Which Vision of Cuckoo Lane do you prefer?

TheCrossChoices

With Planning Committee due to make a decision about the future of the Coventry Cross on Thursday, here is the choice they have to make.

Which do you prefer?

The committee are being recommended to approve the application despite our views and the views of Historic England.

The Coventry Society submitted a petition with over 900 signatures opposed to the relocation of the cross. The Council has rejected this on the technicality that it referred to the previous planning application that they chose to withdraw.  So much for democracy in Coventry!

Come and support your local civic society at the Planning Committee meeting on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Council House! 

Historic England Supports CovSoc Views About Coventry Cross

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Historic England has supported the Coventry Society’s views about the damage that will be caused to the Hill Top Conservation Area by the Council’s plans to relocate the Coventry Cross from its existing location to Ironmonger Row. Their full letter to the Council is re-published below:

Dear Mr D’Onofrio

T&CP (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 & Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Regulations 1990

CATHEDRAL LANES, BROADGATE, COVENTRY, CV1 1LL
Application No. FUL/2018/2655

Thank you for your letter of 19 October 2018 regarding the above application for planning permission. On the basis of the information available to date, we offer the following advice to assist your authority in determining the application.

Historic England Advice
The site lies close to several listed building including the Grade I listed Holy Trinity church, the Grade II* former County Hall building and the Grade I listed new and old cathedral of St Michael. It encompasses the terrace at the back of the Cathedral Lanes development and the recreation of the Coventry Cross. The latter was erected in 1976 and represents the long lost mid-16th century cross (perhaps on the site of an Eleanor Cross) which stood in the Cross Cheaping until its destruction in the 18th century. It is not listed in its own right, but it stands within a conservation area, as does the rest of the site.

The site is a sensitive one in view of the number of highly graded designated heritage assets in the vicinity. The public space between the buildings, which is mostly  green, is a particularly valuable area within the Conservation Area and is likely to be a focus of much attention in 2021 when Coventry will be the City of Culture. The cross forms a focal point on this side of the open space. Its replacement will be a paved area allied with the expansion of the dining area at the back of the Cathedral Lanes development.

The loss will inevitably have a detrimental impact on the adjoining listed buildings (through changes to their setting) and to the character of the Conservation Area. The existing terraces are a little tired and heavy handed in design terms but the proposals do not offer any improvement, indeed they seem to form a greater barrier.

The total demolition of the cross will cause substantial harm to the undesignated heritage asset. The Design and Access Statement says that it will be re-erected, but then makes it clear that that work will be undertaken by the Council rather than by the developer. There is no mention in the application of the method of demolition or the proposed storage pending re-erection.

Section 72(1) of the 1990 Act requires that schemes in Conservation Areas should pay special attention to the ‘desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance’ of the area, whilst paragraph 200 of the NPPF advised that schemes should enhance and better reveal the significance conservation areas and other heritage assets. Paragraph 196 with respect to the balancing judgement when deciding on schemes which cause less than substantial harm to designated heritage assets needs to be taken into account. The need for good design in this context is considered in Section 12, particularly at paragraphs 127 and 130. As for the removal of the cross paragraph 197 applies and emphasises the need for such assets to be taken seriously.

We cannot see any heritage benefits in the scheme which would outweigh the level of harm that it will cause. It is, of course, for you as the planning authority to judge the overall benefits of the scheme and whether or not they outweigh the heritage harm. If you are minded to grant consent then it would be appropriate to impose appropriate conditions to ensure the careful dismantling and re-erection of the cross on a meaningful time scale, which might help to reduce the level of heritage harm caused.

Recommendation
Historic England has concerns regarding the application on heritage grounds.

We consider that the issues and safeguards outlined in our advice need to be addressed in order for the application to meet the requirements of the NPPF as set out above. In determining this application you should also bear in mind the statutory duty of section 66(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to have special regard to the desirability of preserving listed buildings or their setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which they possess and section 72(1) of the Act to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas.

Your authority should take these representations into account and seek amendments, safeguards or further information as set out in our advice. If there are any material changes to the proposals, or you would like further advice, please contact us.

Yours sincerely
Nicholas Molyneux

Principal Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas

 

PARK COTTAGE: Its place in Coventry’s History

Park C 3 A

Park Cottage,14 East Avenue, Stoke Park, Coventry, was built in 1865, and is thought to be the first house in Stoke Park. It is in an imitation Tudor style, timber framed with bricks and mortar infilling. Internally, the house has a pine timber frame to which oak panelling and lath and plaster walls are attached.

