Coventry: Wikis


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Did you know ...

  • in 1828, Hillfields became the first suburb of Coventry to be located outside of the city walls marking the beginning of a large expansion for the city?
  • Riley started as a bicycle manufacturer in Coventry in 1890, and produced its last motorcar in 1969?

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City of Coventry
View of Coventry from Baginton
Coventry shown within England
Coordinates: 52°24′29″N 1°30′38″W / 52.40806°N 1.51056°W / 52.40806; -1.51056
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region West Midlands
Ceremonial county West Midlands
Admin HQ Coventry city centre
Founded 1043
Founder Leofric, Earl of Mercia
 - Type Metropolitan borough
 - Governing body Coventry City Council
 - Executive: Conservative
 - Total 38.1 sq mi (98.64 km2)
Population (2006 est)
 - Total 309,800 (Ranked 19th)
 Density 8,049.7/sq mi (3,108/km2)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 - Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Postcode CV
Area code(s) 024
ISO 3166-2 GB-COV
ONS code 00CQ
OS grid reference SP335785
(2006 Est.[3])
80.5% White
11.9% South Asian
3.1% Black British
2.1% Mixed Race
2.4% East Asian and Other
Website Coventry

Coventry (pronounced /ˈkɒvəntri/ or /ˈkʌvəntri/  ( listen)[1]) is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom.[2] It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848,[3] although Leicester and Nottingham have larger urban areas. The population of Coventry has risen to 309,800 as of 2008.

Coventry is situated 95 miles (153 km) northwest of London and 19 miles (30 km) east of Birmingham, and is farthest from the coast of any city in Britain. Although harbouring a population of almost a third of a million inhabitants, Coventry is not amongst the English Core Cities Group due to its proximity to Birmingham.

Coventry was also the world's first 'twin' city when it formed a twinning relationship with the Russian city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) during World War II. The relationship developed through ordinary people in Coventry who wanted to show their support for the Soviet Red Army during the Battle of Stalingrad.[3] The city is now twinned with Dresden and with 27 other cities around the world.

Coventry Cathedral is one of the newer cathedrals in the world, having been built following the World War II bombing of the ancient cathedral by the Luftwaffe. Coventry motor companies have contributed significantly to the British motor industry, and it has two universities, the city centre-based Coventry University and the University of Warwick on the southern outskirts.



Early history

Coventry is an ancient city, which predates many of the large cities around it including Birmingham and Leicester. It is likely that Coventry grew from a settlement of the Bronze Age near the present-day city centre where Coventry's bowl shape and, at that time large flowing river and lakes, created the ideal settlement area, with mild weather and thick woods: food, water and shelter would have been easily provided.

Roman period

The Romans settling in Baginton founded another settlement and another formed around a Saxon nunnery, founded ca. AD 700 by St Osburga,[4] that was later left in ruins by King Canute's invading Danish army in 1016. Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva built on the remains of the nunnery and founded a Benedictine monastery in 1043 dedicated to St Mary.[5][6] In time, a market was established at the abbey gates and the settlement expanded.

Middle ages

By the 14th century, Coventry had become an important centre of the cloth trade, and throughout the Middle Ages was one of the largest and most important cities in England. The bishops of Lichfield were often referred to as bishops of Coventry and Lichfield, or Lichfield and Coventry (from 1102 to 1541). Coventry claimed the status of a city by ancient prescriptive usage, was granted a charter of incorporation in 1345, and in 1451 became a county in its own right.[7][8]

Civil war

Hostile attitudes of the cityfolk towards Royalist prisoners held in Coventry during the English Civil War are believed[citation needed] to have been the origin of the phrase "sent to Coventry", which in Britain means "to be ostracised"; although their physical needs were catered for, the Royalist prisoners were literally never spoken to by anybody[citation needed].

Industrial revolution

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Coventry became one of the three main UK centres of watch and clock manufacture and ranked alongside Prescot, near Liverpool and Clerkenwell in London.[9][10] As the industry declined, due mainly to competition from Swiss made clock and watch manufacturers, the skilled pool of workers proved crucial to the setting up of bicycle manufacture and eventually the motorcycle, automobile, machine tool and aircraft industries.

Transport industry

In the late 19th century, Coventry became a major centre of bicycle manufacture, with the industry being pioneered by Rover. By the early 20th century, bicycle manufacture had evolved into motor manufacture, and Coventry became a major centre of the British motor industry. While over 100 different companies have produced motor vehicles in Coventry, car production came to an end in 2006 as the last car rolled off the lines at Peugeot's Ryton plant. Production was transferred to a new plant near Trnava, Slovakia, with the help of EU grant aid to Peugeot: this made Peugeot deeply unpopular in the city. The design headquarters of Jaguar Cars is still in the city at their Whitley plant and although they ceased vehicle assembly at their Browns Lane plant in 2004, they still continue some operations from there.

A 1972 Hillman Avenger Tiger, produced in Coventry by Chrysler Competitions Department.
Coventry precinct with spire of ruined cathedral in the background.

World War II and the Coventry Blitz

Coventry suffered severe bomb damage during World War II, most notoriously from a massive Nazi German Luftwaffe air raid (the "Coventry Blitz") on 14 November 1940. This led to severe damage to large areas of the city centre and Coventry's historic cathedral was ravaged by firebombs leaving only a shell and the spire. Aside from London, Hull and Plymouth, Coventry suffered more damage than any other British city during the Luftwaffe attacks, with huge fires devastating most of the city centre. The city was probably targeted due to its high concentration of armaments, munitions, aircraft and aero-engine plants which contributed greatly to the British war effort, although there have been claims that Hitler launched the attack as revenge for the bombing of Munich by the RAF six days before the Coventry blitz and chose the Midlands city because its medieval heart was regarded as one of the finest in Europe. Following the raids, the majority of Coventry's historic buildings could not be saved as they were in ruinous states or were deemed unsafe for any future use, although several were later demolished simply to make way for modern developments.

Postwar years

In the postwar years Coventry was largely rebuilt under the general direction of the Gibson Plan, gaining a new pedestrianised shopping precinct (the first of its kind in Europe on such a scale) and in 1962 Sir Basil Spence's much-celebrated new St Michael's Cathedral (incorporating one of the world's largest tapestries) was consecrated. Its pre-fabricated steel spire was lowered into place by helicopter. In 1967, the Eagle Street Mosque opened as Coventry's first mosque.

Major expansion to Coventry had taken place previously, in the 1920s and 1930s, to provide housing for the large influx of workers who came to work in the city's booming factories. The areas which were expanded or created in this development included Radford, Coundon, Canley, Cheylesmore and Stoke Heath.

Coventry's motor industry boomed during the 1950s and 1960s and Coventry enjoyed a 'golden age'. During this period the disposable income of Coventrians was one of the highest in the country and both the sports and the arts benefited. A new sports centre, with one of the few Olympic standard swimming pools in the UK, was constructed and Coventry City football club reached the First Division of English Football. The Belgrade Theatre was also constructed along with the Herbert Art Gallery. The 1970s, however, saw a decline in the British motor industry and Coventry suffered badly. By the early 1980s, Coventry had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In recent years, the city has recovered with newer industries locating there, although the motor industry continues to decline. In 2008, only one motor manufacturing plant is operational, that of LTI Ltd, producing the popular TX4 taxi cabs.

