Coventry Pawn Tickets


Many members of the society, in particular Frank Bagley, Angela Atkin and Lynn Hockton, worked to ‘computerise’ the data. Geoff Barwick converted the data to Access. Kay Dunkley co-ordinated the project work. Andrew Walton wrote the user program.

About the Database

This data was transcribed by Coventry Family History members from a number of pawnbroker’s tickets discovered in an attic in Far Gosford Street, Coventry. The tickets were in very poor condition in a number of plastic bags and were dirty and difficult to handle and read. Consequently, the recovered data is unchecked and less reliable than we would like and only a proportion of the tickets were transcribed. Despite this, it can be used as a social history tool, giving an insight into pawnbroking during and immediately after the First World War. You can see what items people pawned, how much they were loaned and how often. If you are fortunate enough to uncover one of your ancestors, this is a bonus! You may notice that a number of names occur very frequently (e.g. Ann Smith) and it has been suggested that these ladies may have been acting as ‘agents’, pawning multiple items collected from a number of neighbours, and may not be as hard up as they appear.

The Pawnbrokers

There are two pawnbrokers listed:

Wm. Brookes at 1-2 Silver Street and 118 Gosford Street

Philips Electric Arc Welding Ltd

At the Coventry History Centre there are papers relating to the commercial activities and private correspondence of the Brookes family of Coventry. The business papers comprise: William Brookes, pawnbroker of 118 Gosford Street and 1-2 Silver Street; Lombards Providers Ltd, jewellers of 108110 Queen Victoria Street, Brookes Sem-Par Ltd, furniture dealers and restorers of 106-108 Queen Victoria Road, WM Clement Brookes of Balkan Travel Service, 106-108 Queen Victoria Road and a Braby's (Glasgow) Handbook for Engineers and Architects.

The Database

There are 11,143 records in the database, dating from 24/04/1915 to 03/10/1923. The database fields are:

  • Broker
  • Ticket colour
  • Ticket number
  • Date
  • Customer’s surname
  • Customer’s forename
  • Customer’s address
  • Items pawned
  • Cost – the amount loaned to the customer
  • Collected – whether redeemed or not

The Pawn Tickets

There were a variety of shapes, sizes and colour

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This one was issued by William Brookes, 2 Silver Street, Coventry on 15th May 1916 to Will Hards (?) of 6 Hill Cross Street for a spirit level and a rule, for a loan of one shilling (equivalent to 5p). The transcriber has entered ‘Hardy’ in the database, and may well be right! This demonstrates the difficulty of reading these tickets.

The reverse reads:

For LOAN of TEN SHILLINGS or under.

The Pawnbroker is entitled to charge:


For PROFIT on each Two Shillings or part of Two Shillings lent on this Pledge for not more than one calendar month … ONE HALFPENNY.

And so on at the same rate per calendar month.

After the first calendar month, any time not exceeding fourteen days and not more than one month will be charged as one month.

This Pledge must be redeemed within twelve calendar months and seven days from the start of pledging. At the end of that time it becomes the property of the Pawnbroker. If the Pledge is destroyed or damaged by fire, the Pawnbroker will be bound to pay the value of the Pledge after deducting the amount of the Loan and Profit and twenty-five per cent on the amount of the Loan.

If this Ticket is lost, mislaid, or stolen, the Pawner should at once apply to the Pawnbroker for a Form of Declaration to be made before a Magistrate, or the Pawnbroker will be bound to deliver the Pledge to any person who produces this Ticket to him and claims to redeem the same.

The blue diagonal line across the ticket presumably indicates redemption?

This is a later example from the same pawnbroker, but at the 118 Gosford Street Address:

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In addition to the ‘small print ‘ on the reverse, there is also the additional text:

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This ticket is in the same format, different colour:

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The transcriber has interpreted the surname as Wixon. Other tickets in the same name help interpretation.

What the Loan Cost

For a loan of 10/- (120d, or 50p):

Pre 1922 Post 1922 
Month£ s dp£ s dp