Coventry Digital

The unveiling ceremony of the statue St Michael and the Devil by sculptor Jacob Epstein at Coventry Cathedral


Coventry Digital is an online resource about the city of Coventry. It was created and is maintained by Coventry University as its part of its commitment to Coventry UK City of Culture in 2021 (UK CoC 2021).

The ambition is to create a ‘city’ archive which supports the different eco-systems across the city by binding together all kinds of data on all kinds of subjects and making it available as a resource. From this it is hoped that new partnerships and ways of thinking will emerge based on evidence drawn from the data.

The premise is that:

  • everybody has a story to tell…
  • every place has a story to tell…
  • every project deserves an audience…

Coventry Digital can tell those stories.

We’ve had some great stories come out, people being able to point out friends and families, and they’re able to tell me what they’re looking at and give me some exceptional detail.

Ben Kyneswood, Director of Coventry Digital. BBC news article.


At its simplest, the Coventry archive is a collection about Coventry, made up of ‘assets’ of the archive, which are digital files – the documents, maps, photographs, sound and video. These are uploaded, or ‘ingested’ through a process called ‘accession’ once their story has been added as ‘metadata’.

When the story of the assets is right, it can link people, places and times across all of these archives. With every photograph, film, document and video, there is very much a story to tell. Who are the people and the places, and what time does the asset speak of? To whom does the item belong? Who created it? This information is important and is added in as metadata.

Images of several collections available within Coventry Digital


The archive works as a single system that holds lots of archives together making it searchable in a single effort. These archives include those held at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, that created by the City of Culture Trust, the Belgrade Theatre, community group archives, business archives and family archives.

Photographs within the archive represent aspects of Coventry through the years. Thematic galleries include pre-war photographs, the construction and opening of the new Cathedral (as above), city buildings and planning, workers at Courtaulds and Massey Ferguson and images from the Coventry Telegraph, through to more recent contributions that captured UK CoC 2021.

Rediscovered Photographs

The story of how over 8,000 images, taken in Coventry between 1940 and 1965 by press photographer Arthur Cooper, have been added to Coventry Digital is detailed within a BBC news article.

In a follow-up piece by the BBC, Ian Hollands recounts how he saved the glass plates that had been thrown out.


Coventry Digital was created and is maintained by Coventry University as part of its commitment to Coventry UK CoC 2021. The archive is managed by Ben Kyneswood.

Images from Coventry Digital provided significant content for the Walking Through Coventry Data event at The Reel Store.