Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Tale of Two Cathedrals

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was my birthday last week. It was also my mum’s birthday on the same day - strange how that happens every year! :-) For her gift from us this year, we decided instead of giving her something that would probably be put away in a cupboard somewhere never to be seen again, or that would be used up in 5 minutes and forgotten about, we would take her out for a day sometime. And so, as the weather was so good at the start of this week, we went for a little day-trip.

When my mother was a young child, during World War II, she would often spend some of her holidays in Coventry, staying with some distant relatives. She loved these vacations, I guess because the city was so different to the rural life she was used to. It was on one of these visits that her “aunt” took her to see what remained of the recently bombed Coventry Cathedral. During the night of November 14, 1940 the whole city of Coventry had been decimated by a Luftwaffe bombing raid, and the cathedral did not escape from the punishment. Several bombs hit the cathedral and it burned along with a lot of the surrounding city.

My mum has very vivid memories of the sights she saw when she was taken down there sometime afterwards, and of the overpowering smell that still lingered in the air. But, she had never been back since to see either the remains of the bombed cathedral again, or the newly erected cathedral that was built alongside it. So, Coventry was our destination this week!

The new cathedral was designed by Sir Basil Spence and completed in 1962. Although there was some opposition at the time to its modern design, the cathedral is now very well loved, and was voted as Britain’s favourite 20th century building in a national poll. It certainly is an amazing place, and Dori has taken some wonderful pictures which I believe she will be sharing with you sometime soon when she returns to the bloggy world :-) In the meantime, here are a few snaps that I took with my mobile phone that will give you a little idea of what this house of worship is like.

The old....

..and the new...

The tapestry that you can see behind the altar is apparently the largest in the world, measuring 74'8" by 38' and was made in just one piece by Graham Sutherland. The stained glass windows are stunning, and my pictures don't even vaguely do them justice. As we had set off early, we were lucky enough to have the new cathedral almost to ourselves for a few minutes before a group of schoolchildren arrived, and it was an amazing experience to be so peaceful in that huge space.

It was a great day out, and a long-held ambition fulfilled for my mum.


Deana Wilmink-Martina said...

It was a pleasure reading this post Brit Boy. Thanks for sharing. What a nice gift to give your Mum.

I can imagine that she will cherish this day for ever. I would.

And then these fantastic photo's. I've seen photo's Dori had shared on FB too.

By the way, what I still don't know is; who won the golf tournament?
The European- or the American Team?
Once again thank s for sharing this story.
Enjoy the weekend
Deana Martina

Mike Golch said...

Great posting,Happy Birthday yo your and you Mom!I would venture to say that you are the great Birthday gift that a Mother could have.

Brit Boy said...

Deana and Mike
Thank you both for visiting and for your kind words. It was a great day out that we all enjoyed. Oh, and Deana, Europe won the golf! :)

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