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Guildhall transformation project

St Mary's Guildhall 2020



Coventry City Council are working on exciting plans to improve and deliver a better visitor offer for St Mary’s Guildhall. 

We know that improvements are needed to make sure that the Guildhall can deliver an all year-round first-class offer to visitors, businesses and the local community. It’s a significant building in the city’s history and the improvements will protect the city’s heritage for local people and in timer for the 2.5 million visitors expected during Coventry’s City of Culture year which begins in May 2021. 

The planned scheme proposed is valued at £5.6m and alongside some Council funding we have successfully raised £2.2m funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to support the refurbishment of St. Mary’s Guildhall, and thanks to National Lottery players achieved a Stage One award of £78,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will enable officers to develop a Stage Two application for revenue and capital funding of £1.7m. 

Earlier this year extensive work took place to investigate the remains of the medieval kitchens, thought to be among the earliest surviving kitchens in the country. Download some pictures of this work. This is the first phase in a significant development project for the Guildhall which, subject to planning approvals, will also include:

Other key elements of the Guildhall transformation project will include:

  • Repair and conservation work to the building and the most significant historic spaces, including the representation of the precious medieval tapestry
  • Restored and conserved medieval kitchen with public access - which entails removal of the existing commercial kitchen;
  • Guildhall to provide a modern catering kitchen to support meetings, conferencing, civic, community and commercial events;
  • Upgrading of mechanical and electrical systems including heating and lighting;
  • Renovation work to spaces to support greater meeting and conferencing use;
  • Improved visitor access to the Muniment Room;
  • Creation of a viewing gallery over the courtyard space facilitated by the removal of the existing bar;
  • Improved toilet and customer facilities; including a new welcome area and signage and reception.
  • Improved visitor experience, with new interpretation developments including proposed digital interactive visitor engagement.
  • Enhanced disability access and circulation.
  • New Education and learning offer.

Next steps

  • August 2020 – Survey work to commence on the Tapestry   
  • September 2020 – Submission of Stage 2 National Heritage Fund application. Construction commencement of Phase One works.
  • Spring 2021 - Commencement of phased opening
  • Summer 2021 - St Mary’s Guildhall full opening

How can I get involved?

We want as many residents, businesses, community groups and visitors as possible to get involved in the Guildhall Project.  Even at this early stage there are plenty of ways you can join in.

You can let us know what you think by completing the online survey or joining in the discussions.

If you are involved with a Local History Group or Community Group, an education setting which would like to be part of the Guildhall Project, please get in touch with us.

If you are a group involved with performance or the arts, and you have ideas for activities or events which you could help arrange, please let us know!

You can get in touch with us by emailing