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Coventry's New Cathedral: Introduction

The New Coventry Cathedral 2004

Seemingly with a defiance that summed up the resolute character of English citizens during the darkest days of World War Two, the decision to build the New Cathedral was made only the day after the old one was destroyed in the blitz. However, Dick Howard the Provost of St. Michael's at that time, did not have retribution in mind. His vision was that the new church would be a sign of faith in humanity and for peace in our future.

The New Coventry Cathedral and Ruins, Priory Street 2004

Here, the old and new meet, the great adjoining porch protecting the steps which follow the line once formed by St. Michael's Avenue.


Initially, in 1942, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was asked to design a new cathedral. He was the grandson of the famous Victorian architect, Sir George Gilbert, and he submitted his design in 1944. One of his drawings of the proposed interior can be seen below; this image is the one that appeared in the edition of the Coventry Evening Telegraph celebrating the WW2 German surrender on the 7th May 1945. Scott's idea involved the demolition of part of the old cathedral, although he did plan to incorporate the five-sided apse into his design.

Artists impression of the inside of Giles Gilbert Scott's Cathedral

Like the current cathedral, it also would have had a north-south orientation, and in the illustration on the right, the ruined apse is just partially visible about half way along the wall on the right.
However, Scott's design was rejected by the Royal Fine Arts Commission, and so in 1950 a competition was held, open to any architect from the British Commonwealth, to find the most suitable design for the replacement cathedral.



Prints of many of our photographs displayed here are available for purchase from the Historic Coventry page of the Photobox website.




 
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