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18 September 2014
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History of a City: Coventry

By Dr Charles Insley
Image of St Mary's Hall, Coventry
St Mary's Hall, Coventry 

Join Charles Insley in Coventry for a walk through time. Although each town or city is different, they share many common themes. Discover how to read the history of your town from the buildings around you.

  • Follow the architectural clues that point to a town's history
  • Learn how to combine visual and documentary evidence
  • Find out where to start looking in your own town

Every town or city carries at least some of its past into the present. Local architecture, street names and churches all stand testimony to the passage of time. Just walking around any town - it could be your town - can become a walk into the past made visible by the buildings around you.

'We can see the remains of its medieval past ... the beginnings of its industrial greatness.'

Of course, the history of every town or city is different but most share common aspects and themes. Many began as medieval market centres, grew during the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th centuries and have expanded and developed and expanded again since the World War Two.

All of these changes can be seen in the towns and cities around us. If we take Coventry as an example, we can see the remains of its medieval past in St Mary's Hall, the beginnings of its industrial greatness in the working class terraces of Chapelfields, or the triumph of the motor car in the semi-detached suburbs such as Earlsdon.

Taking an even closer look at Coventry can illustrate just how much of the past can be seen when you are looking with the eyes of an historian.

Published: 2005-03-07

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