Coventry is the 2021 UK Capital of Culture

By | Category: Travel news

Herbert Art Gallery and Musuem. Image © Visit Coventry and Warwickshire

Tonight it was announced that Coventry, the twelfth largest city in the UK will be the UK capital of Culture the next time it is held which will be in 2021. The five cities that were up for the award were Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea.

As readers will know, Hull has been the present capital of culture and has used the year not just to hold cultural activities but to widen the impact of the city elsewhere and to provide a legacy in the city for the future.  Hull has seen three million people visit the city during the year and has organised over 300 events which has drawn people into the city as well as rewarding those living in Hull for the effort and support.

Can Coventry live up the legacy that Hull hands over to them?

Most people would probably associate Coventry with Lady Godiva, the motor and bicycle industries and the fact that it was substantially bombed during WWII leaving a cathedral in ruins and necessitating a new one.

Now the city has the opportunity to shout about its theatres and its culture. It is a coincidence that 2021 is also the 25th anniversary of the Godiva Festival – the largest free family music festival in the UK. The Coventry Mystery Plays go back at least 630 years and the award allows Coventry the opportunity of reminding visitors that Coventry culture stretches back to the middle ages.  A more modern legacy is the Coventry Transport Museum that records the importance of transport engineering in the last hundred years. The Coventry Watch Museum celebrates an industry stronly linked to the city but which probably does not jump into people’s minds when hinking about Coventry.

The award also provides a silver lining for the Herbert Museum which in the pre-eminent museum and art gallery and museum in the city.  Two years ago there was a belief that it might close or suffer due to the local council cutbacks. It would be hard for a council that has just received a £3 million donation to showcase culture in the area to consider any downgrading over the next four years.

Coventry has a wider cultural base than might at first sight be seen. This opportunity allows it to tell the rest of the UK .

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