City boundaries

Unlike other major UK cities, Coventry does not have an extensive 'greater' urban area. This is partly because the city boundaries were drawn so as to include practically all of its suburbs, and partly because Coventry has comparatively little in the way of contiguous satellite towns and dormitory settlements.

The M6 motorway directly to the north of Coventry acts as an artificial boundary which precludes expansion into the Bedworth-Nuneaton urban area, as does the protected West Midlands Green Belt which surrounds the city on all sides. This has circumvented the expansion of the city into both the administrative county of Warwickshire and the metropolitan borough of Solihull, and has helped to prevent the coalescence of the city with surrounding settlements such as Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Rugby, Meriden and Balsall Common.

Suburbs or areas















  • Nailcote Grange









  • Victoria Farm


Places of interest


The ruins of the old Cathedral

St. Michael's Cathedral is Coventry's best-known landmark and visitor attraction. The original 14th century cathedral was largely destroyed by German bombing during World War II, leaving only the outer walls and spire. At the time of the bombing, the Spire of St. Michael's was the third tallest in Britain, Ely and Salford cathedrals being taller. Due to the architectural design (it was the tallest standing spire and not constructed as part of the roof, as is the case with the neighbouring Holy Trinity Church), it survived the destruction of the main Cathedral. The new Coventry Cathedral was opened in 1962 next to the ruins of the old. It was designed by Sir Basil Spence. The cathedral contains the tapestry Christ in Glory by Graham Sutherland. The bronze statue St Michael's Victory over the Devil by Jacob Epstein is mounted on the exterior of the new cathedral near the entrance. Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, regarded by some as his masterpiece, was written for the opening of the new Cathedral.[11]

The spire of the ruined cathedral forms one of the Three Spires which have dominated the city skyline since the 14th century, the others being those of Christ Church (of which only the spire survives) and Holy Trinity Church (which is still in use).

Two of Coventry's "three spires"

Art gallery and museums

The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is a major art gallery in the city centre. About four miles from the city centre and just outside Coventry in Baginton is the Lunt Fort, a reconstructed Roman fort. The Midland Air Museum is situated just within the perimeter of Coventry on land adjacent to Coventry Airport and near Baginton.

Another major visitor attraction in Coventry city centre is the free-to-enter Coventry Transport Museum, which has the largest collection of British-made road vehicles in the world. The most notable exhibits are the world speed record-breaking cars, Thrust2 and ThrustSSC. The museum received a major refurbishment in 2004 which included the creation of a striking new entrance as part of the city's Phoenix Initiative project. The revamp saw the museum exceed its projected five-year visitor numbers within the first year alone, and it was a finalist for the 2005 Gulbenkian Prize.

Coventry was one of the main centres of watchmaking during the 18th and 19th centuries and as the industry declined the skilled workers were key to setting up the cycle trade. A group of local enthusiasts are in the process of setting up a museum in Spon Street.[9]

The city's main police station in Little Park Street also hosts a museum of Coventry's Police Force. The museum, based underground, is split into two sections - one representing the history of the city's police force, and the other compiling some of the more unusual, interesting and grisly cases from the force's history. The museum is funded from charity donations - viewings can be made by appointment.

Coventry City Farm was a small farm in an urban setting. It was mainly to educate city children who might not get out to the countryside very often. The farm closed in 2008 due to funding problems.[12]

Football stadium

Since 2005, Coventry City Football Club have been playing at their new home, the Ricoh Arena, a 32,500 capacity stadium in Foleshill in north Coventry. Their football academy is now based at The Alan Higgs Centre, a leisure centre in south-east Coventry opened in 2004. The Highfield Road stadium has been demolished, making way for new housing and a small green.


The "Whittle Arch" outside the Transport Museum, named after Sir Frank Whittle.
Millennium Square by night, showing the Time Zone Clock designed by Francoise Schein with the Whittle Arch soaring above

Major improvements continue to regenerate the city centre. The Phoenix Initiative, which was designed by MJP Architects, reached the final shortlist for the 2004 RIBA Stirling Prize and has now won a total of 16 separate awards. It was published in the book 'Phoenix : Architecture/Art/Regeneration' in 2004.[13] Further major developments are potentially afoot, particularly the Swanswell Project, which is intended to deepen Swanswell Pool and link it to Coventry Canal Basin, coupled with the creation of an urban marina and a wide Parisian-style boulevard. A possible second phase of the Phoenix Initiative is also in the offing, although both of these plans are still on the drawing-board. The redevelopment of the Belgrade Theatre is currently in progress, and the building of IKEA's first city centre multi-storey store has recently been completed and was opened to the public on 16 December 2007.[14]

The River Sherbourne runs under Coventry's city centre; the river was paved over during the rebuilding after World War II and is not commonly known. When the new rebuild of Coventry city centre takes place 2009 onwards, it is planned that river will be re-opened, and a river walk way will be placed along side it in parts of the city centre.[15]

Twinning with other cities; "city of peace and reconciliation"

Coventry and Stalingrad (now Volgograd) were the world's first 'twin' cities when they established a twinning relationship during World War II. The relationship developed through ordinary people in Coventry who wanted to show their support for the Soviet Red Army during the Battle of Stalingrad.[3] The city was also subsequently twinned with Dresden, as a gesture of peace and reconciliation following World War II. Coventry is now twinned with 27 other cities around the world.

Coventry Cathedral is notable for being one of the newest cathedrals in the world, having been built following the World War II bombing of the ancient cathedral by the Luftwaffe. Coventry has since developed an international reputation as one of Europe's major cities of peace and reconciliation,[16] centred around its Cathedral, and holds an annual Peace Month.[17]


The Alan Berry building, Coventry University.

Coventry has two universities; Coventry University is situated on a modern city centre campus while the University of Warwick lies 3.5 miles (5.5 km) to the south of the city centre within Coventry near the border with Warwickshire. The University of Warwick is one of only five universities never to have been rated outside the top ten in terms of teaching excellence and research and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group. A team from the University won the BBC TV University Challenge trophy in April 2007. Coventry University is one of only a handful of universities to run a degree course in automotive design (it is second only to the Royal College of Art course in prestige).[citation needed]

Coventry also has three further education colleges within city boundaries, City College, Henley College and Hereward College.

Many of the secondary schools in and around Coventry are specialist colleges, such as Finham Park School, which is a Mathematics and IT college, a teacher training school and the only school in Coventry to offer studying the International Baccalaureate, and Coventry Blue Coat Church of England School which has recently become a specialist college of Music, one of only a few in the country. Bishop Ullathorne RC School became a specialist college in Humanities in 2006. Woodlands School in Coventry is now also a sports college, which has a newly built sport centre. Ernesford Grange School, in the South East, is a specialist science college. Coundon Court School is a Technology college. Pattison College, a private school opened in 1949, specialises in the performing arts. There is also Caludon Castle School, a business and enterprise school, which has been rebuilt over 2005-2007. Exhall Grange School and Science College is in the North of the City, although, its catchment area is north Warwickshire. There is also Cardinal Newman Catholic School and specialist arts college.

The Coventry School Foundation comprises the independent schools King Henry VIII School and Bablake School together with Coventry Preparatory School.

The Woodlands School, which is an all-boys' school, and Tile Hill Wood School are the only single-sex schools left in Coventry. However, their sixth forms have merged to form the "West Coventry 6th Form", whose lessons take place in mixed classes on both sites.

