Future of the Central Club still uncertain

Turning into Mill Lane

The mural on the side of the Central Club during this year’s half marathon

All the options currently under consideration for the future of the former Central Club building on London Street are ‘unviable’ according to a report going to Reading Borough Council’s policy committee on 18 July.

If agreed by the policy committee, bids will be sought for the freehold or leasehold of the building from voluntary and not-for-profit groups. A deadline of 31 December 2016 has been set. Importantly, bidders are invited

…to propose solutions that retain and protect the mural within their overall project.

The estimated cost of retaining the mural is approximately £100,000.

A plaque below the mural states:

Central Reading Youth Provision
Black history mural
Livicated on 16th June 1990 to the memory of C.L.R.James 1901-1989
and the peaceful anti-apartheid demonstrators who were massacred in
Soweto by the South African regime during the uprising which began
on this day in 1976.
Painted by the Central Club Mural Team:
Patrick Dawkins, Wayne Edwards, Alan Howard, Kevin Taylor
With assistance from:
Jeff Allamby, Andrea, Allison Hewitt, Izasha, Martyn James,
Conrad John, Cleo Lee, Dennis Small
Commissioned by: Reading Borough Council
Supported by:
Reading Borough Council, Central Reading Youth Provision,
Earley Charities, C.F. Rawling and Son, OSS Scaffolding, Covell Matthews,
Wheatley Architects Ltd, B & B Foods Ltd, LINCS, 21 South St,
Central Publications Group, Carlos Holder, Patrick Israel, Larry Sweeney,
Iyakka Talliman, Timmy Toussaint, Alan Warren.
Project Director: Alan Howard

In 2008 it was anticipated that the African and Caribbean Community Group (ACCG) would raise funding to carry out works to bring the building back into use. The group was unable to raise the £200,000 required for the project; consequently in 2015 a steering group was set up.

The four options considered by the Central Building Steering Group set up by Reading Voluntary Action (RVA) were:

  1. partnership development with a social housing provider,
  2. partnership development with a student accommodation provider,
  3. raising a loan to develop the site under a community property organisation,
  4. obtaining grant funding for a stand-alone arts centre.

None of these options are considered viable.

The Policy Committee  will meet at 6.30 pm on Monday 18 July in the Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading. Councillor Lovelock will chair the meeting, which is expected to be webcast.


  1. Reading Borough Council Policy Committee 18 July 2016
  2. The former Central Club Building – Report of the Feasibility Steering Group
  3. Reading Borough Council webcasts
  4. Reading Voluntary Action