back to article Coventry: Once a 'Ghost Town', soon to be UK City of Culture

Coventry – the city that was flattened by the Luftwaffe and later inspired The Specials' urban decay anthem "Ghost Town" – has been named the UK City of Culture 2021. The West Midlands metropolis beat Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea and Sunderland to gain the four-year title, currently held by Hull and before that by …

  1. Tim 11

    What is this award supposed to indicate?

    Is it intended to revive the culture of a city which is ailing, or celebrate one which is thriving?

    The name would imply the latter, but assuming it comes with a slab of cash to promote cultural events, giving that cash to the city with the worst culture would make more sense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is this award supposed to indicate?

      They put banners up and flowers on the lamp posts.

    2. Lysenko

      Re: What is this award supposed to indicate?

      It's supposed to throw a meaningless bone to "the provinces" to distract from the vastly disproportionate spending inside the M25. After all, we wouldn't want anyone looking too closely at the £15Bn bung (Crossrail) to the City of London financial sector, which directly disincentivises the relocation of business to more deprived areas like ....errr ... Coventry.

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: What is this award supposed to indicate?

      The name would imply the latter, but assuming it comes with a slab of cash to promote cultural events, giving that cash to the city with the worst culture would make more sense.

      Of course it's the latter, we all had a good laugh when Glasgow got it (was it the nineties at some point?). Even the Glaswegians thought it was funny...

      1. Spacedinvader
        Happy

        Re: What is this award supposed to indicate?

        Aye, 1990. Was a hoot...they put on a fuckin' flower show! Though we did get a temporary bridge out of it which is still in use... (Bell's)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No mention of Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom?

    1. Ol'Peculier

      Not past the third paragraph, no.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How did I miss that?

        1. ukgnome Silver badge

          presumably distracted by a lady on horseback?

          1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

            I don't know about being distracted by the naked lady on horseback. Maybe he's just really into chocolate?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Cadbury world is in Bourneville.

  3. Unep Eurobats
    Flame

    Sunderland

    was robbed.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Sunderland

      No. That's just what happened to the assessors when they went to visit...

  4. lglethal Silver badge
    WTF?

    Milton Keynes - a candidate for a city of culture????

    Milton Keynes? Really? Milton Keynes? Considered for a City of Culture? Milton Keynes? That place just North of London? We're not talking about one somewhere else in the Country are we?

    Sorry, but what????

    1. A K Stiles

      Re: Milton Keynes - a candidate for a city of culture????

      Had you complained on the basis of it not actually being a City, you might have had a point.

      50 years after breaking ground there is actually an interesting mix of culture and communities, if you don't just drive through on the grid-roads to get somewhere else or only go to the centre for the giant soulless mall full of chain shops, like there are in so many city centres across the country.

      1. Trumpet Winsock

        Re: Milton Keynes - a candidate for a city of culture????

        Ah, Milton Keynes Shopping Centre. I knew it briefly but well, and still shudder at the memory.

        In the 1980's and as a much younger and more naive man I accepted an invitation to compete in an indoor race to be held at the shopping centre.

        Laps, around the inside of the shopping centre, on marble, for 24 hours. The changing / rest facilities were up a flight of stairs. What could possibly go wrong.

        It took months for the legs to recover, but on a positive note I did learn to be more circumspect in what I took on, plus I managed to memorise most of the prices in the shop windows that I ran past ;-)

  5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    twinning relationship during the Second World War. It was subsequently twinned with Dresden, another famously bombed city.

    While Coventry and Volgograd keep their history, it was very carefully erased in Dresden. You cannot even find pre-unification pictures on Google any more - from the days when the Round church was kept in a state equivalent to its Coventry counterpart. As a monument so that we NEVER AGAIN.

    All it took was careful work by the RecDep department of the Ministry of Truth under the wise leadership of its directors Tony Bliar and Gerhard Shroeder. See - no atrocity. Never happened. What bombing into the ground?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Right wing agendas again?

      RecDep department of the Ministry of Truth under the wise leadership of its directors Tony Bliar and Gerhard Shroeder

      Oh, please...

      So the US propaganda strategy of parking every injustice that can be conceived of the last opposite number PM/Pres has firmly sidled up in the UK....

      Honestly, ever Politician for the last thirty odd years has been solemnly acting out the rememberance Sunday every year while also blindly assembling the building blocks of the next 3rd Reich in the name of one scapegoat or another.

      Having a monument to remember something which must not be forgotten is no use if you've forgotten what you were supposed to remember...

      Do the Germans really need a load of monuments all over the place, or do they remember, given more than half the country has had less time to forget....

    2. ridley

      Err

      https://i.pinimg.com/736x/33/07/36/330736648c7df32c1cf6a97c10c86e74--anniversary-photos-martin-luther.jpg

  6. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Mushroom

    >Snobs who turn their noses up at anywhere outside the M25 [...]

