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New Cathedral of St Michael

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dutchman
Spon End
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1 of 55  Sun 26th Sep 2010 5:47pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3000

This site has some very interesting pictures of the Cathedral being built. Click on the thumbnail pictures to see a very high quality enlargement. Purely as an aside it just so happens that my route back from school between 1965 and 1967 included a walk through the gap between the two cathedrals and down the steps to Priory Street. During that period I must have been snapped by literally hundreds of tourists' cameras so if anyone has a picture of a 11-13yr old boy in a blue school blazer walking down the steps the chances are very high it's me!
New Cathedral of St Michael
nodigitsever
Allesley Park
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2 of 55  Mon 27th Sep 2010 11:34pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2010  Total posts:6

What a monstrocity the new cathedral is compared to the old one
New Cathedral of St Michael
NeilsYard
Coventry
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3 of 55  Sat 2nd Oct 2010 7:39pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1815

They are different buildings from different eras but as a piece of 20th century architecture I think its pretty amazing.
New Cathedral of St Michael
thisconcreteisle
London
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4 of 55  Mon 22nd Aug 2011 12:12pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:2

Hi there, I'm currently conducting research for a book about the postwar rebuilding of Britain, called This Concrete Isle, and I'm very keen on writing about the building, opening and early days of the new cathedral. The aim of the book is try to capture what it was like to design, build, live, work or visit some of the pioneering buildings and places of the postwar era, through archive documents and interviews with people who were there. I'm posting this in the hope that someone may be able to help with contacts or suggestions of people I should speak to. Cheers! John
New Cathedral of St Michael
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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5 of 55  Tue 23rd Aug 2011 8:17pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1339

Hi John, I'm not certain what sort of material you like to use, but it might be worth you taking a look at the book written by the cathedral's architect, Sir Basil Spence, called 'Phoenix at Coventry', which gives a great insight into his dream which became reality - and the struggle along the way. There are several copies on eBay and Amazon at the moment from about 3 or 4 quid upwards. Let's hope also that someone on here will have some relevant memories of the building of the cathedral for you. All the best, Rob
New Cathedral of St Michael
thisconcreteisle
London
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6 of 55  Wed 24th Aug 2011 8:23pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:2

Hi Rob, Cheers! I've got a copy of that, it's such a beautiful book, and fascinating reading Spence's inside story of designing the cathedral, and commissioning all the amazing art for it. Thanks for the encouragement. It'd be great to speak to some people who remember the cathedral when it was new - fingers crossed I find some... John
New Cathedral of St Michael
shoestring
Rutland
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7 of 55  Sat 28th Jan 2012 7:21pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:21

You should look at the posts under the heading 'Found these of Coventry today.' Also I remember as a child we used to go to the old Cathedral. It was beautiful with the aisles all stove paved slabs, and the pew areas all grassed. It was a very serene place. But when the new Cathedral was built there were so many visitors that they block paved the whole interior of the old one. I remember there being an exhibition of modern sculpure in there - and no atmosphere left at all.
New Cathedral of St Michael
morgana
the secret garden
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8 of 55  Thu 2nd Feb 2012 11:46am  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:2216

Link to "Climbing Great Buildings - Coventry Cathedral"
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K
Somewhere
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9 of 55  Thu 2nd Feb 2012 2:00pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:566

I wonder if others here like me watched the weathercock being put on the new Cathedral by a Chinook helicopter? Quite a rivetting thing to behold.
New Cathedral of St Michael
walrus
cheshire
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10 of 55  Thu 9th Feb 2012 4:27pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:216

I'm a little relieved that not everyone is overwhelmed by the new cathedral because I always thought that the architecture was brutally ugly but felt it would be disloyal and possibly disrespectful to say so out loud. I went to the consecration in 1962 but the cathedral felt more like a museum or an example of what modernism was all about. Also it has always appeared to me to have been shoehorned into too small a space. Is there a structural or architectural reason why the old cathedral could not have been rebuilt? I hope not to offend but for me it is the architectural equivalent of Wood End.
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Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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11 of 55  Thu 9th Feb 2012 4:36pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3125

They don't/can't build them like they used to, Walrus.
New Cathedral of St Michael
dutchman
Spon End
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Thread starter
12 of 55  Thu 9th Feb 2012 4:40pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3000

On 2nd Feb 2012 2:00pm, K said: I wonder if others here like me watched the weathercock being put on the new Cathedral by a Chinook helicopter? Quite a rivetting thing to behold.
It was actually a Bristol Belvedere Keith, a British designed twin-rotor helicopter. The Belvedere flew very close to us on its way to the Cathedral and I remember it seemed to hover for ages while the spire was manouvered into position.
New Cathedral of St Michael
dutchman
Spon End
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13 of 55  Thu 9th Feb 2012 4:47pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3000

On 9th Feb 2012 4:27pm, walrus said: Is there a structural or architectural reason why the old cathedral could not have been rebuilt?
None at all Walrus. It was a purely political decision by the CofE to leave the shell of the old Cathedral as a war memorial. My problem with the new one (and many other new churches for that matter) is that it doesn't look particularly 'religious'. If you weren't told it was a cathedral you probably wouldn't guess its purpose.
New Cathedral of St Michael
flapdoodle
Coventry
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14 of 55  Thu 9th Feb 2012 11:01pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:868

On 9th Feb 2012 4:27pm, walrus said: I'm a little relieved that not everyone is overwhelmed by the new cathedral because I always thought that the architecture was brutally ugly but felt it would be disloyal and possibly disrespectful to say so out loud
The new cathedral is most certainly not brutal - it's clad in sandstone for a start. As for modernism, well, when the cathedral was being built Paddy's Wigwam was going up in Liverpool. Coventry Cathedral was considered as old fashioned. I'm not religious, and I like it. The stained glass is fantastic, and the sawtooth edges a wonderful touch. It hasn't dated at all, unlike the rest of post-war Coventry, which now looks woeful, and is really just a modern interpretation of a Gothic cathedral. Basil Spence actually saw the building as being a box filled with artwork, hence the statues, glass and tapestry. One interesting feature is that the pillars in the Cathedral are not actually load bearing, and apparently narrow down to a point at the bottom. The original plan was to have them look as if they were balanced on balls. Most of our so-called medieval cathedrals are fake, anyway, having been heavily rebuilt over the years. Even the old Coventry Cathedral is more Victorian than medieval as it was heavily restored in that period.
New Cathedral of St Michael
Kimbo
Chapel st. Leonards
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15 of 55  Sun 12th Feb 2012 9:30pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:56

Have to agree with Flapdoodle. It's a stunning piece of architecture and a credit to the city. I was there at the consecration (aged 9) and have loved it ever since. Thumbs up As for 'Paddy's Wigwam' - oh dear!
New Cathedral of St Michael

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