Building the Council House

The competition to find the best design was won by two architects from the Birmingham firm of Garratt, Simister, Buckland & Farmer. The builders were Wilcock & Co. of Wolverhampton.

The plaster modelling was done by R. M Catterson Smith of Birmingham, the windows and leaded lights by Henry Hope & Sons of Birmingham and the stained glass and geometrical glazing by Harvey & Ashby, also of Birmingham. Stone and wood carvings were executed under the direction of Henry Wilson, President of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. The zeal of Alderman William Henry Grant ensured that many heraldic devices of special relevance to Coventry history were included in the decoration of the building, inside as well as out.

The inner decorations of the Council Chamber and the original committee rooms include symbols of the Forest of Arden, which once spread right across the Coventry area (place-names ending 'in-Arden' appear both east and west of Coventry).

The foundation stone of the Council House was laid on 12 June 1913 by the Mayor, William Fitzthomas Wyley, at a ceremony with band music, a hymn and prayers. Despite the outbreak of war in 1914, the money was found to continue the building programme. The delayed opening, held on 11 June 1920, was accompanied by music from the Band of His Majesty's Coldstream Guards. The Duke was met by the Corporation in the old manner of receiving royalty - at the City boundary, by the old Toll Gate House on Warwick Road (since demolished).