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Post-war redevelopment

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PeterB
Mount Nod
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91 of 111  Sun 16th Oct 2016 11:25pm  
Member: Joined May 2014  Total posts:112

(link to Historic England website) There is a new book out, "Coventry: The making of a modern city 1939-73" by Historic England. Its an interesting read of what is, was and might have been, plus some of the thinking behind it. £14.99 from the Cathedral gift shop, but no doubt available from "all good booksellers". Peter.
Post-war redevelopment
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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92 of 111  Fri 11th Nov 2016 1:02pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:338

I don't think this has been posted before, a short video clip of the 1945 plans for the city centre.
Post-war redevelopment
NeilsYard
Coventry
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Thread starter
93 of 111  Tue 7th Mar 2017 12:15am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1573

Possibly the best image I've seen showing the line differences in the original Smithford Street and the developing Smithford Way.
Post-war redevelopment
Osmiroid
UK
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94 of 111  Tue 7th Mar 2017 12:32am  
Member: Joined Aug 2013  Total posts:288

Excellent documentation, but mostly sadness at seeing the great street disappear.
Post-war redevelopment
NeilsYard
Coventry
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Thread starter
95 of 111  Sat 11th Mar 2017 6:06pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1573

Another good one in respect of the comparison of line between Smithford Street and Way, but bad one in respect of the content!
Post-war redevelopment
NeilsYard
Coventry
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Thread starter
96 of 111  Sat 12th Aug 2017 4:02pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1573

Here's another interesting comparison shot to the above one as the foundations went down.
Post-war redevelopment
Roger Turner
Torksey
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97 of 111  Fri 3rd Nov 2017 10:14pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:482

How come Owen Owen didn`t get rebuilt - the shell looked pretty intact to me and surely if it was that unstable it wouldn`t have been left for pedestrians to be close to it. When I look at the rebuilding on the continent, I often wonder why the old Cathedral wasn`t also rebuilt.
Post-war redevelopment
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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98 of 111  Sat 4th Nov 2017 10:12am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1076

I agree Roger, I thought exactly the same thing - the only reason I used to think it was not rebuilt was an unsound structure - and yet strangely they allowed people to walk next to it. However, I believe the real reason was probably that as soon as it was bombed on the 14th November, the "blank canvas" that Gibson had always dreamed of had already been handed to him by the Luftwaffe, and that particular Owen Owen store had no place in the post-war plans.... as hindsight has shown! My guess is that if they'd really wanted the original Owen's, it probably could have been rebuilt. As for the cathedral shell - whenever I've read about proposals for the "rebuilding", they never seem to infer the remaking of the actual old cathedral, but always indicate some new design incorporating parts of it. I've no idea if many at the time thought seriously about a full rebuild, but probably by the time the war ended and money was forthcoming, the shell had deteriorated too much, with several years of what used to be the interior, already stressed and cracked from the war, being exposed to severe winters of snow & ice, etc.
Post-war redevelopment
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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99 of 111  Sat 4th Nov 2017 11:08am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1863

Rob, not only near it, I believe the ground floor was open for shopping for a short time after the clean up of the bombing. I also believe that the post by MR on 80 of Owen Owen future plans, I believe they did indeed take notice of the people, and re-built with a more modern and brighter store, but the clergy ignored the people about the CathedraI. Also thought it was built on the old Ironmonger Row. Rob, if I may disagree with you, the "blank canvas" did not stop them building a larger store and I believe closer to the centre of Broadgate, and the Cathedral was not altered - the rest I agree with you.
Post-war redevelopment
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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100 of 111  Sat 4th Nov 2017 12:29pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1863

Rob, sorry, you are the last person I would disagree with, but, but there were thousands of people wanted it to be rebuilt, one of the main ones was Alfred Herbert and he offered money, and there were religious organisations that offered money and gov't funds, I don't think money would have been a problem, but there were people stronger than Herbert who over rode everyone, and wanted something flash. I may be talking above my station but I believe the new Cathedral wasn't cheap, and thousands of people like me had no say, had we had today's internet and this forum in those days were we cold have voiced our say, then yes there is no doubt or question in my mind the Cathedral would have been rebuilt and in a shorter time than the new. I am not religious today, but the Cathedral played a huge part in Coventry's history and its people in those days.
Post-war redevelopment
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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101 of 111  Sat 4th Nov 2017 2:07pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1076

