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Circular covered market that helped Coventry rebuild

Valeria Carullo

Architectural heritage is a big part of Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture – the 1950s by Arthur Ling’s City Architects Department is part of it

Covered Retail Market, Coventry, 1950s

Coventry is this year’s UK City of Culture and much interest is being shown in its post-war architectural heritage, as well as the controversial proposals to demolish some of its key buildings. However, some have acquired listed status over the years, such as the Covered Retail Market, designed – like most of the city centre 1950s development – by the Coventry City Architects Department under Arthur Ling. Various designs were considered, but ultimately a circular layout was chosen as it allowed easier circulation and a greater number of entrance points. The building also included a car park on its flat roof, reflecting Coventry’s innovative plan for car segregation. Now Grade II-listed, the market is described by Historic England as ‘one of the earliest remaining examples of a post-war market building that has survived mostly intact. It played an important role in the socio-economic history of Coventry in providing the city with a lifeline and meeting place in the years after the bombing of the city in 1940, when most of its commercial buildings had been destroyed.