It might seem like an odd question, but recently reported research by Waitrose suggests that Coventry is leading the charge when it comes to Briton’s celebrating the American national holiday of Thanksgiving.
So I wanted to know why my home city of Coventry is apparently strongly pro-American, even more so than London where international schools and the US Embassy can be found. (As an aside/disclaimer, I am thrilled to discover this fact being both a Cov kid and staunchly pro-American.)
It is because of the war?
The biggest influx of American influence could have been during both World Wars. Coventry being a very friendly place would have welcomed our cousins and could have developed a deep kinship. But is there any fact to support this?
Betty Daniels provides a witness testimony:
We had an American army base come, but when they came to the dances that was when jiving and jitterbugging all came in and we were just speechless, we couldn’t believe that they were throwing girls up in the air, through their legs and all we’d ever done was ballroom dancing.
But the strongest sign of an American wartime base is this story from Derek Evans:
There used to be an American army base in Blackhorse Rd and they read the story and sent food to us. Meat and sweets, and a huge can of drinking chocolate- we used to have a spoon every morning, as a sweet. They drove up in an American jeep to bring the food, and even to this day I love them jeeps!
So there you have it, it’s plausible a good deal of affinity was developed during the war, but we know there were American bases all over the UK so affinities would have been developed throughout the Kingdom.
Is it because of the automotive industry?
I would suggest it’s possible that combined with America’s presence during the war we have also developed a cultural friendship through industry, but perhaps not just the automotive industry for which Coventry is famed.
Coventry was also the home, for many years, to the company named after Guglielmo Marconi, widely-credited as the inventor of the radio. During the 60s it was known as the General Electric Company plc, though not to be confused for the American conglomerate General Electric (GE). GEC expanded throughout the post-war era and had strong US ties.
But back to the automotive industry and you don’t have to look far to discover that Jaguar Cars has its roots in Coventry and is a brand that has enjoyed good adoption in the USA for many years.
Is Coventry Really pro-American?
I hope so. I can’t find the Waitrose research to be able to dig a bit deeper, but it’s fair to say it probably only concentrated on the Thanksgiving element, so it doesn’t automatically follow that Coventry as a whole is deeply pro-American. Perhaps we just really like turkey.
PS: As this is a blog post and not fixed to a point in time I am going to update it and pad it out with more research and testimonies as and when I find them. I am aware in the early versions of this content it’s a bit subjective.