Wednesday, December 23

Coventry at Christmas

In the interests of fairness, because it is, after all, my home town, I took some photos of Coventry on the last Wednesday before xmas. It's late night shopping on Weds in December, and I had some time to spare before the evening Knitwits meeting at 7pm (which I ended up being a little late for, whoops!).

Coventry's town centre has an interesting history. Centred originally around a monastery (possibly convent)  and castle, it became a market town. What wasn't destroyed during WW2 (the German verb "coventrated", being coined here) was later destroyed by a "brave new world" city council - which is a pity, because old Butcher Row would have probably rivalled York's "The Shambles" had it survived. There are a few pockets of "old Coventry" left - notably, two gates from the old wall which used to surround the town, and Bond's hospital (almshouses), and of course the two cathedrals old and new, and Holy Trinity Church, and Greyfriars spire (now a bar), but these bits are scattered about like jewels within the modern (1950s onwards) buildings. Lots more information about Coventry's history can be found online. I'm just going to share some photos I took. I didn't get around the whole of the town centre, just the central area. If I try and do justice to the history aspect here, I'll never finish this post! :)

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Shelton Square

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Shelton Square towards the precinct - the lights are a large tower block. There are a few of these superimposed on the central city area.

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A little "food market" before the precinct

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Looking down the ramp towards the lower precinct

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In the centre of the precinct there's a fountain you can sit around. This is looking up towards Broadgate - the spires were just about visible but didn't show up with my poor smartphone. It's a pity they can't be lit at night. It would look lovely.

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Lower precinct, upper balcony - I needed to make a trip to Lush. The large baubles change colour slowly, very pretty! Note the 1960s circular cafe to the left, it's on a pillar. I thought (as a child) it must rotate slowly and was quite disappointed when I realised it didn't. I think it was a burger bar then. There are 8-10 old neon panels in this square, depicting Coventry trades - alas, all of them bar one were not lit! Very sad!

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Broadgate from the upper precinct. The column on the left is actually a very tall cross or sword, topped with the city insignia of elephant and castle. I bet most people mistake it for a lamppost! Cathedral Lanes shopping centre is in the background, so called because originally you could walk through it to the cathedrals. It was later filled in for some reason! You can still walk around both sides of course...

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Broadgate looking towards the puppet clock (just visible within the lit arch). On the hour, Godiva rides around, and Peeping Tom appears from above (see below for more on the legend).

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Broadgate looking towards Trinity St. Primark (ex Owen Owen) on left.

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Heading towards Cathedral Lanes - I had to do a bit more shopping!

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Lady Godiva/Godgifu. It is said she agreed to ride naked around the city, if her husband the Earl would relent on taxing the people so severely. In this sense, naked probably meant, without her finery/jewellery. The legend has it that the people agreed to stay indoors and shutter their windows so as not to look upon her, but one Peeping Tom did and was struck blind. I suspect that bit might just be folklore!

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Edge of Broadgate, looking up towards High St - it had started to rain by the time I had done my shopping, I wasn't in there that long! High St mostly contains banks.

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Turning around from the last shot and looking back towards the upper precinct.

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The tree in Bull Yard, probably the first xmassy thing you'll see if you walk in from the station (which is to the right in this shot).

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City Arcade - yarn shop Busy Fingers is down here on the right. Yes, I was heading back to my car, can you tell?

Merry Christmas and here's hoping for a peaceful, knitty New Year!

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