Also see Coventry Key Facts
Arising from a settlement around an 11th century abbey, the city of Coventry originally made its name through trade to become one of medieval England's biggest and most influential towns.
When the cloth trade took off in Coventry in the 14th century, money and employment came with it and the city flourished. During the worst throes of the English Civil War, Coventry was the site of one of Cromwell's most feared prisons for Royalist fighters - in fact, the phrase "being sent to Coventry"
, meaning to be shunned, is an illustration of local attitudes to those held there.
When the Industrial Revolution hit in the late 18th century, the city became an early manufacturer of bicycles under the auspices of the Rover company, who later went on to spearhead the automobile industry in this country and become an iconic British brand.
After extensive German bombing during the war the city was massively reconstructed, work which included the building of Coventry's best known and most visited landmark - Coventry Cathedral, but by the end of the 70's the city was in decline and it has only been in recent years, with an influx of new industry, that it has really recovered. Another of Coventry's popular attractions is its transport museum housing, among others, the holder of the land-speed record - Thrust SSC - and the world's largest collection of British-built cars.
Coventry has given the world several famous names including: popular Labour politician Mo Mowlam, who died recently; writer and one time poet laureate Philip Larkin; engineer and inventor of the jet engine, Frank Whittle; Nigel Hawthorne who played the irrepressible Humphrey in 'Yes, Minister'; ska group The Specials, whose hit 'Ghost Town' was all about the city.