As probably the first house to be built in what is now a conservation area, Park Cottage is understandably of great interest in the Stoke Park / Stoke Green area of Coventry and in the city as a whole. The house has been locally listed by Coventry City Council which underlines its value to the city.

However, it has a much greater significance than simply its age.

It is of a unique construction, built using elements from other properties in Coventry. We know this from Pugh, R. B. (ed). 1969. Victoria County History: A History of the County of Warwickshire – Volume VIII, which tells us: “The first house on the site (Stoke Park) was Park Cottage, erected by a builder called Malt for his own occupation. It is constructed of old timbers from demolished properties in and around Coventry, and contains carving and panelling from similar sources.”

It is believed that elements of Park Cottage in fact came from two buildings of great historical importance: The 13th century, grade I listed All Saints Church in Allesley, and the 14th century St Mary’s Guildhall, in Bayley Lane, Coventry, also grade I listed.

The All Saints Church Connection
The present church was built in the 13th century but it is thought to date back to Norman times. It underwent substantial renovations in 1862-63.

The architect in charge of the project was James Murray. The builder who did the work was one Alfred Mault. The man who built Park Cottage to be his own home, was none other than Alfred Mault.

As part of the work at All Saints, the square pews in the body of the church were removed and replaced with more open seating. The panelling from those pews was used as panelling in Park Cottage.

panel A  old pews A

Panelling from All Saint’s Church in Park Cottage

The St Mary’s Guildhall Connection
St Mary’s Guildhall was built between 1340 and 1342, and altered and extended in 1392-1430. In the 19th century, more work was needed.

According to Benjamin Poole’s book Coventry: Its History and Antiquities (John Russell Smith, London, 1870): “The want of commodious accommodation (at St Mary’s Hall) had long been felt; and it was during…1861 and 1862 that the undertaking was, after much deliberation, finally resolved upon and brought to maturity. The plan…was from a design prepared by Mr James Murray, and the contract was undertaken and executed by Mr Alfred Mault.”

Did Mr Mault re-use features removed from St Mary’s Hall in the building of his own home, Park Cottage?

Almost certainly yes. It is believed that the large leaded window over the stairs in Park Cottage came from St Mary’s Hall.

small window A

Park Cottage has a host of highly unusual features – doors and windows, for example – which are thought to have been re-used by Alfred Mault, possibly also from St Mary’s Hall.

door A

In addition, the sandstone blocks used in the construction could well have once been part of the town wall.

The second owners of the house were the Vickers-Jones family. They moved in in 1880 and stayed until 1975.

In 2003, a grandson of the first owners, Michael Vickers-Jones, jotted down some of his memories of the house. In the paragraph that is relevant here, he writes: “The window in my little room directly over the front door (pictured above), has a definite connection with Queen Anne, though what that connection is I don’t know. I also know that the large split oak door…leading into the cellar also has some historical significance, again I don’t know what that significance is.”
It would be fascinating to have access to the property to allow local history experts to carry out some investigations.

Charles Barker
Stoke Park Residents’ Group,
April 2018.

Additional Information from David McGrory

Alfred Mault was very influential in Coventry. He was the City Surveyor, Corporation Bailiff and Coventry’s Health Officer. He got the job without actually having any experience. He sat on Council Committees in the 1850s, he was secretary of the Builders union, was a Private in the Coventry Volunteer Rifle Corp and its auditor with David Waters. He also played for Coventry & North Warwickshire Cricket Club.

He knew many senior Council Members and Mayors and always gave the lowest tenders for jobs; you tend to think he had inside knowledge! He was a friend of and worked with architect James Murray and built the School of Art, and the Market Hall. The Corporation buildings below/ next to the guildhall and round into St. Mary’s Street.

When the School of Art was opened many objects were put on show including, ‘a post mortem plaster cast of the late James Murray, architect of the building, taken by Mr Mault.’ (Coventry Herald 13 Nov 1863).

Mault himself was the actual designer of the beautiful Elizabethan style baths that once stood in Hales Street.

His builder’s yard was next to the canal wharf and although he was selling it off to leave in 1865 he was still in Stoke in 1871 as he sat as a member of the Grand Jury at the Assizes.

His father was the Rev. Charles Mault who had been a missionary in Nagercoil, East Indies. He died at Park Cottage. As you know Alfred died in Hobart in 1903 reported as, ‘Hobart Surveyor & Officer of Health to the Tasmanian Government and late of Coventry.’

