Stained Glass in the News: The Great Glass Mystery!

March 14, 2014
The Great Stained Glass Mystery Sherriff Stained Glass Specialists Blog

The Chief Executive for the World Monuments Fund Britain and the BBC recently launched an intriguing investigation into the country’s most elusive & mysterious disappearance of preserved stained glass. The story behind the investigation has long been ambiguous, but the truth has finally been revealed in a new documentary entitled The Great Glass Mystery.

More than 70 years ago as the Blitz began across England, Coventry Cathedral moved quickly to preserve the city’s cherished Victorian stained glass windows. As the Second World War reached its peak Coventry Cathedral was destroyed and a rumour arose from the North Atlantic that the stained glass of the cathedral had been smuggled unscathed to Iceland.

Since then, the Icelandic town of Akureyi has celebrated and cherished under the town’s ‘Coventry window’ – a window that’s supposed history has been taught and passed down around the town’s generations. As the connection between Akureyi and Coventry spread, the communities spawned a friendship founded upon the remarkable story that the glass somehow made its way through waters heavily patrolled by German U-boats and the Luftwaffe air force.

However, Dr Jonathon Foyle of the World Monuments Fund Britain and the BBC set to discover the truth behind this story and uncover its shady facts in an effort to recover any trace of Victorian Coventry. Dr Foyle travelled between Iceland and Coventry piecing together each side of the story, but quickly found that there were large cracks in the timeline; the events didn’t add up.

After scouring archives and finding eye-witnesses, it becomes apparent to Dr Foyle that the relationship between Akureyi and Coventry is based upon myth. The archives reveal medieval windows were removed from Coventry, and not the Victorian windows. Instead, the Victorian windows were caught in the midst of extreme Luftwaffe bombing and destroyed. The mystery of Iceland’s ‘Coventry Window’ remains.

The documentary is a stark reminder of the great artefacts, such as leaded lights and stained glass windows that were lost during the Second World War. You can find out more about the Great Glass Mystery from the BBC website.

If you are looking for assistance for a stained glass window restoration project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sherriff Stained Glass Specialists stained glass specialists on 01202 882208 or via our contact page. Our expert team has decades of experience working with lead windows and stained glass, and are able to provide high-quality restoration, conservation or maintenance services.

Author: Sherriff Stained Glass Specialists

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