Wednesday, 8 September 2010

More About Coventry

After my recent visit to the Herbert Gallery to see the exhibition of Robert Longden's photographs of working boats and boat people taken around Hawkesbury Junction in the 1950s, I spent the rest of the day looking round present-day Coventry.
The old Mediaeval city centre was destroyed on the night of 14 November 1940 by one of the worst German air raids of the second world war. The destruction included the city's cathedral, which instead of being rebuilt was replaced by a completely new one alongside the atmospheric ruins of its predesessor.
Ruins of the cathedral in one of the few remaining old parts of the centre
A small fragment of the old city centre survives, from which it is just about possible to gain an idea of what a gem it must have been.

The "Golden Cross", unfortunately nowhere near as attractive on the inside.

The rebuilt city was very different and for a while in the 1950s attracted visitors from all over the country to see the futuristic centre, complete with shopping precincts, pedestrainised streets and, it has to be said, an absence of anything much other than shops, shops and er, more shops.  Actually, as time has gone on the centre has matured and now has a certain period charm. There's also one other Coventry gem not to be missed, but I'll tell you about that next time.

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