Sadly, we visited this exhibition in its very last few days, so you're probably too late to see it, but this in no reason not to visit the cathedral anyway, as it's an amazing place!
Celebrating 50 years since the opening of the ground breaking modern rebuild of the post-war cathedral, the Journey Into the Light exhibition tells the story of the cathedral's history, from its very first days as a medieval cathedral and priory, through the destruction of the later cathedral during the historic bombing of Coventry during World War II, to the astonishingly forward thinking decision to build a modern "casket of jewels" as a 20th century hymn to the glory of God in its place.
I'm not religious, but I grew up in a vicarage, so church architecture is in my blood. I wasn't sure what to expect from such a modern construction, although my partner, who grew up near Coventry and contributed her sixpences every week for the children's windows while the cathedral was being built, has always raved about it and was very excited to show me around.
I needn't have worried though, the building is truly stunning and a must-see for anyone visiting Coventry, particularly if you are at all interested in art and design.
Some of the stained glass is truly amazing - it was such a shame that we went on a dull, rainy day, as I am sure that the sun coming through some of those windows must be something to behold. There is so much to see, and the exhibition simply enhanced this by telling us the story of how it was all designed and crafted so beautifully. The section on the bombing of the old cathedral was heartbreaking to read, but my goodness, Coventry is so fortunate that a designer of true genius was commissioned to re-build it. This truly is a building to glorify God, as all great cathedrals should be.
Some minor quibbles: In order to enjoy the exhibition from its beginning, it's necessary to enter the cathedral through the visitor centre, rather than entering through the main entrance doors. This is a shame, as there is no doubt you don't get the full impact of the cathedral unless you come in through the entrance. Entering it from the other end definitely didn't have the same "wow factor" and my brother-in-law, who visited with us, was very disappointed by this, and even complained to staff as we left. It was possible to enter through the main door, which wasn't plain when we arrived, so we wished we had done that anyway.
Also, as is the way with the Church of England in my experience, there is a lack of foresight in how the necessary noticeboards, leaflet stands etc are laid out in the cathedral. This was particularly true in the first of the side chapels (to the left of the main entrance) which was beautifully proportioned, but almost entirely hidden behind tables, noticeboards and children's craft projects. Such a shame.
Having said that, we had a wonderful visit and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. Highly recommended.
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