Alnwick Probus Club, May meeting

UPHILL BATTLE: The May meeting of the Alnwick Probus Club was held in the cricket club where members heard a talk by Bill Bland on Sir Basil Spence and Coventry Cathedral.

The talk gave the background of Spence from his childhood in India, his boarding school and college days in Edinburgh leading to his architectural practice in that city.

In 1950 the practice of Basil Spence and Partners won a competition to design and supervise the construction of a new cathedral in Coventry to replace the original, destroyed by German bombs in November 1940.

The project turned out to be an uphill battle. Coventry City Council were against the project from the outset and put every conceivable obstacle at their disposal to scupper the development.

The scheme was underfunded and Spence undertook a successful three months fund raising tour of the USA and Canada to move the scheme forward.

The tenacious drive of Basil Spence overcame the many obstacles he faced and in 1962, 22 years after the bombing disaster the new Cathedral was consecrated.

The talk was illustrated by many photographs from the bombed site, through the design and construction period and featuring many of the memorable images of the finished building.

The building is standing up to the test of time very well, it is considered to be a masterpiece of modern architecture and plays an important role in the life of the city of Coventry.

The next meeting will be held on June 13, when Mike Gowland will give a talk on What Happens Behind The Scenes At A Modern Airport.

New members are always welcome and anyone interested can contact Bill Bland on 01669 620572 or at