Elephants and Coventry: The Secret Everyone Forgot

September 22nd is Elephant Appreciation Day. So we Googled, and tried to find out how you make an elephant feel appreciated… But we didn’t exactly get the results we were looking for *uncomfortable face*.


Being proud Coventrians, there’s something else about elephants that makes us uneasy. They’re everywhere. But no one seems to know why. Good elephants are never supposed to forget, but it seems somewhere along the line, people forgot the reason our buildings, songs, and symbols, frequently hark back to the mighty elephant.

Once this mystery became apparent in our Coventry Heritage blog, UnCOVered knew we had to solve it. But with so little information to go on, the task seemed mammoth, (sorry).

You might never have noticed the elephants of Coventry. But they’re there…

There’s the Coventry Sports Centre in Fairfax Street:
Photo © Susan Vickery Site: Creative Commons

Depending on the angle, you can understand the people who say they had no idea this was supposed to be an elephant. But it is, it’s a rare… urrrm… urban elephant! Sadly, it seems there isn’t much time left to enjoy this iconic building. The jumbo city sight is losing money fast, so is packing its trunk and retiring. So if you’re a current student, or a new student at Coventry University get down there quick, and check out this amazing piece of architectural design before it’s gone forever.

Surely you’ve looked closely at Coventry FC’s crest?
Source: Wikipedia

Oh, would you look at that??? There it is again, an elephant, on a football this time.

And ode to the city ‘Elephant Song’ by Coventry band The Enemy

The band repeat the words “living a lie” eight times in that song. Wait until you read the answers we’ve dug up from the internet below, someone is lying…

Closing in on the truth

We’ve whittled it down to 3 genuine ‘explanations’ off of the internet as to why Coventry has built up a connection with elephants, and they are tenuous at best. We’re giving you 4 though, see if you can guess which one we made up:

1. St George (patron saint of England) was born in Coventry.* He slayed a dragon. And elephants are obviously the known nemeses of dragons.


2. In Medieval Britain, elephants were thought only to sleep standing up, so they were the strongest/safest place to build your castle. Coventry had a castle… once (twice, actually). It fell down though.


3. The elephant is representative of Christ. Because… it sleeps by a tree… and Coventry took its name from Cofa’s Tree… and… well… this elephant this one time, was in trouble, and a smaller elephant rescued it, and that is comparable to Christ saving humanity.


4. The artist who conceptualised Disney’s Dumbo was born and bred in Coventry before moving to LA.


Which one do you think is the cunning red herring? Find out at the end of this blog!

*We googled again. Just to double check the accuracy of our findings.

It’s the end of the blog!


And just in case you couldn’t work it out, number 4 was a lie. Although in our defence, it’s more sensible than any of the internet’s solutions! We guess there’ll always be an element of the unknown surrounding Coventry and elephants. But if it had to be any animal, we’re glad it’s this one. If you’d like to learn more about elephants, here is a really great charity working to protect them in Samburu, North Kenya. You might recognise them from recent BBC documentaries.

We hope we’ve piqued your interest with this enigmatic tale. Get out there and explore Coventry while you’re studying with us, there is so much mystery to this defiantly strong city. And let us know anything you find out in the comments below or on social media.