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Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry

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NeilsYard
Coventry
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1 of 21  Mon 27th Feb 2012 4:52am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1815

Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry, a remarkably positive review of 'The Cov's' modern urban design.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
BrotherJoybert
Coventry
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2 of 21  Mon 27th Feb 2012 6:59am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:118

Very interesting article. Different strokes for different folks. Love the "Brutal Britannia" reference. I sometimes wonder if the Coventry marketing gurus should 'play' to what we have instead of pretending to be something we are not? ARCHITECTS ON ACID? COME SEE FOR YOURSELF. COVENTRY. IT AIN'T BARCELONA!
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
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Allesley Park
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3 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 11:30am  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:421

TonyS - This may be deserving of a different topic but I'd like to take issue with your signature. What makes you believe that an old building will necessarily become historic in the future? If a building has been around for 100 or so years and not had anything in that past that warrants it as historically important why is that likely to change? Most are expensive to maintain and run and end up just being put to largely mundane uses just to prevent them falling into complete disrepair. Who's to say a newer replacement building wouldn't bring about a different set of events that would lead to that becoming historically important in a shorter timeframe? Or is it along the monkey-typewriters scenario - give it enough time and it will happen eventually? Using that theory nothing should ever be knocked down and you just create massive problems for yourself. If it doesn't have a history NOW then it's not worth hanging onto on the off chance that one day it will.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
TonyS
Coventry
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4 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 1:23pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2011  Total posts:1560

Gosh! - someone got up feeling grumpy today! Big grin Why are you going out of your way to start an argument about something I put in a simple signature? Why on earth do you feel it warrants such a strongly worded post on a public forum? I am NOT going to enter into an argument on this forum about a few words suggesting that a little more thought should be given before demolishing our future heritage. You've given your opinion, let's leave it at that.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
dutchman
Spon End
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5 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 1:24pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3000

In 1958 the city council commissioned a report into which buildings were unique to Coventry and why they should be preserved. Over the next ten years they systematically demolished almost all of the buildings listed in that report and are still doing so today!
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Allesley Park
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6 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 4:23pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:421

Not grumpy at all Big grin It's not a massive issue and I certainly don't intend to fall out or annoy anyone over it. Sorry if you felt it was strongly worded but I didn't think it was, I was merely asking a question and justifying my case for asking it. I guess it may come across that way because I'm aware that on a forum such as this the majority opinion will be for preserving most things and I'm swimming against the tide somewhat and so write in a more defensive style. The use of the term 'take issue with' probably wasn't the best terminology I could have come up with either If you don't want to discuss it that's your prerogative, although I think it slightly odd that someone would bother to put in a statement if they weren't trying to make a point, and thus naturally open up a debate about it. However, I would like to try and explain what I mean. I will admit it is a bit of a bugbear of mine that I seem to have this conversation with family/friends/neighbours etc that there is a misunderstanding of historic and old/ancient. There's nothing untrue about the sig - something can't have the chance to become historic if it no longer exists, regardless of its age- but I'd say it was just as true to say "Buildings can only become historic if they are not bulldozed when they are young!" or even "Buildings can only become historic if they are built in the first place!" Take some of the illustrious visitors this city has had and some of the structures which we now consider historic due to their stays there (and to which I owe much of my knowledge of to Rob's site). Edward the Black Prince and Cheylesmore Manor, Q. Elizabeth and Whitefriars and Mary Queen of Scots in St Mary's Guildhall. At the time of their visits these buildings were relatively new with all mod cons and so fit for such high-ranking dignitaries. But those buildings now wouldn't be used to lodge even minor luminaries even if they were in mint condition as they aren't suitable. The point is a newer structure is more likely to be used for important, and thus historic, events, because they are completely up to date in terms of facilities, economy etc. A building, much like a person, is much more likely to become historically important in its younger years rather than in its old age. It is fair to suggest that a little more thought should be given before demolishing our future heritage. But I could just as easily suggest that more thought should be given in trying to CREATE our future heritage. Celebrate the past by all means, but a past is nothing without a future. York has a fantastic past, but would you say its future is likely to reach those heady heights again? Is that history a huge comfort for those there now, or their future generations, trying to get well-paid jobs? Buildings you and others want preserved now were probably campaigned against by some of the people alive when they were built, and undoubtedly stuff people don't want built today will be vociferously defended for preservation by generations to come. Parisians didn't want the Eiffel Tower at the time! I'm sure many complained about our new cathedral because of its north-south alignment. I always find the following quote from an old school teacher useful "It's not just about taking notes, it's about knowing which notes to take" And with preservation/conservation it's not just about preserving things, it's about knowing which things to preserve.
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Allesley Park
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7 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 4:29pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:421

On 14th Aug 2012 1:24pm, dutchman said: In 1958 the city council commissioned a report into which buildings were unique to Coventry and why they should be preserved. Over the next ten years they systematically demolished almost all of the buildings listed in that report and are still doing so today!
It depends on who conducts the report. If those making up the list wanted to preserve things, they could find SOMETHING to support that position. Technically, every building is unique in some way if you look closely enough. And someone with an opposite viewpoint could in many instances just as easily make an argument as to why those buildings don't deserve being preserved, or circumstances change over time whereby a building becomes too dilapidated or falls out of use and doesn't create any interest to be brought back into use due to the cost of upkeep etc. It is also worth noting that the report was to highlight buildings which were ALREADY unique or historically significant, not those that COULD be (which technically includes everything). It focused on facts and already existing conditions, not future ones that may or may not ever arise.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
Mike H
London Ontario, Canada
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8 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 6:56pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:440

