23rd Oct, 2018

Coventry Cathedral listed as one of Historic England's finest heritage sites

Felix Nobes 12th Jun, 2018 Updated: 12th Jun, 2018

COVENTRY Cathedral has been listed as one of Historic England’s top 10 heritage sites.

The list has been chosen by BBC arts editor Will Gompertz and is designed to tell the history of England’s art, architecture and sculpture.

Sir Basil Spence’s iconic Cathedral Church of Saint Michael in the city centre was constructed in 1962 and is an international symbol of peace and reconciliation.

Gompertz said he saw the significance of Coventry as a symbol for the generation of Britons that fought the Second World War and had to rebuild and reshape the country in its wake.

During the Second World War, the infamous Luftwaffe air raid on November 14 1940 – now referred to as the Coventry Blitz – flattened large areas of the city centre and Coventry’s historic cathedral, leaving only a shell and the spire.

Along with the cathedral, more than 4,000 houses were damaged or destroyed, along with around three quarters of the city’s industrial plants.

More than 800 people were killed, with thousands injured and homeless.

The decision was taken the very next day to rebuild the cathedral as an expression of hope for the future of the world.

The city is now twinned with Dresden – another industrial city in Germany which was reduced to rubble by the Royal Air Force.

The category of art, architecture and sculpture is the ninth out of 10 categories in the Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places campaign.

The complete list includes 100 sites as selected from hundreds of public nominations.

Judge Will Gompertz said: “Coventry Cathedral is a magnificent, optimistic and bold response to the horrors of war.

“To create a modern and ambitious building dedicated to spiritual enrichment from the literal ashes of destruction was – and is – a sublime answer to brutality.

“It is a building born out of love and hope made from the rubble of hate and despair.”

The ruins of the old cathedral were preserved as a reminder of the folly and waste of war.

But beside them rose the iconic new cathedral complete with its prefabricated steel spire, lowered into place by helicopter.

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