The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Photography & Postwar Reconstruction in Coventry

Photography & Postwar Reconstruction in Coventry. Presented by Dr Tom Allbeson.


Thursday 27 May 2021 6.30pm


Tom Allbeson will discuss how photographic images shaped debate about the rebuilding of Coventry following the destruction of the Second World War. Considering ruin imagery, photojournalism, aerial views and architectural photography, he will talk about ways in which visual culture was both central to promoting planning debates before the war and influential in shaping the meaning of rebuilding in the post-war years.

Visualisations of the historic and future city were widely circulated in Britain and beyond via exhibitions, pamphlets, guidebooks, professional journals, coffee-table books and popular photo magazines. All of these contributed to the idea and image of the post-war city. Specific attention will be paid to Coventry’s symbolism as a ‘martyred city’ and its relevance to post-war efforts towards European reconciliation including the central icon, Basil Spence’s cathedral – both a modern place of worship and a successful tourist attraction.


Dr Tom Allbeson is Lecturer in Cultural History at Cardiff University and author of Photography, Reconstruction and the Cultural History of the Postwar European CityThere is a discount available of 20% enter the code ‘FLR40’ at checkout.


Members: £3, non-members £5


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We will send you a Zoom link by email after you book, which will enable you to “join” the event, and we’ll be using the Q&A function to take questions at the end. If you’ve not used Zoom before, clicking on the Zoom link will take you through the set-up process, hopefully simply and smoothly! You should receive an automated link within an hour of booking so please check your spam/junk emails if you haven't received this. Any further problems please contact


Above: Basil Spence shows the Queen a model of the proposed Coventry Cathedral. Photograph: from John Bull, 14 December 1957.


The Twentieth Century Society is an IHBC (Institute of Historic Building conservation) recognised CPD provider


The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244.


Booking Closed

Unfortunately, booking is closed for this event and we are no longer able to accept new bookings.