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A talk and slide show presentation about the history of Stoke will take place at Stoke Library on Friday, May 18th, at 2pm. The presentation by John Marshall and David Fry, will use a collection of old photographs to depict the story of Stoke – with particular emphasis on its emergence as a suburb of Coventry in the first half of the 20th century. Coventry Society members are welcome.

May 2018

With the help of a number of Coventry Council employees and following a campaign by the Coventry Society, Naiad, the iconic bronze sculpture by George Wagstaffe which has been missing for almost ten years is shortly to go back on public display. The ‘water nymph’ having been repaired and restored, will soon go on display in the foyer of the new council offices at Friargate where it can be seen from both inside and outside of the building. It will remain there on public view until a permanent site is found (ideally in the Earl Street Courtyard). For most of its life the sculpture was positioned by a pool in a civic square called Palace Yard off Earl Street. Then after the pool was drained Naiad was moved to Lady Herbert’s Garden. Unfortunately it was poorly installed and after someone tried to steal it the sculpture was removed by the council and put into storage among the gardeners’ mowers and tools in the Swanswell Gatehouse . Naiad was the first post war commission of public art for the City, and was created by famous artist and Coventry Kid, George Wagstaffe. The sculpture won the highly regarded prize for Young Contemporaries at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Interestingly, a never before seen photograph of George with the model for the Naiad is pictured left. It was taken in 1956 on the day he made some preliminary drawings for the sculpture. The model, a Miss Mills will now be well into her eighties. Vin Hammersely

Tour of Coventry Waste Reduction Unit Bar Road (off London Road)

(Courtesy of the Coventry and Solihull Waste Disposal Company)

Monday, May 14 at 6pm. Please wear appropriate clothing - trousers, long sleeves, no sandals or open shoes. Safety equipment will be provided. Now Fully Booked!

Following the successful War Memorials meeting in Coventry Cathedral the next national gathering to celebrate the work of volunteers will be heading to Westgate Hall, Canterbury. The Hall was built by public subscription as a drill hall for the Territorial Army in about 1913. It lies in the heart of Canterbury, just off the high street. Over the decades the building has adapted to the needs and pressures of the time. Troops marched from the Hall to the battlefields of World War One.

At the Annual General Meeting of the Society, the Chairman, Keith Draper, presented his report covering the Society’s activities during the last year, these ranged from talks, visits and discussions with developers. The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the Civic Day event in June held in the Old Grammar School. With other organisations joining us, activities and tours both in the building and the surrounding area, it engendered much enthusiasm. The Deputy Lord Mayor honoured the occasion and cut the official Civic day cake. For Heritage Open Days, we took advantage of the former Evening Telegraph

Offices being used temporarily as a pop-up Urban Room. Again there was much interest and enthusiasm. Our talks during the year have covered topics from information about alternatives to HS2 through Social Clubs, Coventry’s post-war architecture and planning, sustainable development to City of Culture information. This year varied locations were used including the Priory Visitor Centre, Warwick University and Foleshill Community Hall courtesy of Alan Griffiths. Visits ranged from Bablake School to the Sherbourne Valley with highlights to Atherstone and the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter. Continued overleaf

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Other issues were raised not covered by the report including the impending Burges redevelopment scheme, the position and use of St. Mary’s Guildhall and Birch Grove, George Elliott’s former home. The unexpected loss of our Conservation Officer was a shock coming at a crucial time in the City’s progress towards the City of Culture. However, the Society was delighted to report that Copsewood Grange is now nearing completion in its restoration as flats, thus preserving this important heritage building. The Society has been keen to ensure that there is continuity and the committee has been looking at how to guarantee it has a strong future. To this end three strategy meetings were held under the auspices of Ian Harvey, Executive Director of Civic Voice. He presented the proposals arising from these meetings to the membership. These included ideas to establish CovSoc Volunteers and sub-groups initially covering planning, heritage and communications. Members endorsed these proposals. In addition the Society has canvassed the views of members by means of a questionnaire covering all

aspects of the Society’s work. Although the returns have been disappointing, the findings will help to give a steer to the committee’s deliberations. Later in the year, the committee hopes to present to members, proposals for an alternative approach to the election of the Chairman. In his report the Treasurer gave financial details for the past year. This showed a deficit on the year’s income of £711.32. This can largely be accounted for by two high expenditure items, Civic Day and the Delia Derbyshire plaque placed on her birthplace and sponsored by the Society. The committee is looking at measures to secure a more regular income which will help us to budget more accurately. Despite the loss, the Society’s assets remain relatively healthy at £2714.15. The new committee elected will steer the Society through the transition period. The committee comprises: Paul Maddocks [Chairman], Keith Draper [who has agreed to act as temporary Vice-Chairman], John Payne [Secretary], Colin Walker [Treasurer] with Les Fawcett, Vincent Hammersley, Jayne Long, Terry Kenny, Jim Passmore, Peter Walters [Committee members]. Terry Kenny

Stephen Tremm writes: I have a comment on the Burges Clock, the clock originally put up by R Gilbert, City Jewellers. They were first in Coventry at the wonderfully named address of 7 ½High Street, then the big City Jewellers shop in the old Broadgate, then at 21 Burges. This clock is a bit of a Coventry landmark and though it may physically belong to the current shop owner, culturally it belongs to everyone just as an old building would. Anyway the point I was writing about is that the clock's original writing has been obscured sadly, although the lettering seems to be raised because the ghosting is visible and it seems to say 'R Gilbert The City Jewellers', hard to say definitely with my eyesight. I think that it has been covered up is very sad, it would be great if it was restored to how it was. Also I think this landmark item and the shop attached to it should be listed, which would include the shop's brass doorstep sign that says 'R Gilbert & Sons ltd'.

The Burges in the 1960s with Gilbert’s Clock in its lofty position above the jeweller’s shop

I have been able to get a copy of David McGrory's new book, A-Z of Coventry, Places - People - History. I think it is about the 29th book that David has written on Coventry. This one is different in the way it starts at A for Arms and covers different subjects up to Z for Zoo. It's packed with interesting facts about Coventry’s history. Not everyone sees it, but Coventry is a remarkable city with a history going back into ancient times. It was the fourth largest city in medieval England and became the home to a royal family, effectively a capital. It has a fascinating industrial history from wool dyeing and weaving to being the capital of watchmaking, cycles and motor cars. It suffered one of the most intensive air raids in history and many more raids, yet like a Phoenix it rises. Recently the city won the City of Culture 2021 bid. Culture and history lies deep within Coventry and its remarkable past needs to be brought forward, putting Coventry back on the map and giving Postal address: the people the recognition they deserve as 77 Craven Street, Coventry David would say. It's not a full list of everything about Coventry; CV5 8DT Chairman’s tel: 07814327614 this would have taken a book for each letter of Email: info the alphabet. It is an interesting look into things that not everyone will know. If Twitter is your thing, you can David has made a point of getting all the dates, follow us at times, people and places in a correct sequence!/CovSoc We also have our own page on as some of the subjects have been wrongly reported in the past. I found it fascinating and Facebook. You can also follow us there at would recommend you add it to your collection of publications about our beloved CoventrySociety Coventry. Paul Maddocks


David Vorhaus who worked with Delia Derbyshire in the experimental electronic band White Noise unveils the Society’s blue plaque marking the place where she lived in Coundon.

Coventry Society Newsletter - May 2018  

The May 2018 edition of the newsletter of the Coventry Society, the civic society for the city of Coventry, UK.

Coventry Society Newsletter - May 2018  

The May 2018 edition of the newsletter of the Coventry Society, the civic society for the city of Coventry, UK.