A TOWER of the Guildhall is the earliest reminder of the origins of Coventry’s military history.
Author David McGrory traces the history of the city’s military past, stretching back to the Middle Ages, in new book Coventry’s Military Heritage.
The Coventry Castle was built by the Earl of Chester in the early 12th century and fought over during the civil war in King Stephen’s reign. It was demolished afterwards although one tower remains as part of the Guildhall which was built on the site.
In the later medieval period Coventry grew to become one of the leading cities of England and continued to thrive in the Industrial Revolution as a centre of industry.
The city was held by the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War in the 17th century, and during the Napoleonic Wars a barracks was built in the city which remained in use until the early 20th century.
A major munitions producer during the First World War, Coventry sent many young soldiers to fight abroad in the conflict while thousands of women worked in the factories.
By the time of the Second World War the city had become a leading centre of motor vehicle, aviation and armaments manufacturing. This made it a prime target for aerial bombing campaigns by the German Luftwaffe.
The Blitz destroyed a large part of the historic city, including the 14th century cathedral, but the spirit of its people saw the city rise from the ashes.
Coventry’s Military Heritage is published by Amberley, priced £14.99.