Earlsdon’s Lost Industrial Heritage

1905 Rexette
1905 Rexette, ‘the king of little cars’ made in Osborne Road, Earlsdon.

Monday 11th March 2019 at 7.30 p.m. at the Shopfront Theatre, City Arcade.

John Purcell, from the Earlsdon Research Group

Earlsdon was created in 1852 by the Freehold Land Society. Gradually weavers and watchmakers bought plots and built their houses, often with ‘top shops’.

Weavers soon were driven out of business. By 1891 71 houses were devoted to watchmaking employing around half of the working population. But 10 years later the industry was in deep trouble.

What were the apprenticed son’s of skilled watchmakers to do? Thus began a flourishing period of bicycle, motor bike and motor car innovation and manufacturing together with machine tools, tubular bells and motor components. The biggest employers in the 1920s had over 200 workers often crammed into a small side street.

Many closed before the 2nd World War or had moved to bigger premises. Virtually all were gone by the late 20th century. In this illustrated presentation John Purcell looks at some of the people involved, what they did and what little remains of their legacy: a legacy worth celebrating.


Crown Bakery 3
Crown Bakery

John Purcell is a former academic with a research and teaching interest in employment relations. He has worked for many government agencies and written books on industrial relations issues and management. He is an active member of the Earlsdon Research Group.

Coventry Society meetings are free for members. Visitors are welcome and asked to make a voluntary donation of £2 towards costs. 

Non members are welcome to book free tickets here. 

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