This post is part of a new series of music tourism recommendations for music lovers on their travels. We’ll look at London exhibitions and events of course, but we’ll also go further afield – outside London and even overseas. All reviews are based on actual visits and unless otherwise stated all tickets were bought and paid for by your reviewer London Music Tours’ Tourism Superstar 2022-nominated guide Adam Scott-Goulding.
Wherever I travel I love to visit music heritage sites, exhibitions and museums. I have been lucky enough to travel to places all over the world – from Liverpool to Memphis and beyond – and I can say without doubt that the Coventry Music Museum is one of the best museums of its kind anywhere in the world.
The city of Coventry lies some 96 miles to the north of London. It is the second largest city in the Midlands, second only to Birmingham, 19 miles away. The ruins of the city’s mediaeval cathedral stand as a memorial to the heavy toll Coventry paid during WWII. The Coventry Blitz – codenamed Operation Moonlight Sonata by the Luftwaffe – saw intense bombing and severe loss of life.
Our overseas visitors to this region of England – the historic county of Warwickshire – make a beeline for Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon. They would do well to add the Coventry Music Museum to their itineraries.
The curation is lively, accessible and, crucially, fun. Like all great museums, the subject matter is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of the wider social and political history of the city.
Highlight of the collection must surely be the car used in the famous video for Coventry legends The Specials‘ biggest hit Ghost Town. Remind yourselves of that classic clip here…
The video was shot in and around London. The story of how the museum acquired the car for Coventry – a Vauxhall Cresta from 1961 – is a fantastic tale. No spoilers here! You’ll have to ask one of the staff when you visit the museum…
I also loved the section that looks at the deeper history of music in Warwickshire beyond the pop era.
There is also a brilliant exhibit dedicated to the unsung heroine of Electronica Delia Derbyshire, the creator of the Dr Who theme…
I was even granted the tremendous honour of signing their door – alongside the likes of Jerry Dammers and Hazel O’Connor!
Expertise, imagination and passion – it’s a killer blend. Especially when you remember that there is hardly any budget for the place. Makes me wonder why every city doesn’t have a great resource such as this one – and how wonderful it would be if every great city did!
Well done to everyone involved at the Coventry Music Museum. Will definitely be coming back.
The Coventry Music Museum website: www.covmm.co.uk
Find the Coventry Music Museum here…
At time of writing – February 2022 – the Coventry Music Museum’s opening hours are as follows:
Thursday to Saturday 10am – 4pm (1600) last admission 3.30pm (1530)
Sunday 10am – 3pm (1500) last admission 2.30pm (1430)
Admission is £4 for adults, £2 for OAP’s & students with ID and £1 for children (aged 5 – 15)
By Train From London
Trains for Coventry leave from Euston station and the journey will take around one-our-and-twenty minutes. Services are operated by Avanti West Coast (direct service) or West Midlands Railway (change at Birmingham). NB it is almost always cheaper to book direct via the train service operators rather than via a third-party site such as Trainline.
If you are arriving by car, the nearest car park to the museum is in Clay Street just a few minutes away from the museum.
Playlist: 2-Tone 10
An absolute beginner’s introduction to Coventry’s legendary 2-Tone record label, founded by Specials main man Jerry Dammers…