(Golden apples, Green Window: 'God' side, by Keith New)
There is so much that can be said about post-war Coventry, and it's usually mostly negative. It gets a rough deal and a bad press and yet, like so many maligned places, it has all sorts of lovely gems and fascinating stuff. You just have to make a little more effort, and take a little more time, than you might in a better known, more obviously attractive place.
The most notable, huge, modern, architecturally amazing gem, is Coventry Cathedral. I was in there yesterday with about three other visitors so practically had the whole place to myself. There's an enormous wealth of post-war art and design here - tapestry, sculpture, metal-work, woodwork, stone-cutting, lettering, engraved glass - but the most striking of all is the stained glass. The place is full of it. Mostly abstract/semi-abstract, mainly colourful, all spectacular.
(Flower detail, Red Window: 'God' side, by Geoffrey Clarke)
The cathedral is designed so that you don't see the stained glass as you enter the nave: it's only when you get to the front (the choir and the altar) and turn round, that the immensely tall windows full of glorious glass are revealed. I don't know how often people get that far down the cathedral during services, but if were me, I'd be sitting right at the front and looking the 'wrong' way so that I could scrutinise and enjoy the windows. Thankfully, as a visitor you are free to wander at will, and can spend as much time facing the light and enjoying the glass without feeling the need to turn round the 'right' way to face the front.
(Detail, Baptistry window, by Piper and Reyntiens)
Nothing beats seeing the windows for real. I've yet to see a photograph that does justice to Coventry's stained glass. Plus, no camera can ever capture the minute changes that occur as the light alters and different parts of different windows come alive and glow and blow your mind for a few seconds.
My advice: go to Coventry.
(I'll be writing up a little guide to Coventry which will be available to download in a few weeks' time. I'm also about to publish three more guides: more on this very soon.)