Quite a guy Alfred and a regular in the Guildhall where no doubt he acquired the original window out of the Drapers/Mayoresses parlour, a section of which he placed over a side door at Park Cottage.

Additional Information from Paul Maddocks
ALFRED MAULT, (1829-1902), engineer and civil servant, was born in South India. Exceptionally well educated, he became a competent linguist and acquired some knowledge of public health, arts and mathematics. As a civil engineer he helped to build part of the Glasgow and south-west railway near Kilmarnock, the Neilston and Barrhead branch and the Caledonian railway near Rutherglen.

For some time he lived at Coventry, designing and building water-works, and wrote a textbook for Macmillans on Natural Geometry (London, 1877). He then moved to France and as chief engineer designed and built railways. He built them to the British track gauge of 4′ 8 and a half” (1435mm) and that has become the norm throughout the world. To this day, French trains run on the left.

With high testimonials Mault applied to the Tasmanian government for engineering work in November 1882 and in 1883 was appointed to survey the Derwent Valley railway. In 1886 Mault was appointed to the Central Board of Health as engineering inspector at a salary of £350.

Mault had been elected a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania and was elected to the society’s council in 1901. He died of cancer at his home in Hobart, on 16 November 1902 and his funeral service was well attended.

Coombe Abbey: A History Through Ten Centuries

CoombeAbbeyBook

A new history of Coombe Abbey takes its story from the Cistercian foundation in 1150 through secularisation in Tudor times and development as a stately home occupied by the Craven family for 300 years. They sold it in 1923, since when it has been developed as a popular 500 acre country park and luxury hotel. Written by Oxford historian Derek Winterbottom it is available from the Visitors Centre at Coombe Country Park, or the Hotel. Paperback, 190 pages with colour illustrations, price £12.50

Visit Derek Winterbottom’s website

Representation on the Coventry Cross Planning Application

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With the planning application for the dismantling of the Coventry Cross being set for a decision by Planning Committee on the 15th November, we are sharing with you below the representation made by the Coventry Society. We will also be submitting a petition with nearly 900 signatures in support of our campaign to leave the cross where it is.  At present the planning application is recommended for approval by officers. There is still time to make your own representation on the application – the deadline is 15th November but as that is also the date of the committee we recommend replying earlier.

The case to retain the cross is outlined in full below. Whilst we apologise for the length of the report, we feel that it is important that Coventry Citizens can read in full our objections and form their own judgement.

Planning Application FUL/2018/2655: Redevelopment of Trinity Square comprising of the removal and re-location of the Coventry Cross, the redesign of the public space area and reconfiguration of the existing rear terrace to facilitate a larger seating area in connection with the existing restaurant

 The Coventry Society OBJECTS to this planning application for the following reasons:

  1. The description of the development is extremely misleading as the proposals submitted do not include any proposals for the relocation of the Coventry Cross, merely its dismantling. Furthermore the development does not “redesign the public space” but removes it entirely and replaces it with private space. We object to the loss of the public space and public amenity of the Cross and its replacement with a private dining area.
  2. The submitted Heritage Statement is flawed in that it is based on the incorrect assumption that the development is in the High Street Conservation Area, whereas in fact it is located in the Hill Top Conservation Area, defined by the Government as one of the country’s highest ranking Conservation Areas. The Heritage Statement includes no analysis of the impact of the development on this Conservation Area and is therefore in breach of the provisions of a raft of Government and local policy.
  3. The application is further flawed in that the accompanying letter describes the Coventry Cross as a War Memorial, thus demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the heritage of the city and the Conservation Area.
  4. There is no consideration of the Planning Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act 1990 and how development must preserve or enhance the Conservation Area. There is no discussion of the significance of the Cross and setting within the conservation area and the impact of the development on the setting of the two Grade 1 and a Grade 2* listed building which immediately adjoin it, and there is no mention of the conservation area appraisal and management plan which specifically identifies the Cross as a positive feature that should be retained.
  5. The proposed development is in our opinion not of sufficient quality for such an important part of the city. The rear of Cathedral Lanes has not weathered well and would benefit from refurbishment, but not at the cost of demolishing a historic structure and losing public space.
  6. We believe that the applicant has not provided evidence to justify the removal of a much loved feature, the replica of the Coventry Cross. The cross, although only dating back to the early 1970s, is a replica of the medieval Coventry cross and thereby acquired antiquity from the day it was built. It is included in the Historic Environment Records of the city and is referred to in the Conservation Area Appraisal as a heritage asset. (see Appendix below).
  7. The development is contrary to the provisions of section 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework, in that the replica Coventry Cross has been defined as a Heritage Asset and the provisions of the NPPF have not been applied to the application. We provide more detail in the Appendix.
  8. The development is contrary to the provisions of the Coventry Local Plan 2017 and in particular Policies HE1 and HE2 which detail how Heritage Assets should be treated. There is further explanation in the Appendix.
  9. The proposed development is contrary to the provisions of the City Centre Area Action Plan and in particular policies CC2, CC14 and CC13. We provide a detailed analysis of this in the Appendix, but of particular note the City Centre Area Action Plan proposes this area as an Open Space / Node and the development of a private dining area will remove the potential to achieve this objective.
  10. The development is contrary to the provisions of the Hill Top Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan. In particular the Appraisal defines the Cross as a Heritage Asset and this fact should be taken into account in considering the planning application. We provide further details in the Appendix.
  11. The loss of the wheelchair ramp, and its replacement with an outdoor electrical lift will reduce the accessibility of the site for disabled people. Outdoor electric lifts are unsightly and unsuited to a historic conservation area.

