To say that this rural scene has altered out of all recognition would be the understatement of the century! Clicking on the image will reveal a scene more familiar to most visitors to Coventry, looking across Millennium Place through the Whittle Arch to the slender spires.
This beautiful engraving of "Priory Mill Dam", published in 1814 from a drawing by J. C. Smith, gives us a glimpse of what this area looked like before it was totally drained around 1840. The mill dam had once been known as St. Osburg's Pool and was heavily fished by the Benedictine monks, the remains of whose Priory can be seen just to the right of Holy Trinity spire. (Part of which is still there, but now in the base of the old Blue Coat School.)
Just a few years ago, of course, (before 2002) I would have been standing inside the Coventry Theatre in order to take this photo. Before 1937 (when Trinity Street was built), we would have been looking towards a narrow entrance leading into New Buildings. However, another century before that, a rural looking scene almost unimaginable today could be viewed right here in the middle of Coventry.
In ancient times, all this low lying ground was covered by water and would have joined up to the Swanswell Pool forming a large lake known as Babba Lacu.