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The local area guide to living in Coventry
Coventry is the second largest city in the West Midlands of central England and features some rather unique historical claims. It was here, as legend has it, that Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets in the 11th century in protest of her husband’s high taxes. The phrase “to be sent to Coventry”, which means to completely ostracise someone, developed during the English Civil War when the citizens of Coventry would not speak a word to Royalist prisoners. Coventry became one of the world’s first twin cities when, during World War II, it formed a twinning relationship with Stalingrad, present-day Volgograd, in a show of each city’s support for the other.
Present-day Coventry has been largely re-shaped following its destruction during the Luftwaffe bombing in 1940. It was the fourth most-damaged city in the country, and to this day redevelopment projects continue. Projects such as the award-winning Phoenix Initiative are building public gardens, civic squares and apartment complexes in the city centre.
Information about the local residents
As of the 2011 census Coventry’s population was about 316,900. Nearly 20% of Coventry’s population is aged 15 and younger, and over 21% are between the ages of 18 to 29. To compare, just under 19% of England’s population are aged 15 and younger, and only 16% are aged 18 to 29. The 65 and over age group accounts for 14% of Coventry’s population, as compared to about 16% of England overall.
About 74% of Coventry’s population identify as white and white British, compared to 85.5% of England’s total population. In fact, almost 80% of England’s population identifies ethnically as white British alone, compared to only 66% of Coventry residents. Coventry’s next largest ethnic group is Asian and Asian British, accounting for over 16% of the population. In England, under 8% identify as Asian and Asian British.
Most of the primary schools in Coventry have ‘Satisfactory’ or above Ofsted ratings, with a few which have achieved ‘Outstanding’ such as Sherbourne Fields School and Frederick Bird Primary School.
The state-run secondary schools have mostly ‘Good’ Ofsted ratings, and the ‘Outstanding’ schools are generally those which have converted to academies, examples of which are The Coventry Blue Coat C of E School & Music College and Finham Park School.
Coventry has excellent higher education opportunities, with Coventry University within the city and the University of Warwick at the southwestern edge. The city also has three further education colleges: City College, Henley College and Hereward College.
Coventry is very well connected with easy access to the M6, M69, M45 and M40. Though none of the motorways actually pass through the city they can be reached by the A45 which runs through the city from Birmingham to Thrapston in Northamptonshire, and the A46 travels from Bath to Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire. The A4053 circles the city centre.
Coventry railway station operates along the West Coast Main, connecting Coventry with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London. Coventry Airport is in the nearby village of Baginton, and Birmingham International Airport is very close at only about 11 miles to the west.
Coventry’s largest indoor shopping centre is West Orchards, which offers 45 shops including a three-storey Debenhams, WHSmith and Miss Selfridge. On the other end of the spectrum, Coventry Market is a local farmers market with over 170 stalls, offering fresh produce and a popular fish market.
The annual Godiva Festival is extremely popular, attracting established artists of all genres. The Coventry Rhythm Festival, formerly the Coventry Jazz Festival, has expanded to feature the genres of blues, funk, international and soul in addition to its classic jazz performances. Coventry is a cultural hotspot, what with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, the Coventry Transport Museum, and the vast Ricoh Arena, seating up to 32,000 for some of the most popular acts in the world.
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