Coventry, with its ever growing population is ranked as the eighth largest city in England and the eleventh largest in the UK, yet we make little or nothing of our cultural attractions. Isn’t it time we re-invented them and shouted from the rooftops? ….a fantastic resource. Something special to offer. Recently the Coventry Telegraph highlighted nine possible attractions that could make Coventry a better place to live. With Coventry bidding to become City of Culture 2021, at least two of the ideas could be made a reality. They could even help to save threatened buildings to the benefit of all. We anxiously wait for news on progress at Drapers’ Hall, an important building that will hopefully open as a centre of musicianship. News from the Priory Visitor Centre is promising. It’s re-opening is apparently scheduled for the end of April with a social enterprise business at the heart of the new operation. 6
Listed: The bird-like form of the Swimming Pool from Cope Street The Central Swimming Pool will surely be closed as the new leisure centre in New Union Street opens in late 2018. We have yet to hear of an exit strategy for the listed building but believe it should serve the people of Coventry in a new capacity. An entertainment complex together with The Elephant next door would bring a much needed facility to the city centre. One of the Telegraph concepts is a seaside beach. Why not? It would fit well with a winter garden in the swimming pool area. The Telegraph also raised the question of a central concert venue. With the squeeze on the public purse that seems as unlikely as ever, unless the possibility of refurbishing the upper floor of The Elephant is explored. It might well make a fine 500-seater performance space. Both schemes could bring new life to the city
1. Drapers’ Hall 2. The Herbert 3 New Cathedral 4. Cathedral Ruins 5. Priory Visitor Centre 6. Transport Museum 7. Central Baths 8. The Elephant 9. Faculty of Art 10. St Mary’s Guildhall
Activity: Playing badminton in the upper sports hall of The Elephant
centre especially with a reconfigured entrance from an upgraded Cope Street. Coventry University has a fine reputation for its work at the Faculty of Art and just opposite is the Ellen Terry Centre for the Performing Arts. Surely these two venues could play a more active role in the fortunes of our city. Our map shows how easily a cultural quarter could be created. The Herbert, Drapers’ Hall and New and Old Cathedrals with St Mary’s Hall make a convenient cluster. We indicate how the Priory Visitor Centre is accessed from Priory Street, while the Central Swimming Pool and The Elephant could have a new entrance from Cope Street.
Re-opening: The Priory Visitor Centre showing the upper level access
At the beginning of March the Department for Culture, Media and Sport released the list of all the cities we’re up against in the race to become UK City of Culture in 2021. We are one of 11 cities vying for the title, and this is the full list of runners: Portsmouth, Swansea, Paisley, Sunderland, Coventry, Hereford, Stoke on Trent , Perth, Warrington, St David’s and the Hundred of Dewisland, Wells.
More news and views on our website: www.coventrysociety.org.uk
The Co e tr So iet is pleased to report that t o War Me orials, for erl at the Vau hall Clu i Foleshill, ha e ee sa ed fro destru tio . Last ear e spotted a pla i g appli atio for the o ersio of the lu i to flats. We fou d that o pla s had ee ade to relo ate the First a d Se o d World War e orials that e k e ere lo ated there. We talked to the Pla i g Offi er, ut he did 't thi k that it as possi le to put a o ditio o the pla i g o se t, so e reported the atter to the War Me orials Trust. The rote to the Cou il a d re i ded the of their respo si ilities to ards these histori artefa ts. The Pla ers had a ha ge of heart a d agreed to put a o ditio o the o se t. The So iet offered to help fi d a ho e for the e orials a d e set a out doi g this. The nearby St. Elizabeth's Church agreed to take possession of the Vauxhall Club memorials and put them into safe-keeping. The intention is to mount them in a new Church Centre which they are planning to build in the future. St. Elizabeth's is a good home for the memorials as the church congregation used to worship at the Vauxhall Club whilst their church was being built and there is a strong likelihood that some of the names on the First World War memorial are church members. The Society would like to thank everyone involved in this rescue. To Hardip Aujla and her father for donating the memorials and covering the cost, the War Memorials Trust Team for their advice and support, John Moran and Father Moses at St. Elizabeth's Church for agreeing to receive the memorials, to Joe Barsby of GG Seller and Co for overseeing the removal of the memorials and AG Developments for providing the workforce. The First World War memorial at the Vauxhall Club is one of 75 First World War memorials in Coventry recorded by the Society as part of its War Memorials Project. John Payne
What a tremendous evening it was in February when we welcomed Peter James Knight to our midst to talk about his project ‘Coventry Rebuilt’. While some of us had seen snippets of his three-dimensional graphics on U-tube, it was an amazing experience to see his work on the big screen. Various sequences took us through our medieval streets reconstructed in part with photographic evidence dating back to Victorian times and the early part of the 20th century. We were also pleased to welcome Luke Bryan who introduced us to his work ‘All Along the Watchtower’, a project nominated for a Royal Institute of British Architect’s award. The project centres on revitalising forgotten aspects of Coventry's unique, diverse industrial and cultural past in a new, exciting and innovative way involving creating sculptural monuments on former gatehouse sites. The path of the old sandstone wall forms the route and certainly helps to educate, entertain and inspire. You may like to see both presentations at these web addresses: http:// . o e tr re uilt. o / http:/ .luke r a tportfolio. o /
Subscriptions for 2017 became due on February 1 and we need to maintain our high level of paid up members. You can pay your subscription of £12 single or £18 for a couple on our website via PayPal. You can pay by cash or cheque at the next meeting or by post to the Treasurer at 77 Craven Street, Coventry, CV5 8DT. You can also pay by Direct Credit to Coventry Society 30 92 33 02693076 with your name and initial as a reference. Your continued support for the work of the Society will be much appreciated. Colin Walker
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The March 2017 edition of the Coventry Society's monthly newsletter.