Pub 3 : Hickory’s Smokehouse, Cromwell Lane
Formerly the “Peeping Tom” pub
The Peeping Tom is an important part of the heritage of Burton Green. The Peeping Tom acquired that name in the 1860s. But a building has existed on that site since the early 17th Century, and possibly earlier. The earliest known reference to the property is in 1607 when the property was sold for £160. The property changed hands several times, and in 1802 came into possession of the Arnold Family who also gave their name to Arnold’s Farm.
From the 1841 census we can see that, at that time, the property was a smallholding. The property remained a smallholding up to and including the 1861 census. But by 1871 the property had become The Peeping Tom Beerhouse. So the property became a beerhouse sometime between 1861 and 1871.
There have been claims that The Peeping Tom was originally opened to provide refreshments for workers constructing the Kenilworth to Berkswell railway. However, according to the Greenway Trust website, that railway was not built until 1882-1884, so the Peeping Tom Beerhouse predates the railway by at least a decade.
The Peeping Tom in 1910.
The pub sign on the tree, which may be difficult to read, says ‘Peeping Tom by E Cox’.
The caption on this photo stated ‘Early 1900s’, though the photo must be later than 1910, as this is clearly a different building to the 1910 photo (just above). This is probably 1920s.
In the late 1930s.
The 1939 census tells us that the landlord was then Herbert Cowley.
This photo shows his daughter Amy, and wife Grace, standing outside, with Bert Cowley at the window.
Also in the late 1930s.
Bert Cowley is 2nd from the right in this photo.
When Bert Cowley retired, the pub was managed by Amy Cowley and her husband, Charles Aston.
Early 1940s, the Crown Green Bowling Team.
In 1972, after the construction of a brand new building.
This photo was provided by Rick Jowett.
From left to right: John Pinkerton, Vi Cooper (cook),
John Hanley, Bob Cooper, Joe Naylor (Barman), Colin Parkyn
Staff and customers in the late 1970s.
An aerial view in 2005…
About Peeping Tom
|Guinever Maying – by John Collier
Peeping Tom is a character in the story of Lady Godiva. The ride was formerly part of a pagan ritual, possibly a May Day procession, where Tom was the consort of the pagan goddess. When Coventry was Christianised, the story was revised, to its present form. The following quote comes from British History Online Lady Godiva:
“Elements in the Godiva legend and other traditions relating to Coventry provide clues as to the nature of the original cult although any reconstruction must, in the absence of positive proof, remain conjectural. The naked woman with long hair, riding in a springtime procession, is the one constant factor in all variations of the legend and represents a goddess of fertility. The tabu element of the Peeping Tom story may be a genuine part of the original myth, recalling similar penalties for those who intruded on the forbidden rites of other fertility goddesses. Like the intruder in other tabu stories, however, Peeping Tom may have played a more positive part in the ritual, as the priest-king, the consort of the goddess who was sacrificed to ensure the fertility of the crops and herds, and well-being of the community.”