A Grade II* listed
building in the heart of Coventry is set to be restored to its former glory, thanks to the
Phoenix Initiative, Coventry City Councils Millennium project.
Work starts this week to transform both the inside and the outside of the old Blue Coat
School, off Priory Row, opposite Holy Trinity Church. Built in 1856-7 it has stood empty
and neglected for nearly 10 years, but funds from the Phoenix Initiative will ensure it
gets a new lease of life as the new Holy Trinity Church Centre.
The Victorian Gothic building was originally an orphanage and school for girls going
into domestic service. In 1940 all the pupils were evacuated and during the war this
astonishing building was a canteen for bus drivers and a billet for firemen. More recently
it has been an office for the Alcohol Advisory Service.
The Phoenix Initiative is funding a complete restoration of the building, repairing the
roof and stone masonry, to installing all the amenities inside, including a new extension
on the rear service yard, to allow disabled access. This service yard was the site of the
recent archaeological excavation where a number of fascinating funds were made, including
an early medieval gold ring. The archaeological investigation of the main site, in front
of the Blue Coat School, is due to start in April.
Project Director Chris Beck said,
"This listed building is a gem in the middle of town that few of us ever see or
even know exists. Its wonderful to think we can not only restore it and place it in
an appropriate setting for everyone to see but that we can also put it back to good
The work is being carried out by J Harris and Son, the Stratford based builders, who
also carried out the recent restoration work on the Lychgate Cottages in Priory Row, it is
due to be completed at the end of this year.
The Vicar of Holy Trinity Church Canon David Urquhart said,
"We will miss the modern church centre but are looking forward to transferring our
activities with young people, work with the homeless and many other community events to
the old Blue Coat School building."