First World War Triumph and Gloria Memorial Re-dedicated


Following the award of a 75% grant from the War Memorials Trust and the donation of the balance from the TR Register Coventry Group, the Friends of London Road Cemetery has beautifully restored the Triumph and Gloria Memorial at London Road Cemetery.

A re-dedication service is now planned for Saturday 17th November 2018 at 12 noon at the Memorial within London Road Cemetery. As well as the Coventry Standard Bearers Association being present it is hoped that as many descendants of the 66 men remembered on the Memorial will be able to attend. Also in attendance for the event will be the TR Register, Coventry Group and their cars as well as the Triumph Owners MCC Meriden Branch. After the service, refreshments will be served in the Anglican Chapel. All interested people are invited to attend and share this invitation.

Dedication of the Triumph War Memorial

The original dedication of the Memorial in March 1921 with Siegfried Bettmann unveiling the Memorial. Over 1000 people attended the ceremony.

There is more about the Triumph and Gloria Memorial on the Coventry Society Website. 


Comments on the Dismantling of the Coventry Cross to be ignored.


People who commented on the previous Planning Application for the “Removal of the Coventry Cross Sculpture” will not be heard when the new planning application is considered by Planning Committee on 15th November, the Coventry Society has learned.

Many people in Coventry sent in objections and comments on the planning application to dismantle the replica Coventry Cross when the Council submitted the planning application earlier in the year. The application (reference FUL/2018/0340) was submitted by the Council in February 2018 but was only validated in August. We are aware that a significant number of people commented on the planning application, which has now been withdrawn.

Public comments on planning applications are no longer shown on the Council website, so we do no know how many people commented or what they said. We have asked the council for details but as yet we have received no reply.

In September a new planning application was submitted, this time by Rolfe Judd Planning, on behalf of Shearers. This application is for “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 new application has the reference  FUL/2018/2655 and is open for public comments right up to the committee date of 15th November.

Coventry Society wishes to advise anyone who commented on the previous application that their comments will not be heard when the new planning application is considered by Planning Committee. If they wish to be heard then they need to make comments on the new application. This link will take you to Planning Portal when you  can see the details of the new application and make comments online.

Coventry Society is objecting to the planning application and a petition against the dismantling of the cross will also be submitted to Planning Committee on 15th November.

Previous story about the Coventry Cross


First World War Memorial Day at St. John’s


On Saturday November 10, St John the Baptist Church is staging a day of Remembrance – a World War I Memorial Day for all those brave men and women who lost their lives in the First World War and in particular the ninety eight men of the parish who are commemorated in the church’s awesome War Memorial window. There will be recitals, readings, prayers and an exhibition taking place that day in this beautiful
medieval church, whose parish includes Spon End and the Albany Road end of Earlsdon.

The Rector, Father Dexter Bracey, will be conducting a special service which will include a roll call of the men listed in the window, but Mike Polanyk, the Visitor Liaison and
Communications Officer, reveals that this list is incomplete. “Our research has found that two men were not included in the window – one lad was simply missed out and the other sadly died of his wounds after the window was completed in 1922.

Also we want to include those men who were included on the War Memorial of
St Thomas, the church which existed on the Butts, which was declared redundant in 1974 and demolished. I appreciate that although much of the parish was joined with St Johns, other areas went to Holy Trinity, St Mary Magdalen and St Barbara – but I feel it would be a fitting to include them all at our roll call.

In fact we want to include those local lads whose descendants would like us to include this on a supplemental roll whatever their parish or religious beliefs. So we want to appeal for additions to our roll. We are still building the profiles of our 98 names in our window and again would ask for any help or information they can give me.”

Rector, Fr Dexter Bracey said: “As we mark the centenary of the Armistice this year, it is important to remember all those who paid the ultimate price of the First World War, and to honour them. There will be many large national commemorations this year, but we must also honour our own local war dead as we pray for peace in the world. ”

Mike can be contacted on or 07757 942420.

20/20 Visions: Collaborative Planning and Place Making: Charles Campion


This book, published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) looks back at fifty years of community led design and planning practice. It is based on the premise that community engagement always creates better results than top down planning and design. That voting is not enough and proper democracy requires engagement and involvement in the decisions that are made. This is amply demonstrated by the times we live in and the results that follow from years of politicians ignoring the public, with Trump in the US and Brexit in the UK.

At the heart of the book is the concept of the “charrette” – an interactive, intensive dialogue between developers, planners and the local community, usually carried out over a small number of days with professional people helping the process rather than leading it – architects, engineers and planners “on hand” rather than “on top”. The process engages the inherent local knowledge that people who live in an area have and seeks to create a shared vision for how the area could be in the future. Creating “places” rather than more of the same!

The book includes twenty case studies of real life planning and design exercises across the globe that have used the charrette process, but including 11 British examples, ranging from Belfast’s Crumlin Road to the redevelopment of Alder Hay Children’s Hospital, which recently won the Civic Voice Design award. Each case study looks at the pre-cursors to the initiative (Foresight), the Vision and the outcomes (Hindsight). A further chapter looks at the overall lessons from the twenty case studies.

I find it rather surprising that no mention is made of “Planning for Real”, the example that most British planners would be familiar with but the process is much the same.

The book also includes an updated version of Shelley Arnstein’s “Ladder of Participation”. This described in ascending order the different levels of community engagement from information giving to dialogue, education, knowledge, deciding, managing, owning and self-developing at the top. Today in Coventry we seldom get to the first rung of the ladder, with little effort made to even tell people what is going on in the city. Long gone are the days of John McGuigan going round the city with his projector showing us plans for the ill-fated Jerde development.

