Coventry in the 60s

60s Coventry: Upper Precinct 60s Coventry: Lower Precinct

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.

60s Coventry: The Locarno

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.

Owen Owen, Coventry in the 60s

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

"I was born in 1944, grew up in Canterbury Street Hillfeilds, went to school at Fredrick Birds. I spent my teenage years in and around the city centre and the Locarno, I even worked at the Locarno in 63 for a very short time. I could not at the time see me living anywhere else. I left for Cornwall in 78 and missed it realy badly and I didnt return again untill 93. It was awfull I hated it and havn't been back since. It is such a shame to see what has been done to the place I called home. I believe it is only getting worse so I don't think I will be coming back. I can walk through the centre of Penzance at midnight in safety, even in 93 it didnt feal like that in Coventry." Mike Lovegrove 19/06/2011

"Born and bred in Coventry (1948)and on leaving school in 1964 had the choice of five apprenticeships with local firms. Work was plentiful and times for a young teenager were good. To be living during the 60s in what then was a new city centre and all the amenities that were around and cared for was a privilege.Left Coventry in 1988 and returned occasionally while my parents were alive.Now i think that a fine city was once again sacrificed by spinless politicians as it was in 1940.It is so sad to witness this decline but my memories will always be of the Coventry i was raised in." Ray Grundy 31/10/2012

"So sad to read so many negative comments about my home town Coventry. Unfortunately I have to agree with most of what is being said.People have lost their pride in their own area's and the City in general. We were the leaders. Where have all our factories gone? We don't have apprenticeships any longer. We don't have "proper" jobs. Give the City millions of pounds in investment, encourage employers to our once great City with tax breaks, business rate reductions. Our local politicians need to act and not just talk. At my age I don't work any longer but have and still would work to rebuild Coventry's pride. Too many people living here don't have roots here so,are not very interested in our past. We encouraged them to Coventry with the promise of work. Lets give it to them and educate them as well. Let this great City rise again." Jim Cotterill 21/11/2012

"Born in 1940s Went to Foxford school in 1953 when it became a comprehensive still meet up once a month with old school friends.Will be attending reunion in Sept2013.Worked at side of new cathedralso watched it going up. Happy Days.Carolyn Stringer (neeHood)." Carolyn Stringer(nee Hood) 21/04/2013

"What was the population of coventry in the 60s" Amelia 04/06/2014

"According to the 1961 census - 305,521 and according the 1971 census - 335, 260. So around 315,000 in the 60s.
best regards" Steven 05/06/2014

"Trying to find a friend from Coventry in the 60s wondering. If anyone would know her
Vivienne Wallace" Shirley ( butt ) cottle 12/11/2014

"Born in Beresford Avenue, Foleshill in 1947 and after leaving Foxford School in 1964 I left town and have only passed through a couple of times since. Everything to do with my childhood, including my schools and the local railway line, has disappeared.
Nick Williams 05/10/2015" Nick Williams 05/10/2015

"Born in vequary street 1951 went to cheylesmore school till 1964 left in 1973 to Wales, would love to hear from anyone who knew me!" Carolchattaway 14/12/2015

"I went to Barkers Butts School and did a apprenticeship at the Alvin. The sixties in Coventry were fantastic it's sad to visit the city now." Martin Oliver 12/02/2016

"I was born and brought up in Ranby road,hillfields.went to Fredrick bird infants and juniors and then broad heath school until stringers was built.left In 1976 but like to visit the old places and city centre when I can. Linda Morgan was Ashworth" Linda morgan 14/12/2016

