Historic Stoke mansion could soon be turned into student flats

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Historic Stoke mansion could soon be turned into student flats

Postby dutchman » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:36 pm

It was once home to Siegfried Bettmann, a former Lord Mayor of Coventry and founder of the Triumph Cycle Works, and has a rich history

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A Coventry mansion once home to the man who created the world-famous Triumph motorcycle brand could soon be turned into flats.

Elm Bank, on North Avenue, Stoke, was built in the 1870s and later became the home of Siegfried Bettmann, a former Lord Mayor of Coventry and founder of the Triumph Cycle Works.

A blue plaque still honours his time there.

The Victorian mansion has since been used as a teachers club, and most recently was home to Coventry City Council teams including the learning and behaviour support service.

But now it could be brought back to life as a home.

A planning application has been submitted to Coventry City Council asking for permission to turn it into five one bedroom apartments and nine two bedroom apartments.

The plans, submitted by P&K Estates Ltd, are for 14 apartments - five one bedroom apartments and nine two bedroom apartments.

A total of 23 car parking spaces have been proposed – two for each two bedroom apartment and one for the one bedroom apartments.

Elm Bank remained a council building until recently, when it was decided it would be one of the authority-owned buildings sold off as work started on the Friargate development where most council staff will be based.

The mansion was ‘locally listed’ by the council to protect it from redevelopment back in 2017 because of its association with Siegfried and its importance to the identity of Stoke and the industrial history of the city.

A report prepared for the council's planning committee back then said: “The building of 9 North Avenue was built in the 1870s, shortly after the estate of Stoke Park was created.

“It was named Elm Bank because of a large number of elm trees.

"It is a good example of Victorian suburban architecture, and the building includes unusual murals.”

In 1884, Elm Bank was the home of Edward Ralphs, a ribbon manufacture, and in 1889 H. Williamson of Stoke School Board lived there.

But by 1905 its most famous former owner had taken up residence - Siegfried Bettmann, who was one of the co-founders of the Triumph Cycle Company in Coventry.

Bettmann was born in Nuremberg in 1863 but moved to Coventry to start the Triumph Cycle Works with fellow German Mauritz J Schulte, building the sprawling Priory Street works in 1894 and becoming a British citizen.

The following year Bettmann married Annie Meyrick and they made a home in the mansion until his death in 1951, aged 88.

Ramsey McDonald, Prime Minister 1921-31 twice visited Siegfried at Elm Bank in May 1925.

He was president of the Coventry Liberal Association, a freemason, a founder member and president of Coventry’s Chamber of Commerce, a Justice of the Peace, and chairman of the Standard Motor Company, and in 1913 he became Mayor of Coventry - the first non-British subject ever to do so.

But the outbreak of World War II and the anti-German feelings that came with it saw some turn against him and he resigned as mayor.

In 1952, the building was bought by Coventry Education Committee and used as a teachers club and resources centre until that facility moved in 1974 to the former Cheylesmore Council School in Mile Lane, which is now called Elm Bank instead.

The building had more recently become home to Coventry City Council teams, including the Learning and Behaviour Support Service, the Education Psychology Service and the Integrated Primary Mental Health Service.

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