At our monthly meeting in Coventry University TV historian Dr Jonathan Foyle told a large audience : “Come on Cov, don’t undersell yourself!” As Chief Executive of the World Monuments Fund Britain we had invited him to explain his ambitions for the city in particular the importance of its history and buildings. He went on to say: “What strikes me about Coventry the most is its heritage in the 15th century that is absolutely incredible. There are things here that you won’t find anywhere else in Britain. You have a city of national significance in Coventry. What surprises me is how much survives.” We know what a wonderful history we have but Dr Foyle went much further emphasising the need to promote the best we have to offer. He went on to speak passionately about the medieval stained glass by renowned medieval artist John Thornton, recently rediscovered and how it needs to be presented in such a way as to make the City a “must see” destination for visitors. Dr Foyle also described the world class tapestry in St Mary’s Guildhall as the oldest in the country that is still in the location it was designed for. Working with Coventry Cathedral he explained how medieval glass has to be displayed to advantage, and all possibilities considered to draw the attention of visitors. He was bold enough to suggest we even consider re‐roofing part of the Cathedral Ruins, a step too far and controversial for some. Coventry Society looks forward to working with Dr Foyle whenever appropriate in the hope we can make our contribution to the campaign he has started with such enthusiasm.
November 2012 The next meeting:
Monday, November 12
Latest thinking on the City Centre A review of the shared spaces presented by Colin Knight, Assistant Director, Planning, Transportation & Highways Shop Front Theatre, City Arcade 7.30pm start. Visitors welcome Light refreshments Ample kerbside parking in the street just outside
October saw the Society with two important events we see as helping to further our campaign for a quality Coventry. On October 20 Civic Voice’s president calendar. Our members can rest assured Griff Rhys Jones spoke from the heart and we are to spare the city the indignity of a personal experience about the need to similar experience. conserve our heritage at the same time as At the conference on Saturday, our Vice being open to sensible alternative uses of Chairman Colin Walker gave the Coventry historic buildings. He said that history tells welcome to the delegates and told them about the history of the society. The us the recession will not last for ever and we should avoid making rash decisions to conference broke into four workshops on destroy our heritage on the dubious key themes for the civic movement: justification of the current recession. participation in neighbourhood planning; He was speaking at this year’s Civic Voice the future of Heritage Open Days; the Conference and AGM that Coventry Portas Pilots for town centres and Society was hosting. Civic Voice is the Placecheck – a tool for the improvement umbrella group for civic societies around of neighbourhoods. We divided our Cllr John Mutton, the Leader of the members between these workshops and the country and has over 300 member organisations. More than 100 of these Council, gave the official civic welcome to found them interesting. came to Coventry. One of our members, David Tittle, is a the conference. The Society organised four walking tours We liked John telling us that the Coventry trustee of Civic Voice and he led a session for participants and received very positive Society was a “pain in the a*se” but he about the Civic Voice Leadership conceded that an effective civic society is feedback. Several people commented programme. Participants gave an important. how interesting and nice Coventry is. interesting demonstration of a new tool We took them to Far Gosford Street, He also complimented Ron Morgan, a they have devised to assist civic societies Electric Wharf, Black Swan Terrace and the founder member of the Society, for having become more effective and strategic in Charterhouse, with society members the foresight to save important buildings their development. The Coventry Society in the city. The evening also included an will find this a very useful aid to help it acting as tour leaders. On Friday evening we supported a civic awards ceremony for societies who have shape itself for the future. reception in St. Mary’s Guildhall and laid undertaken innovative and effective work The conference was interesting and on entertainment in the form of a recital like the Blackpool Civic Society who had stimulating and Coventry Society made an published a “Calendar Girls” style effective contribution to its success. of harp music.
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Members will have a special interest in an exhibition that opened on October 26 at the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. It showcases the work of World Monuments Fund Britain with some of the charity’s most significant projects in the last 15 years, projects like St George’s Bloomsbury, Strawberry Hill and Stowe House. The big interest for us though is the display of pieces of the medieval stained glass from the Cathedral. It’s a current WMF Britain project and the newly cleaned and conserved glass will be on view for the first time in 70 years. Sir John Soane was the last of the great architects to work at Stowe House, and he obtained personal items from the Duke of Buckingham as the patron fell on hard times. These precious and rarely displayed items are also on show during the exhibition. Giving our Past a Future: The Work of World Monuments Fund, Britain is on until January 26 and hours of opening are: Tues‐Sat,10am‐5pm. The Museum is near to Holborn tube station.
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We are putting on a promotion stall at the Women’s Institute Christmas event in Theatre Absolute, City Arcade on November 24. Adam called in at the event in Ford’s Hospital, a Grade 1 listed 16th‐century November 2011 and found it a hive of half‐timbered almshouse in Greyfriars Lane is activity. We need one or two often forgotten about unless you happen to be a members to help with the stall on the user of the surface car park adjacent to the day. Should be good fun. building. It’s setting is somewhat unfortunate, Contact Adam at even through a down‐at‐heel passageway from Mottersheada@gmail.com Hertford Street. But that has recently changed with the upgrading of the pedestrian precinct. Sadly the 99p Stores with display windows onto the Described as creepy, evocative, passageway were left in a sorry state. Now the atmospheric, dramatic, by Guiding City Council has filled the windows with graphics You Ltd, it has been suggested that that illustrate various aspects of the city’s members join their December walk as history. While the design may not be to a pre‐Christmas ‘special’. everyone’s liking the effect is a transformation According to the guide’s website of the passageway. There are other cosmetic Coventry’s medieval heart is “rife with improvements that certainly make a difference tales of spirits, apparitions and to the setting of the historic building. visitations”, where we can “encounter Incidentally, Ford’s Hospital was founded by a the eerie ‘presence’ of those who merchant William Ford in 1509 to provide cannot rest or have been punished for accommodation for six elderly people. evil crimes and scary deeds.” Sounds intriguing. The seasonal tour takes place on Saturday, December 15 starting at 6.30 and lasts for two hours. Just Another restored building in Far Gosford fashionable and vintage items. This provides Street is brought into use this month by practical experience for students as well as a right for a drink or meal afterwards. Costs are: adults £8, seniors £6. Coventry Cyrenians to help support the young positive use for the clothing as opposed to Please let Paul know if you are and homeless. Windsors and Refreshed is a disposal at landfill sites. interested by email: Windsors is named in memory of former social enterprise project with a fair trade coffee shop joined to a music outlet Cyrenian employee and local councillor firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Windsor who championed the cause of specialising in vinyl records and a fashion Contacts clothing and accessories shop retailing the poor and vulnerable. 77 Craven Street, Coventry CV5 8DT vintage, retro and up‐cycled clothing. Refreshed Fashion and Windsor’s Coffee Shop Tel: 024 7640 2030 Email: email@example.com The recycling is an interesting concept. opens on November 15. If Twitter is your thing, you can follow us at Developed with the City Council’s Trading Further information about Coventry https://twitter.com/#!/CovSoc Standard’s team and Coventry University’s Cyrenians can be found at: We also have our own page on Facebook. You can also follow us there at fashion department, the process enables the http://www.,coventrycyrenians.co.uk/ http://www.facebook.com/CoventrySociety Latest_News.asp remaking of counterfeit clothing into
More news and views on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk
The November 2012 newsletter from the Coventry Society.