ALL HAIL COVENTRY: UK CITY OF CULTURE 2021
David Walton, born-and-bred Coventrian and Head of Retail, on the news that his home city has been named UK City of Culture 2017
Tonight saw something monumental happen for Coventry; something that will boost its economy, aid tourism to the city and create jobs, kudos and pride for us. We became the UK City of Culture 2021.
This is massive. Over 1m people visited Derry-Londonderry during its reign as UK City of Culture. And it’s estimated that being the UK City of Culture 2017 will have delivered a £60million boost to Hull’s local economy this year alone.
Winning UK City of Culture 2021 marks a major historical landmark for us. We’ve always been famed for being one of the cities that was worst hit during the bombings in World War II, but we have a rich heritage – tell me another city that can claim to have been England’s capital, twice?
Legend has it that the Patron Saint of England, St George, hailed from Coventry, while it is steeped in national history; In the 1450s, Queen Margaret moved the Royal Court to Coventry, known as her ‘secret harbour’, while it was also the very site where the city and councillors pledged money to help the Lancastrian cause in the War of the Roses.
If that alone wasn’t enough to justify attracting thousands of tourists to the city to find out more about our hidden history, our heritage as the centre of the motor industry and the place where the jet engine was invented, certainly is!
The wonderful thing about an opportunity like this isn’t just the massive benefits and impact it has on the city and surrounding areas once the final announcement has been made, but the way the bid process unites workers and residents as they rally together to try and get their home city recognised.
Often overlooked in favour of Stratford’s literary foundations, it’s high time our city was recognised for the hotbed of history and culture that it really is, and now is our chance.
We’re fed up of talk of being ‘sent to Coventry’. We are proud to be here and we are delighted that finally, people will get to see the very best that we have to offer. The next four years will see us unite further as we plough resources into putting our city under the spotlight, creating new jobs, regenerating the region and preparing to welcome hundreds of thousands of tourists to see Coventry in all its glory.
Becky Thomas, surveyor at our Stoke office, adds: As a born-and-bred Stokie, I was flying the flag for Stoke, but Coventry put together a phenomenal bid and the decision is well deserved. It’s fantastic to see the Midlands put on the map and the impact on the region as a whole will be huge in terms of creating jobs, generating tourism opportunities and strengthening the offering and support of the city and its surrounding towns. A great result.