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(....meaning the Hill of the People)


Several of my ancestors lived and worked in the Foleshill area in the north of Coventry. Although now swallowed up by the development of the City of Coventry, in earlier times Foleshill was a distinct and rather spreadout area of rough heathland with a number of groups of houses. There were no large country estates, probably due to the poor quality of the land for agriculture. The coal seams of the North Warwickshire Coalfield extended under the area and several mines were opened up in the north of the district.

Silk weaving developed as a cottage industry and the mid 19th Century censuses showed a large proportion of weavers, winders and associated tradespersons living amongst coal miners. Ribbon weaving was one of the specialities as was Plush weaving.

When the weaving industry in Coventry began to suffer as mechanisation began to appear, the conditions of the weavers lives became very bad. Foleshill gained a reputation for lawlessness and many weavers and other people left the area, the population falling from over 8000 to 6600 in 10 years between 1861 and 1871.

A fascinating insight into the lawlessness and immorality of life in Foleshill in 1841 can be seen in evidence given for the 1841 Handloom Weavers Commission Report.

A link to a web-site giving an excellent history of Foleshill can be found on Foleshill History, which gives a summary for the benefit of Family History researchers.

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