    Snobs isn't the word you're looking for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Londoners?

      No wait, that's practically the same thing isn't it?

  7. HarryBl

    Wrong picture. You should have shown a picture of the Burges on a Saturday night - fights and vomit

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Burges, aka Stabbers Row as it is known locally.

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Coat

    So...

    All the clubs are being opened up?

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: So...

      and the bands are going to play once more?

      1. Mooseman Bronze badge

        Re: So...

        No, still too much fighting on the dance floor

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The West Midlands metropolis beat Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea and Sunderland"

    The culture competition equivalent of an arse kicking tournament competition between one legged people (resists urge to use the brilliant Derek & Clive "unidexter" as most people would be clueless what I was on about)

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Derek & Clive "unidexter"

      Actually, Pete and Dud before they learned to swear. Mr Spigot the unidexter! Doubly brilliant.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: Derek & Clive "unidexter"

        "I have nothing against your right leg ...."

        (True fans know the punch line).

        One of the best one-liners in history.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: Derek & Clive "unidexter"

          PhilipN "One of the best one-liners in history."

          Also in the running... Police Squad's

          "I know this is a difficult time for you ma'am - we'd have come earlier, but your husband wasn't dead then."

    2. Spacedinvader
      Thumb Up

      http://www.rotherhambugle.com/2016/11/16/man-with-one-leg-wins-arse-kicking-contest/

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit more than Ghost Town....

    The 2 Tone label was based in Coventry, so the li are part of it's histopkes of The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat, Madness & Bad Manners are part of it's history.

    Still a shithole mind.

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Re: Bit more than Ghost Town....

      "Still a shithole mind."

      It can't be still that desert of soulless concrete I remember from the 70s / 80s . . Can it?

      Anyway - its a good thing - did Liverpool a world of good getting the European version and Hull has just done well out of the UK version.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Bit more than Ghost Town....

        It can't be still that desert of soulless concrete I remember from the 70s / 80s . . Can it?

        I got the same impression about Birmingham civic centre when I stopped in on a Sunday during canal holiday in the early nineties...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bit more than Ghost Town....

        "Hull has just done well out of the UK version"

        ... it certainly put them on the (BBC weather) map

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    Just did a Google Image Search

    Looks nice. Quite modern mixed with historical preservation.

    Anyone currently living there with more information?

  12. sdjones2001

    Just as the council closes a museum

    This is the City of Culture whose council closed the Electric Railway Museum on the 8th October to redevelop the land (sell-off to JLR). Undeserved!

    http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-rail-museum-set-close-13314145

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coventry

    A city of which Larkin, its greatest son, wrote 'Nothing, like something, happens anywhere'.

  14. russell 6

    My great, great grandfather was lord mayor of Coventry. Still have a bit of a soft spot for the city today, despite its brutalist architecture.

    1. John Gamble

      "...despite its brutalist architecture."

      Ah, that explains the comments. I suppose it is unfortunate that the rebuilding occurred when that particular style of architecture was in vogue.

      (Paradoxically, the interiors of Brutalist buildings are usually quite beautiful. I've often thought there needs to be a way to turn a building inside-out.)

  15. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Having traveled through Coventry on a couple occasions.

    I think the proper course of action is to evacuate the city and ask Hermann Goering to come back and finish the job.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Having traveled through Coventry on a couple occasions.

      You are Charles, Prince of Wales, and I claim my £5!

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: Having traveled through Coventry on a couple occasions.

        @allthecoolnames:

        Camilla says hi!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Having traveled through Coventry on a couple occasions.

      Actually, Ze Germans didn't do as much as credited. Subsequent city councilors have done an excellent job of annihilating any and all remaining heritage in Coventry. Seriously, the concrete collar (aka the Ring Road) ploughed through ancient streets and buildings and constrained organic development into a compact ring. This has created loads of "dead zones" where foot traffic doesn't go and the buildings in those areas are run down. Donald Gibson was allowed free reign to design a true stalinist style (as in centrally planned) city centre that the council has happily continued with. Ancient streets gone and the river through the centre hidden by concrete slabs. By day it is a depressing, brutalist hole and is a ghost town after hours as people tend to avoid vast precincts with lots of alley's and blind corners where no car traffic is present.

  16. David Haworth 1
    Coat

    Apropos Monty Python ...

    One MPFC sketch lampooned Coventry City for never having won the F.A. cup.

    But they've even manged that since the sketch was aired, IIRC.

    Coventry is also the home of Warwick University, which is well renowned in several subjects. It's also David Davis's alma mater, but we all make mistakes (said the Dalek as it climbed off the dustbin).

    1. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Re: Apropos Monty Python ...

      Isn't there a bit of Rolls Royce engineering there as well - or am I getting confused. Its nearby anyway.

