Smith Street, Warwick

A poem

Photograph of The Roebuck Public House, Smith Street, Warwick, 1949. The photograph includes Brook House, now demolished.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH 1260/1. Photographer Walter Andrews.


You can’t ride your horse up Smith Street any more,
You can’t find a shop with “Maypole” on the door,
You can’t find an “L.C.M. or E.M.C.” for meat.
They mended boots and saddles in the old Smith Street.
Misty-eyed in Coton End in wintry ice and snow
I couldn’t seem to see the ugly signs saying “NO”.
“NO ENTRY” from St John’s unless you’re on your own two feet –
So I drove my covered wagon up the old Smith Street.
I lef the cosy Roebuck and its darkly-timbered charms
And I whipped my team of horses to the yard of Castle Arms.
There was none to say us nay as we tore uphill a treat,
And they took me at a gallop up the old Smith Street.
Poor Walter Savage Landor (born in 1775
In the house below the Eastgate). Would he wish to be alive?
(He died in distant Florence but deserved a better fate)
And I drove my wagon past in through the great Eastgate.
Lamps are brought today in Smith Street but some lights have fallen still.
(There’s one that’s missing – where’s “The Volunteer”?)
So I shut my eyes and start my car and drive it up the hill,
And the Warwick townsfolk can’t forbear to cheer.
For on that day that never was,
And none will dare repeat,
There were cars in all directions
On our old Smith Street
[December 1981]

This poem was originally published in the Friends of the Warwickshire County Record Office Newsletter, August 1989, and is reproduced with their permission.

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