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The People of Coventry by Trevor Tennant

Broadgate House

Broadgate House

The People of Coventry' (4 works of art) on the Hertford Street side of the Broadgate House Bridge by Trevor Tennant.

The decision to commission Trevor Tennant to undertake this series of sculptures was taken by the City Council Planning and Redevelopment Committee on 24th October 1949, on the recommendation of Donald Gibson. Trevor submitted his ideas for the sculptures in November 1950 and the finished works were put in place in January 1953. Originally it was felt that the sculptures were placed in a good and effective setting, with a sense of integration between architecture and sculpture. However, a few years later the traffic that ran under the bridge was stopped when Hertford Street was pedestrianised. The space under the bridge was built in with a bank which came out into Herford Street. This meant that only two of the sculptures could be seen from ground level. Later with the added distraction of trees, poles and lights, few people are aware of their presence. Trevor was not very happy aboout this; he saw them as being placed too far from the people who they were made for.

People of Coventry

Treveor Tennant described the sculptures as - "A male and a female, personify creative maturity".

People of Coventry

The two male figures personify planning and working.

People of Coventry

The two figures, one female the other a male, both holding a child, personify the family.

People of Coventry

The two female figures personify youth and vitality. Each panel is 300cm high x 91cm wide and 46cm deep all made out of Doulting stone.

Trevor Tennant was following in the tradition and style of the day and it was felt that the figures of 'The people of Coventry' are very much in the style of Henry Moore and Jacob Epstein.

The influences on Trevor Tennant

Trevor did a lot of other works of public art in Coventry, including the Lady Godiva clock (see Lady Godiva clock entry for further details including Trevor's life).

His first job in Coventry was only a year after the end of the War. It was to carve 'The Levelling Stone' in the city precinct. It has a carved relief design of a Phoenix rising out of the ashes. It is mounted in the paved area in the centre of the Upper Precinct and was unveiled on the 8th June 1946. The work was commissioned by the Coventry Planning and Redevelopment Committee. This was the start of rebuilding the city after the destruction of the War (1939-1945). All architectural levels and readings are taken from the brass boss in the centre of the levelling stone.

 The Levelling Stone

The Levelling Stone

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