Located in the region of West Midlands, Coventry is easy to spot on the map, as it is situated in the very heart of Great Britain, further away from the sea than any other city on the island (Coventry, 2014). According to the 2011 census, Coventry is the 12th largest city in the UK and 9th largest in England. With a population of almost a third-of-a-million people (Coventry, 2014), it is approximately the size of Novi Sad.
The city borders the West Midlands and Warwickshire Green Belts, which prevent Coventry from merging with adjacent towns (Coventry, 2014). The Green Belt policy was introduced in the UK with the aim of restricting uncontrollable urban growth, which could have led to far-reaching devastating consequences. Once destroyed, it would be rather difficult, if not impossible, to revive the countryside. Nowadays, the large green open areas serve mostly as outdoor recreational centres, but also as popular tourist attractions due to their breathtaking landscapes. Finally, benefits of the policy are twofold in that it protects both urban and rural population (Green Belt (United Kingdom), 2014).
Coventry’s history dates back to the Bronze Age, when a first settlement was established close to the present-day city centre. During the Middle Ages, Coventry was considered to be one of the most significant cities in England, mainly because of its booming textile trade. Over the course of the 19th century, it became the leading bicycle producer in the UK, thus developing into a successful industrial city. In the 20th century, Coventry continued to occupy a dominant position in Britain’s transportation history, as it became the center of the British motor industry (History of Coventry, 2014). The most famous Coventry-based auto companies at the time included, among others, Jaguar, Daimler and Rover (Category: Coventry Motor Companies, 2012). Today, Coventry Transport Museum, whose collection of cars, bicycles, motorbikes and tractors is deemed one of the finest in the world, offers its visitors a unique opportunity to gain insight into the city’s fundamental role in the development of early automobile history (The History of the Museum, 2012).
However, tragic consequences followed form Coventry’s immense success in the production of motor vehicles. With a view to hindering the Ally’s industry and completely disabling the British from manufacturing motors for airplanes and armoured vehicles, the Nazi air forces attacked Coventry with more than 500 bombers in the night of the 14th November 1940. By the morning, not only factories around the city but also the historic centre were completely demolished. Among the destroyed buildings was even the ancient Coventry Cathedral, which partially collapsed, but its shell, having remained intact, today still commemorates the ruthless bombing. Even though accurate data has never been collected, it is estimated that around 600 people lost their lives in that single night (History of Coventry, 2014).