Bareback ride for sake of taxpayers

19th January 2001 at 00:00
Coventry - wasn't that the home of Lady Godiva?

Yes. The wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, is reputed to have implored her husband to ease the high taxes he had imposed on Coventry folk. Being a reasonable sort, he agreed but only if she would ride a horse naked through the town. So she called his bluff.

And rode in the buff?

Poetry! Actually, Coventry is really big on legends. There is also that saying about sending someone to Coventry. This derives from the townsfolk so deeply disliking soldiers that any woman seen speaking to one was instantly rebuffed. Hence, to be sent to Coventry meant nobody speaking to you.

Barefaced cheek! It's not like that today though?

No. The local education authority would certainly like to speak to more teachers, particularly for secondary school posts in science, modern languages, English and mathematics. It is considering incentives to attract teachers, including offering relocation allowances and temporary housing for newly-qualified teachers.

Coventry City Council was recently inspected by the Office for Standards in Education and described as a "thoughtful and well-run LEA" which has a good relationship with its schools, though the report said standards in its schools needed to be higher.

Coventry has 89 primary schools, 19 secondaris, 11 special schools and one early years excellence centre.

What is Coventry like?

It is a very compact city. Coventry was heavily bombed during the Second World War and today the centre is a bit of a hash of old and new. It has a lot of civic pride.

Once a prosperous manufacturing centre, it suffered recession in the 1970s and 1980s, but has bounced back to become a successful centre for service and high-technology industries.

It has some nice, leafy residential areas but others that are among the most deprived in Britain. It also has a bizarre ring road with junctions that can test the mettle of the most hardened motorist.

The surrounding Warwickshire countryside is lovely, as is the neighbouring town of Warwick with its magnificent castle.

How about house prices?

There seems to be a big range of house prices in the city, from around pound;47,000 for a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Stoke Heath up to pound;179,000 in outlying Earlsdon.

You can rent a three-bedroom terraced house for around pound;400 per calendar month.

Any famous sons, daughters or residents?

Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, ska band The Specials and of course the legendary Peeping Tom of Coventry, a tailor who was reputedly struck blind after taking a peek at Lady Godiva.


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