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ANY QUESTIONS: The story of St Joseph's.

THE mystery picture of an imposing Victorian mansion (Any Questions January 12), was immediately recognised by Earlsdon reader Marjorie Russell. She writes:

"The large private house in the photograph used to look out onto Gosford Green and was where the Sisters of Mercy ran St Joseph's Convent.

"I started there at the age of five straight after the First World War, and was a pupil until I left at the age of 14. There were six teachers among the sisters and the others were domestic staff. My favourite subject was art and drawing, and the teacher for that subject came from outside the convent.

"I remember Mr Wood the gardener, who lived with his wife in the cottage on the right. You can see the chapel next to it with a large window and cross above. At the other end lived Father Beech, a retired clergyman who conducted religious services. "We used to save up our pennies for charity, and when there was a substantial sum of money we would go to the Workhouse in Gulson Road to give presents of Woodbines to the men residents and sweets to the ladies.

... BOB JONES, Bursar at St Joseph's, Kenilworth, recalled the present- day school's fascinating past.

He said: "The Sisters of Mercy originally arrived in Walsgrave Road, Coventry in 1862, where they founded a day and boarding school overlooking the green. Pupil numbers continued to grow right through until World War II, and with the possibility of air raids the nuns and pupils were obliged to evacuate. The move to Stoneleigh Abbey was fortuitous because in April 1941 the convent was destroyed beyond repair.

The sisters then purchased Crackley Hall, a large, gabled, Edwardian building on the outskirts of Kenilworth, and moved there in 1945. The hall with its spacious grounds was occupied by the sisters as a convent and The Gables, the adjoining gentleman's residence, became the school.

In 1991, the sisters withdrew from the educational field and an independent trust was formed, taking over the school and expanding into the former convent building. The sisters retained part of the grounds which were subsequently sold for residential development.

The school is now administered by a board of governors which is strongly committed to St Joseph's tradition of providing a caring Christian environment linked with academic success.

WHY does double-cross mean to betray?

DOUBLE-CROSS came into use in about 1870, apparently as an English racing term describing the common practice of winning a race after promising to arrange a Cross to lose it.

Cross, for a pre-arranged swindle or fix, dates back to the early 19th century, and was used by Thackeray in Vanity Fair to describe a fixed horse race.

The word double is meant in the sense of duplicity, so double cross means dishonestly about dishonesty. (Information from QPB Encyclopaedia of Word and Phrase Origins).

Brian Sunderland,


WHERE was Brewery Street or Lane in Coventry 100 years ago, and did it have an association with a brewery?

AS far back as 1845 there was a Brewery Street in Coventry.

It was a short thoroughfare beween Leicester Street and Henry Street, and survived until around the time of the First World War.

There was no brewery there, but a Mr W Micklewright who lived at number 14 was listed as a brewer in 1874/5.

A more likely reason for the street name however, was William Ratcliffe's brewery in nearby Leicester Row (by the Canal Basin) which was in business for about 30 years.

Bernard Moore,

The Mount, Cheylesmore.


CYRIL ROBERTS, of Middlemarch Road, Radford, asks: "Who was the first to introduce Larry Grayson to BBC television?"

KATHLEEN ASKEW, of High Street, Cubbington, asks: "Is there any evidence in city records to suggest the origins of Coventry? What was Cofa's tree?"

CHRISTINE BUCHANAN, of Capmartin Road, Radford, has a statue of Lady Godiva which originally belonged to her grandparents. Standing about 19 inches high, she understands it's at least 40 years old. "Can anyone tell me exactly where it was made and who made it?" she asks.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Draper, Keith
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 27, 2000
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