So within eight years of Rev. John Craig’s death the Priory had changed out of all recognition. The grounds had been sold and houses, including those lining the northern side of the street today, had been built, confirmed by the brickwork on the chimney stacks of said houses which bear the date 1885.
Totally at odds
A photograph of the Priory taken only a few years before its demolition shows the facade looking totally at odds with what remained of the original 1827 building behind. The mansion had been partially demolished, and a large warehouse/depot built onto its eastern side. While I have no evidence to prove or indeed disprove this, I believe that at this point a facade was added to the parts of the buildings facing Priory Terrace. This gave the impression that what remained of the old priory and the new warehouse had always been one building. The plans and maps show it as one building but they are recorded in the directories as numbers 3 & 5 Priory Terrace. While the numbers in the electoral rolls sometime contradict those in the directories, generally the mansion is number 3 and the warehouse is number 5.
The plans for the warehouse/depot1 were submitted on behalf of Mr J. Reynolds and dated 22nd May 1880. James Gastineau Reynolds who ran a furniture removals and storage business is recorded as living in Coventry on the 1881 census. By the time the Electoral Roll for 1882 was compiled on 31st December 1881 he is given as living at the Priory.
Use of the building
Although Mr Reynolds passed away on 3rd January 1888, J. G. Reynolds & Co. are listed as occupying the warehouse until 1911. The 1910 Finance Act register2 record the owners of the Priory/Warehouse as the Reynolds executors. In 1911 Pickford’s are also recorded as occupiers of the warehouse. Then from 1912 onwards Pickford’s are sole occupiers, so I would assume the Reynolds executors sold the mansion and warehouse to Pickford’s in 1911
After 1940 neither Pickford’s nor the warehouse are recorded in Priory Terrace, so I would assume this must be when it became part of the General Post Office (GPO) complex. Although a large part of the mansion had been demolished to build the warehouse, it was still a substantial property, with the 1911 census recording it as having some 15 rooms. Plus of course it still had the lovely views across the river to the Jephson Gardens.
1 Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR2487/Z2091
2 Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR1978/1/43