New historical map of Coventry being launched which sheds light on city’s fascinating past

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New historical map of Coventry being launched which sheds light on city’s fascinating past

Postby dutchman » Sun Nov 14, 2021 6:04 pm

The map is based on the 1913 Ordnance Survey map of Coventry but has much more besides

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A ‘new’ historical map of Coventry, which offers a fascinating insight into the city’s past, is being launched this week and on sale to the public.

The map, based on the 1913 Ordnance Survey map of Coventry but with more besides, has been produced in partnership between the Historic Towns Trust and the Medieval Coventry Charity.

The Historic Towns Trust has produced maps of a number of historic cities including Canterbury, Bristol, Winchester, York, London and Hull.

Now it is the turn of Coventry to be acknowledged as one of Britain’s important historic towns.

An Historical Map of Coventry is the result of several years of research and includes the locations of the city’s lost buildings and streets, as well as its significant survivors.

An official launch was held at Holy Trinity Church and the map will be on sale for £9.99 in Waterstones, on Amazon and in several other locations in the city.

A surprising number of both monumental and minor domestic buildings survive in Coventry from its late medieval heyday and the new historical map, together with a gazetteer, puts these buildings in context.

All were protected by strong defensive walls and towers, plotted on the map using evidence from recent archaeology and from old maps.

Uniquely, Coventry had three cathedrals in its history, including the current one consecrated in 1962. The exact positions of the previous two are identified on the map - St Mary’s Priory Cathedral, destroyed in the Reformation, and St Michael’s Church (cathedral from 1918 but destroyed in the war).

Coventry’s Charterhouse and its boundaries are shown on the map outside the walls, taking account of recent archaeological discoveries during restoration work in 2021.

The map shows how the city looked just before the First World War and captures the moment when the city was changing rapidly from a town with a still-medieval streetscape to a modern, industrial city.

Large parts of the central area of the city were given over to the manufacture of bicycles and motor vehicles, and the making of machine tools and components.

The map shows the locations of these factories, often positioned right next to ancient buildings and streets in the heart of the city.

Many of these industrial premises, as well as many medieval buildings, have long since been demolished and their precise locations unknown except to a small number of experts.

The map allows the reader to trace Coventry’s fascinating topography over time and there are many long-gone names Coventrians will recognise.

The historical information on the map has been researched by Dr Mark Webb, with input from a number of experts on the medieval and modern city, together with Professor Keith Lilley, chair of the Historic Towns Trust, and cartographer Giles Darkes, all of whom are Coventry-born.

“The map will be of interest to anyone wishes to understand Coventry’s history,” said Mr Webb.

“It’s aimed at a wide public and includes attractive colour illustrations and a gazetteer packed with interesting detail about the city’s buildings and streets.”

Mr Darkes said: “Working on the map has been a fascinating journey for me.

“We took an Ordnance Survey map of 1913 to create the basis for the historical map and then added the historical features.

“What is striking is the street pattern of the medieval city which was about to be changed forever, and the remarkable jumble of industrial premises next to domestic and commercial buildings in the heart of the city.”

The map, in full colour throughout, is priced at £9.99 and available from bookshops. ISBN 978-0-9934698-6-2

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