The Mystery of the Egyptian God and the Precinct


Now that the restoration and re-modelling of the City Precinct is about to start, you might be interested in knowing about a link to ancient Egypt.

On the back of the first pillar column on the corner of Broadgate and the Precinct, the one with the plaque commemorating Princess Elizabeth laying the foundation stone, is the symbol of ‘Aten’.


There is no known explanation as to why it is there!

‘Aten’ is the Egyptian Sun God, the favourite God of Pharaoh Akhenatena who built the ancient city of Tell el-Amama. Was this the inspiration for Donald Gibson’s design for Coventry Precinct?


This is an artist drawing from archaeological digs of the ruined ancient city of Tell el-Amarna, in Upper Egypt. Can you see the similarity with Coventry’s Precinct?

Next time you are in Broadgate take a close look at the back of the column, low down beneath the carvings of a weaving loom part of Coventry’s early industries.



If you have any further information we would be very pleased to learn more about this unusual symbol and its significance.

Paul Maddocks


4 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Egyptian God and the Precinct

  1. The marks refer to pharaoh Akhenaton whose utopian city Tel-al-Amana was said to have inspired 20th century town planning. Donald Gibson, who oversaw the design of Coventry’s redevelopment, included the symbols on Broadgate House as a reference to the symbols inscribed in that ancient Egyptian city. The symbols represent a relationship between heaven and earth and are a dedication to all those involved in the building of the city and of service to the City’s people.

    See Campbell, L (2007) Paper Dream City / Modern Monument: Donald Gibson and Coventry. In Boyd White, Ian (ed) Manmade Future: Plannin, Education and Design in mid 20th Century Britain. London & New York: Routledge.


  2. Roger Bailey, councillor for Cheylesmore and blue badge tour guide knows a lot about this, I’m sure he’d be happy to share all his info.


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