Chair's report 2018/2019
Dear Coventry Society members It is a pleasure to be writing my first Chair person’s report for the Coventry Society’s AGM. This year has been especially pleasurable working with the committee and members of the Society and I look forward to my next and final year in office in 2019/2020. It will be the Societies 50th year in 2020. It all started in 1970 when the Coventry Civic Amenity Society was formed by Ron Morgan to save Kirby House in Little Park Street from demolition. It is ironical that the Council wanted to demolish Kirby House to create a Square of Council Civic buildings and now the Civic Centre that was built instead is being demolished over this Anniversary Year. It is sad to see the loss of the Civic Centre, locally known as the New Council House. Modest but attractive Festival of Britain design buildings are being demolished to make way for a new University HQ . I hope that this year we can celebrate our 50th Birthday and still hold up to the first pledges that were set out in its first Rule Book "The Society is established for the public benefit for the following purposes in the area comprising Coventry and district… A, to stimulate public interest, B, to promote high standards of planning, landscape and architecture. C, to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest. It goes on to mention research and publication, a coordinating body, to hold meetings, lectures and exhibitions,to educate, to raise funds, to accept gifts of property etc.".
When I joined I was its eleventh member and membership cost ten shilling a year. The Society has changed over the years and I did not always keep up with my membership but I am glad it's still going strong and I hope it will for the next fifty years. What really pleased me over this year was our campaign to save the Coventry Cross got in the nation magazine 'Private Eye' . I would like to thank the previous Chair Keith Draper for his hard work and being our Chair for so many years. He is still very active in the committee as well as attending other projects and meetings, including the Coventry Canal , Spon Street, Allesley Walled Garden and many more far too many to mention. He was our representative and spoke at the Planning Committee meetings for both the removal of the Coventry Cross which is in a Conservation Area and the redevelopment of the Upper Precinct against the removal of the bridges and the canopies covering the public walkways also a listed area. Last year there were many meetings and activities the Society got involved with and its not till you start listing them you see how much we have achieved or got involved with. It has really helped that this year we have had three separate sub-groups that have been
able to focus on different aspects Planning, Heritage and Communications and all member are welcome to join these groups. I would like to thank John Haslam for his hard work of over the years supplying us with tea and coffee. Also all the Committee members: John Payne, Secretary, for keeping us all in order and sorting out the constitutions and charitable status as well as news and other communications. Colin Walker, Treasurer, for looking after our funds and membership plus printing and many other things like the PA and projector system; Terry Kenny, Minutes Secretary, for very accurate minute taking, plus many other activities. Others on the committee including Jayne Long for coming up with some very good ideas, Les Fawcett for his planning knowledge and always up for a pint of beer and a chat. Vincent Hammersley for his enthusiasm and hard work; his 'Hero on Your Street' website is amazing - please view it. Jim Passmore for his help on planning and his connection with other organisations Keresley Parish Council, plus many more groups. Pete Walters for his extensive knowledge of Coventry's history and his journalistic skills. And of course Keith Draper for all his support, knowledge and past experience through being the Chair for so many years, I hope he can take thing easier now he is standing down from the committee but we all hope to see him at the monthly meetings and as soon as he feels ready he will return back into the group. Paul Maddocks
For further information on all the articles on the lists below please look at the Coventry Society Website or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org Planning - We as a Society look at every planning request. In the most cases we do not comment but if we feel it is not up to a high standard or is detrimental to Coventry we put in objections and attend planning meeting to argue our case. This subgroup is led up by Les Fawcett and has the assistance from Jim Passmore and myself but we would like more to get involved. Heritage - Coventry has a very varied history spanning almost a thousand years. The group researches various historic buildings, people and places, to help educate all ages into Coventry's deep and varied history and make contact with other likeminded groups so people can share information and support. This subgroup is lead up by Peter Walters and is able assisted by many members including David Fry, Jayne Long, Brian Stote, Kevin Foxon, and many more. Communication - led by John Payne. You could have the best Society in the world but if people do not know about it its worthless that is why the sub group is so important. With the advance of modern communications over the internet it is both easier and harder to get noticed. This year we stopped publishing our popular printed newsletter after 173 editions. We have replaced it with a Wordpress news website and we have published 60 stories since the site was created in August. Whilst many members will regret the loss of the newsletter, the new approach is more flexible and easier to manage and we can monitor who is reading our news stories. There have certainly been some interesting articles that have got noticed in the city – e.g. stories about Coventry Architects James Murry, Fredrick Gibberd, Harry Quick and John Prevc. This group is helped by many members who contribute articles.
2018-19 Meetings and Visits April - Les Neil - talk on artist Herbert Edward Cox. May -Tour of Whitley Waste Reduction Unit June - Visit to Warwick Manufacturing Group July - Visit to Coventry Watch Museum The Society made August - Birmingham City Centre tour by Angus Kaye September - Talk by George Wagstaffe, Artist - sculpture Ralph Butcher Life Membership. October - St. Mark’s Church and the Feibusch mural November - Cathy Hunt – Women in Coventry 1850 - 1950 December - Brian Stote - Talk on Christmas traditions, Christmas quiz January - David Walker - Massey Ferguson tractors February - John Prevc, Architect – Vital Cities not Garden Cities March - John Purcell - Earlsdon’s Lost Industrial Heritage Campaigns / Support for campaigns * Copsewood Grange – Support for official opening and Blue Plaque * The Paris Cinema – local listing * The Coventry Cross – failed campaign to retain * The redesign of the Upper Precinct-failed campaign to improve scheme * Heritage Active Zones – Lottery fund to improve Coventry's Heritage * Historic Coventry Trust – support and promotion * Charterhouse Priory – support and promotion * Draper’s Hall – information sharing and support * Conservation Officer – campaign to replace essential post * Delia Derbyshire Blue Plaque * Canal Basin – discussion with Rivers and Canals Trust * Former Cov & Wark Hospital Nurses Home – support and advice * River Sherbourne – support for funding bid and active participation in the theplanning planninggroup group * Forum Cinema Organ – seeking a new location * City Centre South – campaign for an updated scheme * Commemoration of the End of 1st World War * 'Hero on Your Street' – new website by Vincent Hammersley * Triumph and Gloria War Memorial – support for Friends of LR Cemetery * Park Cottage – lobbying the Council and profile raising * Broad Street Meeting Hall – support and promotion * Colouring Book on Coventry's industries – support and planning * Foleshill Golden Mile – support for local group project * Coventry Action for Neighbourhoods – information sharing * Reinstate the 'Naiad' statue - campaign for relocation in original setting * Research and publicity on Coventry's Public Art * Medieval Coventry group – support and promotion * St. Mary's hall – support and challenge * Coventry Tree Wardens Network – information sharing External Relations Civic Voice Conference in Birmingham Heritage Open Days at Old Grammar School Support for Civic Voice’s improvement in housing design campaign Civic Day event at the Priory Visitors Centre Restructuring Planning, Heritage and Communications Sub Groups New arrangements for electing the Chair / Vice Chair Revision of Constitution and approval by the Charity
The Coventry Society Chairman's report for the year 2018 - 2019.