Holbrooks

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A railway line in Holbrooks.

Holbrooks, also written Holbrook's, is a residential area of Coventry, West Midlands, England.

Most of the length of the four brooks which pass through the area are covered or culverted, one culvert is adjacent to the recently built housing on Watery Lane. Another brook passes through and under the grounds of Parkgate School. The brooks then head off towards the river Sherbourne and the Sowe.

Holbooks is situated some 3 mi (5 km) north-west to the city centre and was largely developed for private and council housing during the 1950s and to replace the many homes destroyed by air raids during the Second World War.

Some areas are pre-war, Farm Close was built in the 1920s as local industry expanded. A lot of terraced houses were built in Holbrooks around the mid-1930s. One 1930s housing estates is locally known as 'The Dales', a somewhat tired housing estate close to the Ricoh Arena, and separated from it by a railway line and a main road, the A444 Phoenix Way.

The Dales estate was mostly built in 1936, locally named this because it consists of the following streets: Lauderdale Avenue, Kirkdale Avenue, Farndale Avenue, Glaisdale Avenue, Langdale Avenue and Bransdale Avenue. Though the houses on the left when entering Langdale Avenue were built slightly later in the early 1940s and are early examples of a cavity walled brickwork design. The property known as number 8, Langdale Avenue was a dental surgery for many years. Today this estate is troubled by parking problems, a lack of green spaces and any play areas for children.

The 'Stadium' housing estate stands at the rear of Lythalls Lane, is so called because the terraced houses and flats there, were built on the site of a former dog racing stadium. In 1928 the Stadium speedway track opened. The track was closed in 1936 and the following year a greyhound track opened on the site, this remained in use until 1964 when it was replaced by the housing. A nearby area which was once a 'green space' used by local children and pet owners, where several flats and social housing were constructed during 2008-2009. Some of these dwellings face towards the A444 Phonenix Way and the Ricoh and Tesco developments.

Children in Holbrooks now have fewer places to play as various pockets of land are being swallowed up to in-fill, although there is a large park on Holbook Lane, the area is of a largely dense population.

Holbrooks is close to the 2005 Ricoh Arena, (which was designed to have limited parking to promote bus travel and walking) a parking permit scheme is in place.

A promised rail link and arena station has not materialised, despite clear advantages. The railway runs alongside the Ricoh car park and under the A444, perfect routing, however any station has been shelved. Many football fans leaving matches continue to walk along the main A444 dual carriageway towards the M6, as there is no footway at all they risk being struck by fast moving vehicles although the speed limit has been lowered from 70 to 50 mph, more suitable car parking would have seemed sensible.

Motorists visiting Holbrooks on 'match days' must display a visitor's parking ticket or face fines; residents must display permits too. The Ricoh Arena was completed in 2005 and is the home of the city's professional football club, although they do not own the ground. The arena also boasts a hotel; some of the rooms have a view of the pitch, and 17 are 'mini suites' for people on a budget. At the beginning of 2011 an additional 9 rooms were added during a £3.7 million revamp which renamed the hotel De-Vere At The Ricoh, a 650-seat auditorium for live entertainment and new grand entrance with lighting visible from the A444 was also created. One larger room boasts a 'raindance monsoon shower' and another comprises a four-bedroom suite with a 'waterfall bath feature'. The hotel is modern and of contemporary design. The arena is also a pop concert venue, a large casino and conference halls.

Notable acts who have played here include Bon Jovi 2008, Take That June 2009, and reformed Coventry bands The Specials and also The Enemy. Manchester band Oasis played the Ricoh during July 2009 and American act Pink, artist Alecia Moore played during 2010.

Ricoh also hosts; weekend markets,trade and religious conferences, motor industry events,and fun-fairs (outside on the car park)these keep the venue well used. The arena has extensive restaurant and bar facilities and a fitness gymnasium.

