Coventry’s Hidden Gems – on the bookshelf
While we are locked down, another way to explore Coventry is to check your bookshelf! There are lots of great books about Coventry which give intriguing insights as well as the big historical picture. Two we should mention straight off are the appropriately named Secret Coventry by David McGrory, a wonderful book which reveals many interesting facts, and Coventry: The making of a modern city 1939-73 by Jeremy Gould and Caroline Gould which considers our more recent past to appreciate and understand the post-war architecture.
Unfortunately I don’t have photos of my copies as I lent them pre-lockdown – although a big benefit to the recipient I hope!
Here are a few more excellent books about Coventry.
Coventry Hidden in Plain Sight by Clare Selley
This lovely book is a photographic journey around the city, with most photos taken in May and June 2009. There are many stunning images of architecture and landscapes, but the ‘hidden’ element is in the beautiful photos of small details which the photographer, Clare Selley, sought out.
A Thousand Years of Coventry Pubs by John Ashby, Fred Luckett & David McGrory
Weighing in at 250 pages, and a large volume too, this is an extremely detailed pub crawl through a millennium of pubs and breweries in the city. Far more than a comprehensive list, it also documents social history and changing times. Fascinating!
The Story of Coventry by Peter Walters
Tracing the city’s story from Roman times until the twentieth century, this book examines Coventry’s history, good and bad, illustrated with drawings, maps and photographs. The book delves into archive records to bring rich detail to Coventry’s story, far beyond the most well-known elements. A vital read!
The Beatles Sent to Coventry by Pete Chambers
A comprehensive guide to discovering Coventry’s connections with the Fab Four. This book is brought to life with lots of vibrant personal details and reminiscences, rare photos and fab facts. Although some of the city has changed substantially since The Beatles’ visits, it is still possible to track locations and connections using this brilliant book.
A Victorian Resting Place For a Growing Industrial City, Coventry’s London Road Cemetery by Ian Woolley
The cemetery is a prime example of the city’s history ‘hidden in plain sight’. It is easy to whisk past it on the busy London Road, with most of the grounds out of view. This enthralling book reveals the history of the cemetery itself, as well as the stories of the people memorialised there. Architecturally, botanically and socially of interest, this engaging guide points out many of the cemetery’s features from a memorial incorporating a birdbath to the purpose of the bricked-up entrance.