Coventry Phoenix Initiative

The Phoenix Initiative is the name given to Coventry City Council's Millennium scheme. In Coventry the phoenix has risen from the ashes a number of times since the war, but this is the first time that conservation and archaeology have played a fundamental role in city centre regeneration. I quickly realised that this project was going to be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for a local authority conservation officer. My job was to organise and coordinate all the heritage aspects of the project. 1 took it on with equal amounts of relish and trepidation. It helped that our office was involved from the very beginning.
One of our urban designers, Andy Telford, conceived the idea of a direct processional route from the cathedrals area (we have three) to the Museum of British Road Transport. The brief was to connect the historic core around the cathedrals with the great repository of artefacts that epitomise 20th century Coventry: cars. The direct line ran over the site of the cathedral and Benedictine priory of St Mary's, the buildings destroyed and lost from sight following the dissolution. St Mary's was known to few outside or in the city.
The project was to fulfil another long-term aim: reviving interest and raising local and national awareness that Coventry was a city of three cathedrals (of which the Phoenix Initiative did not affect the latter two).

Lady Herbert's Garden & Garden of International Friendship Lady Herbert's Garden was laid out in the 1930s by Alfred Herbert as a memorial to his second wife. The garden of International Friendship was opened in 2000 as part of the City Council's Millennium Scheme (Phoenix Initiative). During the medieval period the area lay on either side of the town wall (here constructed between the 1430s and 1460s). Within the wall were located the rear gardens of houses on Cook St and St Agnes Lane. A great ditch lay immediately on the outside of the wall and beyond grew the fruit trees of the Prior's Orchard. Swanswell Gate (Priory Gate) served as the Prior's own gate into the monastic precinct. As Coventry grew in the 19th century, the area was built over for the first time. In turn, much of this was cleared in the 20th century and the best preserved section of the town wall made publicly visible for the first time. A Millennium Commission Lottery Project

Lady Herbert's Garden - Hales Street, Coventry, United Kingdom