The Coventry Society is disappointed at the lack of public consultation on these proposals. The demolition of the cross was applied for under planning application FUL/2018/0340. This application generated a significant number of objections to the relocation of the cross.  That application has been withdrawn, but the comments made on it will not be heard by the Planning Committee. Because of this the Coventry Society has raised a petition against the proposals which has so far received over 900 signatures and this will be presented to the Planning Committee at its meeting.

The Coventry Society recommends that Planning Committee demonstrates its independence and REFUSES this application for the above reasons. Approval of the proposals, in defiance of its own and government policies, would open the city council to accusations of maladministration and would set an unacceptable precedent for future developments in the city’s Conservation Areas.

Yours sincerely

Coventry Society

APPENDIX – THE POLICY CONTEXT

National Planning Policy Framework

The Coventry Society considers that the development is contrary to Section 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework. In particular the application does not consider the significance of the development in the context of the Hill Top Conservation Area and the close proximity of a number of Grade 1 and Grade II* Listed buildings, including St. Michael’s Church and tower, Holy Trinity Church, County Hall and the New Cathedral.

In particular paragraph 189 states “In determining applications, local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting. …. Where a site on which development is proposed includes, or has the potential to include, heritage assets with archaeological interest, local planning authorities should require developers to submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation.”

[The planning application does not describe the significance of any of the heritage assets affected or include a desk based assessment of the archaeological significance of the site.]

Paragraph 194 states “Any harm to, or loss of, the significance of a designated heritage asset (from its alteration or destruction, or from development within its setting), should require clear and convincing justification.”

[No clear and convincing justification has been provided.]

Paragraph 195 states “Where a proposed development will lead to substantial harm to (or total loss of significance of) a designated heritage asset, local planning authorities should refuse consent, unless it can be demonstrated that the substantial harm or total loss is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss,  …..

[The development will create significant harm to a heritage asset and there is therefore a presumption that consent should be refused. It is clear that the public benefit does not outweigh the harm.]

Coventry Local Plan 2017

 We feel that the following policies of the recently approved Local Plan are relevant to this application:

Policy HE1 Conservation Areas

  1. Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans will be produced for all of the Conservation Areas to guide their preservation and enhancement. All development proposals within Conservation Areas will be determined in accordance with this Plan and the appropriate Appraisal and Management Plan.

[The application includes no justification for over-ruling the Appraisal and Management Plan for Hill Top Conservation Area.]

Policy HE2: Conservation and Heritage Assets

  1. In order to help sustain the historic character, sense of place, environmental quality and local distinctiveness of Coventry, development proposals will be supported where they conserve and, where appropriate, enhance those aspects of the historic environment which are recognised as being of special historic, archaeological, architectural, artistic, landscape or townscape significance.

These Heritage Assets include:

  1. a) Listed Buildings and Locally Listed buildings;
  2. b) Conservation Areas;
  3. c) Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites;
  4. d) Registered Parks and Gardens; and
  5. e) Other places, spaces, structures and features which may not be formally designated but are recognised as significant elements of Coventry’s heritage and are positively identified on the Coventry Historic Environment Record.

[This demonstrates that the Cross is a Heritage Asset and should be conserved]

  1. Proposals likely to affect the significance of a heritage asset or its setting should demonstrate an understanding of such significance using currently available evidence.

