Having met through our blogs and after a correspondence of almost two years, fellow blogger Mick of Down by the Dougie and I finally met face to face. We spent last Monday together and one of the things we did was visit Coventry Cathedral. It was great meeting him after all this time, and we had a very good day together.
Bombed almost to destruction on 14 November 1940 by the German Luftwaffe, St Michael's Cathedral now stands ruined. The current Cathedral was built next to the remains of the old, the two buildings effectively forming one church.
The new, modernist Cathedral was designed by Basil Spence and Arup and built by John Laing. Hollington sandstone was used.
The arresting bronze statue of St Michael and the devil was sculpted by Jacob Epstein
a closer look at that stunning sculpture
The spire, known as a fleche, rises to 90 m and is the tallest structure in the city
A view of the building from the South side
The tower, spire, the outer wall are all that remains of the old Cathedral
the old superimposed by the new
Reconciliation by Josefina de Vasconcellos
Ecce Homo by Jacob Epstein
carved from a block of Subiaco marble in 1934-35, representing Christ before Pilate with his hands bound and crown of thorns on his head
The entrance to the new Cathedral
we entered the Cathedral, the large tapestry of Christ, designed by Graham Sutherland, facing us
one more photograph with a better view of the magnificent ceiling
To our right John Piper's Baptistry stained glass window - absolutely awesome
and a closer look
We walked around the Cathedral starting from the right hand side. The stained glass windows in the Nave, by Lawrence Lee, Keith New and Geoffrey Clarke, face away from the congregation. Spence's concept for these Nave windows was that the opposite pairs would represent a pattern of growth from birth to old age, culminating in heavenly glory nearest the altar - one side representing Human, the other side, the Divine.
I photographed and have included all of the stained glass windows as I think they are wonderful and for me, the best feature of the Cathedral.
I particularly like this one as I always find blue glass particularly appealing
This is my favourite - very abstract and the pale lilac is very attractive in my view
The Plumb-line and the City, by Clarke Fitzgerald
Now we have reached Graham Sutherland's tapestry of Christ
Three of the six candleholders made by Hans Coper which stand on the huge concrete altar.
Also on the concrete altar the Cross incorporating the Cross of Nails
The Mater Dolorosa by John Bridgeman
The Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane. The mural by Steven Sykes depicts Christ holding the cup of suffering. The screen that encloses the chapel represents the crown of thorns, designed by Basil Spence and made by the Royal Engineers.
The chapel of Christ the Servant, the suspended crown of thorns designed by Geoffrey Clarke.
I love the contrast of the stained glass at the bottom with the clear glass above - very striking
The Charred Cross made from two medieval roof beams found in the rubble in the shape of the cross after the bombing of the Cathedral.
Akton Zuhnezeihen Friedensdienste, the work of German artist Fritz Kuhn. ASF was founded in Germany after the war to enable young Germans to make amends for the suffering caused in other countries by their parents' generation.
The drained glass windows on the left hand side of the cathedral
a gorgeous blue, again
detail of the red down the bottom
Next to each stained glass window are stone panels inset into the walls, called the Tablets of the Word
looking closer again
jewel-like gorgeous colours
blue and green, a favourite combination
The Chapel of Unity
the floor of the chapel designed by Einar Forseth, a gift from the Swedish people
one more photograph of the mosaic floor
I particularly liked the very narrow, tall windows of this chapel, shafts of coloured light streaming through
rather than being framed by lead these particular 'windows' are set in concrete that resembles granite
designed by Margaret Trahearne
these were my favourites
I love the way the coloured light reflects on the concrete of the sides and the floor
I really couldn't get enough of them
so I had to include all of them
so many colours and different combinations
all absolutely stunning
We then retraced our steps and behind the altar and down the steps we came upon the Millenium Chapel of the Stalingrad Madonna
a closer look once we were inside
On our way out we had a closer look at the Great West Window, known as the Screen of Saints and Angels, engraved directly onto the screen in expressionist style by John Hutton
a closer look
A final look at the stunning stained glass by John Piper
and I can't help but include some more close-ups of this marvellous work
The Cathedral leaflet