The Westwood School, which is a Technology College, close to The University of Warwick. It is the only school in Coventry that is a CISCO Academy and prides itself on its links with other educational establishment, industry and the local community.

Sherbourne Fields School is a Educational Special Needs School for young people with Physical Disabilities and is located in the Coundon area. It opened in the 1960s and there is now discussions as to whether to close this school.

Arts and culture

Godiva Festival, a major event on the Coventry arts and culture calendar

Literature and drama

  • During the early 19th century, Coventry was well-known due to author George Eliot who was born near Nuneaton. The city was the model for her famous novel Middlemarch (1871).
  • The Coventry Carol is named after the city of Coventry. It was a carol performed in the play The Pageant of The Shearman and Tailors, written in the 15th century as one of the Coventry Cycle Mystery Plays. These plays depicted the nativity story, the lyrics of the Coventry Carol referring to the Annunciation to the Massacre of the Innocents, which was the basis of the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. These plays were traditionally performed on the steps of the (old) Cathedral, and the plays are believed to have been performed for both Richard III in 1484 and Henry VII in 1584. The Belgrade Theatre brought back the Coventry Mystery Plays in 2000 to mark the city's millennium celebrations: the theatre now produces the Mystery Plays every three years.
  • The Belgrade Theatre was Britain's first purpose-built civic theatre, opened in 1958. In 1965 the world's first Theatre-in-Education (TiE) company was formed to develop theatre as a way of inspiring learning in schools. The TiE movement spread worldwide, the theatre still offers a number of programmes for young people across Coventry and has been widely recognised as a leader in the field.

Music and cinema

  • During the late-1970s and early-1980s, Coventry was the centre of the Two Tone musical phenomenon, with bands such as The Specials and The Selecter coming from the city, spawning several major hit singles and albums. The Specials achieved two UK #1 hit singles between 1979–1981, namely "Too Much Too Young" and "Ghost Town". Notable singles by The Selecter included "On My Radio" and "Three Minute Hero".
  • Today Coventry is recognised for its range of music events including one of the UK's foremost international jazz programmes, the Coventry Jazz Festival, and the award-winning Godiva Festival. On the Saturday of the Godiva Festival, a carnival parade also starts in the city centre and makes its way to the War Memorial Park where the festival is held.
  • In the film The Italian Job, the famous scene of Mini Coopers being driven at speed through Turin's sewers was actually filmed in Coventry, using what were then the country's biggest sewer pipes, that were accessible because they were being installed. More recently various locations in Coventry have been used in the BAFTA nominated film "Bouncer" starring Ray Winstone, All in the Game, also starring Ray Winstone (Ricoh Arena), the medical TV series Angels (Walsgrave Hospital), the BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances (Stoke Aldermoor and Binley Woods districts) and in August 2006 scenes from "The Shakespeare Code", an episode of the third series of Doctor Who, were filmed in the grounds of Ford's Hospital.


Warwick Arts Centre in Warwick University Campus

Theatre, art and music venues in Coventry include:

  • The Warwick Arts Centre: situated at the University of Warwick, Warwick Arts Centre includes an art gallery, a theatre, a concert hall and a cinema. It is the second largest arts centre in the UK, after London's Barbican.
  • The College Theatre: the city's main community theatre, housed at the Butts Centre of City College Coventry. It's a fully functioning theatre with flying scenery, full sound and lighting boxes.
  • The Belgrade Theatre: one of the largest producing theatres in Britain, the 866-seat Belgrade was the first civic theatre to be opened in the UK following World War II. The theatre underwent a huge redevelopment and reopened in September 2007; in addition to refurbishing the existing theatre the redevelopment included a new 250-seat studio auditorium known as B2, a variety of rehearsal spaces and an exhibition space that traces the history of theatre in Coventry.
  • Also currently being built is the Belgrade Plaza.
  • The Ricoh Arena: located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of the city centre, the 32,000 capacity Coventry City FC stadium is also used to hold major rock concerts for some of the world's biggest acts, including Oasis and Bon Jovi. The adjacent Ricoh Exhibition Hall is a 6,000-seat events venue for hosting a multitude of other acts.
  • The SkyDome Arena, which is a 3,000 capacity sports auditorium, and has played host to artists such as Girls Aloud, Paul Oakenfold, Judge Jules and Paul Morrell. It is the home ground for Coventry Blaze ice hockey club, and has also hosted professional wrestling events such as International Showdown.
  • The War Memorial Park, which holds various festivals including the Godiva Festival and the Coventry Caribbean Festival, every year.
  • The Butts Park Arena, home of Coventry Rugby Football Club, holds music concerts occasionally.
  • The Kasbah Nightclub, Hillfields. It was renamed after refurbishment in 2007, but is still often referred to by its previous name, 'Colosseum'. By older Coventrians, it is still remembered as The Orchid Ballroom.
  • The Criterion Theatre, a small theatre, in Earlsdon.
  • Coombe Country Park Coventry City Councils only country park


The Ricoh Arena

Sporting teams include: Coventry City (football)); Coventry Bees (speedway); Coventry Rugby Club (Rugby Union) ; Coventry Bears (rugby league); Coventry Godiva Harriers (athletics); Coventry Crusaders (basketball); Coventry Cassidy Jets (American football); Coventry Sphinx (football); Coventry Copsewood (football); City of Coventry Swimming Club (swimming); Coventry Blaze (ice hockey); Four Masters GAA Club (Gaelic football).

In football, Coventry City have been in existence since the late 19th century, but did not reach the top flight of the Football League until 1967, when they were promoted as Second Division champions. Their highest league position so far is sixth place in the First Division in 1970, when they qualified for the European Fairs Cup (now the UEFA Cup) in 1970-71. Their only major trophy to date is the FA Cup which was won in 1987 with a 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Coventry were founder members of the Premier League in 1992, but currently play in the Football League Championship, the second tier of English football, where they have been since 2001, following relegation after 34 successive seasons of top flight football. Their current stadium is the 32,600 capacity Ricoh Arena, which opened at Foleshill in the north of the city in 2005, replacing 106-year-old Highfield Road to the east of the city centre. Notable former players include Willie Carr, Dion Dublin, Stuart Pearce, Gerry Francis, Kevin Gallacher, Terry Gibson, Mark Hateley, Ian Wallace, Tommy Hutchison, Robbie Keane, Gary McAllister, Reg Matthews, David Speedie, Steve Ogrizovic, Colin Stein and Terry Yorath. Notable former managers include Jimmy Hill, Noel Cantwell, Dave Sexton, John Sillett, Bobby Gould, Phil Neal, Ron Atkinson, Gordon Strachan, Peter Reid, Gary McAllister, Micky Adams and Iain Dowie.

The Coventry Bees are based at Coventry Stadium (formerly Brandon Stadium) to the east of the city. The stadium has operated both sides of World War II. The Bees started in 1948 and have operated continuously ever since. They started out in the National League Division three before moving up to the Second Division and, later to the top flight. They have operated at this level ever since. Amongst the top speedway riders who have represented Coventry teams are Tom Farndon, Jack Parker, Nigel Boocock, Kelvin Tatum, Chris Harris and three World Champions, Ole Olsen, Hans Nielsen and Jack Young. Between 1998 and 2000, Coventry hosted the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain at Brandon Stadium.

