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Alastair Smith, Senior Teaching Fellow, at Warwick University present an analysis of Sustainable Development in Coventry. You will have an opportunity to suggest the direction of future research agendas.

Sustainable Development Monday, March 12 at 6.30pm in the Ramphal building at Warwick University Free for members, £2 for visitors

March 2018 St Mary’s Hall

Please note the early start The meeting will start at 6:30 in room 1.13 at the Ramphal Building at Warwick University. Parking at the red spot is free after 6:00 p.m. There is disabled parking nearby. Buses 11 and 12 go from the city centre to the university at the green spot. The committee will arrange to take our own disposable cups and supplies and biscuits but there will be hot water available.

According to the BBC the weather is likely to be light cloud with a10 mph wind from the south and a temperature of 7 degrees. That sounds like a great improvement on recent conditions. The map below shows the relative locations of the Ramphal building and the Arts Centre which most of you will know.

St Mary’s hall is one of Britain’s treasures. It has a history bettered by few buildings outside London. Indeed it has been the scene of parliaments and royal residences and it art treasures are first class. Its windows are themselves art and historical treasures and the tapestry probably has no equal on earth. The hall is locked to the public for most of its life and the council have turned it into a commercial venue for celebrating weddings which is hardly an appropriate use for one of the finest art works in the world. Large commercial wheelie bins are regularly stored under and close to the priceless windows and most of us have elsewhere seen those set on fire by accident or arson. The consequences of allowing this practice could be worse than the damage caused by Hitler’s bombs. The restaurant in the basement crypt has been reasonably successful and we hope it continues as a suitable use of the space. But we really have to ask if it is necessary to paint the ancient stonework white. We are aware that other similar buildings may at some time have been painted but is there evidence that this was ever so here? The fine sandstone ceiling in the crypt at St. Mary’s Hall which dates from around 1340

An evening of history and drama, telling the story of Coventry’s fascinating role in the 15th century dynastic conflict, with narration by TV historian Dr Jonathan Foyle. Performance by member of the Criterion Theatre and Renaissance Music for brass ensemble. St Mary’s Hall, Coventry, Thursday, April 26. 6.45pm for a 7.15pm performance Tickets £15 including light refreshments from the Lord Mayor’s Office. Email: Tel. 024 7683 3047

More news and views on our website:

Coventry under fire - again The Coventry Society has long campaigned to protect buildings of many types in Coventry. Essentially we are concerned about the maintenance and future of any building that is architecturally interesting and useful. Despite the ravages of the early 20th century there are still a lot of medieval buildings which should be loved and cared for. There are also many post-war buildings such as the precinct which were recognised as progressive in their day but are now showing a little wear. They, too, need love, care and attention but, instead, our city fathers are turning them over to developers who have not the slightest interest in Coventry but always have their eye on their own profit. Now we have support from a national organisation which has independently recognised Coventry’s planning problems. We present a summary of their views here. You can read more at the link below. This view of the proposed upper precinct shows a featureless square with canopies filled in and little regard for the existing innovative architecture.

Annual General Meeting 2018 At the Annual General Meeting on the 9th April 2018 all the present committee will resign and a new one should be elected, This will require written nominations to be received by the secretary at 77 Craven Street CV5 8DT by the 26th March 2018. A suitable form can be downloaded from the website or you can ask for a paper one by phoning the number of the newsletter or 024 7667 2625. Nomination may be made for Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and member of committee. The nomination must be signed by a proposer and seconder. The proposal can be mailed to the society’s address or emailed to Nominees must be paid-up members and to date only 36 out of 83 members have paid their subscriptions. Details of how to pay are below.

The Twentieth Century Society is a membership organisation which campaigns for the conservation of the best 20th century architecture. It was founded in 1976 and is now recognised by government and has a statutory role in the planning process. C20 Society is delighted that Coventry will be UK City of Culture in 2021. Coventry is predominantly a C20 city with fabulous post-war architectural heritage. It’s not just the famous Basil Spence Cathedral which makes it so special; there are lots of everyday buildings which contribute to its unique character. That’s why we are deeply concerned by how many of its postwar buildings and art works are either directly under threat or face an uncertain future – and how little protection is afforded to Coventry’s distinctive architecture. Having survived for over fifty years it would be tragic if this legacy were to be destroyed in the run up to 2021. Historic England has designated Coventry a Heritage Action Zone, which should ensure protection. However the city has not yet designated a new central conservation area, even though this was promised as part of the HAZ package. Many of the buildings in the area identified are now facing imminent destruction – this recently approved major shopping redevelopment will undermine the refined Scandinavian character of the upper precinct (the earliest and most complete part of Donald Gibson’s post-war plan which set the standard for town planning practice in the post-war era). Brick panels, canopies and windows are to be stripped out and replaced with extensive glazing to maximise shop logos and advertising. Colonnades will be in-filled, eroding public space and eliminating sheltered walkways just to gain a few square feet of extra retail space. The one heritage benefit of the scheme – the removal of a clumsy 1980s elevator – will be funded by the tax payer. C20 Society and local groups have supported several buildings for listing, and Historic England have passed their recommendations on to DCMS – but unless the decision is taken to list several key buildings soon, then it may be too late. All in all, the Coventry of the Future is looking bleak – but there is still time for a turnaround before 2021. There is so much to be celebrated in the city – its claim to outstanding postwar planning, design and architecture extends far beyond Coventry Cathedral. Let’s hope the council start to sit up and capitalise on what makes Coventry so special now, rather than destroying what makes it unique.

With this letter or email you should find a questionnaire which we would like you to fill in to help the committee formulate the future of the society. You will also find a form to help you make a nomination to the committee at the AGM in April.

Contacts Membership subscriptions became due on the 1st February. Single is £12. Joint is £18. To Renew you can make a direct transfer to Coventry Society on 30-92-33 account 02693076 and use your initial and surname as the reference. Please email to confirm a transfer:

PayPal is very convenient for you and us. Please go to the website www.coventysociety and you will find a PayPal button Or you can send a cheque to Colin Walker, 77 Craven Street, Chapelfields, Coventry, CV5 8DT with your address on the reverse. You can also pay cash directly to John, Terry or Colin at a monthly meeting.

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 CoventrySociety

Coventry Society Newsletter - March 2018  
Coventry Society Newsletter - March 2018  

The March 2018 edition of the Coventry Society (UK) newsletter. CovSoc is the civic amenity society for the city of Coventry in the UK.