It has just been announced that Coventry is to be the UK’s City of Culture for 2021. I am delighted – congratulations Coventry!!!

Here is something I wrote last time I visited:

I can’t understand why some people don’t like the city of Coventry and are quite negative about it… perhaps they went on the wrong day, perhaps the weather was inclement, perhaps they hadn’t got a good guide…

I first went to Coventry when I was a child to visit the newly opened St Michael’s Cathedral, to see the breath-taking stained glass, including the Baptistery Window by John Piper, and the magnificent and huge tapestry by Graham Sutherland. I remember being awed by the beautiful place, and moved, even though I was quite young, by the broken remains of the old twelfth century cathedral, bombed during the war.

P1020892The Charred Cross, the cathedral’s stone mason fashioned two burnt beams of wood together to make a defiant cross after the bombing.

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I’ve been back to Coventry loads of times since then, most recently last Sunday. I drove north through torrential rain and dark lowering skies, and the nearer I got to my destination, the brighter and sunnier it became. We had a lovely day, and it only rained while we were having lunch in the old Court House. The Court House which was where the last public hanging took place in Coventry, is now a delightful restaurant; the courtyard of the building is now glazed so we sat under a glass roof, eating lunch, chatting, and listening to a jazz group in the main bar and the rain falling on the glass roof. If you want to visit, the place is now called The Establishment.

P1020880Charming little streets with very old buildings… so attractive and interesting…

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If you are interested in history, there is an excellent Transport Museum – which has much more than just exhibits of cars and other vehicles; Coventry was a town in which the motor industry flourished and brought new work and prosperity to many people, and the vehicles in the exhibition are put into a context which would engage any social historian. The first car made in Britain was made in Coventry, by the Daimler Motor Company in 1897… and within ten years an incredible 10,000 people were working in the industry… and it grew and grew, with manufactures such as Jaguar and Rover producing their vehicles in Coventry’s factories. War changes everything, and instead of cars, aircraft were built, and factories produced all sorts of vital things for the ‘war effort’.

P1020871Arthur, later Lord Tedder who played a vital part in the war in the air. This statue is outside the Coventry Transport Museum

Visiting on a Sunday means that not everything opens as it would during the week; we had a flying visit to the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery with a great café if you need a cup of coffee or lunch! In the museum is a very interesting exhibition of the history of children’s television… and I met a character I remember so well from when my children were small:

P1020893The Why Bird

There’s lots more to see and do… there never seems to be quite enough time!

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