Having been born and raised until the age of 10 I have a strong connection with the City. My Mum, and Grandma were born here. My parents met and married here, and my grandparents and great grandparents are buried here.
Unfortunately , the area that I actually grew up in lies outside of the map boundaries that we have been given. However, parts of the City do hold memories for me growing up. My schools, the transport museum, the swimming baths, the shopping centre, Peeping Tom and Lady Godiva.
However , the overriding memory of a connection to the city is the influence World War Two had. Although the second world war was before my time, growing up in Coventry meant that it was an ever-present shadow over the people and the City. In school we were taught about the events of November 14th 1940. We had visits to the Cathedral, old and new. It was a part of being a Coventrian.
My most vivid memories of tales of the War came from my Grandmother ‘Eyee’. She was a teenager when the war started and lived in close proximity to the City Centre in the shop owned by her parents in Villiers street. As a child I used to love listening to her stories of what life was like during that time. She could recall the sounds of the Airplane engines, being able to differentiate between the German bombers and the friendlies. The sound of the air-raid sirens, the all clear. The whistle of the bombs as they dropped towards their targets. She has tales of rogue barrage balloons, hiding under the kitchen table whilst her mother carried on making dinner during an air-raid, the house next door getting destroyed. I remember her showing me a small cross created from charred wood that was recovered from the ruins of Coventry Cathedral after that fateful night, and given out as tokens of remembrance to locals. As I child I was fascinated with the War and used to imagine what it must be like to have lived during that time.
As an adult this fascination has not diminished. The worst of mankind seemed to bring out the best in mankind. The terrible events of the Blitz on Coventry bought about a stubborn defiance in the people of the City, they would not be forced into submissiveness. The spirit of which still lingers today. Looking at the maps the one that stands out and reaches into my heart is the Map that centres around the cathedral. It has a special place in my heart, this is probably true of most people born in Coventry. It is a symbol of hope, of reconciliation. This is where I want to take my journey on this project.