Full dedication: Cathedral Church of St. Michael
Became a Cathedral in 1918, reconsecrated in 1962
Coventry is unique in that it has the remains of three successive Cathedrals. The first, which dates back to the great Norman period of Cathedral building, was destroyed in the Reformation and now remains as excavated ruins. It was replaced with the great spired Cathedral of St. Michael which stood as one of Britain's foremost spired churches until 14th November 1940 when it was destroyed by German bombs - along with the vast amount of historic ancient Coventry.
The picture above is taken within the ruin of the old Cathedral with the rebuild to the left. The day after the bombing the decision was taken to rebuild. The design was eventually given to Sir Basil Spence who built a Cathedral to a bold, modern plan. Seen with hindsight the new Cathedral is far less attractive than it should have been. Sometimes the unrelenting modernity is at the expense of the feeling of a Cathedral - after all, you don't expect to find a motor car inside a Cathedral.
However, without doubt Coventry works when addressing the wartime destruction with it's famed cross of nails and charred cross made from the remains of the old Cathedral. It is also one of the most active Cathedrals in it's local community which is perhaps more important than the purely aesthetic - after all, that's what Cathedrals are really for!
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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