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Next meeting:

Visit to Leamington Spa Monday, May 11

Meet at Jephson’s Gardens Main gate at 6.30, finishing at The Benjamin Satchwell on The Parade. Visitors £2

May 2015

Where is the technical evidence? The case to abandon our Olympic-size 50 metre pool in favour of a fun venue with a smaller pool has yet to be revealed by Coventry City Council even though important decisions were made last year. Our city is famed for its 20th century architecture. Its buildings are recognised to be of national importance. One of them, our Central Baths Complex is one of Europe’s great swimming venues, and nationally listed for its innovative architectural design. To close it would lessen our standing among other great cities with more modest sports facilities.

asking for is sight of this specialist document that would detail refurbishment and costings for the Fairfax Street complex. Less cost We have spoken to the Amateur Swimming Association that was party to the statement issued twelve months ago. The terms of reference at that time though appear to have only offered one option: to restore the pool to Olympic standards with wider swimming lanes and modifications to the bath itself that would provide just one shallow end rather than the two it currently has. However, we are led to believe that the building could be refurbished for considerably less cost than the Council’s favoured fun pool to provide an important local and regional swimming venue. Clearly the fabric would need to be restored and updated. The installation of modern pool machinery would provide the all-important modern environmental features and save the building for future generations of fun and serious swimmers. This is a scheme we understand would satisfy the Amateur Swimming Association. The numbers From the evidence we have, the numbers have been hugely loaded in favour of the Fun Pool. A simple calculation shows Surely an evidence-based technical report should have been that if the Sports Centre is losing £2000/day and a new facility available twelve months ago when a statement was issued. will cost £36.7m, then the capital cost would, assuming the new It concluded: “..any option involving the refurbishment of pool covers its running costs, be recouped in some 50 years Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre in Fairfax Street is not still the loser when interest is added. The £2000/day appears to worthy of pursuing, as the facility will not be able to meet the be a red herring. technical requirements for competition for the sport without There's a tendency for building owners to scrap and rebuild in extensive and prohibitively expensive remodelling.” the hope it will cure their problems. Not always successfully. Refurbishment Whatever the outcome, the Central Baths Complex is Grade 2 Unsurprisingly we are not alone in asking the Council: Where is listed and the Council hasn’t explained what alternative use the evidence-based technical report? would be found for it. There might well be a cost element For months now, the Twentieth Century Society in London has anyway to preserve it even if left unused. been trying to arrange a meeting with the Council, but has been Lottery funding? ignored. The Coventry Society has also tried to make contact If Coventry is to continue its successes in competitive swimming with our Cabinet Member for Sport but has also been ignored. as well as provide fun pool facilities we need to ask the question: We even enlisted the help of leading councillors to locate what Didn’t the Council seek external funding long ago to refurbish its we believe to be a most important report. All we have been world-class swimming pool? If not, then why not? A varied selection of enquiries come through our website and we always do our best to provide help. A recent one from an Earlsdon resident who asked about the location of Foleshill Heath. John Payne did some research and came up with the following: Before 19th century development, Foleshill was a land of heaths (Broad Heath, Little Heath, Great Heath and Parting of the Heaths to name but a few). But I hadn’t previously come across Foleshill Heath. However I have found reference to it when Queen Elizabeth I visited Coventry in 1566; there was a ceremony of welcome which took place outside the city gates on Foleshill Heath. From this I deduce that the area must have been just to the north of Bishop Gate. [John Nichols's The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth - page 451 ] and a recreated map in the same document (page 452) shows it in a location north of the area between Bishop Gate and Cook Street Gate.


