St Mary's Hall
This building is around 700 years old and during that period many Kings and Queens visited this historical place. It is also believed that one queen was kept in the prison. During those 700 years so much happened, so many came and so many gone, hundred of stories are hidden behind these walls. I couldn’t get inside the building due to some refurbishment.
St Michael Tower
The tower and spire compose the most eye-catching feature of the Coventry skyline and it is a phenomenon that how they are still standing after all those trouble years. Tower has 180 steps and there is a clear instruction for all those people, who are willing to go at the top of the tower. It warns all old people to avoid it. I considered myself as an old man and avoided to go up.
Toy Museum is located on Much Park Street, if you keep walking on that street, its almost last building on this street. Toy Museum is in fourteenth century small house which looks great. It has the toys collection over the three centuries. It is open all week and the admission few for Adults, £1.50 and . Children, students, senior citizens, unemployed, £1.00.
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is another place to visit whilst you are visiting this historical city. It is just few hundred yards away from cathedral and city centre. The gallery offers an all-year line-up of exhibitions and events. It also exhibits the old history of Coventry. The admission is free and it is going through a phase of refurbishment but still open for its visitors.
The Reconciliation statue
In 1995 after 50 years of Second World War, this sculpture by Josefina de Vasconcellos has been given by Sir Richard Branson as a token of reconciliation to the people of Coventry. Same sculpture was given by the people of Coventry to Japanese people and it has been placed in Peace garden Hiroshima Japan. Both sculptures remind us the devastating sad history of the sad old days of Second World War.
Bayley Lane is one of the oldest street in Coventry and its history goes back to Tudor’s period in Fourteenth century. In fifteenth century wall painting was found here of Tudors period. Bayley lane is next to St Mary’s. It once stood opposite the castle, now long gone and it was said to have been the bakery for the castle garrison
University of Coventry
It is five minutes away from main bus station, Pool Meadow. University has been providing high standard of education for last one hundred and fifty years. There are many Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses available for students. It seemed to me that half of the city was part of Coventry University as the campus is very wide spread and centrally located.
Holy Trinity is one of the largest medieval parish churches in England. It was formed in 1113 and it has Gothic styles. It was also suffered during the Second World War. Holy Trinity is ‘next door’ to Coventry Cathedral, adjacent to Priory Gardens, opposite the Alder’s department store in Broadgate, close to the statue of Lady Godiva and the famous Peeping Tom Clock.
St Michael's Church
Most people think that St Michael's Church in Coventry’s oldest cathedral but actually it became a cathedral in 1918. St Michaels was built in stages around the 1370's. It is the second cathedral and the first one is St Mary's Priory Cathedral. During the Second World War it was destroyed and the remains are still there.
A sculpture depicting Christ before Pilate in the grounds of the old cathedral. The sculpture, called Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) is by Jacob Epstein and dates from 1934-35. Ecce Homo is in the middle of the cathedral and when you are in there you can’t miss it.
It's not every city that can boast more than one cathedral....
....but Coventry is unique in having had three!
Coventry has been severely unlucky in losing two cathedrals; the first to King Henry VIII as a result of the dissolution and the second to the German Luftwaffe in the second World War,
The modern St Michael’s cathedral stands alongside the ruins of the 14th century cathedral and is open to visitors all year round from 09:00-18:00 in Summer and 0900-1730 in Winter (services permitting). Entrance is free but a voluntary minimum donation of £3.00 is appreciated.
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Coventry Transport Museum
Coventry is the birthplace of the British cycle and motor industry and the Transport Museum displays the world’s largest collection of British road transport, including 240 cars, commercial vehicles and buses, 100 motorcycles, more than 200 cycles and around a million archive and ephemera items.
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The Old Cathedral
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.
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The new cathedral.
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.
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Holy Trinity church
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.
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