      1. ridley

        Re: Apropos Monty Python ...

        Probably because Rolls Royce bought the jet engine business from Rover for what I seem to remember was the price of a meal, Rover I think got RR truck making business IIRC.

  17. J. R. Hartley Silver badge
    1. David Haworth 1

      *** untitled ***

      Quoth J. R. Hartley

      > *Derry

      Quite. "Londonderry" is a bit of an imperial anachronism. Unless you're talking about the Londonderry Air (aka. "Danny Boy").

      P.S. When's your new fishing book coming out?

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: *** untitled ***

        Quite. "Londonderry" is a bit of an imperial anachronism. Unless you're talking about the Londonderry Air (aka. "Danny Boy").

        P.S. When's your new fishing book coming out?

        Not if your come from the east side of the River Foyle, it's not....

      2. IceC0ld Bronze badge
        IT Angle

        Re: *** untitled ***

        P.S. When's your new fishing book coming out?

        yea, cos I am having aone HELL of a time finding he first one

        1. Spacedinvader
          Happy

          Re: *** untitled ***

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fly-Fishing-Memories-Angling-Days/dp/009177909X

          HTH

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Capital of Culture

    "It comes after the EU cancelled the UK's previously agreed turn to have a European City of Culture in 2023, writing off bids from Belfast/Derry, Dundee, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Nottingham."

    That a nation has to be a member of the EU, or aspiring to be one, to host Capital of Culture was agreed by the EU - including Britain - way back in 2014.

    The EU did not cancel our agreed turn; leaving the EU has ensured we are not eligible to be a host. Something a competent government and its departments would have recognised.

    The EU actually did us a huge favour. If they had not spoken up the government and candidate cities would have continued to pour money down the drain in pursuit of a unachievable goal.

  19. AmenFromMars
    FAIL

    Ring Road

    Coventry is the home to the worst ring road design ever. They even have to publish instructions how to use it - which seem at odds with all other roads in the country http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/how-drive-coventry-ring-road-13716095

    A but clenching experience if you've never driven on it before!

  20. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Must have known...

    The EU actually did us a huge favour. If they had not spoken up the government and candidate cities would have continued to pour money down the drain in pursuit of a unachievable goal.

    The UK government must have known this...

    Aren't a lot of them former lawyers / solicitors and general experts in law and civic matters....

    Seriously can't have not realised and failed to inform the potential candidate cities some time ago.

    1. David Haworth 1

      Re: Must have known...

      Quoth Teiwaz:

      > The UK government must have known this...

      Haha. Not sure the current gov't knows anything.

      BTW: East of the Foyle? Yes - Lancastrian born and bred. :-)

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Must have known...

      The UK government must have known this...

      Maybe if some lazy sod had actually done their impact assessments :-)

      It was probably just more of the wishful thinking which has afflicted the government and brexiteers since we had the referendum result -

      We can retain the EBA and EMA agencies. We will host the Capital of Culture. There is a solution to the Irish border issue. We will get a brexit deal which would be suicidal for the EU to give us. We won't need a transition period. The square mile won't flee the UK. A brexit deal is easy. Free trade deals are a cinch. We'll be billions of pounds a week better off. Everyone will love it. Britannia will rule the waves.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: Must have known...

        To be fair though, noted non-EU nations like Norway (I think Trondheim?) and Switzerland have hosted the annual European Capital of Culture since that honorific was launched by the EU. The idea that Britain (which is still an EU member BTW, and could conceivably change its mind on Brexit) should not get to participate just looks really petty.

        Not too many British are going to cry over the loss of this honor, but the EU kind of shot itself in the public-relations foot a bit with this about-face. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, I don't actually see the British Isles suddenly floating off to a new permanent home the Caribbean or something. I'm not a geologist, but from what I can tell the UK will remain on the same tectonic plate as the EU for at least the next couple decades, and the two entities should probably make the respectful best of their ongoing status as neighbors.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Must have known...

          Norway [..] and Switzerland[..]

          Maybe, I do not care ... I assume, it all depends on the outcome of the negotiations . You might know that both Norway and Switzerland are more than happy to have EU citizens moving to their country. I seem to remember the whole point of Brexit was, to put it Marseille style terms (exaggerate to make the point better understood), ethnic cleansing of the British Isles. You see, not much room for culture ... as for the PR side of it ... I think the Brits will moan, May will blame the EU, as any of our elects has done since we joined ... but for the remaining parties in the EU, it is fair play.

  21. toxicdragon

    So I am sure we can expect the hotels, amenities and attractions to be finished in 2023, just as they will be in Hull.

  22. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Joke

    It comes after the EU cancelled the UK's previously agreed turn to have a European City of Culture in 2023, writing off bids from Belfast/Derry, Dundee, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Nottingham. ®

    There go some millions that were destined for the NHS, BASTARDS!!!

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