The Midland Air Museum is an aeronautical collection started in 1967 by a small group of local aircraft enthusiasts and now consists of approximately sixty aircraft. The museum also includes the Sir Frank Whittle Jet Heritage Centre (named after the local aviation pioneer and inventor of the jet engine, who also attended the same school as yours truly). The Centre illustrates the story of the jet age told in pictures, video and artefacts which includes an animated display.
Sunday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
Children (Over 5): £3.00
Children (Under 5): Free
Holy Trinity church is a few minutes' walk from the cathedrals and is well worth a visit.
It's an ancient church, with its North Porch dating from the mid-1200s (and there was a church on the site long before that). The building has been changed and extended over the centuries, obviously, but includes some interesting bits & pieces:
* A 'Doom painting' over the chancel. This one dates from the 1400s. Doom paintings were commonplace in Medieval English churches, although almost all were destroyed or plastered/painted over during the Reformation; they were a way of 'telling' a largely non-literate congregation (listening to services in Latin, which they could not understand) what would happen to them if they did or did not follow the Church's teachings. This one is a particularly good example. It was only discovered in 2002, and has since been restored.
* A pulpit dating from 1470 where you may find the heads of Henry Vl and his wife Margaret of Anjou tucked away in the foliage.
* A 'tall chair' dating from 1833. The vicar at the time, one Walter Hook, had a friend who was a Scottish bishop. At that time, Scots clergy were not allowed to 'set foot' in English churches...so the chair was made to carry the bishop into the church!
* The ancient chapel of Archdeacon's Court, dating from before 1350.
* A few remaining Medieval misericords (hinged seats for leaning on when standing) in the south side of the choir. Carvings include a Green Man (pre-Christian fertility symbol) and a hairy 'wildman' (both common Medieval carvings, I've seen them throughout Europe).
*Two ancient stone sarcophagus, and stone benches along the walls for the infirm...there were no pews or seats in Medieval churches.
Well worth popping in to explore. There are information leaflets available on the left as you enter.
Coventry's new St Michael's cathedral, adjoining the ruins of the old and completed in 1962, is a very impressive piece of modern architecture.
I don't like modern architecture much, but I appreciated the skill, craftsmanship and ...yes...love which went into creating a suitable replacement for Coventry's spiritual heart.
The architect was Sir Basil Spence; he won a competition and it was he who suggested that the cathedral should not be rebuilt on its original site but that the ruins should be kept as a place of remembrance and the new structure built alongside.
The wonderful, wonderful panels of stained glass are what (for me) make the new cathedral so very special. They face away from the congregation and yet, as one moves through the nave, they are truly wonderful. They represent growth from birth to old age, with heavenly glory nearest the main altar.
The Baptistry window, designed by John Piper, is another superb piece of art. Its myriad stained glass panels represents the light of God breaking into the world. And it works, even if you are not a Christian. The font beneath is carved from a boulder brought from Bethlehem.
Graham Sutherland's massive 'Christ in Glory' is the world's largest tapestry. It dominates the nave when one looks towards the altar. Although I was very impressed by its size, it did not move me.
More impressive are the glass etchings on the West Screen, the entrance facing the old cathedral ruins. These, by John Hutton, are not only extremely skilful in themselves but demonstrate impressive accuracy of construction. Several of the angels flow over more than one piece of glass, so there was no room for even the slightest mismatch during the etching process.
There is more to see: original Medieval stained glass panels from the old cathedral in the light-filled and rather chilly 'Chapel of Christ the Servant'...a strange chapel, almost 'stuck out on a limb' and possibly intended as a chapter house (discussion place for cathedral clergy); a rather wonderful mosaic angel (Steven Sykes) in the Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane, framed by Basil Spence's own 'crown of thorns'; the Cross of Nails from the old cathedral, the first of many...
...and, on the wall outside, Epsteins stunning 'St Michael and the Devil'.
Yes, the entrance fee at 8GBP may be steep...but it is worth paying, I think. This is indeed a special building.
Coventry's old cathedral..the second St Michael's Cathedral, dating from the 1400s...was almost entirely destroyed on the night of 14th November 1940.
The tower, the spire, the outer walls and the tomb of its first bishop survived the inferno created by the bombing (so hot that metal melted). Almost 600 people did not survive, a number greatly reduced by the fact that large numbers of Coventry's citizens had taken to leaving the city at night to seek shelter further afield.
The ruins of the cathedral are important not only for the history they represent but also as a visual reminder of forgiveness and reconciliation. A litany of reconciliation takes place every day at 12 noon, in the ruins when the weather permits and in the new cathedral when it does not.
Jacob Epstein's 'Ecce Homo' was brought to Coventry in the 1970s and now stands in the ruins. along with 'Reconciliation, a sculpture donated by Richard Branson to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War ll.
You can climb the tower daily.
Crosses made of nails from the old cathedral have been given to cathedrals and churches, initially in Kiel, Dresden and Berlin and now elsewhere...symbols of reconciliation.
Behind the ruined Church of St Michael is the new Coventry Cathedral. Devoted to reconciliation from the horrors of the World Wars, this modern structure is unlike most other cathedrals in the UK.
That's not to say that it's ugly. The inside is very beautiful and peaceful. It's all well done, but don't expect a medieval Gothic cathedral, such as the others for which Europe is so famous. Consecrated in 1962, this new church stands in contrast to the charred ruins of the old one. Together, they are a powerful testament to destruction, rebuilding, and reconciliation with the past.
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is named after Sir Alfred Herbert, a local industrialist who founded Alfred Herbert Limited, at one time the world's largest machine toolmaking company.
In 1938, Sir Alfred donated £100,000 to the City of Coventry to pay for the construction of an Art Gallery and Museum. Building work started in 1939 on a site on the other side of Bayley Lane from the present building.
