The last time I visited Coventry was as a witness in the trial of a man with a tattoo on his neck who had strangled his girlfriend in a fit of jealous rage. Murders are generally sordid, but in my experience as a witness in murder trials, those in Coventry are particularly so.

As for the city itself, it should be declared a unesco World Heritage Site of British post-war architectural and city-planning incompetence: it is almost laughably awful. Immediately after the war, perhaps, there was some slight excuse for this aesthetic monstrousness: the city had to be rebuilt quickly after the bombing that destroyed much or most of its ancient fabric. But the more money that was spent on it, the worse it got: you can give a modern British architect money, but you can’t get him to design anything other than an eyesore.


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