The Eliot House
Model Lodging House
Proprietor – Jesse Clarke 1912/13
A large building on Abbey Green which stood for many years between Central Avenue and Aston Road was what one might term a “common lodging house” generally for work men, possibly staying there if working away from their distant homes, if in the Nuneaton area, working on say installation of mining or brick making equipment, boilers or machinery, or by single local men, in employment or with modest income, but otherwise homeless.
For this reason little has been reported on it, but the feed back I have had, talking to old timers over the years, is that it was spartan basic accommodation with single rooms furnished in a rudimentary manner which offered little entertainment other than playing cards, smoking, or reading the paper, and I am not sure that even any food was provided. It could be that this was purchased in the local shops and brought back to be either eaten cold or cooked on the premises.
An old Nuneatonian, now long since deceased, Jim Gordon, who left Nuneaton to join the army in 1943, says he recalls his uncle Pat Molloy, a former local policeman, who retired and kept the Kings Head public house in Abbey Street, told him about a regular customer who used to live at the Lodging House, used to drink in the Kings Head seven nights a week and never ate solid food. Jim said Pat told him he lived on beer!
What long-term effect this had on him was not known. I assume one night he left the bar in an inebriated state and never returned or was seen again. Presumably he did not make old bones.
It was still there in the late 1930’s and may have survived into the 1950’s but I do not have a demolition date, or have ever seen a photograph of the building.
There seems to have been tiers of lodgings for people back then:
Hotels like the Newdigate Arms & The Bull for visiting businessmen and wealthy people.
Some pubs like the Castle Inn, The Queens Head, etc. had accommodation, and there were guesthouses such as the Windsor guesthouse or Morgan’s Hotel, which would accommodate tradesmen of various types.
Then to provide lodgings for the working classes “low lodging houses”.
And if people could not afford accommodation – The Workhouse!
People also had lodgers, and if you were a relative and visiting local families they far more often “put you up” in their own homes than we do now.