The great Coventry elephant quest

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It’s funny how you can walk round Coventry and not notice the elephants. As is so often the way with elephants, people simply walk past them without a glance.


They’re everywhere in the city centre: in the market, outside the Council House, lining the pavements…  there’s even one balanced on top of a great big pole, looking down on Lady Godiva in the Broadgate.

Journalism staff at Coventry University decided a treasure hunt would be a good way for new students to get to know the city, with clues sent out via Twitter. The idea came from the summer conference of the Association for Journalism Education, no less.

But when we were planning the route, we kept seeing elephants. And so it became The Great Coventry Elephant Quest.

elephant procession

There were dozens in the Guildhall alone, including some that were carved hundreds of years ago by people who had never seen a picture of an elephant, and worked from descriptions alone, with comical results.

There was even one on a pillar under the ring road – holding up the traffic, so to speak.

An elephant with a castle on its back appears on the city crest, reputedly as a symbol of strength. It dates back to the days when Coventry was one of the greatest cities in England, in medieval times.

Click here to see the various elephants students found round the city, along with some of the clues – or click on any of the pictures.

elephants trio


Simon Pipe is a former print and BBC journalist, now a member of the Journalism teaching team at Coventry University. He also runs an experimental website, St Helena Online, about one of the world's most remote inhabited islands, at On Twitter, when he has something to say, he is @simonpipe

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