The Statue of Lady Godiva, Coventry - A Coventry Gem!

The Statue of Lady Godiva is at Broadgate in Coventry outside of Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre. Grade II* listed, it dates to 1949, sculpted by Sir William Reid Dick.


Where is the statue of Lady Godiva?

The Statue of Lady Godiva is at Broadgate, Coventry, CV1 1LL. Outside of the Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre.

 

In brief

A statue of Lady Godiva, who was a late Anglo-Saxon noblewoman. The statue was made in 1949 by Sir William Reid Dick, and has been placed at Broadgate in Coventry ever since. The statue symbolised the regeneration of Coventry after it's bombing during the Second World War, and was donated at a time to boost morale, when rebuilding was delayed with shortages. Lady Godiva was turned 90 degrees in 1990 to face the Upper Precinct and to lie on the axis between the Lower Precinct and Cathedral. The statue is also titled Self Sacrifice. Commissioned in 1936 by William Bassett-Green.

Lady Godiva statue in Coventry. Photography by Daniel Sturley.

 

Lady Godiva statue - history

The statue titled 'Self Sacrifice' known to locals and others as the Lady Godiva statue was originally commissioned back in 1936 by William Bassett-Green, a wealthy local businessman, but it was 1940 before a scale model had been produced by the sculptor, Sir William Reid Dick. He continued to work on the full sized statue throughout the Second World War. After the war, the statue was cast and placed on a plinth, influenced by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was finally unveiled by Peggy Z. Douglas in October 1949. The statue had flags of both the UK and USA as Mrs Douglas was the wife of the then American Ambassador, Lewis Williams Douglas. The statue initially faced south, but was rotated to face west in 1989 during the construction of the Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre. A canopy was erected over the statue at the same time, but it was removed in 2008.

Lady Godiva statue CoventryLady Godiva statue in Coventry (April 2014). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

The statue shows Lady Godiva on her naked horse ride through the city to protest her husband's oppressive taxes. The plinth has passages from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem Godiva, along with a dedication from William Bassett-Green to Lady Godiva and the people of Coventry.

Lady Godiva statue CoventryLady Godiva statue in Coventry (February 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

In 2021, Broadgate was filled with ribbons as part od Coventry being the host city of UK City of Culture 2021.

Lady Godiva statue CoventryLady Godiva statue in Coventry (June 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Self-Sacrifice

She rode forth clothed on with chastity the deep air listen'd round her as she rode and all the the low wind hardly breathed for fear.

Then she rode back clothed on with chastity... she took the tax away and built herself an everlasting name.

Tennyson

This statue is decicated to the City's benefactress of a bygone age and is presented by W. H. Bassett-Green to his fellow citizens

1949

Project dates

09 Aug 2021 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Art; Culture & creativity

Contact

Your Place Your Space

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ yourplaceyourspace.com