[No evidence is provided that the development is appropriate in this historically sensitive area]

  1. Development proposals involving heritage assets in general and listed buildings in particular, should acknowledge the significance of the existing building and the area by means of their siting, massing, form, scale, materials and detail.

[There is no acknowledgement of the significance of adjoining listed buildings]

  1. Demolition or destruction of heritage assets will be resisted; proposals to demolish a heritage asset will therefore need substantial justification. The greater the damage to the significance of the asset, the greater the justification required and the public benefit needed to outweigh such damage.

[There is no justification provided, let alone substantial justification]

  1. All proposals should aim to sustain and reinforce the special character and conserve the following distinctive historic elements of Coventry:
  1. a) The surviving buildings, defences and street plan of the medieval city centre and its suburbs;
  2. h) Archaeological remains of all periods from the earliest Prehistoric human habitation to the modern industrial period.

[The application does nothing to reinforce the special character of this area and no proposals are made for archaeological investigation]

The City Centre Area Action Plan 2017

In our view the application is contrary to the Council’s own City Centre Area Action Plan. In particular:

Policy CC2: Enhancement of Heritage Assets

  1. All development within, or affecting the setting of, a Conservation Area (as highlighted in Figure 2) shall preserve or enhance its character and appearance and adhere to the policies of the relevant Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan.
  1. All development relating to or in close proximity to heritage assets such as statutory and locally listed buildings, Scheduled Monuments, public artwork and non-designated heritage assets (Figure

2) shall be undertaken sympathetically to those heritage assets and seek to preserve or enhance their setting.

[The development does not preserve or enhance the setting of the Conservation Area and does not adhere to the polices of the Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan. The development is not sympathetic to the surrounding heritage assets.]

Policy CC4: Public Art

  1. Established public art shall be retained in redevelopment proposals unless the benefits of its removal outweigh the harm of its loss. Where public art is lost replacement works shall be incorporated into new development unless robust justification is provided highlighting that this it is not viable.

[The Cross is a work of Public Art which is not being retained in the Conservation Area and is a loss to the historic environment.]

Policy CC13

  1. All development proposals within the Hill Top and Lady Herbert’s Garden and The Burges Conservation Areas will only be considered acceptable if they demonstrate that they preserve and enhance the historic environment of the area and are in adherence with the policies of the respective Conservation Area Management Plans.
  2. Within Archaeological Constraint Areas and areas of archaeological potential (Figure 3), appropriate archaeological assessment will be required prior to the determination of a development proposal. Where significant archaeological remains are found they shall be recorded in a manner proportionate to their significance. Remains of high significance shall be preserved and protected.

[The development does not preserve and enhance the historic environment surrounding it or adhere to the policies of the Conservation Area Management Plan. No archaeological assessment has been provided]

Development Guidelines

Figure 12b shows Development Guidelines for the Cathedrals and Cultural Areas sub area. This shows an Open Space / Node in the vicinity of what the applicant calls Trinity Square. The development proposed in this application will create private outdoor space (an outdoor dining area) in this vicinity and this will remove the option of creating a such a public space, indeed it will reduce the space available in the public realm.

Hill Top Conservation Area Appraisal

Other Heritage Assets, Positive Buildings, Spaces and Features of Value

* The Coventry Cross replica which enhances the historic character of the area.

[This demonstrates that the Cross is listed as  a Heritage Asset that contributes to the environment of the Conservation Area].

Hill Top Conservation Area Management Plan

The following proposals of the Management Plan are considered relevant to this development:

2.5 Demolition of Historic Buildings and Structures

Proposal

Buildings should only be demolished where it can be demonstrated that they make little or no contribution to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. Any proposed replacement development must also enhance the area.

Issue Being Addressed

The vast majority of buildings within the Hill Top Conservation Area make a strong positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area. Only in a few very exceptional cases would demolition be considered.

[The Coventry Cross makes a significant contribution to the character of the Conservation Area. There should therefore be a strong presumption against the demolition of heritage assets in the Conservation Area]

3.1 Design of New Development

Proposal

All new development within the Conservation Area should enhance its historic character.

Issue Being Addressed

Recent developments have been carefully designed to enhance the area and compliment existing historic buildings. This approach should continue to be used for all future developments.

Action

The scale, massing, siting, design and materials for all new developments must demonstrate a

regard for and enhance the special architectural and historic interest of the Conservation Area.

[The development does not enhance the historic character of the area, but rather harms it by removing a key heritage asset]

4.9 Public Art

Proposal

Public art installations that make a positive contribution to the character of the Conservation Area will be retained and maintained.