On 4th Nov 2017 11:08am, Kaga simpson said: Rob, if I may disagree with you, the "blank canvas" did not stop them building a larger store and I believe closer to the centre of Broadgate, and the Cathedral was not altered - the rest I agree with you.
Hi Kaga, Hey, you're more than welcome to disagree with me any time - I'm no authority on these matters! Wink The funny thing is though - on this occasion you're not actually disagreeing with me! What I was trying to say regarding the new and old Owen Owen stores, was that the blank canvas was, I believe, the main reason why the new one was built, and the old store, despite possibly not being in a totally unrepairable condition, was not retained. Owen's was obviously an important thing to keep in Coventry, but Gibson was only interested in the store fitting in with his new post-war plans. I also happen to agree with what you say about the cathedral - I have to believe that you're completely correct about the opinion of most ordinary people wanting the cathedral rebuilt as it was before. It's just that the books I've read are obviously written by "non-ordinary" people - those with power, and whose opinion ultimately held sway. And it was these people in authority who, in the history books, never appeared to suggest rebuilding the old one. This is also why I hold your opinion so dear, because I wasn't born until three years after the New Cathedral was consecrated, so I've never known a world without it. Your amazing posts on this forum give us all a window into a world most of us can only dream about if they don't get that time machine sorted out very soon! Big grin
Post-war redevelopment
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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102 of 111  Sat 4th Nov 2017 7:01pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:334

Roger has mentioned above that he "wonders why the old Cathedral wasn`t also rebuilt". I, and many others, think the same, especially as when one looks at, for instance, the 'Cloth Hall' and other immediate buildings totally destroyed (apart from the outer walls) during WW1 in Ypres, Belgium - they used the original mediaeval plans for the whole town centre to be re-built, after demolishing the remaining parts and essentially 'starting from scratch' (before I might add the beginning of WW2). I assume that the original plans for St. Michael's were not available in 1945, or am I wrong?
Post-war redevelopment
Roger Turner
Torksey
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103 of 111  Sat 4th Nov 2017 11:11pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:482

I may be talking through a hole in my head, but I am prepared to buy in to a theory of lack of top down civic sentimentality. I am told that the ring road, commenced after the war, was planned well before the war to ease traffic congestion in the narrow medieval streets in Coventry's central area and indeed Trinity Street had been built over swept away old dwellings and businesses and Corporation Street was already getting the treatment - the Rex Cinema -"Gone with the Wind" well the bombing anyway. So the civic assassin mindset was already underway - it was probably in response to a worldwide "Modernist" concept of town planning, Concrete, brick and glass (healthier?) structures that had become the tools of a breed of architects, planning "New Towns", wider straight line streets, rectangular layouts and designated areas for industry and housing. Ribbon developments were to go (I suppose you could say the roads which led away from the old Broadgate were a form of ribbon development of their day). Possibly Coventry suffered more than some old towns in having to accommodate the "Kings Portion" and the "Prior`s Portion" So after Hitler had trashed a considerable portion of the central area the die had already been cast pre-war, there was no room for sentimentality. I guess there were also overriding financial considerations - consider what would be the "rateable take" from a square mile of low level, run down, basically medieval property - compared with the "take" from a square mile of much more elevated modern property (and you could also get central government to pay a substantial contribution). Roll eyes Roll eyes
Post-war redevelopment
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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104 of 111  Sun 5th Nov 2017 9:58am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1076

I reckon you've hit a lot of nails directly on a lot of heads there Roger! You may indeed be talking through a hole in your head, but it appears to be the one protected by a pair of lips - which are only there to prevent the edges from fraying! Lol
Post-war redevelopment
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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105 of 111  Sun 5th Nov 2017 9:59am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1863

We have to think of many different things - during the thirties was a completely different way of life to after the war, the city was growing fast and so was technology and employment. Many people wanted new houses with electricity and indoor bathrooms, and new shops - at the same time most people had not been abroad, and in 1939 to the blitz people between the ages of 18 to 30 enlisted in the armed forces, that's a great chunk of the city's population. Imagine what that did to the cash flow in shops and businesses. Thousands went abroad and did not return till 45/46 so never saw the city's broken buildings until it had been cleaned up a good lot - many were incensed that the Cathedral had been left to rot and no attempt had been made to even think about rebuild, but there were no demonstrations or ways of making their voice known, plus they had many troubles trying to return to a city life. Many had worked in factories and shops for three/four years before the war. Then outdoor life and comradeship, and new places abroad, new ways and cultures, danger etc of forces life, over the next 5/6 years. When they came home they were fed up of war and trouble, wanted peace and quiet.
Post-war redevelopment

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