Coventry Cathedral at Fifty

PUBLISHED: 00:16 11 January 2012 | UPDATED: 21:40 20 February 2013

Coventry Cathedral at Fifty

Coventry Cathedral at Fifty

An important new work has been published to mark the 2012 Golden Jubilee of Coventry Cathedral.

Coventry Cathedral at Fifty



An important new work has been published to mark the 2012 Golden Jubilee of Coventry Cathedral.



When Coventry Cathedral opened in 1962, it became the focus of a major national debate on design. Architectural writer, Nikolaus Pevsner was uncharacteristically critical of several important elements, sufficiently inflamed to dismiss some as corny. Others too appeared to loathe Englands brand new cathedral and Basil Spences plan to use the ruined Cathedral of St Michael as a forecourt for something totally groundbreaking, a new monument to regeneration, survival and reconciliation.



Reconciling People: Coventry Cathedrals Story is a new account of the building and its continuing place in the wider community, at the heart of a city, diocese and country. Published by the Friends of Coventry Cathedral and edited by former Warwickshire parish priest Christopher Lamb, it contains the thoughts of eight individual writers, based on their own expertise and personal experiences. A leading authority on Basil Spence, Louise Campbell is a Reader in the History of Art at the University of Warwick and tells the story of the design and construction of the building. She traces the drama surrounding the revolutionary design which broke new ground, sparking widespread controversy.



A past Precentor of Coventry Cathedral, Michael Sadgrove, now Dean of Durham, examines the different spaces in the building, how they encourage different forms of worship and meditation. He also discusses how the works of art can enhance the visitors or worshippers experience. Members of the cathedral community describe the work being done at this important regional centre of the arts. Coventry Cathedral choristers have achieved national recognition, most recently in the 2011 Chorister of the Year competition.


The cathedrals St Michaels Singers regularly contribute to the BBCs Songs of Praise. Richard Farnell, Professor of Neighbourhood Regeneration at Coventry University describes the controversy over the directing of resources to the building of a cathedral in the post-war period. He discusses changing attitudes since the consecration.



Retired deputy head of the Blue Coat School, Margaret Sedgwick talks about the cathedrals schools programme and youth work. Paul Oestreicher, once international director of the cathedral recounts early press hostility to acts of reconciliation with Germany. Colin Bennetts, a former Bishop of Coventry examines the cathedrals relationship with other churches and its sometimes controversial efforts to form wider community links.



Among the 110 illustrations are some little-known pictures of celebrity visits to the new Cathedral. Reconciling People: Coventry Cathedrals Story is published by Canterbury Press. It is available, price 25, from the Cathedral, bookshops or via the Friends of Coventry Cathedral web site: www.friendsofcoventrycathedral.org.uk

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