Coventry Cathedral has announced it's re-opening its Blitz Museum, ahead of the 80th anniversary of D-Day later this year.
Coventry Cathedral has developed a world-leading ministry in reconciliation since the last World War. The city was targeted several times, because its manufacturing industry made engines and aeroplanes, vital to Britain’s war effort.
Inside the ruins of the old cathedral, that was bombed during World War II, a collection of 1940’s memorabilia and artefacts will be available to view.
Many of the exhibits have been donated by local residents, and visitors will learn more about the Coventry Blitz.
After the original medieval cathedral was destroyed in the city’s most devastating raid was on the evening of 14 November 1940, the cathedral Provost, the Very Reverend Richard Howard, chose not to encourage calls for revenge, but to strive for forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.
The following morning, Cathedral’s stonemason, who had been part of the team on fire watch that night, is reported to have put two of the charred beams together to make a cross. They were bound together and placed near the ruined altar and can still be seen today.
The words "Father, forgive" were written close by on the walls.
Additionally, three of the medieval nails that fell from the roof were formed into a cross, and became known as the original Cross of Nails.
Since then, the cathedral has hosted international conferences and events, focussed on peace and reconciliation, led at one time by the now Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who spent his first 15 years of ministry in the Coventry diocese. He was made a canon of the Cathedral in 2002, and has delivered crosses of reconciliation to war zones around the world.
During half-term a 1940’s style school room, and a typical house from the time will allow people to learn more about what life in the WW2 era was like.
A band of volunteers, known as the ‘Blitz Brigade’ will be on hand with knowledge and expertise.
The Museum will be open for a week, from Monday 12 February for four hours a day, and 12– 3 on Saturday and Sunday.