Last edited 18 Apr 2020

Main author

Institute of Historic Building Conservation Institute / association Website

Coventry: the making of a modern city, 1939-73

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Coventry: the making of a modern city, 1939–73, Jeremy and Caroline Gould, Historic England, 2016, 156 pages, 128 colour and black-and-white illustrations, softback.


The Coventry blitz on 14 November 1940 largely destroyed the medieval city on a single night. For the city architect, Donald Gibson, who was already engaged in planning for change, it offered an opportunity to invent the modern city. With the backing of a progressive and socially-minded council, the redevelopment by Gibson and his successors resulted in an intensely urban and civilised centre, which in turn influenced the rebuilding of other shattered city centres and the post-war new town movement. In spite of later changes, both the original vision and the architecture remain substantially intact, even if their value is not always understood. The Goulds’ sensitive analysis of the city within this exemplary book aims to inform the public and decision makers of Coventry’s significance, so that the best of its remarkable post-war heritage can survive.


This article originally appeared in IHBC's Context 162 (Page 58), published by The Institute of Historic Building Conservation in November 2019.

--Institute of Historic Building Conservation

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