In 2007, the Bees won the domestic speedway treble of Elite League, Knock-out Cup and Craven Shield, whilst Chris Harris won both the Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain and the British Championship.

The Bees retained the Craven Shield in 2008.

Before World War II speedway also operated for a short time at Foleshill Stadium, off Lythalls Lane in the City.

In 2003, Coventry Blaze won the British National League and Playoffs. In 2007, Coventry Blaze won the Elite League and the British Challenge cup and narrowly missed out on the treble by losing in the semi-finals of the playoffs.

Coventry Bears are the major rugby league team in the city now playing in the Rugby League Conference. In 2002 they won the Rugby League Conference, and took the step up to the national leagues. In 2004 they won the National Division 3 title and have appeared in the Challenge Cup.

2005 was a good year for sport in Coventry. Not only did it become the first city in the UK to host the International Children's Games,[18] but three of the city sports teams won significant honours. The Blaze won the treble consisting of Elite League, playoff and Challenge Cup; the Jets won the BAFL Division 2 championship and were undefeated all season; and the Bees won the Elite League playoffs.

Major sports teams in Coventry
Club Sport Founded League Venue
Coventry R.F.C. Rugby union 1874 National Division One Butts Park Arena
Coventry City Football 1883 Football League Championship Ricoh Arena
Coventry Bees Speedway 1928 Elite League Brandon Stadium
Coventry Crusaders Basketball 1987 English Basketball League Coventry Sports Centre
Coventry Bears Rugby League 1998 Rugby League Conference OC's Stadium
Coventry Blaze Ice hockey 2000 Elite Ice Hockey League SkyDome Arena

Notable Coventrians

Statue of Lady Godiva
Statue commemorating James Starley

History and politics

Coventry is well-known for the legendary 11th century exploits of Lady Godiva who, according to legend, rode through the city naked on horseback in protest at high taxes being waged on the cityfolk by her husband Leofric, Earl of Mercia. According to the legend the residents of the city were commanded to look away as she rode, but one man didn't and was allegedly struck blind. He became known as Peeping Tom thus originating a new idiom, or metonym, in English. There is a Grade II* listed statue[19] of her in the city centre, which for 18 years had been underneath a much-maligned Cathedral Lanes shopping centre canopy, removed in October 2008.[20] There is also a bust of Peeping Tom looking out from a bridge that crosses one branch of the shopping precinct, and across the road from the statue of Godiva there is a clock where, at every hour, Lady Godiva appears on her horse while being watched by Peeping Tom.

The Labour politician Mo Mowlam was educated in Coventry; trade union organiser Tom Mann and National Socialist Movement leader Colin Jordan also came from the city.

Science and technology

Coventry has been the home to several pioneers in science and engineering. Frank Whittle, the inventor of the jet engine, was from the city, as was the inventor James Starley, instrumental in the development of the bicycle and his nephew J.K. Starley, who worked alongside his uncle and went on to found car company Rover. Cyborg scientist Kevin Warwick is also a Coventrian. George Singer, manufacturer of Singer bicycles also lived in Coventry, his Victorian home has now been converted into Coundon Court School and Community College. Coventrians who established successful businesses from very humble beginnings were known as "Coventry Kids".

The arts

Coventrians in the arts include the highly acclaimed poet Philip Larkin, actors Billie Whitelaw, Nigel Hawthorne and Clive Owen, and the author Lee Child. Many notable musicians originated in Coventry, including Delia Derbyshire, Jerry Dammers, Terry Hall, Neville Staple, Hazel O'Connor, Clint Mansell, Julianne Regan, Lee Dorrian, Jen Ledger, Taz (lead singer of the band Stereo Nation), and Panjabi MC. 2 Tone music developed in and around Coventry in the 1970s and two of the genre's most notable bands, The Specials and The Selecter are both from the city. Other Coventry bands include The Primitives, Adorable, Fun Boy Three, The Colourfield, King, Jigsaw, The Sorrows, and The Enemy. Record producer Pete Waterman is also from the city and is president of Coventry Bears. Broadcasters Brian Matthew and Richard Keys, theatre producer Dominic Madden, and pornographic actress Debee Ashby are also Coventrians.


Notable Coventrian sportsmen include speedway rider Tom Farndon; footballer Reg Matthews; cricketers Tom Cartwright and Ian Bell; rugby union players Ivor Preece, David Duckham, Neil Back, Danny Grewcock and Geoff Evans; boxer Errol Christie; sprinter Marlon Devonish; distance runners Brian Kilby and David Moorcroft; show jumper Nick Skelton and fencer Kevin Reilly.


Coventry's skyline (view from the footbridge over the railway by Central 6 shopping centre). The three spires are: Holy Trinity (left), remaining spire of the ruined (bombed) cathedral and the remaining spire of the ruined Christ Church (right).

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Coventry at current basic prices by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling:[21]

Year Regional Gross Value Added 1 Agriculture 2 Industry 3 Services 4
1995 3,407 3 1,530 1,874
2000 4,590 3 1,873 2,714
2003 5,103 2 1,529 3,572


  1. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  2. Includes hunting and forestry
  3. Includes energy and construction
  4. Includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Coventry has long been a centre of motor and cycle manufacturing, dating from 1896. Starting out with some less familiar names such as Coventry Motette, Great Horseless Carriage Co, Swift Motor Company and more familiar names like Humber, Riley, Francis-Barnett and Daimler and the Triumph motorcycle having its origins in 1902 in a Coventry factory. The Massey-Ferguson tractor factory was situated on Banner Lane, Tile Hill, until it closed in the late 1990s. Although the motor industry has declined almost to the point of extinction, the Jaguar company has retained its corporate and research headquarters in the city (at Allesley and Whitley), and Peugeot still have a large parts centre in Humber Road. The famous London black cab taxis are produced in Coventry by LTI and these are now the only vehicles still wholly built in Coventry.

The manufacture of machine tools was once a major industry in Coventry. Alfred Herbert Ltd became one of the largest machine tool companies in the world. Unfortunately in later years the company faced tough competition from foreign machine tool builders and ceased trading in 1983. Another famous Coventry machine tool manufacturer was the A. C. Wickman company. The last Coventry machine tool manufacturer was Matrix Churchill which was forced to close in the wake of the Iraqi Supergun (Project Babylon) scandal. It had been owned by the Saddam Hussein government, via front companies, and closed amidst much controversy and bad feeling.

Coventry's main industries include: cars, electronic equipment, machine tools, agricultural machinery, man-made fibres, aerospace components and telecommunications equipment. In recent years, the city has moved away from manufacturing industries towards business services, finance, research, design and development, creative industries as well as logistics and leisure.

Coventry motor companies once contributed significantly to the British motor industry but that role is now much diminished.


An overview of Coventry railway station.
Coventry Canal Basin

Coventry is near the M6, M69, M45 and M40 motorways. It is also served by the A45 and A46 dual carriageways. Coventry has a much used inner ring road opened in the 1960s (approx.). Phoenix Way, a dual carriageway running north – south opened 1998 (approx.), has improved traffic flows through the city.

For rail, Coventry railway station is served by the West Coast Main Line, and has regular rail services between London and Birmingham (and stations beyond). It is also served by railway lines to Nuneaton via Bedworth. There is a line linking it to Leamington Spa and onwards to the south coast. Coventry also has two Suburban Rail stations in Canley and in Tile Hill.