Issue Being Addressed

The Conservation Area contains a number of works of public art that make a positive contribution to its character and enhance the street scene and green spaces. Within the Cathedral ruins, however, there are too many and this has resulted in an impression of clutter which detracts from the historic surroundings.

Action

Public art installations will be retained and maintained where they make a positive contribution to the character of the Conservation Area. When siting new public art installations thought must be given to their impact on important views and vistas, the setting of historic buildings, streets and green spaces.

[The Coventry Cross is a piece of public art which makes a positive contribution to the Conservation Area and should therefore be retained]

Corporation Street “Village?”

Co-op-external

With the opening of luxury apartments in the former Co-op and independent café Changamiri Coffee opposite on the north side of Corporation Street there’s a real sense of a new community in the making here. With Belgrade Square, the theatre and Telegraph transformed into a ‘fifties festive-style’ hotel along with speciality shops along the thoroughfare this is surely the sort of shopping that Coventry people have been hoping for for years. Thankfully there are businesses here that have survived years of trading through good times and bad. Businesses like Cejais Collector’s Corner, Charles Ager and Terry Rowland the butcher. But will the Council see this as complementary shopping to the multi-nationals round the corner?

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It will need help and co-operation to ensure this concept is developed. Above all overheads for these independents need to be at sensible levels.

Already we have seen considerable investment by these local entrepreneurs. Is it now the time for a new small traders’ association here that can provide some combined communal weight over the thorny matter of rents, rates and other aspects of running a small business?

Perhaps the city’s Chamber of Commerce can provide some advice and support?

The Council need to be constantly reminded that in recent times it’s been a rocky ride for the big boys and who knows which retailer will be the next to pull out. These small businesses could be the firm foundation of a new city centre and they desperately need to be looked after.

For sometime now we have been asking for a meeting with the chief officer who handles these matters. He needs to talk to local interest groups like our Society. We are only too willing to act as a facilitator in these sorts of meetings.

This could be vital for the future well being of our primary shopping area when so many multi-nationals have an uncertain future. So far our requests have fallen on deaf ears.

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Prominent Heritage Building: St. John the Baptist Parish Church.

 

Coventry Peace Festival at St. John’s

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At St John the Baptist Church, Fleet St, Coventry, the beginning of November until Wednesday November 14 sees the Church open every day (times vary) for prayer and reflection as it celebrating the Coventry Peace Festival.

It will be a chance to see a copy of the Black Prince prayer, our superb Stations of the Cross which were commissioned from a firm in Bavaria after WWII and a chance to see our magnificent War Memorial Window.

There will be a flower Peace Trail, a Deadman’s penny in flowers, exhibitions and a poppy sculpture suspended from the pulpit, which an eight foot structure full of poppies dedicated to the men dedicated in our War Window.

The weekend of Saturday Nov 10 and Sunday November 11 sees the church open until 4pm for our World War I Memorial Day on Saturday and Remembrance Day on the Sunday. Both days will see recitals, dramatic readings, prayers, a chance to hear our striking Bechstein piano now fully restored and an exhibition taking place in this beautiful medieval church.

The Rector, Father Dexter Bracey will be conducting a special service on the Saturday which will include a roll call of the men listed in the window at 1pm with poetry readings before and after.

Our Sunday November 11 Remembrance Day Service begins at 10am, and is scheduled to end at 11am to the strains of the Last Post. There will be another service at 6pm for people who have missed out during the events of the day in the city.

As we mark the centenary of the Armistice this year, St Johns Rector Father Dexter Bracey feels ” it is important to remember all those who paid the ultimate price of the First World War, and to honour them, particularly those from this city and our parish which includes some of the city centre, Spon St, Spon End and the Albany Road end of Earlsdon”

During the weekend you can just turn up for guided tours and the Church also will be staging mystery trails, WWI poetry readings and a family walk. If conditions are good, two of the visitor team will be operating as radio hams, being members of WACRAL ( World association of Christian Radio Amateurs and Listeners), trying to contact radio hams worldwide as we commemorate those brave men and women who gave up their lives in such a bitter struggle.

A stunning photographic exhibition of the church is on permanent display in the hall, which will be open for refreshments on both days. Fr Dexter Bracey, will conduct services each day in our side chapel, and will be on hand most of the time. “We are always pleased to welcome visitors to our church, but during this weekend we particularly welcome everyone to experience the great sense of peace that the building has.”