Another notable social housing estate in Holbrooks is the area of Everdon Road. Built after the Second World War, and accessed from either Beake Avenue or Holbrook Lane, this is a more spacious well-designed housing estate with mostly three- and four-bedroom houses with large rooms and tall roofs. Also several one-bedroom bungalows with the same tall roof design. Due to the spacious layout of the estate, more bungalows were recently[when?] built as 'infill' and in the future more development is likely.

There are a number of four storey residential flats on Everdon Road too, some have open views across parkland. The shape of the Everdon estate forms a complete loop and includes a small row of shops with flats above. Everdon is regularly used by learner drivers to practice, due to there being many corners, curves and reversing opportunity, plus the road is quiet during the school day. Most houses face onto grassed areas, and the estate is bordered by the large Holbrook Park which is maintained by Coventry City Council.

Today Holbrooks has a diverse and large cultural mix which includes a large number of Polish people. There are two Polish food stores along Holbrook Lane, and several other food outlets and ethnic restaurants. Holbrook Lane is the site of the Former Dunlop Factory. Holbrooks is near to one of the largest Tesco Superstores in Europe. Located in the neighbouring ward of Foleshill and built in 2003, the store has an entire aisle dedicated to foods imported from around the world to satisfy the cultural diversity. Marks and Spencers and Next stores are also located adjacently and Starbucks.

The Coventry Canal runs behind the Tesco site, but the opportunity to incorporate any waterside aspect; waterside cafe or shops facing onto the cut was not considered. Morrisons food store opened in 2010 in Parkgate Road on the site formerly occupied by Somerfield and is an important part of the Holbrooks shopping scene.

Holbrooks is also a short distance from the former British Coal Keresley Colliery site which is now a large industrial estate of warehousing called Prologis Park.

The large wheel from the winding tower was cut into two, and placed on Prologis Park as a reminder of the site's former activity, this stands in monument to the past.

Some occupiers who have used ProLogis Park include GEFCO and Terex Benford, Tesco (warehousing), Co-op, Exel Bridgestone, Mastercare, DHL Exel Supply Chain, Richard Austin Alloys, Inkfish and Domestic & General. Prologis park covers some 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land and includes a 'nature park' and arboreal area with two man-made lakes and some additional marshland where wildlife monitoring takes place. No fishing is allowed, and many species of bird use the habitat.

Under the terrain of Holbrooks (and surrounding areas) are several mined coal seams at a depth ranging of 600–1,500 metres, these coal seams are known as the Warwickshire Thick, locally extracted to the pit head at Keresley from 1917 and until its eventual closure in 1991. The site was then used as a homefire plant until its complete closure in the year 2000. In 1939, at its peak, a million tons of coal was being extracted per year. Keresley coal was distributed via the railway line which still runs through Holbrooks and crosses Wheelwright Lane, the line was completed in 1919.

Today, the line carries freight from Prologis Park, along the same route the coal had taken, crossing Wheelright Lane then running parallel with Winding House Lane, leaving Holbrooks over a cast iron bridge situated at Hen Lane, onwards toward Foleshill and towards Coventry. The bridge at Hen Lane was vandalised several years ago and is still sporting the infamous words "Holbronx Boyz" in spray paint to the elevation facing the A444.

Interestingly 'Holbook's Primary School' is in fact in the adjacent suburb of Foleshill. Schools for primary age (4-11) children in Holbrooks include, Parkgate (one of the largest primary schools in Coventry) using the motto “Opening the Gate to Success” a school which had been two separate but adjacent schools.

Also for primary ages, Holy Family and John Shelton School. Secondary education is provided at President Kennedy School locally referred to as 'PK' in Rookery Lane. Built during the 1960s the site was due for a complete demolition and re-build, until these plans were abruptly stopped by the incoming Coalition Government in 2010 due to immediate financial cuts.

The coal mining and town gas industry was a major source of employment for Holbrooks and Binley areas of Coventry. Mining in the Midlands is still undertaken on a neighbouring coal seam, and coal is still extracted from Daw Mill. Coal mining is far from over under the area with plenty of coal yet to be extracted, although the pit head at Keresley is just a memory.

Coordinates: 52°26′35″N 1°30′32″W / 52.443°N 1.509°W / 52.443; -1.509