This building was erected in 1783-4 by architect Samuel Eglinton and used for the county court and quarter sessions. It remained in use as a court until 1988 and then stood empty for a while but has now been converted into a club called – rather wittily – ‘The Establishment’. It stands near the Cathedral in Cuckoo Lane, next-door to the prison governor’s house (all that now remains of Coventry gaol). Inside can be seen the Judge’s chair, the public gallery, cell doors and keys from the gaol.
The last public execution in Coventry was held in Cuckoo Lane outside here in 1849 when a huge crowd assembled to see 31-year old Mary Ball hung. She had been convicted of using arsenic to poison her husband, Thomas, a local ribbon weaver. The jury’s recommendation for mercy fell on deaf ears and she was sentenced to death. The couple had lost five of their six children and led a stormy life. Mary eventually confessed to the crime shortly before her end.