As part of Historic England’s ‘Loss and Destruction’ season and Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture a spectacular light show entitled Where Light Falls was projected onto the tower and walls of the old cathedral ruins in Coventry.
You can view my stills in my Flickr Gallery
The old Coventry Cathedral, originally St Michael’s Church, was largely constructed between the late 14th century and early 15th century. It was one of the largest parish churches in England when, in 1918, it was elevated to cathedral status on the creation of Coventry Diocese. This St Michael’s Cathedral now stands ruined, bombed almost to destruction during the Coventry Blitz of 14 November 1940 by the German Luftwaffe. Only the tower, spire, the outer wall and the bronze effigy and tomb of its first bishop, Huyshe Yeatman-Biggs, survived. The ruins of this older cathedral remain hallowed ground and are listed at Grade I.
Out of the ashes of the second world war the new Coventry Cathedral, connected to the old via a covered walkway, was designed in 1950s by Basil Spence and Arup in a modernist design, built by John Laing and is also Grade I listed building. The foundation stone of the new cathedral was laid by Elizabeth II on 23 March 1956 and the building consecrated on 25 May 1962, and Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, composed for the occasion, was premiered in the new cathedral on 30 May to mark its consecration.
The Where Light Falls light display draw large crowds on the Saturday showings (it was also shown the previous two days) to discover a trial of light, sound and poetry recitation about the story of both old and new cathedrals of Coventry.
Historic England had worked with the Poetry Society to get the tell the story of those who risked their lives to protect these special places during the war.
Using the tower and far walls of the old Cathedral as a backdrop Double Take Projections projected a moving and inspiring display with graphics and photographs to tell the story of the cathedral and the people in the city of Coventry.
The events are ramping up in Coventry getting ready for it being the City of Culture in 2021.