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Coventry City and county district in West Midlands, central England. An important weaving centre in the Middle Ages, it later became known for its clothing manufacture. The city was badly damaged by bombing during World War II, and the 14th-century cathedral was destroyed. A new cathedral (designed by Sir Basil Spence) was completed in 1962. It is the home of the University of Warwick (1965) and Coventry University (1992). Industries: motor vehicles, mechanical and electrical engineering, telecommunications. Pop. (2002 est.) 295,000.

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Coventry. Cathedral city in Warwickshire. It developed around an important priory, founded in 1043 by Earl Leofric and Countess Godgifu (‘ Lady Godiva’ of Coventry folklore). From 1102 to 1539 the priory church had cathedral status, and in the 14th cent. the city rose spectacularly through cloth-manufacturing to become the fourth largest English town. It declined equally spectacularly in the 16th cent., but found renewed industrial prosperity from the 18th cent., and in 1918 became a cathedral city once more. It was heavily bombed in the Second World War, but retains more historic buildings than is often appreciated, including the 14th-cent. St Mary's Hall.

David M. Palliser

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