History of Coventry

2,000BC to 500
BC
Bronze Age settlement at Baginton
2,000BC to AD43 Bronze Age and Iron Age settlement at Ryton-on-Dunsmore
100BC to AD43 Iron Age settlements in the area south of Coventry
AD60 to 80 The Roman army builds and occupies a fort at the Lunt,
Baginton
600 to 800 There is an Anglo Saxon settlement at Baginton
Around 700 Osburg is abbess of a nunnery in what is now Coventry city centre
1016 St Osburg’s nunnery is destroyed by the Vikings
1043 Leofric and Godiva endow the Benedictine Priory, which later became Coventry’s first cathedral
1086 Coventry is listed in the Domesday Book
1147 Coventry Castle is taken by King Stephen during a civil war
1340 Coventry’s first merchant guild, the Guild of St Mary, is set up. Construction begins on St Mary’s Guild Hall
1345 Coventry is granted its Charter of Incorporation by King Edward III. This gives it the right to elect a mayor and to have a council
1355 Work begins on building the city walls
1451 A charter of King Henry VI creates the ‘county of the city of Coventry’. This gives the city more independence and boosts its income
1456 and 1459 As the city grows in importance, Parliament meets twice at the Benedictine Priory
1455 to 1485 The Wars of the Roses. Both sides in the war try to take control of Coventry
1519 Seven Lollards are burnt to death in Coventry for heresy
1536 to 1539 King Henry VIII closes down the religious houses. Coventry’s first
cathedral is closed and demolished
1555 Protestant martyrs are burnt to death in Coventry for heresy
1570 Mary Queen of Scots is imprisoned in Coventry
1642 to 1649 The English Civil War. In one of the first acts of the war, Coventry refuses to let King Charles I into the city. Royalist prisoners kept in Coventry are ignored by local people, giving rise to the phrase ‘sent to Coventry’
1678 The first record of a Godiva Procession
1705 The first record of ribbon weaving in Coventry
1727 The first record of watchmaking in Coventry
1769 Coventry Canal is completed
1821 The first gasworks in Coventry is opened, providing gas lighting for many streets
1841 to 1849 George Eliot lived in Coventry
1832 Ribbon weavers riot and destroy steam powered looms in the city
1838 The first railway line to Coventry opens
1849 Cholera outbreak in the city
1860 The ribbon industry crashes, causing widespread unemployment
1867 The Coventry Exhibition is held in the new market hall. It has displays of local industry, antiquities, natural history and art
1868 The first cycle to be made in Britain is made in Coventry
1883 Singers cycle company start a football club which later becomes Coventry City Football Club
1888 Alfred Herbert sets up his machine tool company
1895 Sandy Lane generating station begins supplying electricity to the city
1897 The first car to be made in Britain is made in Coventry
1904 Courtaulds opens a factory in Coventry to produce the first artificial silk to be made in Britain
1908 Coventry’s first council houses are built in Narrow Lane
1914 to 1918 First World War. Coventry is a major centre of war production
1921 The War Memorial Park opens
1936 An IRA bomb explodes in Broadgate, Coventry, killing five people
1938 The Indian Workers’ Association is set up in Coventry
1939 to 1945 Second World War. Coventry is a major centre of war production
1940 Coventry Cathedral is destroyed during the Blitz
1944 Coventry is twinned with Stalingrad – the first twinning of cities
1948 The new Broadgate, is opened by Princess Elizabeth. This is the first part of the redevelopment of Coventry after the war
1958 The Belgrade Theatre opens
1960 The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum opens
1962 The new Coventry Cathedral is consecrated
1967 Coventry City are promoted to the top division for the first time
1979 Coventry bands the Specials and the Selecter launch the 2-Tone movement
1982 The Pope visits Coventry
1987 Coventry City FC win the FA Cup
2005 The Ricoh Arena opens, providing a new ground for Coventry City and a major concert venue
2010 The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum wins the Guardian Kids in Museums Family Friendly Award – the most family friendly museum in Britain!
2012 Olympic football takes place in Coventry

Above is a history of Coventry taken from the Herbert Art Gallery website, which hosts archives, images and informations about the rich history of Coventry. I want to focus on the changes within Coventry, in particular employment, power, politics and new developments. The outline set out above shows the immense amount of industries the city has created and developed. Today, I will meet up with photographer Andy McGeechan, who has documented Coventry for many years and possesses an in depth knowledge on the history of Coventry and the buildings within it’s landscape. I will also visit Herbert Art Gallery to gain some more information. A friend also suggested I refer to a Facebook page dedicated to the history of Coventry as a resource for research.

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