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St. Michael's Avenue

Camera No. 17

Although some of the trees have been felled to make space for the porch adjoining the New to the Old Cathedral, this is still an attractive view thanks to the thoughtfulness of the inspired architect Basil Spence whilst conceiving his design for entry in the 1950 competition to build the New Cathedral. As we look eastwards, between the slender pillars of the porch can be seen the entrance to Coventry University (formerly the Lanchester Polytechnic) across the far side of Priory Street.

St Michaels Ave 2003
St Michaels Ave 1917

In 1917 there was, of course, no university here - travelling eastwards would lead you straight into New Street, a street possibly built to house some of the many tradesmen working on the construction of St. Michael's church in medieval times. Also, on the left as we view the serene avenue from Cuckoo Lane, part of St. Michael's graveyard can be seen through the trees; ground now occupied by the New Cathedral and its chapel of Unity. To the right, little looks to have changed, except that daylight now shows through the tracery of the ruined windows where once was stained glass hiding the relative dimness within.

Below can be seen the same lane pictured on a 1907 postcard from the Priory Street end, looking westwards towards Trinity Church and Broadgate.

St Michaels Ave looking west in 1907
St Michaels Ave looking west in 2006

We're now at the point where "old meets new", and thanks to Basil Spence we still have the opportunity to apppreciate both - to the left, the memories of a bygone age - to the right, the continuation....

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