Clicking on the classic postcard view of Bishop Street of 1905 will bring you an up-to-date scene from 2014, which is actually undeservedly flattering. As you can see in further modern views of Bishop Street on the next page, it's now a rather featureless non-entity of a place, with bland rectangular 'lego-block' buildings of no architectural merit.
A century ago, however, it was a street with a little character. (Probably several, in fact !) Its steady incline also posed a bit if a challenge to the early electric trams of the day - I wonder how many tired legs had to complete the journey after alighting an even more tired tram that had failed to climb to the street's northern extremity?
The rows of two and three storey terraced houses were also testimony to just how residential the centre of Coventry once was. The 'blank canvas' rebuild of the post-war years virtually put an end to people populating Coventry's city centre. Only with the projects of recent years have we seen an attempt to get people dwelling in the town centre again.
The small area of cobbles to the right, at the bottom of the photo, is the entrance to Silver Street; and so if the 1905 photographer was to have turned to his right, (and travel back another hundred years) he would've been greeted with a view of the old Grammar School similar to this one.
I was fortunate in 2009 to have been in touch with a man who lived in Bishop Street for several years before the Second World War broke out. Norman Cohen has furnished me with some details that he recalls about various premises in this street, which I will place here in case they help bring back your own memories of the street. You can also read Norman's entertaining account of pre-war life in Coventry on this 'memories' page.
And now here are Norman's recollections of some of the shops that filled Bishop Street....
Bernard Ollerenshaw would like to add his own input to bring this old street to life once more.... "My grandad lived at No. 19 Bishop Street in 1913 before he got married to Ada Allen, who lived at Court 2, House 8, Bishop Street. They married at the Holy Trinity church on 25th December 1913. On the old photo of Bishop Street is No. 19."