New poem collection tells old stories of Kenilworth

Avril Newey
Avril Newey

The stories of the people of Kenilworth from years gone by is the subject of a new collection of poems released last week.

She felt the collection, called ‘Except The Singing in their Eyes: Warwickshire Poems of Family and Place’ was a way of recording what life used to be like in Kenilworth and other places in south Warwickshire.

The stories told in the poems date from the 1960s to as far back as the 19th century.

Avril said the many houses coming to Kenilworth as part of Warwick district’s Local Plan motivated her to keep writing and preserve an older way of life.

Avril said: “When I was growing up I lived amongst people who lived in Victorian times.

“I wrote these poems to record their stories, and it really is a record of the town.

“With all these new houses coming the town is changing out of all recognition - in my lifetime it’s already changed so much.

“The old life of Kenilworth has to be remembered, and there are many of us who still remember that.

“How can you create your future if you don’t know your past?”

Although Avril moved to Earlsdon in her twenties, she still visited her family who all lived in Kenilworth.

She described them as a ‘story-telling family’, and said she was fortunate to grow up with them.

Avril added: “We didn’t have TV and iPads in those days, so we used to tell stories to each other.”

Many of Avril’s poems are related to these stories her parents, grandparents and other relatives shared, as well as her own personal experiences.

And her family did not just live in Kenilworth for a couple of generations. The family have ties to the area which date back centuries.

A CD containing a recording of the poems was officially released at an event on Sunday October 22 at Haselor Church in Alcester.

The church is where Avril’s maternal great-grandmother, Hannah, was baptised in 1850 and married her husband Thom 19 years later.

The poems are set to music composed by Michael Torbe. Avril was helped by Heather Davies and Rosemary Richards in creating the CD.

Anyone wishing to order a copy of the CD, which costs £17.50 plus post and packaging, should contact Avril directly on 02476 677384 or email