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seeing Coventry

January 8, 2013

This morning I checked out several sites in Coventry City Centre linked to George – we are planning walks about George’s Coventry this Summer and are currently working out our preferred routes – we being me and the George Eliot Fellowship.

Walking around Coventry with my camera as people rushed past me to work made me start to look at the City again from a tourist’s perspective. At first it seemed odd deleting stored images of the Trevi fountain and Pantheon (I spent Christmas in Rome) to take new photographs of Coventry landmarks, but the more I took the more I found I remembered about this City’s rich past. I realised that I had stopped seeing Coventry.


Nantglyn/Loveitts & Bray Memorial Water Trough (foreground) at Greyfriars Green

So, here is a sneak preview of some of the locations we will be visiting on our walks including Nantglyn (see above). Between 1832 & 1835 George attended Nantglyn, a private school owned by the Misses Mary and Rebecca Franklin (daughters of Rev Francis Franklin, minister of Cow Lane Baptist Chapel) which now houses Loveitts Estate Agents.


Ford’s Hospital

On Sundays George and her fellow pupils would walk across Greyfriars Green, past Greyfriar’s Spire (at that time part of the newly consecrated Christ Church – now a cafe bar), towards Ford’s Hospital and its garden. William Ford endowed the almshouses in his will of 1509 – it was badly damaged in the blitz but rebuilt using the original timbers between 1951-53. Nearby the schoolgirls attended Cow Lane Chapel to hear Rev Franklin preach.


Ruins of St. Michael, Coventry Cathedral

In 1838 while visiting her former teachers, George attended a music concert at St. Michael’s Church – Mr. Simms played the organ and conducted the Coventry Choral Society. The programme which included parts of Handel’s ‘Jephthah’ and Mendelssohn’s ‘Paul’ led to George later denouncing oratorios as ‘little less than blasphemy’ and stating that she would attend no more.


Holy Trinity

It was this church that George refused to attend with her father for a period of four months (Holy War) in 1842 – she eventually returned to church on 15th May 1842. Holy Trinity is one of my own favourite churches with a fascinating history and interior. My new play ‘A Ploughed Heart’, in part explores this key period in George’s life.

As soon as the walks are finalised I’ll post more details, if you enjoy curated walks or are interested in finding out more about George’s life in Coventry follow/check the blog for more information.

From → A Ploughed Heart

  1. Mark permalink

    Is the Bray Memorial Trough linked to the Bray family and to George?

  2. It certainly is “Coventry Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, erected in memory of Caroline Bray who founded the above society in 1878”. It was originally sited in Queen’s Road before parts turned up in a fleamarket. Here’s a link which explains the trough’s story so far – :

  3. John Burton permalink

    All good stuff, Vanessa. I’m looking forward to it all despite the problems of venues we’d love but can’t have. Am just putting finishing touches to the January GEF Newsletter and will give a link to this blog for our members.

  4. Thanks John – the longest walk Coventry Canal Basin to Bird Grove & Rosehill is only approximately 2 miles and so should be accessible for most people.

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