The photograph is from the Coventry Graphic and is dated 20th July 1912 on the retirement of Mr Joseph Crofts, a goods guard with the L&NWR. The location was eventually identified is the Priory Assembly Buildings, behind No 11 Priory Row and was a popular place for such group photographs. The site of 11 Priory Row was formerly occupied by the chancel of St Mary's Cathedral. The property still retains some of the monastic cellars. The ecclesiastical buildings were demolished during the sixteenth century leaving a series of 'ruinous hulks' whilst today only the facade remains after the Blitz on Coventry.
The caption to the article reads: By the retirement of Mr. Joseph Crofts, a very familiar figure will be lost to the travelling public. Born in Coventry in July, 1846, he joined the L&NWR Railway in the year 1868, having thus completed nearly 44 years in their service, 39 years of which he has served as goods' guard. Notwithstanding the harduous (sic) and dangerous nature of his calling he is still exceptionally robust and active in his movements, and, with the exception of age, has all the necessary qualifications for a considerably extended working life, but having already exceeded by one year the age limit of the railway company his retirement has been made compulsory. So highly esteemed and respected is he by his fellow workmen that the occasion is being marked by a presentation (an enlargement of the above picture forming part of the same). We wish him long life. Mr Crofts is sitting on Stationmaster Parsons' left hand.
My thanks to Reg for his advice.
This should not be confused with St Michael's, which became Coventry Cathedral in 1912 and was destroyed in the 1940 Blitz; only the external walls now remain. The new Cathedral, consecrated 1962, was built adjacent.
... and then there is Holy Trinity, almost between the two, and all three of them within several hundred yards of each other!