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Streets of Coventry (Part 1)

"While The Hague is known as the "City of Justice and Peace", Coventry is known as the "City of Peace and Reconciliation"..."

It's an irony that the pandemic in The Hague gave me considerable opportunity to take photos, while in the UK it meant the opposite; not only because of so many public spaces being closed down, but also because people simply didn't come out onto the streets as they used to.

Picking up my street photography again, I recently ventured into Coventry several times to scout around and see what was going on. With the world opening up, the city centre suddenly had a buzz of people, mainly congregating around newly-created fountains set between the sadly crumbling facades of once-beloved shops that now stand empty.

The university dominates this city now. Everywhere you turn is accommodation or a new faculty department block. There is a sense that a huge part of the population are students, amongst an increasingly multicultural backdrop. As if it wasn't difficult enough that the second world war decimated this city, making way for a concrete 1960s landscape. And then, the all-so-important car industry, the backbone of the economy here, began to fade.

In fact, whilst in The Hague, I visited the Louwman car museum and saw an old Humber, built on the very spot I live today.

But, on a simple early summer day, there are a lot of signs of togetherness. If the cost of living crisis is hitting hard here (and they say it is), then it didn't show on the faces of the children and families playing in the fountains and making the most of the here-and-now.

Coventry has just ended its year as City of Culture, an opportunity usually given to a British city that needs some...well...encouragement and development, shall we say. The city has a long way to go, in my opinion, but it just might get there. Along with my neighbouring hometown, Nuneaton, no one can ignore anymore the necessity to rebuild the community spaces and town centres that once thrived.

Just a week ago, I was in my beloved The Hague again. The two cities contrast with each other so wildly on many levels, but one thing is certain - both are international cities. I don't see any signs of division here, only people of many backgrounds living together and enjoying a sunny day.

It's also interesting to note that while The Hague is known as the "city of justice and peace", Coventry is known as the "city of peace and reconciliation". And from my wanderings around the city recently, I certainly do agree that what these two historic cities have in common is "peace".

I'll no doubt add more street photos to my collection of Coventry (and the surrounding Warwickshire) in time, and hope to eventually have a set rather like my collection for The Hague 😊. Not to mention landscapes! I don't have them in my galleries yet, but will add them as the set grows.

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