Treasured Tales: Reconciling Home
Public Art, Civic Architecture, and the Post-War Reconstruction of Coventry
Photograph of a model of the 1945 plan for the reconstruction of Coventry’s civic centre. This image is a photograph of an image taken from ‘The Coventry of The Future’ exhibition catalogue (CCA/TC/27/1/6/1) housed in Coventry Archives.
Designed for age 18+
Whilst the Luftwaffe air raid on the night of 14 November 1940 all but annihilated the historic fabric of Coventry’s medieval city centre, it also created the opportunity for its major replanning.
Although borne from disaster, the destruction provided city architect, Donald Gibson, with the chance to realise his vision for the ‘future’ Coventry; ‘a vision not of a dream city but of practical accomplishment and operational usefulness, catering to the needs of a new rising democratic and progressive generation’ (The Future Coventry, Coventry Corporation; 1945).
This talk will use items from the Coventry Archives to examine Gibson’s 1945 plan for the reconstruction of Coventry; a scheme which evokes the significance of public art and civic architecture to the rebuilding of home in the post-war period.
Eleanor Cook is an AHRC Midlands 4 Cities funded PhD candidate in the Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities at Coventry University. Her thesis ‘At Home in Coventry’ – a project working in partnership with The Herbert Museum & Art Gallery – seeks to ascertain what ‘home’ meant to the diverse populations of post-war Coventry.