Redevelopment of historic Coventry Victorian villa a Triumph

The former home of the co-founder of Triumph motorcycles and a one-time Lord Mayor of Coventry has been reinvented as 14 luxury apartments and bungalows.

Developers P&K Estates are close to completing work on the locally-listed building named Elm Bank on North Avenue, Stoke Park, which still bears a blue plaque honouring the time Siegfried Bettmann owned and lived in the property.

The firm acquired the site in February 2018 and was granted planning permission for a range of 14 apartments, bungalows and mews apartments – three of which have already been sold.

The project has been headed by Ramesh Parmar of MCE who has over 30 years’ experience in construction and this is the second development for P&K Estates which is Parmar’s partnership with Pawan Kenth.

The first project by P&K Estates was the construction of 14 houses in Erdington, Birmingham.

Parmar of P&K Estates Ltd, said: “I believe we have created one of the best places to live in Coventry.

“It has been a near three year labour of love to restore this Victorian villa which was constructed in the 1870s.

“In collaboration with the architects Neil Boddison Associates, we have worked hard to reinvent Elm Bank to a high specification, creating a truly unique living environment in this beautiful part of Coventry.

“The history of the site and the significance of Siegfried Bettmann to Coventry’s motor heritage should not be understated. One of the most interesting apartments is partly formed from Siegfried Bettmann’s billiard room and has an original frieze still in place which we have been at pains to protect while building work was underway.”

The frieze consists of a series of eight oil paintings on canvas by the artist Oscar Mancine of the Birmingham School and are in the style of Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones.

In its time, Elm Bank has been used as a private home, a teachers’ club and latterly as offices for Coventry City Council teams including the learning and behaviour support service.

Built in the 1870s, Elm Bank was purchased by a ribbon manufacturer named Edward Ralphs in 1884. In 1889, H. Williamson of Stoke School Board occupied the property.

It was in 1905 that Bettmann, took up residence.

Bettmann was born in Nuremberg in 1863 but moved to Coventry to start the Triumph Cycle Works with fellow German Mauritz J Schulte, building the Priory Street works in 1894 and becoming a British citizen.

The following year he married Annie Meyrick and they lived in the mansion until his death in 1951, aged 88.

He was president of the Coventry Liberal Association, a freemason, a founder member and president of Coventry’s Chamber of Commerce, a Justice of the Peace, and chairman of the Standard Motor Company.

In 1913 he became Lord Mayor of Coventry – the first non-British subject ever to do so, but the outbreak of the First World War, and the resultant anti-German feeling, led him to resign as mayor.