from the Spon End Building Preservation Trust have discovered that the 14th century timber
frame building that they are planning to restore in Spon End also has connections with the
birth of Coventry's motor and aircraft industries.
The discovery was made whilst members of the Trust researched the buildings history in
order to produce a funding application for English Heritage. The building, known locally
as Black Swan Terrace, is situated on the corner of Upper Spon Street and Barras Lane. It
is Grade 2* listed but is currently on the English Heritage 'At Risk' register. The Trust
hope to secure funding to commence work on the building in the spring. The cost of the
project is estimated at over a million pounds.
The link with Coventry's car industry has however come as a suprise. The
stables to the rear of the former Black Swan public house were used by the Glover brothers
in 1909/1910 to build their first production car. Even more remarkably the same brothers
also constructed an aeroplane on the site in an attempt to win the Daily Mail challenge
for the first flying machine to cross the English Channel. However the brothers were
beaten to the £10,000 prize by the famous Bleriot in 1909.
This has been described as a remarkable discovery and when added to the other evidence
of the buildings association with the cloth trades, silk ribbon weaving and watchmaking it
makes it the only building in the city which can trace its history from cloth to cars over
600 years of Coventry's industrial development.