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Cyril A Farey (1888-1954)

Competition Design for Coventry Cathedral by Farey Son & Adams, 1950

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Cyril Farey, Coventry Cathedral, 1950 Gallery Lingard

Pencil, watercolours & gouache
14 3/4 x 14 1/2 inches

Price:  please apply to

The old Cathedral of St Michael Coventry was largely destroyed in bombing raids on 14 November, 1940 and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was asked to prepare designs to build a new Cathedral almost immediately.  Scott's design was, however, rejected by the Royal Fine Arts Commission and a decision was taken to hold an open competition to find a design to replace the building that was more in tune with post-war sentiments.  Church design had been regarded as a specialist field and this competition opened up the debate between 'traditionalists', who favoured a conservative approach to ecclesiastic buildings, and 'modernists' who were inclined to look to the future for their inspiration. 

Farey Son & Adams submitted their design for the open competition in 1950 and this perspective shows how Farey proposed to sit a simple and monumental new Cathedral at the foot of the old tower of St Michael.  The design was commended but ultimately it was not successful.

The competition was awarded to Sir Basil Spence in 1951 for a truly modern design that he hoped would "express the canons of the Christian faith".  He wrote "... a cathedral should not arouse excitement, but a deep emotion", yet his new Cathedral was inextricably drawn into the lively critical debates which accompanied economic recovery and the expansion of the architectural profession.