Bus service operators in Coventry include National Express Coventry, Travel de Courcey and Stagecoach in Warwickshire. Pool Meadow Bus Station is the main bus and coach interchange in the city centre. Two park and ride sites exist in the city, one at War Memorial Park and one at Courthouse Green.

The nearest major airports are Birmingham International Airport, some 17 km (11 miles) to the west of the city and Coventry Airport in Baginton, located 8 km (5 miles) south of the city centre.

The Coventry Canal terminates near the city centre at Coventry Canal Basin and is navigable for 61 km (38 miles) to Fradley Junction in Staffordshire.

Waste management

Incineration plant, Coventry

Coventry has a large incineration plant which burns rubbish from both Coventry and Solihull, producing electricity for the National Grid and some hot water that is used locally. Some rubbish is still put into landfill.

Coventry City Council is assisting recycling as part of their waste management strategy in line with national trends:

  • many areas of Coventry have kerb-side plastic, metal (tins and cans), and paper recycling. Garden-green rubbish is also collected and composted.
  • a wide range of waste materials can be taken by car to the recycling depot, which is adjacent to the incineration unit.
  • there are many recycling points throughout the City for paper, glass recycling and metal / tin can recycling.

In October 2006, Coventry City Council signed the Nottingham Declaration, joining 130 other UK councils in committing to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the council and to help the local community do the same.

In November 2009, out of the biggest 20 cities in Britain the Forum for the Future ranked Coventry in 11th place based on environmental performance, quality of life, and readiness for the future.[22] Coventry was ranked 14th in 2008, and 17th in 2009.[23][24]


The Council House, Coventry

Traditionally a part of Warwickshire (although it was a county in its own right for 400 years), Coventry became an independent county borough in 1889. It later became a metropolitan district of the West Midlands county under the Local Government Act (1974), even though it was entirely separate to the Birmingham conurbation area (this is why Coventry appears to unnaturally "jut out" into Warwickshire on political maps of the UK). In 1986, the West Midlands County Council was abolished and Coventry became administered as an effective unitary authority in its own right.

Coventry is still strongly associated with its traditional county, Warwickshire. This may be because of its geographical location, forming a large protrusion into the county.

Coventry is administered by Coventry City Council. The city is divided up into 18 Wards each with three councillors. Coventry has usually been controlled by the Labour Party over the past few decades, and at times they appeared to be in safe control. However the Conservatives held control for a short time in the 1970s, and they have also been in control since June 2004. (For a time they held control on the casting vote of the Lord Mayor, but they won clear control at the local elections of 4 May 2006).

The leader of the controlling Conservative group is Ken Taylor, who has held the post of Leader of the Council since 2004. The leader of the opposition Labour group is John Mutton.

A notable politician serving with Coventry City Council is former Militant Tendency Labour MP Dave Nellist who now represents the Socialist Party (England and Wales).

Certain local services are provided by West Midlands wide agencies including the West Midlands Police, the West Midlands Fire Service and the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (Centro) which is responsible for public transport.

In 2006, Coventry and Warwickshire Ambulance Service was merged with the West Midlands Ambulance Service. The Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance service is based at Coventry Airport in Baginton.

Coventry is represented in Parliament by three MPs all of whom are Labour. These are:

Up until 1997, Coventry was represented by four Members of Parliament, whereupon the Coventry South West and Coventry South East constituencies were merged to form Coventry South.

At the Annual Meeting of the City Council on 20 May 2009, Councillor Jack Harrison was elected as the new Lord Mayor of Coventry. Councillor Harrison has been a Labour councillor for 13 years representing the Lower Stoke Ward. Councillor Harrison's wife, Jill, is Lady Mayoress.[25][26] The Deputy Lord Mayor is Councillor Brian Kelsey. He has been a Conservative councillor in Bablake Ward since 1999.[27][28]

The Bishop of Coventry since April 1998 has been the Rt Revd. Colin James Bennetts, who retired from the post on 31 January 2008. The Reverend Canon Dr Christopher John Cocksworth BA, PhD, PGCE was nominated Bishop of Coventry on 3 March 2008. The Queen then approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Christopher John Cocksworth BA, PhD, PGCE, for election as Bishop of Coventry.


Like most major British cities, Coventry has a large ethnic minority population, making up 25.2% of the population as of 2006 estimates.[29] The ethnic minority population is concentrated in the Foleshill and the St. Michael's wards.

The composition of the ethnic minority population is not typical of the UK. Sikhs are the largest non-Christian religion, with significant numbers of other South Asians. The Black population is 3.1%, only slightly above the British average, and lower than some other cities.

8.2% of the population identify as ethnically Indian, 2.2% as Pakistani, 0.8% as being from other South Asian groups, and 0.7% as Bangladeshi.

White Irish people constitute 2.8%, and 2.9% of the city's population identify as "White Other" (non-Irish, non-British white groups).

1.7% of the population are Black African, 1.2% Black Caribbean, and 0.2% from other black groups.

1.5% are ethnically Chinese and the remaining 0.9% is mainly composed of East Asians.

People reporting two or more ethnicities make up 2.1% of the population.[29]

Year and Current Total Population[30]

  • 1801 -  21,853
  • 1851  - 48,120
  • 1901  - 88,107
  • 1911  - 117,958
  • 1921  - 144,197
  • 1931  - 176,303
  • 1941  - 214,380
  • 1951  - 260,685
  • 1961  - 296,016
  • 1971  - 336,136
  • 1981  - 310,223
  • 1991  - 305,342
  • 2001  - 300,844
  • 2007  - 306,700
  • 2009  - 309,800

Closest cities, towns and villages

Cities (within 80 km/50 miles)

Towns (within 32 km/20 miles)



Postal districts CV1 to CV6 inclusive cover the city of Coventry and its immediate suburbs. Postal districts CV7 to CV47 cover almost all of the surrounding administrative county of Warwickshire, with the exception of those areas around Coleshill, Polesworth, Alcester and Studley in western Warwickshire, which have Birmingham (B) postcodes instead. However, Coventry remains the post town for settlements within the CV7 postcode, even though they do not form part of the city.[citation needed]

Twin cities

Coventry was the first city to "twin" with another city (Volgograd, Russia) and hence began the now common worldwide practice of twinning. It continued after World War II when Coventry twinned with Dresden as an act of peace and reconciliation, both cities having been very heavily bombed during the war. Each twin city country is represented in a specific ward of the city and in each ward has a peace garden dedicated to that twin city.