Gone too are the days of Stella Manzie with her vision of engaging citizens in the future of the city though Area Co-ordination and Neighbourhood Management. We have even lost Ward Forums, that last vestige of the desire to tell people what the Council is up to!

Consider what a fantastic development could have been created at the canal side site that used to be the City Engineer’s depot if the community had been involved in designing it, instead of just selling it to a bulk housing developer. Perhaps it’s not too late to put the charrette process into use for the City Centre South development – the current scheme is dead in the water and we need a new vision for a city centre for the 21st century, now that major retailers won’t be leading things.

The book is 144 pages, well-illustrated with photographs and architect’s sketches and sells for £32 from the RIBA, Amazon and all good bookshops.

John Payne

All the Colours of the Guildhall


The St Mary’s Guildhall colouring book is now out! The City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild has done it again with its winning formula – ‘a colouring Book’ for all age groups! This is a great follow up to their first colouring book ‘Coventry’s Medieval Story’.

This time they have focused on just one important building in the city. They tell the amazing story of St. Mary’s Guildhall. The Hall has played host to many Kings and Queens, some of whom wined and dined at large banquettes, entertained by William Shakespeare and his Kings Players.

The book covers the life of the Guildhall from Medieval times right through to its involvement with the English Civil War. One of the jewels of Coventry, it is said to be the finest Medieval Guildhall in the country. For me the best part is the drawing of the great tapestry woven around 1495, by a team of five Flemish weavers working for over four years using a single loom. Jonathon Foyle tells us that it the oldest medieval tapestry that is still in the location it was created for. It measures 30 feet (9.14m) wide and 10 feet (3.05m) high so the drawing has to be over four pages, which fold out to make a sensational image that is just waiting to be coloured in.


This fascinating book costs only £5 with proceeds going to local charities supported by the City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild. You can get a copy from the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, the Coventry Transport Museum, the Priory Visitor Centre and St. Mary’s Guildhall during the season that it is open. Unfortunately the Guildhall is closed for the winter, which is a bit ironic considering the book is promoting its wonders! – hopefully this will change as we get closer to UK City of Culture 2021.

Paul Maddocks
Chair of the Coventry Society

Opposition to the Demolition of the Coventry Cross Grows


Today the Coventry Society submitted a petition to the City Council to save the Coventry Cross. Over 780 people in the city have said No to the Council’s plans to move the Cross to make way for the outdoor smoking area for a new city restaurant. The petition is seen here being handed over to Cllr. Roger Bailey, who will formally present it to the City Council.

Last month the Coventry Society received backing for its campaign from national organisation Civic Voice, which is concerned about the damage to Conservation Areas up and down the country and in particular to the loss of Conservation Officers who can advise councils on the proper conservation of historic assets. Civic Voice pointed out that the Hill Top Conservation Area was designated by the Government as one of the foremost Conservation Areas in the country.

The latest stage in the saga is that Shearers, acting for the restaurant, have made a planning application for: “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”.

As with the previous planning application, this one gives no justification for the demolition of the cross. All planning applications in Conservation Areas are required to be accompanied by what is called a Heritage Statement. This should explain how the Conservation Area is enhanced by the development. No such statement exists! The Council’s own Management Plan for the Conservation Area states clearly that public art works that enhance the Conservation Area should be retained and that demolition of any structure is only permitted where it enhances the area.

The Coventry Society asks “Why is the Council violating its own policy and normal planning practice?”

Paul Maddocks, Chair of the Coventry Society said: “We would expect the Council to listen to the considerable numbers of Coventry Citizens who have expressed their displeasure with the Council’s scheme to spoil one of the heritage features of the city’s premier conservation. We ask them to re-think their unacceptable plans. The Council has found £150,000 to demolish and remove the Cross. Surely a better plan is to use the funding to restore and enhance this monumental link with the city’s colourful history. Coventry Society would like to see the Cross cleaned up, the missing parts re-installed, gilded like the original cross, and made into a stunning tourist attraction fit for a city of culture.”

Yesterday we also learned that Coventry Trades Union Council has also backed our call for the Coventry Cross to be saved.

Shakespeare comes back to Coventry

StMarysHallEventA near sell-out crowd looked on as Coventry’s medieval jewel, St Mary’s Hall, sparkled into life with music, poetry and Shakespeare on the evening of October 9.

Historian Jonathan Foyle, actors from the city’s Criterion Theatre and a trombone quartet playing music from the Renaissance shaped a narrative to celebrate Coventry’s Tudor Inheritance, The Wars Of The Roses, The Royal Tapestry and Shakespeare.

It was the third event in the hall staged by Tudor Coventry Community Interest Company, a group of enthusiasts who came together three years ago to highlight the hall and the treasures it houses and raise the profile of Coventry’s extraordinary, and much over-looked, late medieval history.

Their chief focus is a fund-raising campaign to bring better lighting and presentation to the hall’s early sixteenth century tapestry, now emerging as a hidden national treasure that warrants much more attention and research than it has had in the past.

Coventry Society’s Peter Walters, a member of the Tudor Coventry group, said, “With 2021 coming up, this is the time to highlight and better care for Coventry’s heritage, both modern and medieval. We believe that the city has so many wonderful stories to tell, and should make much more of them. Clearly, the public’s response to the events we’ve held in St Mary’s Hall so far tell us that we are not alone in this. We will be back with new events next year”.