Coventry, West Midlands: History in Old IMages

Coventry old photos & film local history west midlands

Enjoy a glimpse of history through old images of Coventry, in the West Midlands, England.

Famous for its Lady Godiva statue and clock, and the bombed out remains of St Michael’s Cathedral, the West Midlands city of Coventry was an important centre of industry in postwar Britain.

Coventry’s Time Tour

James Fox produces amazing videos where a photo from the modern era is transformed to the same location many decades ago. He also carefully labels the location and the date of each image, with credits to the copyright owner. You’ll enjoy the sound and special effects he’s added to these past views of the city too.

A Time Tour Of Coventry! – Posted to YouTube by James Fox

Pre-War Coventry

A wide range of old photos and pictures, showing the city before war brought about so much destruction and change.


172 Air Raid Victims (1940)

British Pathé filmed the mass burial held for 172 people who died during a German Air Raid. Hundreds of relatives and locals filed along the row of coffins, each covered with a British flag. Several people are overtaken by grief as they stop to lay a wreath.

The Tragedy Of Coventry (1940) – Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

The New Coventry Cathedral (1956)

In 1956 Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh came to the city to lay the foundation stone for the new cathedral. There’s a glimpse of her father, King George VI, standing on the same spot 16 years earlier, when the cathedral ruins were still covered in debris.

UK: BOMBED COVENTRY CATHEDRAL WILL RISE AGAIN (1956) – Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

A City of Industry (1959)

Opening with the bombed out remains of the Cathedral, we are introduced to this ‘city with a modern heart’. Hotel Leofric stands in the centre with the other postwar buildings.

“We are also reminded that Coventry today is an important link in the chain of british industry, and the city looks forward with confidence knowing that its contribution to Britain, in the future, will be as great as it has been in the past”

British Pathé, 1959

The Standard Motor Company Ltd site now appears. It was the largest industrial employer of labour in the city. More than 13,000 men and women worked in the three main factories when this film was made. Standard cars, Triumph cars and Ferguson tractors were exported in huge numbers to 116 countries in 1958, earning £33 million in foreign currency.

Hometown – Coventry (1959) – Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

Coventry City Centre (1961)

Black and white silent film of the new city centre car park, including scenes of construction. Hundreds of people walking about, though it’s quiet enough to look at each person. Some close ups of individuals too. There’s also the occasional glimpse of a shop name.

New Way Of Parking – Coventry (1961) – Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

City of Coventry (1965)

Ian was the little boy seen at the start of this home movie made by his dad in 1965. Includes many well known locations, and a few pedestrians.

Coventry City highlights 1965 – Posted to YouTube by Ian McDowall

Coventry in the 70s & 80s

A great compilation of old photos of the city in the 1970s and 1980s. Very helpful titles on each picture, so you know the location. Good soundtrack too.

Part 1:

COVENTRY IN THE 70’S 80’S IN PICTURES – Posted to YouTube by CovOnTheBox 2

Part 2:

Coventry in the 1970’s and 80’s part two – Posted to YouTube by Covonthebox

Hillfields in the 60s & 70s

A collection of balck and white photos capturing the city in a process of dramatic change. Some of these images have dates added too, which highlights how long residents lived with the mess, noise and chaos of the redevelopment projects.

Nostalgic Pictures of Hillfields, Coventry 1960s & 1970s – Posted to YouTube by CoventryLive

Coventry in 1990

This home video was recorded back in 1990. Peter Russell was driven around the local streets by his parents as he held the camera to record the 25 minute journey. He’s labelled each location too.

Footage includes the site of the Standard Triumph Motor Company at Fletchamstead South Gate, with the original buildings still standing. The Matrix Machine Tool Company is across the road.

COVENTRY JOURNEY – Posted to YouTube by Peter Russell Videos

Coventry Buses in 1990

Lots of pedestrians walking along the city centre streets, with passengers alighting from buses. See anyone you know?

COVENTRY BUSES 1990 – Posted to YouTube by DaveSpencer32

More Pictures of Old Coventry

Old Coventry‎‎ in West Midlands, England, enjoyed through historic photos, vintage pictures & archive film. Browse history in these fascinating old images of a bygone era on my Pinterest Board.

More about the West Midlands

Discover more locations on the sitemap for England pages

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One response to “Coventry, West Midlands: History in Old IMages”

  1. Great page, really enjoyed the trip down memory lane!