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Coventry is a metropolitan borough in the central England and second largest city in the West Midlands, England. It is the 12th largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of around 345,385 recorded in 2015. The city is located 11 miles north of Warwick, 24 miles southwest of Leicester and 19 miles east-southeast of Birmingham. It is considered among historic counties of England and lies 95 miles northwest of central London. In 1940, the 14th-century cathedral church was demolished by the German Wehrmacht military forces in 1940 and Coventry Cathedral was built in the city. The motor companies of the city played a significant role in the growth of the British motor industry. The two major universities in the city include the University of Warwick and Coventry University located on the southern outskirts and city centre respectively.
The civil parish in the Warwick district, known as Baginton was founded by the Romans and a Saxon nunnery was established by St Osburga in AD 700. Later on, King Canute attacked the Danish Army and the Anglo-Saxon nunnery was left in ruins in the 10th century. The Benedictine monastery was established by the Leofric of Mercia in 1043 and the settlement grew with the establishment of the market at the abbey gates. The 4th captain of Chester Ranulf de Gernon established a Coventry Castle in the early 12th century, known as bailey castle in the city. The first usage of the castle came to light after the Robert Marmion discharged the monks from the adjacent priory of Saint Mary. Later on, the castle was converted into a fortress and became a battle site against the Earl.
The city was considered as the most important city of England and also served as a major centre of the cloth trade during the 14th century. The city also became one of the three major centres of the clock and watch manufacturing in 18th and 19th century. The clock industry declined due to competition from Swiss clock manufacturers and the focus shifted to bicycle and motorbike manufacture along with machine tool and aircraft industries. The city flourished as a leading centre of bicycle manufacturing in the late 19th century. Later on, the bicycle manufacturing was expanded to production of motors and the city became the principal centre of the British motor industry. The Jaguar’s design headquarters is established at the Whitley plant.
The city was the prime target of German bombers during the Second World War and suffered massive air raids occurred on the evening of 14 November 1940 destroyed more than 4000 houses. The Germans named it operation moonlight sonata. The severe bombing raids killed more than 800 people and damaged three-quarters of the industrial plants of the city made thousand people unemployed and homeless. During the Luftwaffe attacks, the city suffered colossal damage in comparison with other cities of the England. The huge firestorms damaged most of the city centre due to the presence of large armaments, aircraft and aero-engine plants.
The city is served by two central universities: Coventry University and the University of Warwick. For further education, the city has three main colleges such as City College, Hereward College and Henley College. The most secondary schools of the city are specialist colleges including Finham Park School, Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and Language College, Woodlands School and Caludon Castle School. The two oldest secondary schools in the city are Sidney Stringer Academy and President Kennedy School and Community College.
The city remained as the most important seat of ribbon-making in the United Kingdom and competed internationally with France and locally with cities of Leicester and Norwich. The city is home to various cycle and motor manufacturing companies including The Great Horseless Carriage Company, Triumph motorcycle, Coventry Motette and Swift Motor Company. The major sectors including agricultural machinery, telecommunications equipment, machine tools and aerospace components contributed towards the growth of the economy. Recently, the focus has moved towards the finance, research and development as well as logistics and entertainment.
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