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Friday 14 June 2024

Coming to Coventry.

 We headed off to the stop lock and met up with the voluntary lock keeper we had been told about the last time we had come through. He was from Hull, and we had a good chat as we waited for the levels, well for a boat coming from the Coventry basin direction, until he had swung into the basin and then left the lock for them.

Through the bridge and headed to the left, we were off to the basin.

Looking back at the stop lock we see the hire boat heading in that was full of Australian blokes. They had obviously done this before.

It is just off to the left where the original junction between the Oxford and Coventry Canals was made. Hence the wide area where there are now residential moorings by a pub but a sharp bend under this bridge.

The canal towpath, and the canal itself seems to be still much cleaner than when we first came this way. Three years ago we came this way as Coventry was (is, until the end of this year) the City of Culture taking over from Hull, and I think efforts were made to clean it all up, and it still is. The city had to contend with COVID etc, but I still think that they could have done better for their stint with the accolade. Mind you I think whoever has it will find it hard to beat Hull for the lasting changes they were able to make. Maybe this mural was one of the things added.

This is the over bridge at the entrance to Stoke Heath Wharf. It was the base for the Cooperative Dairy working 26 narrow boats carrying coal.

This building was the largest in the world when it was built in 1906. It was built by Cammell Lairds who took over the site of a works making tubes for the Admiralty. Here there were two huge lathes to bore out the tubes that went to make the 15" guns for the battleships of the era. ('Scuse the finger).

These are Cash's Hundred housing. In actual fact only 48 were built and now only 37 survive. Cash was a weaver, (who remembers Cash's name labels that were put in all our school uniform etc.). He was a firm believer in the fact that cottage industry could compete with factories. He built these houses form the workers and the top floor was for the weaving looms. There was a steam engine in the courtyard that powered all the machinery in the top floor by shafts and belts and worked with no trouble for 70 years until 1926.

Coventry was the centre of ribbon making until 1860 when a new a treaty with France meant that imported ribbon was cheaper and the town's industry crashed and very hard times were felt all around. These buildings were painted as some sort of remembrance to the trade, and colourful it is.

A little further on there was even more colour with this mural.

We got to the basin and found a berth before having a drink, getting changed and heading into town. Helen wanted to take advantage of there being a M&S and a few other shops we don't have, and came away with a few ticks off her list. We then walked over to the Herbert Museum to have a look.

We walked past the City Hall that had been commissioned in 1910 following a competition. The foundations stone was laid in 1913 and completed in 1917. It is constructed of Runcorn stone and roofed with Cotswold Stone. Above the door were added statues of Lefric, Lady Godiva and Justice in 1924. At the top of the door is an elephant with a castle and the motto 'Camera Principis' which means the Prince's Chamber as Coventry was regarded as the chamber of Edward, the lack Prince!

Dippy the Diplodicus is at the Herbert Museum. We went round the various galleries at a fair pace as we were getting close to closing,16:00.

One of the exhibits was an old microwave. We were struck as we still have one like this. My Mum and Dad bought all my brothers one of these and ours is the only one still working. This one was dated 1985
which was about the date we got ours too. It is still going strong.

The old cathedral got hit in November 1940 in the Coventry Blitz but has been a symbol of forgiveness  since the end of the war.

The new Cathedral is right next door to the old and is completely different. I con't really like the exterior but the interior is fantastic and featured a fair bit in the brilliant TV series 'This Town' recently.


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

I'm delighted the canal to Coventry has been cleaned up. We only went there once when you were also there.
I remember walking around the town with Helen and our friend Lesley and we visited the old cathedral - a very moving experience. The new one left me cold, I'm afraid.


NB Holderness said...

Hi Both, I think I was at home when you arrived, as I can't remember meeting you there. I quite like Coventry as it reminds me of Hull I suppose. Philip Larking would call both populations 'a cut price crowd'. Funny that Larking was born in Coventry and is best known for working at Hull University.
The new Cathedral has grown on me over the years, the interior anyway. The tow path and canal are pretty clean, but still managed to pick a plastic bag or two.