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Coventry: The making of a modern city 1939-73

Front cover for Coventry: the making of a modern city 1939-73

Paperback by Jeremy Gould, Caroline Gould


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The Coventry Blitz of 14 November 1940 was a key event of the Second World War and in the growth of public consciousness of the destructive power of warfare. The medieval city, already undergoing rapid change, was largely destroyed on that night. The destruction was seen as an opportunity by some including the then City Architect, Donald Gibson. The result was the first of the master plans for post-war redevelopment of Britain's bombed city centres.

The redevelopment of Coventry city centre to plans by Gibson and his successors provided an intensely urban and civilised centre, embodying new planning principles. Post-war Coventry was hugely influential and Gibson's ideas helped to shape the rebuilding of other city centres, the post-war new towns and developments in Europe. Despite incremental change in the subsequent decades the planning and architecture of Gibson's city centre are still clearly legible.

The modern demands of a growing city on its centre are now very different from those of the post-war years. Coventry needs to grow and plan for its future and change will inevitably affect the city centre. This book aims to inform the public and decision makers of the significance of Coventry, and especially its centre, so that change can be managed in ways that will continue the life, use and enjoyment of the best of Coventry's remarkable post-war heritage.


  1. The City in the 1930s
  2. Gibson and the first plans for the City 1939-41
  3. Final plans and building the Upper Precinct 1941-55
  4. Ling and the city centre 1955-64
  5. Gregory and the completion of the Plan 1964-73
  6. The suburbs
  7. The status and influence of Coventry
  8. Coventry after 1973

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £14.99
  • Series: Informed Conservation
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Paperback
  • Physical Size: 210 x 210 mm
  • Pages: 164
  • Illustration: 138, colour and b&w
  • ISBN: 9781848022454


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Image gallery for Coventry: The making of a modern city 1939-73

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Coventry city centre looking south-east,1937
  • Coventry city centre looking south-east, 2012
  • Council House, Earl Street, built between 1910-20
  • Civic Offices, Little Park Street and Earl Street, built between 1974-6
  • Coventry Cathedral, east elevation to Priory Street with the new porch and Lady Chapel of the old cathedral.  Jacob Epstein's bronze of St. Michael and the Devil on the wall of the babtistery
  • Locarno dancehall (now City Library), Lower Precinct/Smithford Way. Detail of the façade showing the glass mosaic decoration
  • Courtyard of the Architecture and Planning Department, Earl Street
  • Old people's housing, Wellington Gardens, Spon End
  • Meadow House, Spon Street, Spon End
  • Sports and Recreation Centre, Fairfax Street and Cox Street. The glazed bridge links through to the Central Swimming Baths
  • Registry Office, Cheylesmore Manor gatehouse, Manor Yard, off New Union Street
  • Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre, Broadgate.  Lady Godiva turned to face down the axis of the Upper Precinct

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