"I was born in Coventry in 1947, lived in Abbey Road, Whitley for the first 7 years. I remember the burnt out houses nr. to the city centre, saw the new precinct taking shape, thought it was lovely..... even Jack's roundabout found a new home there! Owen Owen was my favourite store, and I was absolutely gutted to find that it had disappeared when making a return visit to see family. We moved to Poole in 1980 and it is a beautiful place to live, but my roots are firmly back in my 'old Coventry'. Sadly over the years it has all but disappeared, it's not like going home any more. All the shops seem to be aimed at the young students, never mind the people who grew up there. I loved my 'old' Coventry, and am proud to have come from there. I have so many happy memories but that's about all that is left behind now. I have been trying, without success so far, to find a girl who worked in the Mechanical test lab. at H.S.A. Whitley in the early 1960's, her maiden name was Marian Prince. She lived in Cheylesmore in a road not far from the long row of shops on Daventry Road. Any info. would be much appreciated...... THEY WERE HAPPY DAYS. If anyone remembers me I'd love to hear from them. Margaret Luxton 16/2/2018" Margaret Luxton (Nee Lawman) 16/02/2018

"I worked inThe Broadgate square for FostervBrothers Mens Wear shop which was in a prefabricated building in 1967. We used to always look at Lady Godiva at the hour coming out on her horse on the clock I think near the Hotel Leofrik" Alan spear 14/03/2018

"Not born in Coventry but have lived here since 2007 having moved down from up north I love Coventry the culture the diversity( not so much the football team ) looking forward to 2021 when Coventry can show its true self to the country" Dean Quibell 24/07/2018

"Im so glad I grew up in Coventry in the 60s. What a place, Leofric Jazz Club on Sunday nights, Locarno, Forty Thieves (although I think that came slightly later), Matrix, Market Tavern, Jaguar. Meeting under The Elephant , brilliant time." Denise 12/01/2019

"I grew up in a prefab in Coundon. We were one of the last families to leave in 1972 when the estate was being demolished to make way for new housing. The city centre always seemed vibrant; cannot believe how much it has changed. Instead of shops and offices, it's now all student accommodation and hotels." Nick 30/08/2019

"Looking for an 'Ann-Marie Walker' who lived along Hen Lane, Holbrooks around 1986. I was only 9 at the time. Her dad might have ran a chippy back in the day. Met on a day trip to Rhyl with Harry Shaw Coaches.

Michael A. Jones" Michael 11/11/2019

"Was there a parrot in the shopping centre around 1962?" Clem 05/12/2019

"Happy New year for 2020! I am looking for two people: my mum's mother (Joyce Tomlinson of 11 Smith street in 1949) and my mum's father (believed to be Sidney Greaves? Groves?) My mum (Carol Baines nee Tomlinson) was born in 1949, later went to broadheath girls school, was friends with Jillian Harrison, they both lived in Smith street off of Red Lane. My mum and dad left Coventry for Australia in 1973ish and mum turned 70 last year. I managed to reunite her with Jillian Harrison, but all the geneology searches show nothing for Joyce Tomlinson and the records for anyone called Sydney Groves? are sketchy. Please make contact if you have any information. Many thanks. Lisa." Lisa Staines 14/01/2020

"I was born in Coventry at Friars Craig nursing home in Earlsdon, my dad had a timber and building merchants for many years, Denny's Timber Yard, first of all in Far Gosford Street then in Sandy Lane Radford. Lovely memories of the city centre, but it has changed so much and seems to have lost its soul. Does anyone remember Owen Owen restaurant, always packed and you had to queue up the steps until you were let in by a lady.... can anyone remember the name of an exclusive gown shop in Hertford Street would have been in the 60's - love sharing memories!" Eunice Stanforth 18/04/2020

"I was born in Coventry went to Barkers Butts School in the 60s lived in Cheveral Ave Radford Worked at Timpson shoe shop then in Owen Owen. Moved to Southampton in 1971 & did go back often to visit family but haven't been back since my mum died in 1990. Last visited in 1994 & was sad to see Coventry city centre changed so much but nowhere near as much as it is now judging by photos I see online & reports from my cousin who still lives there.
Coventry will always be my home & get very nostalgic when looking back at photos online of how it used to look
Good memories of living there in the 50s & 60s." Diana Smith 01/09/2020

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history
Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history