A Portrait of Kenilworth in Street-Names
Two editions of this book were written and published by Dr Geoff Hilton, in 2000 and 2003, both quickly sold out and a third was always contemplated.
However, Geoff left town with the task unfulfilled and he asked if I wished to take over the project. It was my own published work revealing the stories behind many of Kenilworth’s road developments that led to the approach.
The result is this third, fully updated and revised edition, involving a re-examination of each entry to include much newly-uncovered information, and of course including more recently built roads.
Also, street name-plates are photographically examined, from standard modern plates to the KUDC era, the oldest (past 125 years) to the curious (including the spectacular early post-war concrete structures), and even one simply painted on a wall!
Extensive referencing entices the reader to discover more.
72 A5 pages, fully illustrated, £5. Now only £4
Incorrect date is given; 26 houses are recorded in 1963-64 Directories, but none in 1961. (Correction courtesy Geoff Whiteman).
Church Drive is erroneously referred to as Church Lane in the entry for Southbank Road. (Correction courtesy of Sam Sexton).
Dr John Proctor Harger (1913- 1982). Practised in Kenilworth from c1938 continuously until retirement in October 1978, continued to live in Kenilworth for the rest of his life. Was for many years a churchwarden at St Nicholas and one of his legacies, out of his own necessity, was to arrange and fund the installation of a toilet in the Vestry – known as “the Harger loo”
Since publication, new roads were created in 2020; each carries the name of Kenilworth citizen who fell in the Great War:
James Harris: Private 5893, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. Killed in action 3rd February 1918, aged 34. Buried in Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery British Extension, Pas-de-Calais, France. II. G. 21. Son of Mr Charles and Mrs Elizabeth Harris of Birmingham. Husband of Elizabeth Harris of 42 Henry St, Kenilworth.
Richard Henry Harris: Private 242775, 2nd/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Died 3rd April 1918, aged 36. No known grave. Commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, Somme, France. Panel 18 and 19. Son of Mr Charles and Mrs Annie Harris of St John’s Street, Kenilworth. He was married and also lived in St John’s Street.
Details taken from http://www.kenilworth-war-memorial.org.uk
It has not been determined if the road is named specifically after James or Richard.
MARTIN, Austin: Private 153, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Austin was wounded in action on 6th October 1914, and died from the effects on 15th June 1920, aged 34; he is buried in Kenilworth Cemetery. Austin was a regular soldier before the war, and after it worked as Kenilworth’s swimming pool attendant until succumbing to his injuries. He was a son of Mr Edward and Mrs Elizabeth Martin of 34 Spring Lane, husband of Minnie Martin of 51 Albion Street, father to a son, and brother of Charles James W Martin (see below).
MARTIN, Charles James W: Sergeant 82985, 34th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (Inf), formerly 16398 Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Charles was killed in action on 14th October 1918, aged 22 and is buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, (XVII. L. 12). Charles was a postman, the youngest son of Mr Edward and Mrs Elizabeth Martin of 34 Spring Lane, and brother of Austin Martin (see above).
MARTIN, Harold Charles: Lance Corporal 25388, 14th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Harold was killed by a sniper on 2nd May 1916, aged 25, and is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery, Nord, France, (VI. P. 31). Harold, a member of the Kenilworth Post Office staff, was a son of Mr Joseph and Mrs Fanny Martin of 16 Wills Street, Lozells, Birmingham.
It has not been determined if the road is named specifically after one or all the Martin family members..
The new development, The Pavilions, alongside the Kenilworth Cricket Club also carries the names of Kenilworth Great War fallen:
HEWITT, Frank: Lance Corporal 22778, 4th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Frank was wounded in April 1917, and died at Hollymoor Military Hospital, Northfield, Birmingham on 15th August 1919, aged 21; he is buried in St Nicholas’ Churchyard. Frank was the second son of Mr Harry and Mrs Sarah Georgina Hewitt of Mill End, and brother of William Charles Hewitt (see below).
HEWITT, William Charles: Rifleman 5449, 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade. William was killed in action in France, on 19th December 1914, aged 18; he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainut, Belgium, (Panel 10), and is also commemorated on his brother Frank’s gravestone in St Nicholas’ Churchyard. William worked at Dunlop and was the eldest son of Mr Harry and Mrs Sarah Georgina Hewitt of Mill End, and brother of Frank Hewitt (see above).
HICKMAN, Thomas William: Private 21861, 8th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. Known as William, he was killed in action in France on 18th August 1916, aged 27; he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France, (Pier and Face 11D). William, a brickmaker’s labourer, was the elder son of Mr and Mrs Hickman of Mill End. When fighting alongside each other, his brother Harry was seriously wounded but William carried him back through the lines to safety; William was killed just a week later, but due to his efforts, Harry survived the war.
MITCHINER, George: Rifleman A/3702, 10th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. George died on 12th December 1915, aged 19, and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France, (VI. A. 17A). George worked at Dunlop, was a committee member of Abbey Hill Football Club, a son of Mr Thomas and Mrs Elizabeth Mitchiner of 182 Warwick Road, and brother of Harry Mitchiner (see below).
MITCHINER, Harry: Able Seaman 235318, H.M.S. Hampshire, Royal Navy. Harry drowned onboard H.M.S. Hampshire on 5th June 1916, aged 26, and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, (Panel 13). The Secretary of State for War, Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, was also drowned. Harry had joined the Navy aged 16, was the second son of Mr Thomas and Mrs Elizabeth Mitchiner of 182 Warwick Road, and brother of George Mitchiner (see above).
