Coventry members of C20 have been running a project with residents of West Point, an award-winning private housing estate in Allesley Village, Coventry.
This pioneering 1960s West Midlands development will celebrate its 55th anniversary on 25 March. West Point 55 is an arts and heritage project that marks this emerald anniversary with four artists’ residencies and a programme of special events.
In 1959, Wolverhampton developers McLeans acquired agricultural land to the west of Allesley Village near Coventry. Over two years, West Point, an estate of 194 homes, emerged from the mud, substantially enlarging the 18th-century stage coach village of Allesley.
The estate was officially opened on 25 March 1960 by the Lord Mayor of Coventry and Basil Spence, who was then working on his ground-breaking Coventry Cathedral.
West Point opened with three furnished show houses – the Queenhythe, the Strand and Ideal Home magazine’s award-winning experimental bungalow – all of which were greeted with acclaim and newspaper coverage.
Today, few people remember the true name for the estate. But with its own address, parade of shops and five distinct housing types, West Point once attracted newly affluent post-war professionals to relocate from as far afield as West Bromwich. They were drawn to the modernity of the estate, set within the picturesque village, but still conveniently located close to the amenities of vibrant Coventry.
The programme of special events for the West Point anniversary includes a commission from Birmingham’s Ashfield Ensemble brass quartet. They will be playing variations on ‘Happy Birthday’ in the streets of the estate during the launch event.
The four artists’ residencies, running from February to July, will explore the West Point story, from the pioneering 1960s to the present day.
The artists are inviting residents to take part in oral history sessions and conversations that will contribute to the making of a range of commemorative and souvenir artworks: collectable commemorative plates by architect Adrian Baynes; embroidered house portraits by renowned embroiderer Margaret Adler; photographic works by Gerard Mermoz; and a souvenir illustrated comic brochure by Sarah Taylor Silverwood and Anna Douglas.
These will be exhibited from 25 March to July at the West Point 55 pop-up gallery, housed at the Good Honest Food Café, once the estate’s grocery store. Many of the artworks will be gifted to residents as souvenirs of this special year, while others are available for sale.
All C20 members are welcome to the official launch on the 25 March, 4-6pm. Please contact 07914 756905 for directions and RSVP. For further information visit our blog westpoint55.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/TheGoodHonestFoodCompany