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The Coventry you will never know

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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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91 of 97  Mon 15th Jul 2019 10:24am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

The City of Coventry had more or less been represented in the Commons in the Houses of Parliament from the commencement. The town had the right to two representatives to Parliament through the Earls of Chester and the Prior of Coventry, the possessors of the Barony of Coventry, who sat amongst the Superior Lords in the great Councils of the Nation as were held. In 1328 King Edward III summoned 2 or 3 of the most discrete 'Wool Merchants of Coventry' to assist the deliberations of his Parliament. Time moved on. The polling up to 1714 was at the Gaol Hall, but that year a booth was erected in Cross Cheaping. Sir Thomas Samuel and Adolphus Oughton were Whigs, supported by the Corporation, Sir Chris Hales and Sir Fulwar Skipwith the opponents. The object, to obtain the polling booth by force, and poll their own men, without the opponents to do so. Often the polling booth was destroyed. In 1832 the Reform Bill was passed. An election was formed, the polling on 10 December became the 'Bloody 10th', great violence and severe beatings. The Kings Head Yard became a hospital.
The Coventry you will never know
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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92 of 97  Tue 16th Jul 2019 6:30pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

The city swarms with ancient stories the deeper you read. The riding of pasture land by the Freemen of the City is of ancient origin, which was held near the date of festival of St Peter in August, in very high spirits. The custom of the ride in defence of their rights and privileges existed from Saxon times - a brave but motley crowd, the cavalcade of horsemen and footmen, butchers, bakers, on sorry nags, the Chamberlain in coloured robes, the others in white jockey jackets with pink cockades, maybe a sweep or two on donkeys, accompanied by a band of music and the ringing of St Michael's bells. How old it all seems, all ripingly by like a bright carnival.
The Coventry you will never know
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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93 of 97  Wed 17th Jul 2019 10:36am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

The way I saw it The population in Coventry in 1930 was less than 90,000, the trams were not crowded, the shops adequate, but by 1940 the population had risen to 250,000, and thousands expected in the next few months - sudden expansion, bursting at the seams. As a small boy I had a choice of seats, now I'm struggling to find a seat. Where once we had a plenty of space in shops now we queue. Accommodation inadequate, Coventry streets had been built to ferry a fraction of the traffic they were now carrying. Here then is a beautiful medieval city, overcrowded, mobile and ambitious. The war, and now a blank canvas - but it was 1949 before Gibson's plans were finally approved by the Government, but compromised, spending restrictions and shortage of materials. Out of terror came shock, anger, helplessness, pride, frustration, determination, and finally the demand for things to get better. But even so, if you looked hard enough you found things of beauty.
The Coventry you will never know
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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94 of 97  Fri 2nd Aug 2019 10:13am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

The way I saw it. This sudden expansion made a huge workforce, so come 1940 Churchill (Con) was quite aware of this, Coventry was at the forefront of the arms race. So he brought Ernie Bevin into the coalition government, as Minister for Labour. Bevin (Lab) was a Somerset farmboy, but had risen to become General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union. Suddenly found he had astonishing power. He was able to direct any worker in the country to take any job, at any wages or hours and any conditions he specified. Its radical measures were necessary to rearm the country. His most pressing task was to restore a million people back to employment. He called 150 unions to a meeting, to back him. Jack Jones was the Coventry secretary to his union. But it meant workers could no longer be sacked without fair trial, had a guaranteed wage and safeguards. He then told them the people of this country would save them from disaster (war). He saw it as a change in attitude, a modern sensible social and economic institution that we now take for granted. Jack Jones told him he could rely on Coventry. After the blitz, Churchill visited Coventry, worried about the outcome of production, but when he saw the people had moved twisted girders and placed tarpaulin over the missing roofs so as to work the machines, his faith in the British people returned. He returned to his car, took a large cigar, and smiled to himself. Yes, your grandparents, your parents, came up trumps, and the country would follow.
The Coventry you will never know
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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95 of 97  Tue 3rd Sep 2019 4:16pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

Today, in 1939, was a Sunday, fair weather, and I remember every minute of that day, but not the understanding at that time. The worry of grown-ups, the soldiers billeted with us, the gun emplacements, the rations, the black-out, all led to serious conversations - loves, fears, hopes, dangers, the strange unstoppable passage of time we were about to enter. Most of them knew from the last war, the tragedies, the traumatic experiences, that were now reappearing into their faces. A world of immediate preoccupation of thoughts. The secure, vibrant thirties was about to disappear, to be replaced by the unknown.
The Coventry you will never know
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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96 of 97  Wed 4th Sep 2019 4:39pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

We pretend to be calm, no one wants to consider what the days ahead will bring. I stand on a chair and watch dad put the finishing touches to the shelter, a neighbour chats as if today were just another day, as if our lives was not in danger. They talk loudly, I can sense the neighbour tensing up, rhythms of the normal day already changing. Old issues revalued, new issues appear, events in distant places come to the fore-front as never before. Reaction to war news, overheard conversations, feelings of confusion, exasperation - moods alter, perceptions vary. Within a few days everyone is grappling with donning a gas mask, filling in and trying to understand ration books and the points scheme, keeping a light from showing outside, possibly living in an air-shelter all night with a small child and children. Queueing, shops closing early at night, daily papers slashed to half size, now only death and destruction in them, long walks or visits now limited to the wail of a siren the new soundtrack of life. The blackout and coming to terms with going without things. This was Coventry 80 years ago.
The Coventry you will never know
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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97 of 97  Mon 7th Oct 2019 11:45am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3058

The elections of old were things to remember, the polling lasted 8 to 10 days, and bribery the rule. The nominations were conducted in a large booth erected in Cross Cheaping, divided in two parts. In 1780 supporters were forced to go up a step ladder, through a small door, to vote, their opponents given a large sum of money to secure the Corporation vote by having a covered entrance way from the Mayors Parlour adjoining. A 'bludgeon fight' took place where many people were injured. In 1784 there was again rioting and the booth destroyed. When party rage and hateful broils Distrust, and mad delusion Disturb the happiest of isles And all is wild confusion. Well here I am, and yonder stands the booth, But getting to it, how must that be done For here, in this belligerent mob forsooth Jammed wedged as tight as a ramrod in a gun I cannot stir an inch
The Coventry you will never know

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