“tuart Da iel our “e retar , produ ed a irst lass respo se to the Cou il s Cit Ce tre Area A io Pla . It ru s to so e pages ut is i possi le to reprodu e totall i the e sleter. Ho e er, here are se eral e tra ts: ►‘e e tl e ha e see i appropriate pai i g of the AXA uildi g of Corporaio “treet hi h o ershado s the Grade I Listed Old Gra ar “ hool, The Ca al Basi Co ser aio Area, the it s t o sur i i g edie al gates a d Lad Her ert s Garde Co ser aio Area. We elie e that Poli CC is e essar to e sure that future ate pts to i appropriatel pai t, re der or lad pro i e t stru tures i lose pro i it to heritage assets a e resisted. ►We stro gl agree ith the state e t that o olithi sla like uildi gs that holl o up the uildi g e elope ill ot e a epta le. A lo k/ uildi g ill eed to e ari ulated ithi these e elopes through aried store heights a d the proje io a d re essio of ele e ts alo g the ele aio s a d a o e the rooli e for e a ple ith e tra es a d or ers to pro ide i terest at oth street le el a d o the sk li e. The paragraphs o tai ed ithi the drat CCAAP hi h follo this state e t are also ell o sidered a d e support the . ►We ould like to see eter use of pu li art to ark a d ele rate the it s ri h histor . Curre tl , there is a disi t la k of this, pari ularl ith respe t to the it s edie al heritage. B a of e a ple, Gre friars Gree prese tl has o art ork or displa oards to ark the fa t that the la d o e for ed part of the Gre friars Mo asi Estate. There is also litle i for aio i respe t of the sur i i g se io s of the it all a d gates. ►Please let us k o if ou ish to ha e a e ail of the o plete do u e t.

De oliio of so e of the hara terful housi g ear to the ‘ail “taio .

A arist s i pressio of the e oi es e t to the ‘ail “taio

ou il

At the April eei g ar haeologist Mark We , ho has a spe ial i terest i edie al to s pro ided us ith a fas i ai g stor a out so e of the uildi gs lost to Co e tr through the ages. He sho ed us ho uildi gs fro the earliest i es ha e ee repla ed for o e reaso or a other. Part of his talk o e trated o the uildi gs that disappeared just prior to the ar a d i the post ar period. He talked a out But her ‘o that as de olished to pro ide the oder thoroughfare Tri it “treet a d highlighted other histori areas adja e t to Cook “treet Gate. I a a s he e dorsed our o er s, for i sta e our elief that the it e tre ould e tra sfor ed ith ore a i e fro tages.

At the last meeting, Coventry Society member Amanda Kay described a project she is spearheading – a self-guided audio tour of medieval Coventry using digital and print media. The aim is to introduce the city’s medieval gems, both those that still exist and – through archival images, paintings and illustrations – the buildings and dwellings that have long disappeared. At various 'waypoints' at key locations, the story of medieval Coventry unfolds. Different aspects of medieval life are described and illustrated and are linked to specific places along the route. It is envisaged that the project will complement the guided tours provided by the city's Blue Badge Guides and will reach a new and different audience. It also fits in with recent developments to restore the city's medieval buildings, The Herbert's plan to digitise its medieval collection, and Mark Webb's vision of revitalising the city's interpretation of its medieval past. To take Amanda's ideas forward, it was proposed that a Coventry Society sub-committee should be formed, so if you would like to be involved in the project – or if you have any information you can share – please let Amanda know by emailing amanda@copsewood.net or calling 024 7626 4171.

We ha e et ith ou il oi ials to dis uss their proposals for the reroui g of pedestria s, ars, uses a d ta is arou d the rail staio . The pla is sill ei g de ated et ee the arious age ies i ol ed, hile ork o the irst phase is due to start this ear. We ill keep ou i for ed of progress. Contacts Postal address: 77 Craven Street, Coventry CV5 8DT Chairman’s tel: 024 7640 2030 Email: info@coventrysociety.org.uk If Twitter is your thing, you can follow us at https://twitter.com/#!/CovSoc We also have our own page on Facebook. You can also follow us there at http://www.facebook.com/CoventrySociety

More news and views on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk

51 may 2015  

The May 2015 edition of the Coventry Society's newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading it.

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