Whitley, Coventry

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Whitley Common is a large expanse of grassland with some recreation facilities and football pitches

Whitley is a suburb of southern Coventry in the West Midlands of England.

Industry and commerce[edit]

Whitley was formerly one of the sites for quarrying the red stone used in older buildings in the city of Coventry.The remains of the quarries can be seen in Whitley wood and were incorporated into landscaping for Whitley abbey providing a walkway below ground level from the lake to the river. The steep end of the lake featured a cascade which could be turned on as required, possibly fed from the reservoir under where the cricket nets were in the mid 70s. It is now the home of the Whitley plant, which is the Engineering Centre and Headquarters of Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover. The facility is a fully integrated design, research and development centre for all current and future Jaguar products. Originally it was an aerodrome and then the premises of Armstrong Whitworth, before being used by British Aerospace, Rootes, Chrysler UK and PSA Talbot.

In the 1990s (approx), a supermarket was built on the site of the former Whitley Hospital. The supermarket was originally owned by Safeway. After the 2004 takeover by Morrisons, it was sold on to Asda. Whitley has a number of small shops, takeaways and businesses including a hair salon and an in-car entertainment shop. Whitley also has an IBIS hotel and a large sports centre.

Whitley Abbey Bridge[edit]

Whitley Abbey Bridge and the bollards across Abbey Road
Postcard of the bridge & mill, Whitley.

The Whitley Abbey Bridge which passes over the River Sherbourne at the bottom of Abbey Road is now blocked off to road vehicles, but before Thomas Telford built the current London Road, it formed part of the main London to Holyhead coaching route. The mill which stood next to the bridge had been unused since the 1880s, but remained occupied until it was demolished in the 1950s.

Whitley Abbey[edit]

Until the turn of the 19th century, Whitley had its own identity based around a principal grand house which was built in the 14th century. Contrary to popular belief, it was this house which bore the name "Whitley Abbey" and not a monastic residence. Several changes and additions to the house took place over the following centuries until the entire estate was sold in 1924, and the house fell into disrepair. Planning permission was granted during the 1950s to build Whitley Abbey Comprehensive School on the site, which was later demolished to make way for Whitley Abbey Community School later named Whitley Business & Enterprise College, but was recently re-opened by Princess Anne and is now called Whitley Academy. It is one of the seven RSA Academies in the country, all in the West Midlands.[1]

St James' Church[edit]

From 1938 to 1951, Church of England worship had been held in the chapel in the grounds of Whitley Abbey. Prior to that, services had been held in several temporary locations. In 1951 a dual-purpose church/community hall was constructed and opened on Abbey Road. In 1967, work on a new St James' Church and vicarage was started, alongside the previous building. The new church opened in 1968, the old church becoming the church hall.


Whitley has three schools: Whitley Academy, Alice Stevens School, and Whitley Primary.there is also baginton fields special school nearby Whitley Academy is a secondary school and sixth form for boys and girls, 11 and 18 years old. It was formally opened in 2012 by Princess Anne as an official RSA Academy.Previously it was whitley abbey comprehensive school opened in 1953 and built using the clasp building system Riverbank Academy is a special school (state sector) for boys and girls, 11 to 19 years old.

Coventry Zoo[edit]

Whitley was the home to Coventry Zoo from 1966 until 1980. There was a seven metre tall fibreglass Zulu warrior holding a spear at its entrance and was a popular visitor attraction. After the zoo closed, the Zulu was going to be moved to another site, but it broke up. The Warwickshire Racquet & Health Club[2] (formally known as Esporta and the Coventry Racquet Centre), originally built in 1983, currently occupies the site.



  1. ^ "Our Academies". RSA Teaching School Alliance. Royal Society of Arts. Retrieved 18 November 2017. 
  2. ^ Mullen, Enda (15 October 2017). "Why did Coventry Zoo close and what happened to its Zulu warrior?". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 18 November 2017. 

Coordinates: 52°23′35″N 1°29′37″W / 52.393°N 1.4936°W / 52.393; -1.4936