Page 1

Next meeting:

Visit to Stratford-upon-Avon Monday, May 8, 2015 Dr Robert Bearman, retired Head of Archives & Local Studies at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust takes us on a tour of the town. Meet Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley Street for 6.30pm. Parking at Windsor Street car park or on the street (free after 6pm) £2 visitors

We are delighted to see a new charity, Historic Coventry, launched to protect the city’s threatened heritage. It’s the brainchild of the group who are behind The Charterhouse, headed by Complex Developments MD, Ian Harrabin. Ian believes the plan will create a “National Trust for Coventry”, turning problem buildings into assets that will boost our visitor economy. We couldn’t agree more, the Society having championed previous schemes like Drapers’ Hall and Charterhouse itself. The charity believes that taking the stewardship of the buildings into the hands of a community trust will open up new avenues of funding not currently available to local authorities. It would also provide the creative management and attention to detail that is not possible for the foreseeable future with budget cuts. The list of heritage buildings include Priory Row's Lychgate Cottages, the derelict Non-Conformist Chapel in London Road Cemetery that could be transformed into offices linked to the nearby technology park, Whitefriars Gate, once the Toy Museum (pictured left in the 1960’s) that could become tourist accommodation, Landmark Trust-style. Whitefriars Monastery is also mentioned where the trust is looking at options with Coventry University and Culture Coventry to restore and open up the massive hall on the first floor for possible public and university use.

The Coventry Society has set itself a target of recording and surveying all of the remaining World War One War Memorials in the city. We are doing this as part of a wider national project being led by Civic Voice, the co-ordinating body for civic amenity societies. We believe that war memorials should be treated with the same respect as the people they commemorate, those who gave their lives to protect our country and its population. Many memorials are now approaching 100 years old and while some are still in good condition others are in need of restoration. The Society has identified at least 48 of them in the city, so the task of recording and surveying them all is quite a large one and we need your help to carry it out. A special training and practical workshop has been organised for Civic Day, on Saturday June 20, centred on Central Library from 9.45 – 4.00 p.m. In the morning we will learn how to carry out a proper survey of a war memorial, then after lunch we will go out into the city to survey actual memorials. We then return to Central Library to record our findings on the national online database of War Memorials. Staff from Civic Voice will be on hand to train and support us with this project. It’s an opportunity to make a positive contribution John Payne talking through the project to this very practical scheme. with Society Chairman Keith Draper Book at: at London Road Cemetery John Payne

June 2015 Swimming Baths—latest As we go to press a report in the Coventry Telegraph reveals that ‘The councillor in charge of sport in Coventry admitted he had not seen a key technical report before the decision to close the city’s 50-metre pool.’ Labour Cllr Abdul Khan, the Council’s cabinet member for sport, said he did not view a technical report that explained the exact costs of refurbishing the city’s Olympic pool. He went on to say that he didn’t feel he needed to see the report ahead of deciding to close down the existing site in favour of a £36 million sports centre in New Union Street. Several enquiries, including help from leading councillors eventually secured the release of a report by Deloitte, an umbrella organisation that provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services world-wide. While the report considers ten options in relation to the future of public leisure provision in the city centre, there is a notable lack of figures to substantiate the council’s decision. Financial modelling reveals that the new 25m pool will cost around £5.6 million more to build than the cheapest 50M pool option. But officers claim the new 25m pool will return some £13.3 million over 45 years whereas a refurbished listed building would leave the council £5.5 million in the red. In September last year the Amateur Swimming Association raised questions over the council’s calculations. They appear to be in a secret document that the council are refusing to make public claiming ‘commercial confidentiality’. In view of the status of the listed Fairfax Street building with its 50 metre pool and a long history of competition swimming excellence in the city, isn’t it time for this secret document to be scrutinised independently? In the CT report our Chairman said: ‘We appear to be sleepwalking into another financial liability when we should be seriously working on the restoration of what is among the best of swimming facilities in Europe.’ We shall continue to press for sight of the council’s calculations.

