Coventry's Elephantine Sports Centre

The 'elephant' sports centre in Coventry.
Photo by Benjamin Earl

It’s not long for this world, and that’s a crying shame as far as I’m concerned, as it was always the first thing I saw from the ring road that meant I knew we were close to arriving in the city centre. Forget the cathedral, forget Whitefriars, it was this!

It was built in 1976, designed by Coventry City Council and took its influence from the city’s coat of arms, and juts onto the swimming pool (which *is* listed, a decision I find surprising in my own personal view, as the elephant is far more distinctive). My Dad, incidentally, never tires of saying how he helped build the swimming pool. I suspect this meant standing on some scaffolding a long way from the ground…

The elephant and Coventry

The city council’s website gives the coat of arms’ history. Mary Dormer Harris had some ideas, and it appears the elephant was able to not only carry Coventry’s castle, but was the enemy of the dragon. Coventry is, of course, the birthplace of St George according to certain myths.

So an elephant building, right in the centre, guarding the entrance to the cathedral seems wholly appropriate to me. It’s also a distinctively Coventry building. Others, however, disagree.

What’s your view? Should it stay, or should it go?

More from Coventry