Monday 3 January 2022

Coventry mural

 A mural at Coventry bus station which epitomises the cultural history of the city in the 1980s.

The late 1970s and most of the 1980s, was a time of economic and social turmoil in Britain, when the country seemed to be in a state of continuous crisis, and felt close to outright collapse: strikes disrupted basic services, filling city streets with mounds of garbage; far right movements marched and clashed with counter-protestors; in towns and cities factories were closing and many were unemployed; by 1982 unemployment had risen to 20%; young people especially felt alienated and pessimistic about their future; racial tensions were high, with racist attacks and anti-immigration demonstrations making the news. 

These conditions formed the backdrop to an incredible rise of productivity in music: 2 Tone emerged with a strong message of anti-racism and inclusivity; punk branched out; reggae became increasingly influential; the Specials, a band of black and white musicians emerged with their distinctive sound of a blend of punk and reggae; Hazel O'Connor became prominent in 1980 as an actress and singer when playing the role of Kate in Breaking Glass; Manjinder Kirk, actress, director, writer was also from Coventry; Cathedral, another band that was based in Coventry.

In the mural, from right to left: Hazel O'Connor, Terry Hall from the Specials, (who then went on to form Fun Boy Three), I am not sure who the third person is, and last, Manjinder Kirk.


  1. Hi Eirene, the third person (second from the left, to the right of Manjinder Virk and just left of the subway entrance) is the Black theologian and TV presenter Robert Beckford, who was born in Wellingborough but spent his later childhood and formative secondary school years in Coventry.

    1. Thank you so much for this information. I would love to know which secondary school in Coventry he attended. Thanks again.