The Spon Spun Festival
What is Spon Spun?
Spon Spun is an Arts and Heritage Festival in Spon End, Coventry. The first festival was held in 2016 and was led by the Albany Theatre outreach team with support from a number of local partners. Spon Spun is now an independent, not-for-profit organization with a management group made up of representatives from arts and heritage organizations operating in Spon End.
The Festival programme is supported by and developed in consultation with local residents and community organizations. The aim of the Festival is to foster wellbeing and social cohesion in the area by bringing a wide variety of people together to celebrate the rich heritage and stories, past and present, of Spon End.
Spon End is one of the oldest areas in Coventry. In the 12th century it was known as ‘Sponn’ or ‘Spanne’, a wooded approach to the west of the city. It was an independent community, with its own common, fields, wood, mill and waste. Spon End was outside of the City Wall. It was the main approach to the city from Shrewsbury and Chester – important centres at that time. People entered the city through Spon Gate which was next to St John the Baptist Church, which is still standing and is a much loved and used Parish Church.
In medieval times many trades took advantage of the River Sherbourne in Spon End – dyers, tanners, whittawers, carriers and weavers. By the 1800s watchmaking was the main source of work in the area. In the 18th and early 19th Century Spon End was the only area outside the city wall where development was permitted and consequently this period saw the development of terraced streets to house the rapidly expanding population. Many famous industrial names are associated with Spon End including J K Starley, inventor of the modern safety cycle and founder of Rover.
Although Spon End was not bombed as heavily as other parts of Coventry in World War II, in the 1950s and 60s the area saw extensive demolition to make way for concrete social housing. A small portion of Spon Street within the ring road was preserved and restored, but the larger part of Spon Street / Spon End was left cut off from the City Centre by the ring road.
Spon End is now home to a rich and diverse community and a number of cultural and community organizations.
With thanks to Coventry Society for the information on this page. Follow this link to find out more about Spon End’s history http://www.coventrysociety.org.uk/coventry-neighbourhoods/spon-end.html