Coventry’s relationship with the colour blue to be brought to life

From Building Societies to roadways and from Bablake to Wyken, 366 different locations and objects in Coventry will be painted blue.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust has been working with The Weaver’s House and Uncommon Creative Studio to find a distinctive shade of blue – a colour historically linked with the city.

The city’s link with the colour started with ‘Coventry Blue’, a dye used in the city’s medieval weaving trade. This shade of blue was unique to Coventry and came from a secret recipe for the dye including water from the River Sherbourne and the quality and type of woad plant used.

The recipe was never written down so was lost to history, but Coventry’s connection to blue can still be seen across the city today, from the Coventry City Football Club kit through to the blue-ribbon roundabout, the panels on The Wave waterpark and even HelloCov’s own branding.

Starting from New Year’s Day this year, the Trust will paint 366 different locations and objects the same colour, called Moving Blue, as a growing visual reminder that UK City of Culture is on the horizon.

From Building Societies to roadways and from Bablake to Wyken, the Trust plans to leave no corner of the city unpainted.

The team behind City of Culture expect to announce a partnership with a major paint manufacturer by Spring 2020, so Moving Blue will be available for residents and community groups to use on their own properties later in 2020.

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said Moving Blue would become a visual reminder of the city’s heritage and would build anticipation in the lead up to the city’s year in the spotlight.

“Moving is a word often associated with Coventry – from our history as pioneers in the transport industry, to our famous welcome to those who have relocated from across the world, to our culture which has stirred people for centuries, this really is a city that moves.

“The colour blue is synonymous with Coventry and, while nobody has ever been able to quite pin down the actual Coventry Blue, we think this project is a great way for people to come together as we head towards 2021.

“Moving Blue is our very own shade and will be visible all over Coventry in the next year.”

Sara Maycock, of The Weaver’s House, said, “We’re thrilled to be involved with this project as the subject of ‘Coventry Blue’ is very close to our hearts. In medieval times, when The Weaver’s House was built, Coventry was a centre for the weaving trade, when the city was best known for its fine Coventry Blue cloth.

“We grow the woad plant in the garden, and although the plant is green and related to cabbages, it produces a fantastic range of blues. We have experimented with this natural dyestuff to see what shades of blue it produces, so we have an idea what Coventry Blue might have been like.

“We’ll never truly know what the medieval Coventry Blue looked like as the recipe was a closely guarded secret, but it’s wonderful to see the colour being revived as we head towards 2021.

“Blue is a thread that runs through Coventry’s history for hundreds of years and we’re excited that Moving Blue will be a connection to the weavers of old as well as looking to the future of the city.”