Built between 1955-56 and opened November 1956 the central Co-operative Society store in Coventry is a clean, clear example of post-war design and redevelopment, epitomised by the city’s plan and realisation.
Picture – Natalie Bradbury
Sadly it finally closed its doors in 2015, along with many other of the Society’s larger stores, as they moved their focus to smaller food outlets.
Happily it has been listed, saved from the indignity of the wrecking ball and the building of further student flats. Coventry, along with other UK cities, has begun to rely on the expansion of higher education, in the face of industrial and retail decline. The future use of the site, is as yet uncertain. Sadly I am now informed that the listing did not go through, make of that what you will.
While such measures are not an ultimate protection from bulldozers or drastic renovation, it is considered the building helps tell the tale of the city centre’s contemporaneously vaunted but since controversial rebuilding after the Coventry Blitz.
One of the city’s largest and oldest stores was closed last year as a victim of flagging city centre trade in an internet era, and EDG Property bought the site.
No planning applications have been received, although the council says ‘prospective buyers’ have stated an intention to demolish the building to erect two 12-storey towers of student accommodation.
So it stands empty, the late summer foliage obscuring its splendid signage.
Still in clear view the stone relief work of John Skelton November 1956. Three of the eight column have incised Hornston stone works, depicting the activities of the CWS.