Phoenix Tree to rise from demolition of Coventry University building - The Coventry Observer

Phoenix Tree to rise from demolition of Coventry University building

Coventry Editorial 15th Oct, 2022   0

COVENTRY University will pay tribute to the city’s history with a Phoenix Tree sculpture set to rise from the demolition of the Alan Berry building.

Blitz survivor George Wagstaffe has been commissioned by the university to create a sculpture to take centre stage in a new peace garden.

The work will be inspired by George’s experiences surviving the city’s bombing during the Second World War and seeing Coventry rebuild itself as a city of peace.

It will feature three shapes representing the Three Spires of Coventry.




George’s other famous works include the Naiad, now based in the Upper Precinct, and the Phoenix, in Bull Yard, off Hertford Street.

He used to lecture at the university when it was known as Lanchester Polytechnic.


He said: “The sculpture is about new life, new possibilities and new beginnings.

“I can remember walking over rubble near this site, studying near here and watching the new cathedral go up.

“I saw something beautiful come out of destruction here and hope my statue can do the same.”

The demolition process of the Alan Berry building was started in September, with the sculpture and landscaped garden set to be unveiled next summer.

The work comes alongside the university’s redevelopment of its Faculty of Arts and Humanities facilities and the Starley Gardens urban space, which opened last year.

Coventry University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Latham, CBE added: “George’s work is a symbol of the city of Coventry’s continued growth and evolution, and we hope this space will become a place where our students, staff and the people of Coventry become inspired to pursue their dreams, like George was.”

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