Welcome to - The CET Building
Home of @CETPOPUP artspace & gallery, CET pop-up history centre and The CET self-guided Tour
We're at the former Coventry Evening Telegraph Offices at 157 Corporation Street, Coventry.
There's currently two main displays in the lobby area, each set within the theme of 'Coventry - a City of Culture, since 1345'. Firstly, a series of canvas boards celebrate the best of Coventry's post-war 1950s/60s/70s design & architecture, then we have the 'CET Memories' display - collated from the Coventry Telegraph newspaper's nostalgia archive of over 70 black & white photos tracing the history of the building. There's also a large selection of old CET newspapers, and Coventry/CET memorabilia to look through, together with a collection of artifacts discovered during our refurbishment.
Other highlights include work by Architecture Students from Coventry University’s School of Art & Design, a Medieval Watchtower project by Luke Bryant, 'Coventry Re-born' - a 3-d computer montage of 1870's Coventry, some post-war city centre history displays from The Coventry Society, our part-restored front entrance Lobby and Atrium garden, plus 'The CET Building Tour' - a fascinating self-guided route that starts with the boardroom/Illiffe residential apartments up on the third floor, then the newsroom/offices on the first floor, before finishing with a look at the ground floor/basement printing facility that includes the huge GOSS printer and print halls - which are huge!
@CETPOPUP is operated by The Historic Coventry Trust (HCT) - and has been created entirely by local Coventry volunteers, with the help of a small donation from Historic England/Coventry Heritage Action Zone. The space is available for the hosting of creative art (or basically anything interesting!) until July 2018 when works are due to begin on the restoration & conversion of the original offices and print room into 'boutique' 50s styled hotel - to be called 'The Telegraph'.
Admission is FREE, and we are open every Saturday from 11am - 5pm (last entrance to the self-guided tour route is at 4.15pm). We've Free Parking for CET Building visitors available on site in the rear service yard on Chapel Street (no direct access to the building from here - but it's just a short 1 minute walk round to the front via Corporation Street).
An entrance charge applies for the tour (suggested donation, £3) - but there really is loads of fascinating stuff to see - with most visitors typically taking about 30-45 mins to go around.
Keep in mind - for the tour route - there are several sets of stairs to negotiate so unfortunately wheelchair access isn't possible. The main reception is however very easy to navigate around though - with slideshows and films to watch, displays, cet memorabilia plus lots of interesting stuff to have a browse through.
We've no public toilets on-site just at the moment, as everything's been mothballed - but the Belgrade Theatre (just across the road) are happy for CET visitors to use their facilities, while we're sorting our's out.
There are lots of great photography opportunities, particularly around the tour route - so def bring your camera - but don't forget, we want to see your favorite pics from around the building too, so if you're tweeting, please add our hashtag - #cetpopup
And finally, if you've a spare 5 mins, why not check out our @cetpopup Facebook page? We've daily updates on progress & new exhibitions - plus lots of pics of new stuff we're discovering around the building.. don't miss out!
ps. If you fancy volunteering to help out here at The CET Building, we'd love to hear from you.
Here's a quick soundbite from Alan Denyer - our lead volunteer..
'I'd only intended spending 2 days, doing a quick clear up - but when you get to look around, it suddenly dawns on you what a great building this is - how herculean the task of producing a newspaper was, and why it's worth the effort to create something that tells the story. Yes we had big factories elsewhere in Coventry - but nothing quite touched everyone in the city like the local newspaper did. In its heyday, there were 600 people employed here - 130,000 newspapers a day with a circulation figure of 360,000 - that's basically everyone in the city, reading the local newspaper.'
'My day job is property restoration - but when I heard about the 'pop-up' art-space idea, and that Historic England had donated £2000 for materials and printing to help make it happen - I thought I'd clear my diary, get volunteering - and give the project 3 months of my time free of charge, as it's a great thing for Coventry to have - right in the heart of the city.
I've had super fun discovering the fantastic quality of the original building - and been completely overwhelmed by the response from people who've seen (and commented on) the pics I've been posting on Facebook (@cetpopup) as work progresses. The last print job might have rolled off the press here 13 years ago - but that's still a mind-boggling 60 million newspapers produced since the facility opened in 1959, and the production facility is still pretty much intact - something most folks (including me!) wouldn't have had a clue about anyway as you can't picture any of it from the outside.
Everyone I've spoken to seems to remember their time like it was just yesterday; great camaraderie, with a sense of pride in the service they were were providing - and it's been fascinating to uncover some of the stories. And, with the 'CET Memories' display, we're hoping to show something of what went on - the building, and processes, changing - as technology - and time - moved on.'
thx Historic England! xx @CETPOPUP