At the start of World War II only the basement had been completed and work was stopped.
By the end of World War II the city centre lay in ruins, and work on the gallery was put on hold, although the basement was converted to a temporary art gallery in 1949.
In 1952 new plans were drawn up and on 20th May 1954 Sir Alfred was able to lay the foundation stone of the new building. He also donated a further £100,000 to the scheme.
In 1956 the plans were revised to include a room for science and natural history collections. This was because of a bequest from Alderman JI Bates which gave an additional £34,500 to the scheme. This room was called The Bates Room in his honour.
Sadly Sir Alfred did not live to see the Art Gallery and Museum opened as he died on 5th June 1957 aged 90.
On 9th March 1960 Lady Herbert, his third wife, declared the Art Gallery and Museum open.
Given the history of the Cathedral I feel that, for me, the entrance screen is the most absorbing, symbolic and overpowering aspect of the cathedral. Basil Spence, the architect, saw it as an integral part of his vision. The bombed out cathedral needed to be connected to the new once that decision was made to start again rather than just restore the old.
I believe that he orginally had an idea for a glass screen that could be lowered to allow an open air connection between the old and the new as it would lower into a slot in the ground. I guess that cost, practicality and english weather saw an end to that idea. The screen became a fixed structure and much large - allowing john Hutton to create an artistic masterpiece on saints and angels etched onto vast panes of glass. The saints were picked because they were thought to be the ones that brought christianity to Britain.
Its most imprtant feature is, perhaps, its transpaent nature - old and new can see each other clearly face to face - bombed out shell and the new pheonix rising from the ashes.
Coventry catedral was voted the best loved English building of the 20th century afew years back. It's not hard to see why when the place is so resonant in symbolism connecting it to the momentus events of history of that century.
Coventry, arguably, suffered more than any other city in England during WW2. Much of the inner city was lost to the Luftwaffe. The rebuliding of the cathedral was completed in 1962. This particular chapel draws us back closer to that time as Coventry has become a symbol of forgiveness and reconcilliation since those awful nights in the 1940's where bombr ripped the heart out of wonderful ancient cities right across Europe.
The stained glass of the chapel was provided by a vast range of german churches whilst the floor mosaic was a present from neutral Sweden.
The place also has a strong ecumenical flavour as befits such a theme.
The 'video' i've left a connection to gives a real sense of this spiritual and contemplative place.
Another feature of the 1960's Coventry cathedral is the very fine baptistry window. It was designed by John Piper and features 195 individual stained glass panels that fit into the wall from tip to toe. The modern abstract imagery is somewhat obvious but works very well. There is something very clever about re-interpreting something as quinessentially english as stained glass (yes I know you get it elsewhere but you know what I mean) and bringing it into the 20the century.
The font itself comes from the hillsides around Bethlehem. The water originally came from the River Jordan. Nowadays I thin it just comes out the municipal tap.
There is something very optimistic about this corner of the cathedral and that seems entirely appropriate - baptism is supposed to be about a 'new beginning' and the early 1960's must have also felt like an entirely new beginning after the dark war years and the austerity of the 1950's. Roll on the the Jerusalem.
Coventry cathedral is one of the modern architectural marvels of England. Opened in 1962 it is a concrete masterpiece. If only other buildings of that vintage were built with such care and thought then maybe our cities would not have been blighted with an array of crumbling eyesores.
The centerpiece of the cathedral is a massive tapestry designed by Graham Sutherland. Depicting 'Chirst the King' it hangs behind the high altar, but can be seen right from the moment you arrive at the entrance to the catherdal and look through the glass-fronted entrance.
I remember visting on a school outing many years ago. I'm prettey sure I was told it was the biggest tapestry in the world. I'm sorry to say that a quick look at wikipedia has corrected me on that one.
Some believe that the artist employed a mathmatical device that has been used over the centuries in architecture and art. It is described below :
Luca Pacioli (1445-1517) in his Divina proportione (On Divine Proportion) wrote about the golden section also called the golden mean or the divine proportion:
The line AB is divided at point M so that the ratio of the two parts, the smaller MB to the larger AM is the same as the ratio of the larger part AM to the whole AB.
There you are...clear as mud. Still it is an awe-inspiring piece of art. Size really does matter.
The Canal Basin is a lovely waterside area of gift shops, cafe's and commercial dwellings. It is a lovely place to take a stroll around or you can take a longer walk up the towpath and enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife before you.
The Golden Cross is one of the oldest pubs in Coventry, it was built around 1583 and is one of the oldest surviving medieval timber framed buildings in Coventry. Nowadays the pub hosts regular gigs featuring the best local bands from Coventry & Warwickshire.
In Medieval Spon Street you will find a high concentration of Tudor aged buildings. Many are not original to the street and have been rebuilt there after being saved from demolition in other streets and a preservation order is in place to ensure their survival.
Spon street also has many lovely looking bars and resturants... I had my eye on a lovely looking Indian restaurant but sadly we'd already eaten :-(
Priory Row contains some fine Georgian houses which sit behind an elaborate set of iron railings.
The front of the house in the main picture is now sadly the only original part remaining of the 18th century building after a direct hit during World War Two. However, the rest of the house has been restored sympathetically. It was first built between 1727 and 1760; the reign of George II, and at the start of the 1939 to 1945 war it was used as the headquarters of the Coventry Women's Voluntary Service
Adjacent to the entrance to Trinity church can be found these three 15th century cottages. They were originally one building named 'Lychgate House'. The timber used for these buildings has been accurately tree-ring dated to around 1414-15.
The word Lych is old English and means corpse, hence a Lychgate being the entrance by which a funeral procession would enter a churchyard and under which the coffin would be rested awaiting the vicar's arrival.