Friday 29 July 2022

Out of the ashes

 As a child I was taken to see Coventry Cathedral. It made a very strong impression which has stayed with me to this day...all that colour and beautiful glass. It's only taken me to the grand old age of 55 to return...had my ideas changed? No. In a word....stunning.

In its history Coventy hasn't just had a single cathedral...it's had three! Admittedly the remains of the original St Mary's Priory are scant [not shown], but the parish church of St Michael's was upgraded to cathedral status in 1918 after the end of WWI. Tragically on 14th November 1940 it became a victim of the Luftwaffe bombing campaign and was very badly damaged. Post war some wanted it restored to its former glory, but instead the decision was taken to keep it in its shell like state as a stark reminder, but it remains hallowed ground and is as much a symbol of reconciliation as it is remembrance. It is poignant and thought provoking in equal measure. Traces of its former magnificence remain and the shards of glass hanging on serve to remind you of what has been lost 

Provost Richard Howard had the "Father Forgive" engraved behind the altar and the wooden cross is a replica [1964] of the charred crossed beams which the stonemason Jock Forbes  saw and tied together, The bronze effigy of the first bishop Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs also survived the fire.


From the terrible inferno arose phoenix-like the new cathedral next door. It was designed by Basil Spence after he won the competition seeking a suitable architect and the Queen laid the foundation stone in 1956. It's a modernist building, stylish in the extreme which exudes hope.


No detail has been forgotten right down to the cherub door knobs designed by Jacob Epstein. He is responsible for the sculpture of St Michael defeating the devil too.






There is just so much to take in, ponder and appreciate that I'm just going to step back now and show you some of my personal highlights.










Hope you all have a good weekend. I am catching up with my friend Nurse L...it's been a year since we last saw each other properly. Time certainly does fly!

Arilx

10 comments:

  1. Stunning, and I like your close up pictures of treasures inside.

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  2. Despite being an atheist, Coventry Cathedral is absolutely awe inspiring. I never get tired of Epstein's work - the people of Walsall own a sizeable chunk of it but St Michael and the Devil is one of my favourites. xxx

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    1. I approach all my church wanderings from an artistic/historic rather than religious angle for similar reasons. Arilx

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  3. That all suggests an interesting and diverse set of influences.

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    1. It is a truly fascinating place to visit with many different aspects to it. Arilx

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  4. The bombed out church in Liverpool had the same effect on me.

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    1. I agree with you. I've seen the Liverpool church from the outside but we couldn't wander around in it when we visited. Arilx

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