Amazingly, a scene depicting the garden was envisaged even before the Second World War and all its associated destruction had begun. This artists impression was made in 1939, and shows that the planners dream for the future of Broadgate was an even braver step than the final outcome. However, I'm certain that this attractive proposal would have met with stiff opposition from many quarters - if you look a little longer, you'll see that all the old buildings leading towards the spire were to be erased: County Hall, the Golden Cross & 22 Bayley Lane etc. There's no doubting the good intentions of the city planners though, and their dream of a new, rather striking city centre, for Coventry!
The scene they had planned to replace, was the one below, depicted in this early 1900s postcard.
Although not quite as grand, the people of Coventry appear to have been very proud of the Broadgate they were eventually given. The view below shows how pleasant it turned out. The area was initially treated almost as 'sacred' ground, and was rarely walked across. The 1950s shot here also shows a clearer picture of the temporary shops, the fronts of which were also popular offloading points for buses.
Fifty years on, and we can see a disastrous change to Coventry's proud garden. Gone is half of the garden and the clear views across to the two spired churches, and in comes a modern shopping centre. A glance at the left of the photos shows another difference - the Owen Owen store was not present in the earlier view. This places the photo above at before 1954. Since that time, Owen Owen's has been replaced by Allders, and now Primark takes up residence in Coventry's premier shopping location.