Coventry is now twinned with 26 places across the world:

Flag City Country Year Twinned Ward
Australia Parkes, New South Wales Australia 1956
Austria Graz Austria[31] 1957 Binley & Willenhall
Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina 1957
Canada Cornwall, Ontario Canada 1972
Granby, Quebec 1963
Windsor, Ontario 1963
People's Republic of China Jinan China 1983
Czech Republic Lidice Czech Republic 1947
Ostrava 1959
France Caen France 1957
Saint-Etienne 1955
Germany Dresden Germany 1959 Lower Stoke
Kiel 1947
Hungary Dunaújváros Hungary 1962
Kecskemét 1962
Italy Bologna Italy 1960
Jamaica Kingston Jamaica 1962
Netherlands Arnhem Netherlands 1958
Poland Warsaw Poland 1957
Republic of Ireland Cork Ireland 1958
Romania Galaţi Romania 1962
Russia Volgograd/Stalingrad Russia 1944
Serbia Belgrade Serbia 1957
United States Coventry, Connecticut United States 1962
Coventry, New York 1972
Coventry, Rhode Island 1971


Coventry in a linguistic sense looks both ways, towards both the 'West' and 'East' Midlands.[32] One thousand years ago, the extreme west of Warwickshire, what today we would designate Birmingham and the Black Country was then separated from Coventry and east Warwickshire by the forest of Arden, with resulting inferior means of communication.[32] The west Warwickshire settlements too were smaller in comparison to Coventry which, by the 14th century, was England's third city.[32] Even as far back as Anglo-Saxon times Coventry, situated as it was along Watling Street was a trading and market post between King Alfred's Saxon Mercia and Danelaw England with a consequent merging of dialects.[33] Phonetically the accent of Coventry is similar to Northern English in that it eliminates the long a /ɑː/, so cast is pronounced [kæst] rather than [kɑːst].[33] Yet the clipped, flatter vowels in the accent also contain traces of Estuary English (T-glottaling), increasingly so amongst the young since 1950.[33] One notable feature which television producers have been apt to overlook is the distinction between Coventry and Birmingham accents. In Birmingham and the Black Country 'Old' and 'cold' may be pronounced as "owd" and "cowd", this linguistic feature stops starkly as one moves beyond Solihull in the general direction of Coventry, a possible approximation of the 'Arden Forest' divide perhaps.[34] The prosody in the voice has none of the see-saw of traditional 'Brummie', being more 'flat' in its terminal sentence tags.[32] The common Birmingham inflection of the phonetic feature 'ɒɪ' in words such as 'price'-becoming similar in sound to the word 'choice' is almost absent in Coventry. Yet accents alter briskly in this particular part of the Midlands, North Warwickshire (Bedworth & Nuneaton) displays increased East Midlands dialect features.[32] Then again, just to the south, the general Southern English feature of the longer 'a' in words such as "bath" and "path" (becoming "barth" and "parth") starts to occur regardless of class or geodemographic grouping across an east to west band of settlements somewhere between Southam and Banbury, positioning Coventry right at the edge of England's phonetic crossroads.[33]

Dramatic representations on film have been very uneven down the years, ranging from Yorkshire sounding builders visiting the Queen Vic in Eastenders [1987] to Black Country sounding factory workers in the Jeffrey Archer adaptation 'First Among Equals' (1984).[35] The BBC's 2009 documentary 'The Bombing of Coventry' contained useful phonetic data on the 'Coventry Accent' in the form of interviews with Coventrians. A recent performance from the actress Becci Gemmell, playing Coventry character Joyce in the BBC drama Land Girls, also gave a more accurate phonetic representation of the accent.[36]


A minor planet 3009 Coventry discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1973 is named after the city.[37]

2008 bomb scare

On 12 March 2008 an unexploded World War II Luftwaffe bomb was discovered at 12 noon on a building site in Coventry's city centre,[38] a British Army bomb disposal unit was called in and subsequently called in experts from Cambridge. A controlled explosion was conducted at approximately 02:40 GMT on the morning of March 13.[39]

At first areas in close range of the bomb were evacuated (including a school and a hospital), however, as the day progressed larger parts of the city were closed off. Later, a cordon of 500 metres was enforced. The event attracted mass media coverage throughout the West Midlands region.

See also

Further reading

  • Smith, Albert & Fry, (1991) The Coventry We Have Lost. 2 vols. Berkswell: Simanda Press, 1991, 1993 ISBN 0-9513867-1-9; ISBN 0-9513867-2-7


  1. ^ Roach, Peter; Hartman, James; Setter, Jane et al., eds (2006). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (17th ed.). Cambridge: CUP. ISBN 978-0-521-68086-8. 
  2. ^ List of English cities by population from census 2001 figures
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ Coventry's beginnings in the Forest of Arden Retrieved 29 September 2008
  5. ^ Fox (1957), p. 3.
  6. ^ The history of Coventry Cathedral on the Cathedral's website Retrieved on 28 September 2008
  7. ^ Home Office List of English Cities by Ancient Prescriptive Right, 1927, cited in Beckett, J V (2005). City status in the British Isles, 1830–2002. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 12. ISBN 0-7546-5067-7. 
  8. ^ "The City of Coventry: Local government and public services: Local government to 1451". A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 8: The City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick. British History Online. 1969. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  9. ^ a b "Coventry Watch Museum Project". Coventry Watch Museum. 
  10. ^ "John Suddens, watchmaker". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  11. ^ Britten-Pears Foundation Retrieved 2009-09-24
  12. ^ "City farm shuts after cash crisis". BBC News. 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  13. ^ "Phoenix : Architecture/Art/Regeneration". Black Dog Publishing. 2004. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  14. ^ "IKEA Coventry". Wordpress. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  15. ^ "Going underground in Coventry". Coventry Coventry Telegraph. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  16. ^ "Peace and reconciliation". Coventry City Council. Retrieved 16 August 2007. 
  17. ^ "Coventry Peace Month". Coventry City Council. Retrieved 16 August 2007. 
  18. ^ [1][2]
  19. ^ Images of England — details from listed building database (469098) - Bronze statue of Lady Godiva - Grade II*
  20. ^ "Godiva statue canopy comes down". BBC News Online. BBC. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  21. ^ "Regional Gross Value Added (pp.240-253)" (PDF). Office for National Statistics (UK). 
  22. ^ "Sustainable Cities Index". Forum for the Future. Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  23. ^ "Sustainable Cities Index 2008". Forum for the Future. 25 November 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  24. ^ "Sustainable Cities Index 2007". Forum for the Future. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  25. ^ "Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Coventry". Coventry City Council.;jsessionid=a276OkWp4ttf. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  26. ^ "Councillor Jack Harrison MBE JP". Coventry City Council. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  27. ^ "Next Deputy Lord Mayor nomination announced". Covenrty city Council. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  28. ^ "Councillor Brian Kelsey". Coventry City Council. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  29. ^ a b "Neighbourhood statistics". UK government. 
  30. ^ Coventry District: Total Population
  31. ^ "Twin Towns - Graz Online - English Version". Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  32. ^ a b c d e "What did the Vikings ever do for us?". BBC News. 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  33. ^ a b c d Trugill, Peter; Hughes, Arthur; Watt, Dominic, eds (2005). English Accents:An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of English in the British Isles. Hodder Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340887189. 
  34. ^ "Brummie". 2007-08-03. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  35. ^ "Eastenders Episode Guide". 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  36. ^ pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/06_june/04/landgirls.shtml "Land Girls Press Pack". BBC News. 2009-06-03. pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/06_june/04/landgirls.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  37. ^ Dictionary of Minor Planet Names - p.247
  38. ^ "'World War II bomb' found in city". BBC News Online. BBC. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  39. ^ "Controlled explosion on World War II bomb". BBC News Online. BBC. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  • Coventry's Heritage, by Levi Fox (1957)
  • Coventry: History and Guide, by David McGrory (1993) ISBN 0-7509-0194-2
  • A History of Warwickshire, by Terry Slater (1981) ISBN 0-85033-416-0
  • The Bombing of Coventry BBC Television (2009)

External links

Coordinates: 52°24′29″N 1°30′38″W / 52.40806°N 1.51056°W / 52.40806; -1.51056

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Coventry (disambiguation).

