This article is re-printed from the newsletter of Coventry Action for Neighbourhoods, courtesy of Paul Maddocks.
We all know that the Coventry City of Culture has many more months to run and we hope the Covid does not affect it too much this year. There has been a lot of restoration work on historic Coventry buildings that should be finished in the new year.
Like the grand historical St Mary’s Guildhall which has been closed for nearly two years. It has had a special restoration and facelift. With new educational interpretation alongside the original features including one of the oldest tapestries in the country, it wonderful stained-glass windows, historic paintings and furniture. The building has had its medieval kitchen opened up again, one of the most complete kitchens of its kind. To do this a new modern kitchen has been built on the back of guildhall to serve grand banquets and functions in the main hall and other rooms. It is planned that the guildhall will be open all the year around and used most evening for functions and hire for various events from music performances to special gatherings. We cannot wait to see the improvements.
Another building that has been closed for a while is the Priory Visitor Centre. This is due to re-open over the next few months run by the Coventry University Student’s Union as a cultural heritage attraction. The vision is for the facility to be used dynamically as a conference and training space, community place and cultural destination. This will also include the Priory Undercroft which is next to the waterfall.
The scheme on Palmer Lane, which is at the back of Burges has been mooted for a number of years. This includes opening up the Sherborne River. New plans have now been submitted which will create a public space with steps leading down to the uncovered river, green landscaping, lighting and public artwork. There will be new seating spaces and there are plans for a cafe or restaurant in what used to be the Illingworth Signs building.
The latest news of the Coventry Cross is that its going to be reassembled in front of the Holy Trinity Church on the grass area. We cannot be clear on timescales, but it is certainly in 2022.
Coventry Cathedral is having new improvements to the cafe/restaurant, education rooms, choir and music rehearsal rooms, toilets, lift and disabled access throughout the building. It’s hoped that it will all be ready for the 60th Anniversary of its Consecration on 25th May 2022.
Covid19 has put back a lot of building work and material supplies have been difficult to get hold of. That is why the Charterhouse Priory and Heritage Park is running a bit late. In addition the Charterhouse has revealed lots more history with the archaeologists finding more objects and information about this very important historical site
What would we like in the new year?
It would be nice for the Police Museum to have a proper home in the old Police Station in St. Mary’s Street next to Drapers Hall and the Cathedral.
We hope the great work that has been done at the Litten Tree Building continues, from a shambles to a bright exhibition centre, all done by volunteers.
We also encourage more environmental projects planting trees growing your own food or getting better energy from solar, wind or other planet friendly sources. Over the Covid pandemic we have grown to like our parks and open spaces even more and we need to save them especially wild areas and rivers that have the wild plants animals and fish that survive there.
Because of the dreaded ‘Omicron’ and the festive season everything has paused; hopefully things will start up again soon. Coventry came into being because of new ideas about how to organise space for people rather than capital, because of new ideas of ownership which placed the public good before profit, and new ideas about how to make a city a delight to walk around without having to buy anything. Perhaps that’s what we should reclaim tomorrow and the rest of the year?