Historic is not just about where a queen slept. Have you ever been to the Black Country Museum?
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Allesley Park
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9 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 8:04pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:421

Did I say it was? There's plenty of things that make up history, as I pointed out above with the tragedy of the Twin Towers, and the industries that brought prosperity to a place are without doubt hugely important at a local level. My point is that just because something is old does not necessarily mean it is historic. With industry it's a lot more difficult to preserve it though, as it is the use of the building rather than the building itself that makes it historic, and if it doesn't reflect that usage the building is arguably no longer of historical significance. It's interesting you bring up the BCLM (which I have visited), as in another topic (Cathedral Lanes Revamp I think) I advocate the creation of something similar within our city centre to reflect all the industries that have been major parts of the city's development, from ribbons, weaving, stained glass, bicycles, watchmaking and even cars if possible using original structures moved from locations that are unlikely to benefit from any tourism. But the interesting point of the BCLM is, like Spon St, it's 'fake'. The buildings may be largely original, but all have been moved to recreate that original feel, as their original locations no longer provide it.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
anne
coventry
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10 of 21  Tue 14th Aug 2012 10:33pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:287

I have to disagree about your thoughts on the Black Country Museum. I've lived and worked in the Black Country and 'that original feel' is still there! The building that my late partner had his weekly bath in as a teenager in the early 60's has been moved to the BCM but would look just as good in its original surroundings. We don't want old buildings put into areas that would 'benefit from any tourism', in prettified surroundings. I want buildings to be there so I can think about what has gone on around me, not as museum pieces. Wave
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Allesley Park
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11 of 21  Wed 15th Aug 2012 3:25pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:421

Fair enough. Everyone has differing opinions. But everything has to be looked at from two sides, and one of those has to take into account economic realities and modern day needs. Is it fair that people needing homes, jobs etc today can't have them created because somebody wants to be able to look at a disused shell to remind them of what has gone on in the past? No, so you have to be able to argue that they have a purpose above those needs. Some can be turned into housing, or businesses as offices, shops or restaurants. But often the cost of this is extremely prohibitive and forces many people out. The harsh reality is that there are so many unused old buildings around not because people don't want to use them, it's just not economically feasible. So for many their only saving grace is their history, but that then has to be able to manifest itself in a useful way, and that has to be via the tourism industry. But many of them are so far apart their unlikely to generate much interest, and so bringing them all together is a solution to that, as BCLM has shown. And personally I wouldn't want 'prettified' surroundings. If the point is to be show life as it was then do it properly - cramped, dark and dirty.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
anne
coventry
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12 of 21  Wed 15th Aug 2012 6:02pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:287

So you feel that your idea of putting together 'original structures' in the city centre to 'reflect all industries' wouldn't be prettified, as they are in various living museums and the back-to-backs near Birmingham Hippodrome? You have more faith than me. My argument is that we find original buildings all over the city - people are living in topshops, watchmakers' houses, houses that were built in various decades, in different roads and a variety of styles and with a variety of uses. I myself want to walk down roads that are 'living history', not pander to tourists. Yes, we can all have opinions - even on our signatures, like Tony S. Big grin
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Allesley Park
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13 of 21  Wed 15th Aug 2012 6:42pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:421

Sadly, no I don't have faith that those in charge wouldn't 'prettify' it. But I suppose having older structures economically active in a prettified state is better than unoccupied and in disrepair in their original locations, being a magnet for anti-social and even criminal behaviour. The trouble is so many of the old structures aren't 'living history', they're decaying relics of a bygone age. Personally, I'd like to walk around streets with no empty properties, filled with people in full employment, with no social issues or problems. Do I care if the buildings are new/old, or show the history of the city? No, not really. I'd prefer they show the city had a bright future. Let's be proud of our history but make sure none of these 'outsiders' called tourists want to come and see it. After all we don't need their cash, this city's swimming in money. Hardly anyone inside Coventry knows about much of its history and importance because so much of it is out of the way or hidden. Bringing it all together so it's easily accessible wouldn't just benefit tourists, it'd benefit the locals too, both economically and culturally, and increase civic pride in this city.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
anne
coventry
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14 of 21  Wed 15th Aug 2012 7:29pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:287

Tourists have lots of places to find out about heritage and very welcome they are too. Your sarcastic remarks about the city 'swimming in money' are misplaced, especially as so much of my council tax goes on replanning the city layout, then digging it up again with great inconvenience to those of us who work there. You do tend to use sweeping statements - if people living here can't go and find out about their history then more education is needed - for children - and information advertised for adults. We need to bring the people to the buildings not vice versa! I also hope we have a bright future, but all the social evils you mention won't just be addressed by this topic, I believe. Roll eyes
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry
Jaytob
Derbyshire
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15 of 21  Wed 15th Aug 2012 8:13pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:52

Members may be interested in this list titled: Coventry City Council, LOCAL LIST of Buildings of Special Architectural Interest. Its in the form of a .pdf file and can be downloaded from HERE It includes some obvious sites, such as the "Coliseum" discussed in another recent thread, as well as other, not so obvious or glamorous properties. I'm sure everyone would be interested to see what the Council is anxious to preserve. This document was updated in May 2012.
Urban Impressions - Amazing Coventry

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