Cathedral of St Michael, Coventry :: Shared Description

Grade I listed

The Cathedral was built between 1956 and 1962 and was designed by Sir Basil Spence, following the destruction of the old mediaeval Cathedral in 1940 through enemy bombing.
It was decided to build the new Cathedral adjacent to the old one, which was left in its semi-ruined state with its undamaged 14th century tower. It would in fact be the third Cathedral in Coventry, as this had been a religious site for nearly 1000 years.

There was a competition for the design which was won by the Scottish architect Basil Spence. The unorthodox design was intended to be "a casket of jewels" and contains many works from famous artists.
The Cathedral was consecrated on 25 May 1962.
The Cathedral was built at right angles to the old one, and therefore aligns north-south.
It is built in red Hollington sandstone with green slate cladding and a concrete roof. There is a nave of seven bays, although the aisles are full height, with slender piers tapering at the base. They rise to a concrete ribbed canopy with timber between the ribs. There is no clerestory. The nave walls are angled in a sawtooth fashion with tall stained-glass windows. The nave and chancel are as one.
The (liturgical) west end has a fully glazed wall with engraved figures of saints and angels by John Hutton. The (liturgical) east wall has no window, but is dominated by a large tapestry of Christ in Glory by Graham Sutherland.
There are two chapels, one to the north east (The Chapel of Christ the Servant) and one to the south west (The Chapel of Unity).
The baptistery area to the south east has a full height slightly curved window with closely spaced mullions containing nearly 200 small windows. It was designed by John Piper and painted by Patrick Reyntiens. The font is made with a boulder from near Bethlehem.
On the exterior wall is a sculpture by Epstein of Saint Michael and Lucifer.
The low roof is crowned by a metal fleche topped by a cross.

The organ is by Harrison and Harrison, divided in galleries either side of the altar.

There is an open western (southern) porch linking the two cathedrals. There are also lower levels to the Cathedral with further display and administration rooms. There is also an attached cafe.

by Julian P Guffogg
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43 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

SP3379 : Coventry Cathedral  1963 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : The cross in the sky  1963 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : Stained glass window, Chapel of Unity, Coventry Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SP3379 : Chapel of Christ the Servant, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : Chapel of Christ in Gethsemene, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : St Michael's Victory over the Devil - a side-on view by Gerald England
SP3379 : Coventry Cathedral  1963 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : Organ, Coventry Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SP3379 : St Michael's Victory over the Devil by Gerald England
SP3379 : Baptistery window detail, Coventry Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SP3379 : St Michael and Lucifer  2021 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : St Michael's Victory over the Devil, Coventry Cathedral, August 1961 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : Interior, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : St Michael and Lucifer  1963 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : Tapestry, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : Interior, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : Nave windows, Coventry Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SP3379 : Floor detail, Chapel of Unity, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : St Michael's Victory over the Devil by Mat Fascione
SP3379 : Etched glass detail, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : Stained glass window 10 (detail), Coventry Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg
SP3379 : Coventry Cathedral  1963 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : Chapel of Unity, Coventry Cathedral by J.Hannan-Briggs
SP3379 : The new and the old at Coventry  2021 by Alan Murray-Rust
SP3379 : Stained glass window 6 (Upper detail), Coventry Cathedral by Julian P Guffogg

... and 18 more images.

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Created: Tue, 20 Sep 2016, Updated: Tue, 20 Sep 2016

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