Whitefriars’ Gate

The medieval Whitefriars’ Gate was originally the outer gatehouse to Whitefriars Monastery, and more-recently known to many Coventry residents as the Toy Museum. Derelict for many years, Historic Coventry Trust is working to find a new life for this building as unique accommodation and retail/office space.


Whitefriars’ Gatehouse is a Grade II* listed building that was once much loved as the Toy Museum.

Whitefriars’ Gatehouse is a 14th-century sandstone building which originally served as the postern (outer) gatehouse to the Carmelite Whitefriars Monastery, remains of which still stand off London Road in Coventry. It was later adapted into housing and, in the 1970s, it was in use as a Toy Museum run by the late Ron Morgan, who passed away in 2007. The building was subsequently subjected to an arson attack and was re-roofed by Coventry City Council.

Ron Morgan was a long-term Labour member of Coventry City Council during the 1960s and 1970s, at the same time as working as a potter based in one of the ground floor rooms at Whitefriars’ Gate. Ron campaigned passionately for the preservation of Coventry’s heritage and helped restore Whitefriars’ Gate in the 1970s. Ron was involved with the Coventry Society, the city’s civic society, which helped form the Charterhouse Coventry Preservation Trust, later to become Historic Coventry Trust.

The building has been empty for many years and is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.

Historic Coventry Trust’s proposals for Whitefriars’ Gatehouse are convert the existing gatehouse to holiday accommodation, and to create new residential and office space in a sensitively-designed new building to one side and the rear.

So far, Historic Coventry Trust has raised grants from the Architectural Heritage Fund and Historic England, to allow conservation and restoration specialists Midland Conservation Ltd to carry out the initial work at the Grade II* listed building which involves repairing the roof, stonework, and making the fabric of the building secure.

However, fundraising continues to be able to complete the scheme and bring a new life to this important at-risk building.

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