Coventry [1] is a large and important city in the West Midlands region of England, part of the United Kingdom. Coventry is both an industrial centre and a cathedral city, combining industry with culture in an interesting combination. Locally, the city is known as The Three Spired Jewel.

Bronze of St Michael, Coventry Cathedral
Bronze of St Michael, Coventry Cathedral
Glass Footbridge, Millennium Place
Glass Footbridge, Millennium Place
Bonds Hospital, a medieval alms house
Bonds Hospital, a medieval alms house
The War Memorial park
The War Memorial park


Heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe during World War II, Coventry is not the most attractive of cities, much of its pre-war appeal having been replaced by questionable re-building in the post-war period. However, major regeneration projects such as the Stirling Prize shortlisted 'Phoenix Initiative' are beginning to make the city a more attractive place.

Get in

By road

Coventry is conveniently situated at the centre of the UK Motorway network. The M6 passes the north of the city. The M1 is easily accessible via the A45 towards london and the M69 northbound. The M40 is accessed along the A46.

To enjoy the drive into Coventry approach along the A46, exiting at Kenilworth. Drive through central Kenilworth and past the Abbey Fields park before turning right towards Coventry. The broad tree lined Kenilworth Road offers a beautiful boulevard into the city.

The city also provides a Park and Ride facility, see National Park and Ride Directory

You can reach Coventry from London using Megabus which starts at roughly £13 return, but doesn't arrive in the city centre (in Cannon Park,near Tesco). National Express has buses arriving at the Bus Hub (Pool Meadow), and that can sometimes be cheaper at some times, though on average Megabus proposes more options that are almost as cheap as the cheapest yet less common National Express equivalents.

By rail

Coventry is on the main London to Birmingham rail route operated by Virgin. There are up to four trains to and from the capital every hour. The journey takes about one hour five minutes. Trains to central Birmingham are even more frequent, with a 25 minute journey time. Birmingham International, serving the NEC and Birmingham Airport take just 10 minutes. It will cost you around £30 for a saver open return. Lower prices from £1 are available when booked well in advance on the Virgin Train website

By air

Coventry Airport[2] (IATA: CVT) used to be a hub for Thomsonfly but all operations were ended in November 2008 and as such Coventry Airport is no longer served by any scheduled flights.

Birmingham International Airport is closer to the centre of Coventry than it is to central Birmingham and a drive should not take much longer than 30 minutes depending on the traffic situation. A taxi costs £20. Another option is to take the free AirRail Link to the Birmingham International rail station from where trains to Coventry depart several times each hour.

By Taxi

Many firms operate within Coventry. Black Cabs can be flagged down on the street but private hire taxis must be pre-booked. Popular firms include:

  • Airports Direct, Taxis and Transfers in Coventry [3].
  • Taxis Birmingham, Transfers to and from Bham Airports.[4].
  • Coventry Cathedral Quarter, [5]. The medieval Gothic Cathedral of St Michael was built in the late 14th-early 15th century, but largely destroyed by the German Luftwaffe on the night of 14 November 1940 in an incendiary bombing raid - only the tower, spire and outer walls remained... A new cathedral was built 1956-1962 next to the old (which now forms a memorial garden) to a design by Basil Spence. The cathedral is noted for its striking post-war modern design, the large tapestry of Christ enthroned, its innovative stained glass windows and various items of sculpture. These include (on the facade) the striking sculpture of St Michael's Victory over the Devil by Sir Jacob Epstein.

Recent archeological digs have uncovered the remains of the original monastic settlement founded by Lord Leofric in 1043, these have been incorporated into the priory gardens and an interpretive centre exhibits some notable finds.

  • Lunt Roman Fort, Coventry Road, Baginton, near Coventry, tel (024) 7630 3567, [6]. Admission adults £2, concessions £1. A partial reconstruction of a Roman fort that stood on the site from c. 60 - 80 CE, erected in response to Boudicca's revolt. Exhibits include a museum of Roman period life (based on finds excavated at the site between 1965 and 1973), a model of the fort and occasional full costume re-enactments of Roman military manoeuvres
  • Midland Air Museum, Coventry Road, Baginton, near Coventry, tel (024) 7630 1033, [7]. Admission adults £4.25, children £2.50 concessions £3.75. Star exhibits include the Avro Vulcan bomber and a heritage centre dedicated to the work of Sir Frank - pioneer of the jet engine.
  • Coventry Transport Museum, Millennium Place, Hales Street, tel (024) 7623 4270, fax (024) 7623 4284,, [8]. Daily except 24-26 December 10am-5pm, last admission 4.30pm, admission free. - the largest collection of British road transport in the world with over 230 cars and commercial vehicles, 250 cycles and 90 motorcycles
  • Lady Godiva Statue and Peeping Tom clock, Broadgate.
  • Christmas Lights Switch-On, City Centre. This annual event is usually around mid-November, and features a line-up of music acts, presenters, fireworks and various other things. There is also a parade through the City Centre, with businesses and schools alike contributing to the floats that that travel through the streets.
  • St. Mary's Guildhall, CV1 5RN, 024 7683 3328, [9]. Just across the way from the Cathedral ruins. Especially take a look at the room where Mary, Queen of Scots was presumed to be held. free.  edit
  • Sky Dome Arena, Croft Road, Coventry, tel (024) 7663 0674, [10]. A multipurpose centre for public ice-skating, ice dancing and home to the Coventry Blaze [11] and Coventry Phoenix [12] ice hockey teams. Also houses a multiplex cinema [13].
  • Brandon Stadium Home of the Coventry Bees [14] speedway team and weekly greyhound races [15].
  • The Ricoh Arena Home of Coventry City Football club [16].
  • The Butts Park Arena Home of Coventry Rugby Football Club [17] and the Coventry Jets American Football team.
  • The Ivor Preece Field Home of Broadstreet Rugby Football Club [18].
  • Arts Centre [19]. Second largest arts complex in the UK, regular leading theatre, cinema, comedy tours, classical, dance etc.
  • British Transport Museum, in the city centre.
  • Helicopter lessons
  • Coventry Godiva Festival [20]. The Godiva Festival is surely and event pencilled in any true Coventrian's diary. The blossoming Coventry music scene means that the calibre of the bands scheduled each year seems to be getting higher and higher, and therefore, the Festival is steadily making a name for itself. Not only that, but it is also free.


Coventry has a variety shopping complexes in and around the area. These range from retail parks, to the pedestrian Coventry City Centre -one of the first of its kind. Shopping in Coventry mainly consists of the high street chain stores, although there are independent record shops and clothes shops dotted about here and there and there is also the large indoor Coventry Market, which are well worth the visit.

  • The Lower Precinct [21], found in the City Centre.
  • West Orchards [22], an indoor department store, with multi-storey parking. Also in the City Centre.
  • Coventry Market [23]
  • Arena Park Shopping Centre [24]


Coventry is host to a range of award-winning eateries. From cafés to restaurants, and from thai to italian, all can be found here. Those travelling to Coventry on a smaller budget are able to experience quality food at some of the takeaways in Coventry. Here, a meal can be purchased for around £10.