Co e t U i e sit I dust ial Desig Deg ee Sho , a d its auto oi e, p odu t a d i te io desig sho a e ell o th a isit. Of ote a e p ese taio s sho i g ho so e of ou old uildi gs a e used i a i agi ai e a . I the i te io desig se io the e e e o epts fo aki g a ight lu i the ase e t of P i a k a d I o o ge S ua e ith a ess f o Pal e La e; the e is a e i te io desig fo the t ai staio a d also the Ge e al Wolf pu li house. Pe haps the ost i te esi g though is a isio to e-use Co e t Spo ts e t e The Elepha t as a o e t hall o ight lu ! The sho is at Mau i e Foss Buildi g, Co st eet, ope to the pu li f o Satu da Ma u il Thu sda Ju e a - p

A alk a d talk o e o ai g the life of Si Joseph Pa to takes pla e at the Lo do ‘oad Ce ete o Su da , Ju e p at the Pa to e o ial ea the e ete e t a e . I asso iaio ith the F ie ds e e t a e hi iio the Joseph Pa to So iet ill also e staged at The Cha te house as pa t of its ope da . I O to e Pa to as i ited to la out o e of the ou t s i st u i ipal u ial g ou ds at Lo do ‘oad. This e a e the Lo do ‘oad Ce ete he e the e o ial to hi as e e ted i . Pe haps his aste pie e though as The C stal Pala e he desig ed fo the G eat E hi iio of . Si Joseph as a Me e of Pa lia e t fo Co e t f o u il his death i . Fu the i fo aio o the F ie ds of Lo do ‘oad Ce ete e site.

We a e o e ed to hea that o e of Co e t s ost histo i pa ks ill o lo ge e ai tai ed the it ou il. It s ost at a i e e t al featu e, the pa k s pa ilio , is also said to e i eed of sig ii a t epai s to the oof. A o ga isaio alled the No th Ea lsdo Neigh ou hood Asso iaio pu lished a e ou agi g epo t Safegua di g the futu e of Spe e Pa k i De e e . It i ludes a ief histo , se io s of p oje t a age e t a d p oje t p oposals. Yet e o hea that a g oup alled F ie ds of Spe e Pa k has e ou te ed dii ulies i se u i g a so t of ag ee e t ith the Cou il that ill e su e the futu e ell ei g of this delighful o e of Ea lsdo . The pa k has a o li g g ee , th ee i st lass te is ou ts a d a la ge a ea of g ass su ou ded a spe i e t ees a d sh u s. The So iet has al ead et the g oup a d ill o i ue to p o ide a help a d suppo t e a ofe .

Cast ou i d a k t o ea s to Ma he the o e of Af i a Village as o de ed to e o e the la k a d o a ge pai t applied to the sa dsto e façade. Not so lo g ate a ds the estau a t losed a d o usi ess has ee t adi g the e fo so ei e. We o see that a e p op ieto is a out to ope ith the a e Ba le La e Kit he , a a e that e tai l o ks i the e i o e t of the Cathed al Qua te .

If ou ha e a e o ies old o e of Fa Gosfo d St eet, o sulta t Clai e Sa d s ould lo e to hea f o ou. Pe haps ou shopped the e o alked to the old foot all g ou d? O a e ou li ed the e? The Fa Gosfo d St eet He itage g oup is olle i g e o ies e o di g sho t i te ie s to e sha ed ith othe s. Clai e ould like to aptu e the i h he itage of the a ea th ough the o ds of those ho k e it est. Co ta t he o o e ail: He itageFa Gosfo d@g ail. o ►The historic character of Far Gosford Street is recognised through its designation as a Conservation Area and major improvements have already been achieved through a Phase I Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

Co So ill e sei g up its p o oio sta d at this ea s fesi al. A othe oppo tu it to eet the pu li a d tell the a out the o k of the So iet . We shall e i the Lives a d Ti es te t as usual a d e e s a e i ited to all i o e the eeke d i suppo t of those o dut . The Godi a Fesi al takes pla e o Satu da a d Su da , Jul a d . Contacts Postal address: 77 Craven Street, Coventry CV5 8DT Chairman’s tel: 024 7640 2030 Email: If Twitter is your thing, you can follow us at!/CovSoc We also have our own page on Facebook. You can also follow us there at

More news and views on our website:

52 june 2015  

The June 2015 edition of the Coventry Society newsletter.

52 june 2015  

The June 2015 edition of the Coventry Society newsletter.