PARKYN, Leonard Norman: Private 42330, 2nd Rifle Brigade, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Leonard was wounded in action and taken prisoner in March 1918, was released in January 1919, in hospital in Scotland until July 1919, and died at his home on 13th August 1920, aged 21; he is buried in the family grave at Kenilworth Cemetery. Leonard worked as a waggoner at Pleasaunce Farm, was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs W Parkyn of Pleasaunce Farm Cottages, and brother of William Jacob Parkyn (see below).
PARKYN, William Jacob: Private 242560, 6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. William was killed in action on 27th August 1917, aged 22, and is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, (VIII H. 12). William, a labourer at Pleasaunce Farm, was a son of Mr and Mrs W Parkyn of Pleasaunce Farm Cottages, and brother of Leonard Norman Parkyn (see above).
STANLEY, Harry: Private 202794, 2/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Harry served in France, and died in the Ministry of Pensions Hospital, Leicester, on 5th September 1923, aged 43. Harry was a coachman to Lord Ernest Seymour at The Firs, husband of Cecilia Stanley of 31 High Street, and father of three children.
STANLEY, James Thomas: Private 1618, 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. James was killed in action on 12th November 1914, aged 22, and is buried in Poperinge Old Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, (I. L. 65). James was a son of Mr George and Mrs Ellen Stanley of Bulkington Cottages, husband of Frances Amelia Stanley, (later Mrs King of 27 Queen’s Road, Peckham, London), and brother of John Stanley (see below).
STANLEY, John: Private G/29153, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), formerly 43040 Hampshire Regiment. John was killed in action on 22nd August 1918, aged 19, and is buried in Beacon Cemetery, Sailly-Laurette, Somme, France, (VI. J. 5). John was a son of Mr George and Mrs Ellen Stanley of Bulkington Cottages, and brother of James Thomas Stanley (see above).
WILKSHIRE, Frederick Richard: Lance Sergeant, R/3718, 11th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Frederick was killed in action on 4th April 1917, aged 20, and is buried in Bancourt British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France, (II. G. I). Frederick was a gardener to Harry Quick of Belmont on Abbey Hill, a member of the Abbey Hill Football Club, a son of Mr Charles Wilkshire of Bridge Street, and brother of William Wilkshire (see below).
WILKSHIRE, William: Private 498, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. William was killed in action on 25th April 1915, aged 33; he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium, (Panel 8). William was a regular soldier for ten years, serving in India for six, a son of Mr Charles Wilkshire of Bridge Street, and brother of Frederick Richard Wilkshire (see above).
A comprehensive article detailing the background to the above namings can be found in Kenilworth History, 2021
On 19th July 2023, Cllr Richard Dickson announced on Kenilworth Vibes Facebook page the names chosen for the new roads on the Kenilworth Gate development, part of the Thickthorn Estate. The history of Thickthorn and detailed biographies of its residents can be found in Kenilworth People & Places, Volume 2
Thomas Bates Road Thomas Bates Restored Thickthorn, completed 1958, when demolition looked likely and lived there until his death in October 1974. His firm built literally hundreds of Kenilworth houses from the 1940s, beginning with the first post-war council houses in Guy Road. Bates was one-time Master of the North Warwickshire Hunt and became its chairman. He put Thickthorn’s extensive grounds to use, allowing it to be used for Gymkhanas and the Kenilworth Agricultural Show, as well as allowing Kenilworth Rangers Football Club (now Kenilworth Town) to play there for free.
Pennington Way The Pennington family lived at Thickthorn, 1865-1884. The father William died in 1869 but his son, also William, was a captain in the Royal Warwickshire regiment, and was elected to the Local Board of Health. As a family they began Thickthorn’s association with the children of St John’s by providing annual teas and amusements for the Sunday School children (including a parade through town headed by a band), and the parish’s 150 schoolchildren, (including playing cricket and rounders, organising sports races, and providing the food). The events often not finishing until 7 p.m. The Penningtons also made donations to, and were involved with, Kenilworth’s Convalescent Home and Warneford Hospital.
Beard Close George Beard owned an engineering firm that designed and produced in countless millions the ‘Kirby grip’ hairpin, which is still in production today. Whilst living in Kenilworth at Thickthorn (1884-1906), Beard was High Sherriff of Warwickshire, was a St John’s Churchwarden and made many donations to the church and its members, including paying for an entire new heating system c1900.
Aldridge Way and Devis Drive Thomas Devis Aldridge was from a Kenilworth farming family, he had ‘Thickthorn’ built c1811. Devis was his mother’s maiden name, also a long-standing Kenilworth family. He is buried in St Nicholas churchyard.
Edwin Gee Road At one time called ‘The grandfather of the Council’, Edwin Gee served on the KUDC for a total of 39 years, being elected on 4th April 1898 when aged 43 and retiring on 15th April 1937; this is I believe a record of service unsurpassed on any of Kenilworth’s governing bodies. He was a major farmer on the western side of Kenilworth. In addition, he was most enthusiastic in the provision of Council housing and made some of his land available for developments at Roseland Road, Watling Road, and Guy Road. He died in 1940; descendants still live in the town.