Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Friday, 19 November 2010
Bishop Street before the days of the sorting office
Bishop Street
This picture of Bishop Street in 1957 shows a very different post office

On the weekend of Friday, 19 November, the Royal Mail sorting office in Bishop Street, Coventry closed.

A new office in Northampton is due take over its work and the deliveries in Coventry will be coming out of centres in Foleshill and Orchard Retail Park.

The building was built in the 1970s, but BBC Coventry & Warwickshire have tracked down a gentleman who was born in Bishop Street in the 1920s.

Norman Cohen was born - and lived - above a furniture and flooring shop.

The Bishop of Bishop Street's house

He has lived in Israel since 1985, and before that he lived in Leamington Spa, but Norman still has many memories of growing up in Coventry and Bishop Street in particular. His family lived in the building that was originally the Bishop's house. It even had a cellar with a connecting tunnel that took you right through to the cathedral.

Bishop Street and Hales Street
This picture shows the corner of Bishop Street and Hales Street in 1938.

Norman opened the big door to the tunnel once, but was faced with a huge rat - he decided to go no further. He remembers a rat once got into Barford's (the ironmongers) and they shot it as they also sold guns.

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire asked him about what kind of street it was and how it has changed from the one we know today - dominated by the large building that was once a sorting office.

He said: "People mainly lived above the shops. There were two leather shops, the post office (which was very near the site of the sorting office in 2010) and a wonderful tobacconists called Mitten. He used to sell cigarettes by weight. I used to go and buy half an ounce for my father.

"There was also our furniture, lino and carpet shop... but higher up was Pargetters, the funeral undertakers. They had hearses with 18-hand black Belgiam horses that were decorated with ostrich feathers.

"Our stuff used to come by LMS Railway and horse and cart. The horse that used to come to us was Tishey, a great big white stallion. It was wonderful. He always used to put his head in the shop window because my father always gave him a lump of sugar."

For further information and photos on Bishop Street, why not visit the Coventry Now and Then website, which is a great source of local history:

The photos on this page were found as old postcards by Rob Orland from the Historic Coventry website. We are unsure who the photographer was. If you own the copyright and wish for us to take them down, please contact the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire website and we will remove them.

Hands on History

Back in time on the high street
14 Oct 10 |  History



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