Coventry in the 60s
Coventry was among the first of Britain's cities to be redeveloped in the post-war years. Coventry suffered heavily in the War, even its historic Cathedral was all but destroyed on the fateful night of 14 November 1940. In the 50s and 60s the City rose like a phoenix from the ashes and was totally transformed.
The new Upper and Lower Precincts in Coventry were built in the 50s. There was also an indoor market built to a modern, circular design. Much of 50s Coventry has now been redeveloped. However, some of the murals have been preserved, together with a circular burger bar in the Lower Precinct. People may also remember the department store, Owen Owen (subsequently Allders and now Primark).
Coventry Cathedral was rebuilt to a design by Sir Basil Spence. It was consecrated in 1962 in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen.
Coventry did well in the boom years of the fifties and sixties. Its car factories, Jaguar, Standard-Triumph and the Rootes Group, employed thousands. People also worked for engineering firms such as Wickman and Alfred Herbert, as well as the electrical giant, GEC. One journalist claimed that the streets of Coventry were paved with gold.
Coventry's employment prospects attracted immigrants from India and Pakistan, as well as from Ireland. In the sixties, Coventry had a large Irish community.
Coventry's dependence on the automotive industry had been its saviour in the 50s and 60s. The downturn of car industry in the late 70s and early 80s put the City's fortunes in decline. Local band, The Specials, marked the lowest point with their number one hit "Ghost Town" in 1981.
Your comments on Coventry
"Coventry looks great, I've never been (apart from being sent there !), but so want to visit " Gill Goulding
"I born in Coventry and grew up watching its post war revival - it was a trend setting city from modern shops to modern hi rises. Unfortunately the city fell into decay in the seventies and on the odd occasion I return I now see them knocking down places I watched them build. What a shame the best view use to be climbing up the old cathedral spire now it is in the rear view mirror " David Irvine
Hi David, I completely agree. I've always found it difficult to understand why so many buildings from the 50s and 60s have been destroyed. They are what I grew up with. Retrowow
"I've left Coventry now, but its still in my heart, I was born and bred in Coventry, But im afraid i have to say, the City has gone to the dogs, its full of People who just dont care about the environment or the people around them. The City is always dirty and violent, i try to find something positive to say about the City i love, but i cant,its time the Politicians and Councillors done something more positive for the old City. " Graham Forster
All these comments are so true! I know building student accommodation brings in revenue, however the City planners have totally forgotten the people who actually were born and bred here. There is nothing. I actually do not feel safe in the city and it’s a shame it has come to this. Growing up , going to the Locano on a Saturday morning then going to the Wimpy circular cafe was a real treat. So many diverse of department stores so many things to do. It’s all gone! I’m all for change but I think enough is enough. Students come and go . But the faithful are still here and the Council/ Planners are forgetting them . The phoenix from the ashes Coventry is more now the ashes. Shame on you!