ven before the Second World War broke out, the architectural department at Coventry Council were drawing up ways of rebuilding the outdated medieval city. Such a department would previously have been an extravagance, but there were major plans in the pipeline for our town - mostly the brainchild of the 29 year old Donald Gibson, who headed the young team in 1938.
Little could they have guessed back then, that the town centre would be virtually erased just two years later. Whilst grieving along with the rest of Coventry's population, once the rubble was cleared the City Architect and the council were not slow to publicise the positive aspect of the blitz and grasp the fact that the bombing had presented them with a clean canvas on which to build a new city.
In 1945 a booklet called "The Future Coventry" was released by the council at an exhibition to publicise their plans for our city's reconstruction. It is from this book that I have taken several images to demonstrate their ideas.
To their credit, the wartime council did appear to have in mind what they sincerely thought was best for a modern Coventry. However, the emphasis was definitely on the "modern" and several of their plans involved ruthlessly sweeping away much of our heritage.
Fortunately for several of our historic buildings, some of the architect department's plans never saw fruition.... but unfortunately, some of the better modern aspects of their city centre design were not put into practice either, with many later compromises due to lack of funding.
Let's take a look at some of their ideas to see how closely they kept to the original designs....
Website by Rob Orland © 2022