Through the investment of more than £6 million, St Mary’s Guildhall has been transformed into a must see visitor attraction which will offer a fascinating insight into the Guildhall’s amazing history, incredible story and how it has been at the centre of civic life for over 700 years.
With funding from the Cultural Capital Investment Fund and resources from Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, the Getting Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the beautiful Grade 1 listed building has been restored to uncover the best-preserved medieval kitchen in the country. This can now be enjoyed by visitors for the first time in almost a century.
The 14th century Coventry Tapestry, understood to be the oldest tapestry in Britain still hanging in its original setting, has undergone essential expert conservation and redisplay in a purpose built case. In addition, beautiful wall paintings and stained-glass artwork have been brought back to life through careful conservation so they can now be viewed in their original glory.
Long considered Coventry’s best kept secret and a hidden gem, the venue forms an integral part of the city’s fantastic tourism and business offer. Through new interpretation, interactive activities and digital tours, visitors will be able to uncover the history of the St Mary’s Guildhall. Gaining an insight into the lives of people who have occupied and visited the building, guests can watch the events that shaped Coventry come to life.
The Guildhall is one of a number of cultural venues and production spaces that were considered relevant for the successful delivery and reputation of the city in hosting the UK City of Culture and securing sustainable legacies.
The initial investment from Coventry City Council of £5m has successfully levered £24.5m of direct external grant funding into the programme, of which £15.8m is partner match funding. Currently, the total level of programme investment is £45.3m, which is still growing with the inclusion of the legacy stage projects.
This investment is additional to the £44.83m programme of investment into the City Centre public realm.
The Cultural Capital Investment Programme now includes 15 projects (excluding legacy stage projects).
Currently, 12 projects have completed and are now operational, with the final projects completing across the coming months up to Summer 2022.