A message from the Chairman of
The Friends of Coventry Cathedral
St Michael the Plumber
THIS POWERFUL IMAGE of St Michael appears in a stunning mural painted during Coventry's City Of Culture Year. It is well worth a visit.
St Michael is part of a long mural that you can see at Fargo Village in Far Gosford Street, Coventry. Throughout the Year of Culture murals on a variety of subjects have appeared across Coventry under the “Street Art Strategy”. The murals include my favourite which is the colourful, relaxing garden scene on the wall of the Central Police Station in New Union Street. What a contrast with the worldly law enforcement activities happening inside the building!
Michaelmas falls at the end of September so it is appropriate to spend a little time to consider the patron saint of our Cathedral.
In Coventry we see St Michael as that muscular giant sculpture overseeing the Cathedral entrance, but across the world he has been depicted differently. For example, Tahnee Gehm, a young American artist based in California, felt that St Michael should also encompass femininity. She is pictured on the right holding her personal re-interpretation of the saint.
Another more familiar image of the Cathedral’s patron saint is the central figure engraved towards the top of John Hutton’s west screen and pictured below. What you may not realise is that St Michael is also the patron saint of plumbers. In 1962 the Cathedral benefited from this patronage when the Coventry and District Master Plumbers Association joined with the Worshipful Company of Plumbers to pay £162, the cost of St Michael’s engraved image on the west screen.
But St Michael was not a plumber, so what is the connection?
The origins of the Worshipful Company go back to the 14th century. In its coat of arms awarded in 1588 the Archangel Michael appears above the shield holding a sword and a golden balance. From earliest times the Church of the Company was St. Michael’s, Crooked Lane, which is believed to be the reason that St Michael was adopted as patron of plumbers. Even today it is traditional for the Company to hold a dinner as close as possible to the feast of St. Michael, the 29th September.
The Cathedral Church of St Michael, Coventry celebrates its Patronal Festival at the Sunday services on 25th September 2022.
Seize The Day – Almost there!
I AM IMPRESSED that so many members share my enthusiasm to bring to Coventry the original John Hutton flying angel cartoon pictured below.
At the time of writing the amount received is just short of the £1800 target total, but other promised donations are on their way so I am confident that together we will reach the target.
The Hutton Cartoon Appeal has been an inspiration to other groups in Coventry to spread the word. The Coventry Society has sent details of the Hutton Cartoon Appeal to all its members, who are people with a strong interest in all things related to Coventry.
Inspired by one of the Coventry Society members, Aaron Law, there is currently a campaign in the city to preserve Coventry’s public sculptures by William Mitchell. The most well-known Mitchell work is the mural at the Three Tuns Public House in Bull Yard. The threat to them all arises from the Council’s proposals to reshape City Centre South.
In exchange for one of 100 Aaron Law zines on the Coventry art of William Mitchell plus a Friends’ Cathedral bookmark the supporters of the Mitchell campaign have been invited to make a donation to the Hutton Cartoon Appeal through the Buy Me A Coffee page of Photo Miners. I understand that there is a good response.
Thank you again to all supporters. If you have not yet been in touch it is not too late to add your last push towards the target total.
How can I help?
Contributions (payable to The Friends of Coventry Cathedral) can be sent to the following address: Hutton Angel Appeal
63 Daventry Road
Coventry CV3 5DH
Payment can also be made direct to the Friends account at
HSBC, PO BOX 24, City Branch, Coventry CV1 1QJ
Sort code 40 18 17 Account number 80360244
marking the payment “Hutton Angel”.
On Mondays in September at 12.30pm there is a free recital on the magnificent Harrison & Harrison organ of Coventry Cathedral. The full music programme booklet is available at the Cathedral and the music programme for each recital can also be found on the Cathedral website.
5th September 2022 RichardBrasier(London)
12th September 2022 KaiKrakenberg(Husum, Germany)
19th September 2022 WyattSmith(Seattle, WA)
26th September 2022 LukeFitzgerald(Coventry Cathedral)
The Friends membership application form is available online –
THIS ADVERT FOR the third change kit of Coventry City FC appeared in the last few weeks.
I wrote in an earlier newsletter about previous kit designs based upon the pattern of the Cathedral's stained glass windows, and the club has continued to use the Cathedral for its inspiration.
FRIENDS AGM - advance notice
The Friends Council has arranged for the AGM to take place at 1.30 pm on Saturday 5th November 2022 (doors open at 1pm). Full details will be announced later.
Friends Website success
ANALYSIS OF THE users of the Friends website has revealed that users number up to 60 a day, which is far more than anticipated.
The website enables the Friends to communicate with interested parties around the world. 30% of users come from outside the UK – mainly from the USA.
The most popular page with members is the exclusive Friends Memorabilia page, closely followed by Events and News. The analysis shows that the majority of users access the website from their home computer, while 34% access it from their mobile phone.
The popularity of the exclusive Friends Memorabilia section of the website indicates that members enjoy seeing photographs of the ministry and building of the Cathedral. It is hoped to add more historic photos to the Friends Memorabilia section in the future. Please get in touch if you have Cathedral related photos that you would like to share. Access is really simple.
For members who have not yet registered on the website. When you log on to friendsofcoventrycathedral.org.uk
you subscribe by entering your email address. (You are already a member so you do not need to join again.) You can set your own password. This gives you exclusive access to the members’ material in the Members Memorabiliasection.
