Rare pawnbroker records transcribed by Coventry Family History Volunteers for FindMyPast

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29 July 2020
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A collection of pawnbroker tickets lost for 100 years have been painstakingly transcribed and made available on FindMyPast.

Lost for nearly 100 years and rediscovered during demolition work at 118 Gosford Street, Coventry in 2015, the pawnbroker tickets span the years 1915 to 1923.

The tickets, transcribed by volunteers at Coventry Family History Society, provide a unique insight into pawn broking during and immediately after the First World War, revealing:

  • the items people pawned
  • where they lived
  • how much they received
  • how often they received loans

Dating from 24 April 1915 until the 3 October 1923, the tickets cover items that were pawned at Wm. Brookes at 1-2 Silver Street and 118 Gosford Street and Philips Electric Arc Welding Ltd.

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Help to get through the week

They reveal how these shops were overwhelmingly used by women, often pawning items on a Monday to help them get through the week, before retrieving them on a Friday or Saturday when their husbands got paid.

The most likely value put on items was around six to five shillings with the most valuable items being priced at 25 shillings. Common items included bedlinen, shoes, dresses, costumes, coats and jackets, tablecloths and even underwear, revealing the daily struggles faced by many during this difficult time. 

A poignant Christmas chore

The large number of tickets issued on Christmas Eve 1915 also serve as a powerful reminder of the impact of the Great War and the thousands of women who were left to fend for their families alone.

You can explore the records here.