Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. With a population of 304,746 (2002 estimate), Coventry is the ninth largest city in England.
Coventry has long been a centre of motor and cycle manufacturing, dating back from 1896, the car and cycle industry has been a strong centre point for this town. Starting out with some less familiar names such as Coventry Motette, Great Horseless Carriage Co, Swift and more familiar names like Humber, Riley and Daimler and the Triumph motorcycle having its origins in 1902 in a Coventry factory. Although the motor industry has declined, the Jaguar company has its headquarters and a factory in the city, and a large Peugeot car factory is located in Ryton just outside the city. The famous London black cab taxis are also produced in Coventry by LTI.
Coventry’s main industries include: cars, electronic equipment, machine tools, agricultural machinery, man-made fibres, aerospace components and telecommunications equipment.
Coventry is becoming increasingly important as a university city, being the home of the University of Warwick and Coventry University. It is also home to the Coventry Transport Museum, where the world speed record breaking cars, Thrust2 and ThrustSSC are displayed.
On the 14th November 1940 during World War II, large areas of the city, including its cathedral, were destroyed in a massive German bombing raid and in later raids. The rebuilt Coventry Cathedral was opened in 1962 next to the ruins of the old. It was designed by Basil Spence and contains the tapestry, “Christ in Majesty” by Graham Sutherland and the bronze statue of St Michael and the Devil by Jacob Epstein. Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, regarded by some as his masterpiece, was written for the opening of the new Cathedral.
Coventry’s most famous resident was Lady Godiva, who according to legend, rode through the city naked on horseback (actually, she likely rode the horse bareback, not barenaked), in protest at high taxes being waged on the cityfolk by her husband Leofric. According to the legend, the residents of the city were asked to look away as she rode, but one man didn’t and was allegedly struck blind, he became known as Peeping Tom thus originating the term. There is a statue of her in the city centre.
In football Coventry is represented by Coventry City F.C. who in May of 1987 won the FA Cup to bring the cup home.
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