|City of Coventry|
View of Coventry from Baginton
Coventry shown within England
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ceremonial county||West Midlands|
|Admin HQ||Coventry city centre|
|Founder||Leofric, Earl of Mercia|
|- Type||Metropolitan borough|
|- Governing body||Coventry City Council|
|- 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)|
|OS grid reference||SP335785|
11.9% South Asian
3.1% Black British
2.1% Mixed Race
2.4% East Asian and Other
Coventry (pronounced /ˈkɒvəntri/ or /ˈkʌvəntri/ ( listen)) 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. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, 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. 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.
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.
The Romans settling in Baginton founded another settlement and another formed around a Saxon nunnery, founded ca. AD 700 by St Osburga, 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. In time, a market was established at the abbey gates and the settlement expanded.
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.
Hostile attitudes of the cityfolk towards Royalist prisoners held in Coventry during the English Civil War are believed 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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, centred around its Cathedral, and holds an annual Peace Month.
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).
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 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.
Theatre, art and music venues in Coventry include:
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, 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.
|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|
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 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. 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.
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".
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.
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:
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added 1||Agriculture 2||Industry 3||Services 4|
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 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.
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.
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. Coventry was ranked 14th in 2008, and 17th in 2009.
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.
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.
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. The Deputy Lord Mayor is Councillor Brian Kelsey. He has been a Conservative councillor in Bablake Ward since 1999.
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. 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.
People reporting two or more ethnicities make up 2.1% of the population.
Year and Current Total Population
|Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield||Bedworth, Nuneaton,||Hinckley, Leicester|
|Solihull, Redditch||Rugby, Lutterworth|
|Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon||Kenilworth, Leamington Spa||Daventry, Northampton|
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.
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:
|Parkes, New South Wales||Australia||1956|
|Graz||Austria||1957||Binley & Willenhall|
|Sarajevo||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1957|
|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. 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. The west Warwickshire settlements too were smaller in comparison to Coventry which, by the 14th century, was England's third city. 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. 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]. Yet the clipped, flatter vowels in the accent also contain traces of Estuary English (T-glottaling), increasingly so amongst the young since 1950. 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. The prosody in the voice has none of the see-saw of traditional 'Brummie', being more 'flat' in its terminal sentence tags. 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. 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.
Dramatic representations on film have been very uneven down the years, ranging from Yorkshire sounding builders visiting the Queen Vic in Eastenders  to Black Country sounding factory workers in the Jeffrey Archer adaptation 'First Among Equals' (1984). 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.
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, 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.
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.
Coventry  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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Sky Dome Complex, Croft Road, Coventry. A flagship mixed-use urban entertainment complex, featuring:
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.
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.
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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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.