During August, and as an accompaniment to the exhibition at the Box, Urban Coffee Company will host a number of events in surroundings curated by the Hillfields History Group. Their collection of Hillfields images has been digitised by WATCH volunteers and a number were taken to Birmingham Library’s team of photographic curators for cleaning and archiving.
The Hillfields History Group collection includes photographs taken during an era of interest to the Imagine Research Project – the early 1970s when the Home Office funded the Community Development Project, the first regeneration project in the UK, to research and understand the problems of Hillfields in conjunction with the residents. The collection also includes as images of the buildings demolished by clearance and redevelopment: their collection is a vital resource to understanding top shops in Hillfields and it’s past as a live/work part of Coventry.
Below are a few of their images:
Urban Coffee will also show the plans and redevelopment of Hillfields through images taken from the Coventry City Council archive. These images, many before not seen, show how ambitious in their vision the council was during the post war period, below:
The visions however did not match reality as development was slow and local families opposed the move from a work/ live area to one dominated by residential development. Even the popular shopping route along Primrose Hill Street was to be demolished to encourage shoppers to the new city centre. By 1969 government policy had changed from clearance to general improvement: streets earmarked for demolition such as Colchester and Winchester Street were remodelled into a carless format which still remain today.
This exhibition will sit alongside events at Urban Coffee – more on that soon – and the exhibition in the Box.