George Eliot Project


During our research into the history of the Coventry Photographic Society a number of 1919 newspaper articles were found relating to a Photographic Survey of George Eliot's Warwickshire being undertaken by the members of the Society.


The Survey was undertaken as part of the Coventry George Eliot Centenary celebrations and was intended to be a pictorial record of the locations known to George Eliot and used by her in her books. These photographs along with other artwork was we understand displayed in an exhibition held to celebrate the Centenary of her birth.


Further research identified records held by Coventry Archives, part of the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, and those records included a detailed breakdown of the photographs taken at each location and which member of the Society had taken it.  The Coventry Library Committee also produced a bound book entitled “A Record of the Centenary Celebrations held at Coventry, November 1919” containing 30 of the original 53 photographs taken together with other items associated with the celebrations.


Coventry Archives have recently completed a project to scan all the images in the book to help preserve the photographs. 


As my research was fortuitously taking place in early 2019 it was decided by the Society members to try and reproduce those 1919 photographs showing the locations 100 years on as part of the Bicentennial celebrations. It was at this point we approached the George Eliot Fellowship for help and assistance regarding the location and access to some of the locations. I am pleased to report that the Fellowship and in particular John Burton (current Chairman) could not have been more helpful.


A committee has been formed comprising, Chris Simmonds, Mandip Seehra and Andy Naughton and myself to coordinate the Project.


We completed photographing various locations using the original photographs in good time for our first exhibition at the Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre which was held in conjunction with the George Eliot Fellowship and their two Heritage weekends in September 2019.


The exhibition will be at the Albany Theatre in Coventry from 7 October to 26 October 2019 where it can be viewed between the hours of 10am  - 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 1.30pm Saturday. These hours will be extended if an event is taking place in the Theatre. Entrance to the exhibition is free. 


The core of the exhibition then moves to Nuneaton Library in the town centre from 4 November to 25 November 2019.


Steve Simmonds

October 2019

Meeting @ Westwood Club, 260 Westwood Heath Rd, Coventry CV4 8GP

01926 338600

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