oversight for free.

As yet, a permanent Independent Examiner had not been appointed for the future.

7 Election of Committee members

Janet Hickinbottom, as Joint Secretary, conducted this agenda item.

The constitution required that the officers and three committee members should stand down.  All the officers and committee members had agreed to be re-elected for a further year. 

Proposed: Barbara Noronha

Seconded: Jill Line

Unanimously agreed.

Janet said that more residents were very welcome to join the committee, especially those new to the village, and could contact Rona or any other committee member to express interest.

8 Report from Village Hall trustees

Cheryl Wall gave a positive report to the meeting. There had at last been some progress with HS2 after a tortuous procedure over the past few years. HS2 had accepted the tender from the preferred contractor following professional disagreements regarding the tendering process had been overcome. Now HS2 was considering the funding in line with the tender, a process that should last 3-4 weeks.

After this it would be necessary to finalise the contract with the builders; to transfer the land to the Village Hall trustees; to sign a cost agreement involving the building contractors, the funding and the trustees. Trustees’ liability was a key factor which was being sorted out by solicitors.

There was to be a clause in the contract to ensure continuation of the building of the new hall in the unlikely event of HS2 being cancelled.

Building work was unlikely to start before January 2021 and would take 10-12 months.

The impact of the significant road closures had been raised with HS2 and now monthly meetings were to be held to progress the build. Assurances had been received that the existing hall will not be demolished before the new one is available for use.

Cllr Paddy Deeley added that the Greenway diversion through the Village Hall field was still under discussion. She had pointed out on many occasions the various plans highlighting a community orchard on land between the new Village Hall site and the ponds that had been installed. Planting of 1100 trees had already taken place.

Cllr Alan Marshall referred to the Neighbourhood Plan explaining that it was now to go out to consultation for two months.

Cllr George Illingworth explained the process as follows:

Draft plan goes to consultation; amendments are submitted; a final version is considered by WDC which checks it is in line with District policy; final version is sent out for public consultation; any objections are submitted to the examiner who comes back with proposed changes; and it finally goes to a referendum (in this case approximately May 2021).

Cllr Ray Watkins would be asked to provide a summary for the next edition of the Bugle.

Action: Mary

9 Any Other Business

Rona said speeding in the village was a perennial problem. A meeting had been held the previous week between the County Highways Department and some Parish Councillors to consider speed calming measures.

Rona paid tribute to the village Speedwatch team.

Chris Langton brought up concerns about the lack of consultation on the closure of the significant junction at the top of Red Lane.  He had asked HS2 if consultations had been held with the emergency services, Post Office, delivery services etc.  He had received no reply. Other residents gave examples of there being problems with deliveries or failure to notify residents of road closures.  There was general agreement that little or no consultation had taken place.

Chris also raised the matter of the road closure being mentioned in Prime Minister’s Question Time.  This was particularly in light of the effect on the local school, which again had not been informed.

Cllr Illingworth made reference to the threatened oak tree at the junction. A few weeks ago a meeting had been chaired by Jeremy Wright MP and a separate meeting was held with the Senior Engineer regarding the design of the junction. This would be discussed at a webinar the following day between HS2 and Jones Lang Lasalle building contractors.

Cllr Illingworth was thanked for his ongoing support for Burton Green matters. He said many people in the Warwick district were only just becoming familiar with the problems Burton Green was facing and there was much support for residents.

Cllr Paddy Deeley referred to the footpath alongside the properties at the top of Red Lane that was not fit for purpose and there had been complaints. Judi said it was not suitable for cyclists but was being highlighted as the replacement cycle route from Red Lane to the Greenway.

Eileen Nisbet had some postcards available of her painting of the Greenway and these were available from her.

There was no other business

10 Date of Next Annual General Meeting 

The next Annual General Meeting would be held in September 2021 at a date to be agreed.

Thanks were given to the 20 attendees, even extending internationally to Mr Chris Langton who had joined the meeting from Portugal.

Burton Green Neighbourhood Plan Consultation

Work has been ongoing in relation to the creation of the Burton Green Neighbourhood Plan. Some months ago a draft plan was put out for consultation and a final version has now been submitted to the Planning Officer. The council have now put this out for consultation. 

There is one main document (against which comments can be made) and 3 supporting documents.  If you wish to make any comments you can do so online.  This requires you to create an  account and then, where applicable, you can show your support or objection and add any comments for a section when you see the 'comment symbol box'  Alternatively you can submit your comments via email.

The complete details are here:

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Burton Green Residents’ Association AGM Monday 28th September 2020

The Residents’ Association AGM will this year be held on Monday 28th September at 7:30 via  a Zoom Meeting.  If you do not already have Zoom installed then this should be downloaded in advance.  Joining instructions are available on request.

Zoom meeting Agenda

  • Apologies
  • Minutes of the last meeting
  • Matters arising
  • Chair’s report
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Election of Independent Examiner
  • Election of committee members
  • Report from Village Hall Trustees
  • Any other business
  • Date of next meeting Sept 2021


Although COVID-19 has led to a number of disappointing cancellations, the Residents’ Association has still been able to respond to residents’ concerns and support the community in very challenging times. We have been holding our meetings using Zoom.

We are currently developing plans for Christmas 2020 and hope, as in previous years, to collaborate with the Balsall Common Lions in a Santa Sleigh evening which is pencilled in for Saturday December12th. Last year we raised £730 for the Warwickshire Air Ambulance and suggestions for this year’s charity include the Coventry Boot Fund, which provides shoes for needy children, and Trussell Trust Food Bank, Warwick. A decision will be made at the AGM regarding this year’s chosen charity. It is hoped Burton Green Academy children will again take part in our annual Christmas card competition and plans are afoot for festive lighting on the Jubilee Verge.

As usual, we have published four editions of the Bugle over the past year. This newsletter, greatly valued in “normal” times, has played an even more important role through the pandemic and is the community’s only form of communication which reaches every household. So many elements of the community contribute to it and so many members of the community distribute it. Particular thanks are due to Mary Webb, the editor.

VE Day and VJ Day anniversaries have been commemorated with displays on the Jubilee Verge and residents have appreciated this opportunity to mark the end of World War Two 75 years ago.

It is really disappointing that Burton Green is currently divided for a 16 week period by HS2 road closures, despite promises this would never be imposed on our community. The Residents’ Association has worked in partnership with the Parish Council to challenge HS2 Ltd, calling on Jeremy Wright to champion our cause. We were also very disappointed to have the Greenway closed prior to the full diversion open: another broken promise from HS2.

Despite the ravages of HS2, we continue to look after our environment. Issues concerning roads and pavements are regularly followed up with Warwick District Council and the troughs at the entrances to Burton Green are well maintained thanks to residents’ watering and tending.

This has probably been the most challenging year in Burton Green since World War 2. I would like to pay tribute to the people of Burton Green who have maintained our community spirit throughout. I hope next year to be able to report on the return of normal activities and events.