Lockdown has been the perfect time to indulge in certain hobbies you never quite got round to pre-pandemic.
And while some have learned a new language, perfected their sourdough bread or topped up their dancing skills with tik tok videos, one Coventry resident used the time to create an incredible model of what our city looked like hundreds of years ago.
Peter Garbett, who lives in Willenhall, spent over 800 hours building hugely detailed model of Coventry in the year 1509.
With King Henry VIII recently on the throne, the early sixteenth century was a time when Coventry as a city was of huge importance to the kingdom of England.
As the well known monarch had yet to undertake his infamous Dissolution of the Monasteries, our city was home to all sorts of stunning buildings, including churches, castles and priories.
Because of this, Peter felt 1509 was a good time to capture the city.
“Henry VIII had just come to just come to the throne, so he hadn’t started his destructive bit, taking down the churches and things,” Peter said. “Coventry, at that point, had built all its walls, they were all in place and all its gates were pristine.
“We also had some fantastic Tudor buildings, like Bablake Hospital and Ford’s Hospital in England, and I wanted to include those into into into the timeline.
“So 1509 was just about the best time I could, I could get to without, you know, losing some of the stuff you know. So it’s a great time.”
Peter, who moved to Coventry in the 1980s, has always been fascinated by Coventry’s history, and has regular projects running to do with the city’s history.
The 68-year-old also has a Facebook group, called Visit Historic Coventry, where like minded people share their thoughts and converse on the city’s rich past.
Peter shared images and video of his model, which is four metres in size, on Visit Historic Coventry. It has subsequently been shared around other groups, and it has received hundreds of comments, likes and shares.
The model has been a real passion project for Peter, and he has been overwhelmed with the hugely warm response he has had.
However, due to the model’s sheer size, he is keen to find a home for it, preferably where others can enjoy looking at it.
Peter jokes that while his wife has been very supportive of the project, she isn’t too keen on having the model in their living room full time.
He said: “I just want to get it into somewhere where it can be properly displayed, and everybody can come and see it and get some enjoyment out of it.
“It would be great if I could get in the the old visitor centre or the Herbert Art Gallery or whatever the IKEA building’s going to be or above the Litten Tree or the Charter Tree or Whitefriars Building – somewhere like that.
“One of those would be fantastic, to display it and you know I think people would get a lot of enjoyment from going and seeing it.”
Peter, who worked as a fireman, a community safety officer for Coventry City Council and a DJ before retiring, says he spent eight hours a day, seven days a week, for four months working on his model.
The model includes some of the city’s most famous buildings, as well as rivers, homes and even cattle. The model is all to scale, and gives a realistic insight to what our city was like at the time.
It also gives a good idea of what the city looked like before World War Two, as Peter says Coventry didn’t change too much between the 16th Century and the Blitz in 1940 – when the city was famously targeted by the Luftwaffe.
Asked about his next project, Peter says he might take a well earned break.
“I’ve always got something lined up – my wife says I always go from one thing to another, but I think I’ll give her a bit of a break,” he laughed.