A BOOK charting Coventry’s ‘often overlooked’ history has been published ahead of UK City of Culture 2021.
Former city journalist and author Peter Walters’ ‘The Little History of Coventry’ is an updated glance at the story behind the rise of one of England’s hidden jewels.
Publisher The History Press says the book packs centuries of history into its pages, telling the story of a city often ignored by mainstream historians, despite being at the heart of some of the UK’s landmark moments.
Mr Walters – who has written two books on the city already – will explore the events and characters that have shaped its rise.
Mr Walters said: “Since my first book, ‘The Story Of Coventry’, in 2013, the city has been changing fast, so although The Little History is in essence the same story, there are new interpretations, new characters and new stories in it.
“I’ve introduced new characters into the city’s story, like the black actor manager Ira Aldridge, the first non-white person to manage a British theatre, and the architect James Murray, whose buildings gave Coventry a new and more decorative look in the middle of the 19th century.
“What I hope I have produced is an easily digestible narrative of Coventry’s entire thousand-year history that will appeal to residents like me but also to visitors who might come here during our Year of Culture in 2021 and want to take away with them a bit more information about how Coventry has become the city it is today.
“Like most places, this city has favourite historical themes – Lady Godiva, the Blitz and the car industry among them.
“What I’ve tried to show is that there is a lot more to our story – medieval boom town, key player in the Wars Of The Roses, a focus for dissent in the Civil War and one of the creators of the modern industrial age during the 19th century, as well as 20th century industrial dynamo and then victim of total war.
“That enduring theme of constant change has given Coventry a uniquely interesting history in my view.
“Sadly, it has not helped it to achieve the kind of continuity that many other historic cities in this country enjoy.
“Consequently it has been widely overlooked and looked down on as a place of very little interest.
“It’s time to change that. I sense that the people of Coventry themselves are becoming more interested in their heritage.
“The Little History is just a start but we need as a place to celebrate much more the things that have happened here and the people who have shaped those events.
“Cities in the future will need to make a lot more of their heritage to attract attention and in Coventry we have so much to be proud of.”
‘The Little History of Coventry’ by Peter Walters (The History Press) is available online and in shops for £12.