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A City Reborn

Coventry prepares to rise from the ashes of WWII in this docu-drama written by Dylan Thomas.

Documentary 1945 22 mins


Scripted by poet Dylan Thomas, this affecting docu-drama recalls the incendiary bombing of Coventry on 14 November 1940. The film focusses on reconstruction and morale: we see the city's rebirth through the eyes of a young local couple planning for their future, and an engineer interested in the new housing drive. This is one of several 1940s films introducing cinemagoers to the good old 'prefab'.

Though the city's industrial infrastructure was a key wartime target, the ultimate casualty was its beautiful medieval centre, and most famously the Cathedral, which were almost totally destroyed. This and other raids cost the lives of over 1,200 civilians. So symbolic was the destruction that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels boasted about plans to "Coventrate" other cities. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.