A FEW WEEKS ago a parcel of photographs that relate to Bishop Cuthbert Bardsley arrived in Coventry Cathedral Archives.
As I looked through them I was astonished to find this photograph taken in St Michael’s Avenue and showing Field Marshall Montgomery with Bishop Cuthbert Bardsley. I had no idea that Monty ever visited the Cathedral.
From the surrounding features it was clearly taken in the early months of 1962. (The distant background figure looks like Basil Spence?) The two men are standing alongside another of Monty’s famous vehicles – one of three Rolls Royce Phantom III that were placed at his disposal throughout the war. Notice the 5 stars on the front.
Although I have no personal interest in motor cars, I always enjoy visiting the Coventry Transport Museum because I like the engaging way in which it presents the modern history of Coventry which is so closely bound with the motor car. On each visit I am reminded of Monty because one of the Coventry-built cars on display is the Humber Super Snipe field car in which Field Marshall Montgomery crossed Europe to Berlin from the D-Day landings to the end of the war. Humber is a Coventry brand that will be forever associated with luxury and quality.
In my childhood “Monty” was a national figure. His leadership role in the British victory made him a newspaper celebrity and a familiar public figure. The Humber in Coventry’s Museum was one of his favourite cars, and in 1945 was used for “Victory Tours” that welcomed him right across the country. After the war Monty was as popular as Winston Churchill.
There is the story told of how his beloved Coventry Humber fell into the sea during the D-day landings. He ordered its immediate recovery from the sea, and it was rescued from the ocean, restored and on the road again within 24 hours! Reporters wrote about Monty’s many eccentricities – the variety of hats he wore in the field; the loyalty inspired by his gruff, no-nonsense manner; his love of cars.
Until now I had thought that the Humber car was the extent of Monty’s local connection. When I investigated further I found strong local connections. Although Monty was born in London, after attending the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, his first commission was with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, with which he maintained links.
DONATIONS TOTALLING £44.10 have been made to the Friends of Coventry Cathedral by AmazonSmile.
The Friends of Coventry Cathedral is registered with AmazonSmile, and every time a Friends member makes a purchase through AmazonSmile, the organisation makes a donation to the Friends. This costs the buyer nothing, but the Friends benefit.
If you ever buy items through Amazon online and are not already familiar with how this works, Amazon Smile was set up by Amazon to help charities. It offers the same products, prices and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile the Amazon Smile Foundation donates 0.5% of the price to the charity of your choice. Please register now and the Friends will immediately start to benefit from your purchases.
If you are not already registered I invite you to visit smile.amazon.co.uk and select Friends of Coventry Cathedral.
You can then support the charity at no cost to you.
CATHEDRAL REFLECTIONScontinues to generate
favourable comments from Friends members.
The most striking features that give rise to comment are the Richard Sadler cover photo, the pictures of past Bishops and Deans, memories of the Royal visits and the story of the Cathedral/Diocesan offices. The book has been a success in celebrating 2022 as the Diamond Centenary of the Cathedral with stories from the last 60 years.
Copies are available from the Cathedral sales outlets, and with each copy of the book there is a free Cathedral bookmark.
For those members away from Coventry the book is also available BY POST Order online at [email protected] and send £5 plus postage to Friends of Coventry Cathedral, 63 Daventry Road, Coventry CV3 5DH PAYMENTeither by cheque or direct to the Friend's bank POSTAGE(single copy)
UK - £1.65 (2nd class)
Europe - £4.25
Worldwide - £5.85 (standard international) Friends of Coventry Cathedral bank account
HSBC, PO BOX 24, City Branch, Coventry CV1 1QJ
Sort code 40 18 17 Account number 80360244
Branch identifier: HBUKGB4103V
ABSEIL down the Cathedral
AGE DOES NOT matter if you would like to abseil down the outside wall of the Cathedral later this month.
The Myton Hospices have organised a sponsored abseil on the 17th September 2022 to raise funds. You can sign up online to book your time slot at mytonhospice.org/abseil. Registration costs £20.
IN 2022 THERE is a second Cathedral Diamond Jubilee to celebrate and that is the dedication of the Chapel of Unity – part of the Cathedral building that was specifically excluded from the Church of England consecration on 25th May 1962 as it is set aside for use by ALLChristian denominations.
The dedication of the Chapel of Unity took place later on 12th June 1962 and was led by Dr. W.A.Visser’t Hooft, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
Later this month there will be a Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication in the Chapel of Unity on Sunday, 25 September at 2.00pm.
The Broken Angel
THE THIRD ARTIST to contribute to the Broken Angel project is Abigail Reynolds whose contribution will be unveiled in October.
As part of the City Of Culture Year three artists were invited to respond to the blank window space created by the vandalised angel engraved in the west screen by John Hutton. The Friends made a grant of £10,000 towards the Rebuild Project that included works additional to the Broken Angel Project.
Abigail Reynolds is imagining the window as an opening door. “The broken panel showed a traditional image of an angel in human form. An angel represents a portal to a different plane of consciousness, and might also be imagined simply as an opening. I am thinking of the shafts of light which pierce the sacred space of the cathedral. They make slanting shapes on the tapestry wall, like opening doors that move with the light.”