The long‐awaited awakening of Godiva finally arrived on the last Saturday of July in the presence of a huge crowd assembled in University Square. In the moments before the unveiling, dancers, actors and musicians poured down the Cathedral steps with the Godiva Choir willing the good Lady to wake. Deafening cheers erupted at the sight of Godiva as she emerged from her chamber opposite the Herbert Art Gallery surrounded by trapeze artists and acrobats. With arms outstretched she moved to face the medieval Cathedral Ruins before the puppet operators, a team of four who manned a crane, took her to Broadgate where an immense crowd had gathered to watch the performance on a giant TV screen. The visit was followed by a moment of contemplation in the Cathedral Ruins in readiness for the following day’s carnival celebration to send Godiva off on a Godiva: enjoying attention in Northampton seven‐day journey through seven towns including Rugby and Northampton, before In the Cathedral Ruins, a giant coat made reaching the capital for the 2012 Games. by artists from across the region to clothe The Imagineer Productions performance the Lady Godiva puppet went on show. was one of 12 public art commissions And visitors were invited to leave their across the UK to celebrate the Olympic own legacy on her beautiful gold coloured Cultural Olympiad and was a triumph. garment by putting a stitch in white thread on the silk cloak. Pictures by Paul Maddocks
At last, after years of campaigning to save the historic Copsewood Grange we can report that Coventry Council has agreed to a new plan for Phase II at New Century Park put forward by British Land Goodman. Apart from the heritage aspect of the mansion itself we had always argued that its fine sylvan surroundings, landscaped parkland of high quality, was unsuitable Mansion house: An artist’s impression of for warehouse/ industrial units. the restored Copsewood Grange site Endless efforts to secure commercial interest were repeatedly unsuccessful and clear to us that the prospect of years of the Society maintained its position dereliction and continuing vandalism insisting it should be re‐zoned for would not only have a negative effect on the Stoke area but also be a significant loss residential purposes. While we appreciated the need to reserve to the whole of the City. The latest approved plan is for 329 homes land for industry and jobs it was quite
and a retail unit. Alterations to Copsewood Lodge will enable rehabilitation as a three‐bedroom dwelling. The Grange itself will be adapted to create 17 apartments with an internal access road and most importantly a comprehensive management scheme for the trees within the site. A Section 106 Agreement with the developer will enable significant facilities to be provided for the New Century Park community. Considerable effort has been put into securing Phase II, and the Society pays tribute to representatives of BL Goodman, the West Midland Fire Service and Council Officers for persevering with our aspirations for this heritage site.
The next meeting: Monday, August 13
Hostelry: The Dog Inn, Harbury
Our guide: consultant for rural communities, Linda Ridgley, also a Governor of Voluntary Action, Stratford, and Board member at Harbury Village Hall. Meet at 16 Farm Street at 6.30 pm where there is parking
London Road Cemetery may have seemed an unlikely place for our July meeting but with Ian Woolley, Chairman of the Friends organisation as our guide, we were shown the last resting place of an amazing number of our prominent citizens. After taking in the Italianate style Lodge and Prospect Tower at the entrance, Ian told us about Joseph Paxton, designer and architect of the cemetery. He was also a Member of Parliament for Coventry and of course designed the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Coventry's industrial past was brought to life through some of the great pioneers in engineering—the likes of James Starley the farther of the cycle industry and inventor of the differential gear for his tricycles. His nephew John Kemp Starley, the inventor of the modern safety cycle "Rover". George Singer maker of cycles and later Singer cars. One of the most unusual monument stones recalled Walter Wright who lost his life on the Atlantic Liner Lusitania, sunk by German Torpedo in May 1915, near Old head of Kinsale, Ireland. He was one of 1,198 killed out of 1,959 on board. This sinking has been said to have contributed towards the American's entry into World War One. Perhaps the most intriguing though is the tomb of William Wombwell, a lion tamer with a travelling menagerie who tried to separate two elephants that were having a spat dying several days later from horrendous goring injuries while the show was at Greyfriars Green. Sharing the grave is his sixteen year old cousin who died the following year having been mauled by a tiger! ►Friends of London Road Cemetery have a Tidy Up Day on Sunday August 19 starting at 10 am. Those who missed the guided tour of the cemetery may like to join another one on Wednesday August 22 at 6.30pm. Paul Maddocks
Heritage Open Days, Saturday, September 8 and Sunday the 9th, sees the Society meeting the public in two locations. We shall therefore be stretched to the limit in manning our presentation displays and appeal for help from members. As per usual we shall support the History Fair staged in The Herbert on both days. In addition after Coventry Society member John Payne was reminded of the Feibusch mural after viewing another work by the same artist he brought it to the attention of the Coventry
John Lewis is about to open its doors for the first time on Friday, October 12 but not in Coventry, sadly. On a recent visit to Exeter, a city bombed in the last war
Diocese. The mural is now recognised as being of international importance. It was painted in 1963 by Hans Feibusch a German Jew who had to leave Germany in the 1930s when his paintings were described by Joseph Goebbels as “degenerate”. Most of his paintings were destroyed by the Third Reich and Feibusch emigrated to Britain and took up a new life which included converting to Christianity and painting murals in Churches around the country. As far as we know, the one at St. Marks is the only one in the Midlands. Feibusch died in 1998 at the age of 99 years. There will be a talk about the work of Feibusch by the renowned Feibusch authority Gaynor Williams at 11.30 am on Saturday September 8 at St Marks. The talk is entitled “Hans Feibusch: The Human Face” and will last approximately 45 minutes. Please contact Colin Walker on 024 7667 2625 if you can help at either The Herbert or St Marks indicating your availability.
rather like Coventry, there were strong Bear’, a chocolatier, Moss Bros. iconic contrasts with the city centre we enjoy Spanish fashion and many other names. here. Regular tours were available to Exeter’s Although students from the university 14th century Underground Passages. were on vacation the whole area was If Exeter with one third the population of buzzing with shoppers and office workers Coventry can do it, then so can we. Might lunching al fresco on the Cathedral Close. the Society recommend a scheme that would encourage more speciality busi‐ Streets were lined with speciality shops owned by both multi‐national and locals. nesses into the city centre? Keith Draper In the Guildhall Shopping complex local Contacts designers and entrepreneurs were 77 Craven Street, Coventry CV5 8DT Tel: 024 7640 2030 showing their products in colourful ’tents’ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org against the backdrop of a medieval If Twitter is your thing, you can follow us at church. https://twitter.com/#!/CovSoc We also have our own page on Facebook. In the Princesshay shopping centre there You can also follow us there at were vintage clothes mixed with http://www.facebook.com/CoventrySociety contemporary designs, ’Build a Teddy
More news and views on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk
The newsletter of the Coventry Society. August 2012.