SK2504 : Alvecote Priory from the mound in Pooley Country Park

taken 33 years ago, near to Alvecote, Warwickshire, Great Britain

Alvecote Priory from the mound in Pooley Country Park
Alvecote Priory from the mound in Pooley Country Park
Britain’s premier rock eccentric, Julian Cope (formerly of the Teardrop Explodes) shot the cover photographs for his second solo LP, “Fried” (November 1984), here: Cope is seen crawling on the mound and standing in the swamps below, naked except for a huge turtle shell. The LP’s first track, “Reynard the Fox”, as well as recapitulating the incident in spring 1984 when Cope slashed his stomach onstage at the Hammersmith Palais (I was there, and it wasn’t pretty!), gives directions to this spot:
“Reynard left and went to Warwickshire: to a mound by a railway line, with canals and a freezing swamp. He climbs high, and breathes freely. To the south he could see Polesworth, and to the north he could just make out the ruins of the priory, where Joss [Cope’s brother] and I played cricket as children. We were only three miles away [i.e., in Cope’s home town of Tamworth], probably drinking tea and talking...”
In this view, a ruined arch from Alvecote Priory is right of centre in the middle distance, to the right of the parked cars.
Pooley Country Park :: SK2503
Coal has been mined in Polesworth at least since the time of the Norman abbey. By the 17th Century, the industry was firmly established, with many small pits being worked in and around the village. The extension of the Coventry Canal through Polesworth in 1790 and the opening of the Trent Valley railway in 1848 encouraged a steady growth in coal production.

In 1847 a coal mine was sunk on the Pooley Hall Estate, not far from the main House. The first deep shaft was sunk in 1848. The mine was completed in 1849 and coal began to be extracted in 1850. A wharf was constructed on the Canal for the Colliery and a branch line was built to connect it to the Trent Valley Line (now part of the West Coast main line), that ran through nearby Polesworth.

By 1900, work had become concentrated in just three sites: Pooley Hall, Birchmoor and Birch Coppice collieries. Pooley Hall Colliery (established in 1897) had one of the first pit head baths, opened in 1928. It was the first mine to generate its own electricity (from excess steam) in the early 1920s and later provided electricity for Polesworth, Tamworth and Birmingham.

In 1951 the mine workings from Alvecote, Amington and Pooley met underground. Pooley Hall Colliery merged with nearby Amington and Tamworth Collieries to form North Warwick Colliery, under which name it traded until its closure in 1965. Several deep mines in North Warwickshire closed as opencast mining became widespread after the Second World War. After closure parts of Pooley Hall, outbuildings and the colliery buildings had to be demolished due to mining subsidence. Mining carried on in the area until 1987, when Birch Coppice finally closed SP2599.

The Country Park was designated in [date] and opened in [date]. The 62.5 hectare site, one third of which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, contains several pools caused by mining subsidence as well as woodland habitats. Former Pooley and North Warwickshire miners have donated memorabilia, which can be seen in the Pooley Fields Heritage Centre. The great wooded mound of colliery waste commands extensive views. It is bounded on three sides by the canal, the M42 motorway and the West Coast main line railway. It is surmounted by a glittering golden column, the Golden Tower of Leaves, a public art project inaugurated in 2011.

Information combined from:
WCC Country Parks website: LinkExternal link
Artists Dalziel + Scullion website: LinkExternal link
Wikipedia: Pooley Hall LinkExternal link
Polesworth Parish website: LinkExternal link
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Christopher Hilton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SK2504, 75 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Saturday, 7 February, 1987   (more nearby)
Sunday, 13 October, 2013
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Park and Public Gardens  Lakes, Wetland, Bog 
Place (from Tags)
Country Park 
Ruin (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 2509 0430 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:38.1524N 1:37.8417W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 2571 0373
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Other Tags
Country Park  Marshland  Priory (Ruins)  Priory Ruin  Priory Ruins  Ruined Priory 

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