Answering questions,     1st May 2020               45/22   likes/comments

A slightly different one today, answering some of your questions from last time out.

First up, Liz Halford asked about Watling Road and a WW2 bomb. Yes indeed there was one, next to Number eleven I’ve been told, perhaps in the gap between it and the next house. It was a stick that landed in a line from Watling Road, in the railway embankment next to the gas works (that was close!) and onto the Common. The assumption is the gas works and industry with a railway yard, and the railway bridge were deliberately targeted. I don’t know the date for this or even if it was daytime so any extra details at all that your neighbour can give, how much damage for example, will be most welcome. There is a story that at least one on the common buried itself rather deep in the soft ground and was not retrieved so could still be there; I know the location but I’m not telling for obvious reasons! Watling Road at the time was only the first bit; the bit at the top was allotments during the war. I may expand a little about the houses another time, and some other WW2 stuff.

Now the dog track down Rouncil Lane, mentioned by Victoria Walton and Steve Cain. The information I have is that a 300 yard dog track was set up, and then planning permission was sought to make it permanent; this failed, went to appeal, and failed again. The man involved was a Jim Lloyd, and Fernhill Farm rather than Fernwood is always mentioned. This is not something that I have particularly investigated but should somebody wish to it is featured in the following editions of the KWN which can be viewed at Kenilworth Library, once it re-opens: 29th June 1961, 3rd October 1962, 3rd November 1962, 1st June 1963, 19th October 1963. It must also be in KUDC minutes and planning applications. If somebody takes it up, then please report back!

Paul Bagworth and Douglas Hilton Faulcanbridge both asked about tomato growing; I don’t have anything too specific, but as Juie Shetye also asked about Henry Whateley, and Alan Ratcliffe about the nursery his house was built on, perhaps I could put together a piece about Kenilworth’s market gardens in general.

Paddy Deeley asked about Mr Tisdale who gave the town Crackley Woods. Again, not something I’ve researched too deeply but the area that today makes up the publicly owned portion of the woods came in two parts; the first came from Earl of Clarendon, I think in the 30s but may have been earlier, and the second was indeed a gift from George Tisdale in 1948. I think it was more or less half each of today’s 40 odd acres. In the 1930s there was a terrific fire on the part south of the railway line that completely destroyed about 20 acres of the woods which in part explains why there are not many particularly old trees in much of it.

George Tisdale was another of those all-round ‘good eggs’. He also bought an old church on Rosemary Hill and donated it for use by an established group of local thespians, and of course it became the Priory Theatre.

And finally for this little session, Juie again asked about the actual well in Borrowell Lane. Local expert on properties and land in the medieval period, Steven Wallsgrove, concluded the well was the ‘borough well’ for all to use, as opposed to one on private land, so the lane it was in took its name, which over time has been corrupted to borrow-well. The well itself, which is more a spring than a well, is believed to be the place where Queen Elizabeth I stopped for a drink on her way to the castle, and we can only guess how old it is. It is no longer in its original position, it was channelled in and moved when the road was widened, I think in the 1920s.

That’s it for today. Keep the questions coming, and please feel free to add any details you may have on the above, including corrections if I have anything wrong! I’ll be back in a couple of days with another full article.