Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the centre of England. It has been the capital of England more than once in the 15th century when the seat of Government was held in Coventry. Coventry's outstanding heritage includes the Roman Fort at Baginton, Lady Godiva, St Mary's Guildhall (where kings and queens were entertained)and three cathedrals.
Coventry is located in the county of West Midlands although historically speaking, it is part of Warwickshire. Coventry is the 10th-largest city in England and the 12th-largest UK city overall. It is also the second largest city in the West Midlands region, after Birmingham, with a population of 329,810 in 2013. Coventry is an ancient settlement that predates Birmingham and Leicester.
Coventry is situated 95 miles (153 km) northwest of central London, 19 miles (31 km) east-south-east of Birmingham, 24 miles (39 km) southwest of Leicester and 10 miles (16 km) north ofWarwick. It is further from the coast than any other city in Britain. Although harbouring a population of almost a third-of-a-million inhabitants, Coventry is not amongst the English Core Cities Groupdue to its proximity to Birmingham. Approximately half a million people live within 10 miles (16 km) of Coventry city centre.
Coventry was 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 also twinned with Dresden, Lidice, Saint-Étienne and 22 other cities around the world. A part of the city centre at the entrance to the Lower Precinct is named Lidice Place.
Coventry Cathedral is one of the newer cathedral buildings, having been built after the destruction of the 14th century cathedral church of Saint Michael by the German Luftwaffe on 14 November 1940. Coventry motor companies have contributed significantly to the British motor industry. The city has two universities, the city centre-based Coventry University and the University of Warwick on the southern outskirts.
|City of Coventry|
|City and Metropolitan borough
Skyline of Coventry city centre
Coventry shown within the West Midlands and England
St Michael's Cathedralis Coventry's best-known landmark and visitor attraction. The 14th century church was largely destroyed by German bombing during the Second World War, leaving only the outer walls and spire. At 303 feet (92 metres) high, the spire of St. Michael's is claimed to be the third tallest cathedral spire in England, after Salisbury and Norwich. Due to the architectural design (in 1940 the tower had no internal wooden floors and a stone vault below the belfry) it survived the destruction of the rest of the 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 Cathedral was featured in the 2009 film Nativity!.
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 & Museum is one of the largest main cultural institutions in Coventry. 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.
About four miles from the city centre and just outside Coventry in Baginton is the Lunt Fort, a reconstructed Roman fort on its original site. The Midland Air Museum is situated just within the perimeter of Coventry on land adjacent to Coventry Airport and near Baginton.
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 founded 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.
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 number 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 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 The 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. The 2013 ITV comedy-drama Love and Marriage was also set in the city.