The Impact of Air Power on Coventry…

In an earlier post I mentioned my move to Coventry to start my PhD and that it seemed a fortuitous choice considering the city’s links to air power. In particular it most infamous link was its relationship to the Blitz and the bombing of the city on 14 November 1940. I also mentioned that I would be going to the local transport museum for a jaunt, Coventry was the home to the British motor industry. Well the museum threw up couple more bits of interest. In the museum they have a series of vignettes portraying the city during the bombing of the city. These make for interesting viewing as they are trying to illustrate the hardship and impact that the attack had on the city. It begs the question, however, why are these vignettes in a transport museum? Well the answer to that is inherently linked to the reason the city itself was attacked, its transport industry. This was a vital aspect of the British war economy with many manufacturers in the city making war equipment. For example, Daimler was located in the city and were responsible for the production of the Dingo Scout Car and the larger Daimler Armoured Car. Indeed the company Sandys Lane facility was used as a store and destroyed in the attack of 14 November. Production moved to one of the shadow factories at Brown’s Lane. Here are some of the shots I took of the vignettes:

And here is Daimler Armoured Car that would have been produced in the city:

Of course one of the outcomes of the bombing was city’s reconstruction in the post-war years. By 1948 the Broadgate area of the city had been rebuilt and Coventry was one of the first european cities to have a pedestrian only centre. Indeed in Hertford Street there is a statue entitled The Phoenix by George Wagstaff that is meant to symbolise the rebuilding of the city.

However, despite the reconstruction there has not been much written on this aspect of the bombing impact. Indeed it can be questioned how succesful the reconstruction has been as the city council now has plans to reconstruct the reconstruction.

So museum has an interesting representation of the impact that air power had on the city and that impact it could be argued is still having an impact on the city today.

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5 responses to “The Impact of Air Power on Coventry…

  1. Check out:

    Hubbard P J, Faire L J and Lilley K D 2003 ‘Contesting the modern city: reconstruction and everyday life in post-war Coventry’, Planning Perspectives, 18, 377-97

    Hubbard P J, Faire L J and Lilley K D 2003 ‘Memorials to modernity? Public art in the “City of the Future”’, Landscape Research, 28(2), 147-169

  2. Pingback: Airminded · Military History Carnival 21·

  3. Found your site as I am researching for my 2nd year Uni project, answering “is Coventry a Twentieth Century city?”
    As a Coventrian born and bred, I have my own specific ideas on this topic, but would also appreciate any views you or your readers may have. Having stood in Coventry city centre last week trying to get people to give me their views on this, and largely failing, probably due to the fact they assumed I was trying to sell them something, maybe you and your readers could give me comments from the comfort of their own armchairs!!
    Thanks very much

  4. Fantastic Blogs.

    I have several WEB Pages that include blogs on Flying, my Heroes and also Lt. Col William Reed – Flying Tiger. I would like to add your blogs as a link to these WEB Pages with your permission. Please check them out when you have time.

    “Fly High and Fast” Blog on Flying is located at http://home.earthlink.net/~mfmeehan/jjm/fly.htm.

    Wall of Heroes – http://home.earthlink.net/~mfmeehan/jjm/heros.htm.

    Lt. Col Bill Reed’s WEB Site is located at http://home.earthlink.net/~mfmeehan/reed/index.htm.

    In all cases I would put link with a small description of your blogs (your words) at the bottom with my other links.

    Thank you,

    John J. Meehan
    mfmeehan@live.com
    or
    jjmeehan13@earthlink.net

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