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Prof
Gloucester
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196 of 197  Sun 12th May 2019 4:51pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1090

"Ships of Heaven" by Christopher Sommerville, is an excellent new book on English Cathedrals. He devoted one chapter to Coventry which I think is excellent. His only error, as I see it, is he "meets a Coventrian with a 'sing song' accent" (had to be a Welshman surely?) but apart from that his description is sensitive, detailed and enough to attract anyone to visit. Thoroughly recommended!
Books on Coventry
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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197 of 197  Tue 8th Oct 2019 2:19pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:420

I have just purchased and read a book entitled "The Secret History of the Blitz" by Joshua Levine. It mentions Coventry periodically throughout, but has a chapter dedicated to the city, entitled "The Klondyke of the Midlands", pertaining to the influx of workers from many towns and cities throughout the UK including RoI, the population having grown from 90,000 in 1931 to 250,000 in 1940. The chapter primarily concerns the November Blitz, but also references the IRA bomb of 25th August 1939 and The 'Rex' being bombed a year to the day after and other raids. Albeit I have read 'Moonlight Sonata' there are anecdotes which I was unaware of. Obviously for copyright reasons I cannot narrate exactly, it mentions that a surface shelter in Silver Street suffered a collapsed roof, trapping a number of people. Another shelter on Greyfriars Green had 12 trapped who were communicating with rescuers, however two UXB's were located nearby so the rescue had to be temporarily abandoned. When they had been defused some three days later, only one survivor was found. On a darker note are reflections of the level of crime. Apparently all manner of thieves were committing all manner of offences, from rescue workers, soldiers & labourers. One person received a three month sentence with hard labour for stealing a Georgian church register from the Cathedral ruins! An Irish labourer was convicted of looting bottles of beer from a premises on Windsor Street (looting could be punishable by death!) There are many uplifting memories as well, including Pearl Hyde's famous "Devil's Kitchen" operating out of an underground room at the Central Police Station. Many 'High Society' volunteers helped, including Lady Mary Lygon and the Duchess of Marlborough! Apparently JB Shelton, a local draying contractor, was also an amateur archaeologist who found Roman artefacts/coins unearthed by the bombing. He was the only person apparently allowed to search ruins etc. without fear of arrest for looting! Finally, another anecdote in the book is the story of the caged bird that Kaga referred to previously, in fact it was Hull not Coventry unfortunately. A good book which I encourage you to get from the Library. Post copied from topic The Blitz - 14th November 1940 on 8th Oct 2019 6:13 pm
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