Here's a pick of some of the best:

  • Blue Orchid 14 Butts, Earlsdon, +44 2476 231 799, [25].
  • Eden 1-3 Ryley St, +44 2476 551 234, [26].
  • Tasty N Spicy [27]
  • Flamingo Priory Place, +44 2476 555 557, [28].
  • Kakooti 16 Spon Street, +44 2476 221 392, [29].
  • MYO, +44 2476 553 551, [30].
  • My China
  • The Gallery Restaurant
  • Turmeric Gold


Sky Dome Complex, Croft Road, Coventry. A flagship mixed-use urban entertainment complex, featuring:

  • Multiplex cinema [31]
  • JJ's
  • Lava/Ignite. Large City Centre club in Skydome complex  edit
  • Kasbah, Primrose Hill Street, Coventry CV1 5LY (taxi may be your best bet due to downmarket locality, but walkable from bus station), +44 (0) 24 7655 4473 (), [32]. Formerly the Colosseum. Dingy indie rock club which attracts some fairly well known live acts  edit
  • Scholars


Coventry's bar scene is mostly concentrated along reconstructed medieval Spon Street on the western edge of the city centre. This includes the adjacent Skydome complex which includes popular nightclubs.

  • Old Orleans
  • Mortimer's
  • Chicago Rock Cafe
  • 1481, Medieval Spon street.
  • The Tin Angel, Medieval Spon Street Coventry CV1 3AX, 024 7655 9958, [33]. Popular live music bar  edit

In the centre of the city you will find the usual pub chains as well as some new bars that have recently been established close to Millennium Place.

  • The Flying Standard, 2–10 Trinity Street, Coventry, West Midlands, 024 7655 5723. Sun–Thu 9am–midnight; Fri/Sat 9am–1am. Franchise of the ubiqitous Wetherspoons chain is set in a spectacular timbered building  edit
  • Flamingo, Priory Place. bar & grill
  • Glass House, Bull Yard.
  • Inspire
  • Escape
  • Dogma

Towards the eastern side of the city centre close to the University campus buildings can be found another concentration of pubs and bars that are popular with students centred close to Jordan Well and Gosford Street.

For a more sedate experience try Craven Street, set amongst Victorian-era watchmaker's cottages in the suburb of Chapelfields, has several traditional pubs.

There is no gay scene in Coventry - the city is not gay friendly and LGBT people could feel very uncomfortable out at night in Coventry.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

COVENTRY, a municipal, county and parliamentary borough of Warwickshire, England; 94 m. N.W. from London by the London & North Western railway. Pop. (1901) 69,978. The Coventry canal communicates with the Trent and Mersey and Birmingham canals, and the midland system generally. Coventry stands on a gentle eminence, with higher ground lying to the west, and is watered by the Sherbourne and the Radford Brook, feeders of the Avon, which unite within the town. Of its ancient fortifications two gates and some portions of the wall are still extant, and several of the older streets are picturesque from the number of half-timbered houses projecting over the footways.

The most remarkable buildings are the churches; of these the oldest are St Michael's, one of the finest specimens of Perpendicular architecture in England, with a beautiful steeple rising to a height of 303 ft.; Holy Trinity church, a cruciform structure with a lofty steeple at the intersection; and St John's, or Bablake church, which is nearly a parallelogram on the ground plan, but cruciform in the clerestory with a central tower. Christ church dates only from 1832, but it is attached to the ancient spire of the Grey Friars' church. Of secular buildings the most interesting is St Mary's hall, erected by the united gilds in the early part of the 15th century. The principal chamber, Foxcroft's Life of Sir G. Saville, i. 36.

situated above a fine crypt, is 76 ft. long, 30 ft. wide and 34 ft. high; its roof is of carved oak, and in the north end there is a large window of old stained glass, with a curious piece of tapestry beneath nearly as old as the building. In the treasury is preserved a valuable collection of ancient muniments. A statue of Sir Thomas White, lord mayor of London (1532-1533), founder of St John's College, Oxford, was erected in 1883. The cemetery, laid out by Sir Joseph Paxton, the architect and landscape gardener, and enlarged in 1887, is particularly beautiful. The educational institutions include a well-endowed free grammar school, founded in the reign of Elizabeth, in modern buildings (1885), a technical school, school of art, endowed charity schools, and a county reformatory for girls; and among the charitable foundations, which are numerous and valuable, Bond's hospital for old men and Ford's hospital for old women are remarkable as fine specimens of ancient timber work. Swanswell and Spenser Parks were opened in 1883, and a recreation ground in 1880.

Coventry was formerly noted for its woollens, and subsequently acquired such a reputation for its dyeing that the expression "as true as Coventry blue" became proverbial. Existing industries are the making of motor cars, cycles and their accessories, for which Coventry is one of the chief centres in Great Britain; sewing machines are also produced; and carpet-weaving and dyeing, art metal working and watch making are carried on. An ancient fair is held in Whit-week. A county of itself till 1843, the town became a county borough in 1888. The corporation consists of a mayor, zo aldermen and 30 councillors. The parliamentary borough returns one member. In 1894 a suffragan bishopric of Coventry was established under the see of Worcester, but no longer exists. Area, 4149 acres.

The village which afterwards became important as Coventry (Coventreu, Coventre) owed its existence to the foundation of a Benedictine monastery by Earl Leofric and his wife Godgyfu, the famous Lady Godiva, in 1043. The manor, which in 1066 belonged to the latter, descended to the earls of Chester and to Robert de Montalt, and from him passed to Isabella queen of Edward II. and the crown. Ranulf, earl of Chester, granted the earliest extant charter to the town in 1153, by which his burgesses were to hold of him in free burgage as they held of his father, and to have their portmote. This, with further privileges, was confirmed by Henry II. in 1177, and by nearly every succeeding sovereign until the 57th century. In 1345 Edward III. gave Coventry a corporation, mayor and bailiffs empowered to hold pleas and keep the town prison. Edward the Black Prince granted the mayor and bailiffs the right to hold the town in fee farm of £50 and to build a wall. In 1452 Henry VI. formed the city and surrounding hamlets into a county, and James I. incorporated Coventry in 1622. It first sent two representatives to parliament in 1295, but the returns were irregular. The prior's market on Fridays was probably of Saxon origin; a second market was granted in 1348, while fairs, still held, were obtained in 1217 for the octave of Holy Trinity, and in 1348 and in 1442 for eight days from the Friday after Corpus Christi. As early as 1216 Coventry was important for its trade in wool, cloth and caps, its gilds later being particularly numerous 'and! wealthy. In 1568 Flemish weavers introduced new methods, but the trade was destroyed in the wars of the 17th century. During the middle of the 16th century there was a flourishing manufacture of blue thread, but this decayed before 1581; in the 18th century the manufacture of ribbon was introduced.

The popular phrase "to send to Coventry" (i.e. to refuse to associate with a person) is of uncertain derivation. The New English Dictionary selects the period of the Civil War of the 17th century as that in which the origin of the phrase is probably to be found. Clarendon (History of the Great Rebellion, 1647) states that the citizens of Birmingham rose against certain small parties of the king's supporters, and sent the prisoners they captured to Coventry, which was then strongly parliamentarian.

See Victoria County History, Warwick; William Dugdale, The Antiquities of Coventre, illustrated from records (Coventry, 1765).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Coventry (uncountable)

  1. Banishment.
Joe received Coventry from his colleagues after telling the sexist joke.

Proper noun




  1. An industrial city in central England.

Derived terms


Simple English

Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands county in England. It was badly bombed in World War II.

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