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Originally Radford was a Roman settlement and this is borne out by some of the local street names inc' Villa road and of course its name Radford an abbreviation for roman ford (low river crossing) the ford originates from a natural spring from the rear of the now Gala bingo building and is adjacent to Poole road this can be found on old maps of the area when that land once belonging to the estate where the old Radford public house stood - there are still public rights of access if you wish to locate it exactly, interestingly the water now passes all the way into the City centre and provides Nauls mill park and pool with it water and then feeds into Swanswell park and pool. At the end of the 19th century, Radford was turning from a largely undeveloped rural area into one of Coventry's major manufacturing areas. The southern area of Radford benefited from the presence of the Coventry Canal and also the railway, and was served by Daimler Halt railway station, located on Sandy Lane. This was also the site of the Sandy Lane power station, which has now been turned into a mixed use residential and business development - Electric Wharf.


Possibly Radford's greatest historical claim to fame comes from its centrality in the birth of the British motor car industry. The Great Horseless Carriage Company was established in 1896 in converted cotton mill works, and renamed Motor Mills, between St. Nicholas Street, Sandy Lane, and the Coventry Canal.[4] It included a red-brick office block with stone banding on Sandy Lane built 1907-8, and an electricity power house which was added in 1907.[4] Soon after, the company changed its name to Daimler and shortly before World War I, they moved to a new factory at the Lydgate Road/Sandy Lane Junction. The factory was greatly extended during and after World War I to incorporate entrances on both Sandy Lane and Middlemarch Road. After a merger in 1960, the factory also became home to Jaguar, who remained there till production ceased in the mid-1990s.