As promised, more about the famous blue cloth produced in Coventry in the 1300’s and known throughout Europe at the time as ‘Coventry Blue’.
The blue cloth was dyed using woad. Woad is a plant related to the cabbage. The green leaves produce the blue dye. The blue dye which comes from the woad plant is the same blue which comes from the tropical indigo plant. Indigo is used to dye denim jeans. The fastness of the woad dye – it didn’t fade – resulted in the saying ‘True as Coventry Blue’, shortened to ‘true blue’ . This means loyal and steadfast.
No one knows what colour Coventry Blue was as no samples of the blue cloth have ever been found – also the dyers recipe was passed down by word of mouth so no one knows how it was made. As a result it is not to possible to recreate it and the exact colour will always remain a mystery. We can only guess at what it might have looked like.
The importance of blue in the city’s history has almost certainly given rise to the blue football strip of the Coventry Sky Blues football team.
In 2013 The Weavers’ Workshop ran a project called ‘Reinventing Coventry Blue’ as part of Coventry Mysteries – to find out a bit more about the project you can download a short video here. The finished woven triptych, ‘A Kind of Coventry Blue’ was gifted to Charterhouse on London Road, Coventry and can be viewed there on open days, check their website for opening dates and times.