Our exploration of Christchurch Conservation Area took us to Whitley Crescent last week. The walk continues from the junction of Kendrick and Christchurch Roads, and there are some benches nearby if you need to rest or to wait for stragglers to catch up.
The numbers on the route map are referred to in the text below in bold italics.
The top of Kendrick Road is within the Christchurch Conservation Area and most of the rest of the street is within the Kendrick Conservation Area.
Looking north down Kendrick Road, away from Christ Church, we are presented with another delightful view down a tree lined boulevard into the centre of Reading. In the mid-nineteenth century it would have been possible to see the chimneys of Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory on King’s Road which opened in 1846 from here (pictured).
Directions: Walk down the west side of Kendrick Road as far as the junction with Allcroft Road (no 5).
None of the buildings on the west side of Kendrick Road are within this conservation area, however it is worth mentioning a locally listed building at 114 Kendrick Road, one of only five in Reading. It was added to the list in 2013 following a refused planning application (120505) for demolition and the building of two new houses on the site. The applicants appealed against Reading Borough Council’s decision, but the appeal was dismissed.
Directions: Cross Kendrick Road to the east side. You have now left Katesgrove and you are in Redlands ward.
117 and 119 Kendrick Road are specifically mentioned in the appraisal of the conservation area as they were included on the advice of the council’s conservation advisor.
The treatment of modern buildings within conservation areas is not consistent. In some, such as Kendrick Conservation area, they are generally excluded, but in this case Sheringham Court has been included. The appraisal says:
Sheringham Court, Kendrick Road is a relatively new building, not a particularly successful attempt at architecturally matching its neighbours. The frontage wall and gates are however retained.
Before walking back up to the top of Kendrick Road pause for a view of Christ Church (no 6). This is regarded as one of the key features of the conservation area and the spire is a dominant feature of Reading’s skyline.
The church regularly opens its doors to visitors during the Heritage Open Day weekend in September. It is a Grade II* listed building (1113441) built 1861-2 by the architect Henry Woodyer and then enlarged in 1874. The tower and steeple were completed in 1875.
The church was originally planned as a “chapel of ease” for St Giles’, to cope with an expanding parish. Woodyer’s school in Basingstoke Road (qv St Paul’s School) was used until Christ Church was ready [ref 1].
The vicar of St Giles’, Rev T. V. Fosbery, took the intiative for the project which had an expected budget of £7,650. Sir William Milman, the third baronet, gave the land for the building. The laying of the foundation stone of the new church on 6 July 1861 was a big local occasion that received two and half full columns in both the Berkshire Chronicle [ref 2] and Reading Mercury. Sir William Milman did not attend the ceremony, but his uncle Henry Hart Milman, dean of St Paul’s, was able to be there. He said:
I am happy – I may say I am proud – that my nephew recognizes and acts upon the principle that property has its duties as well as its advantages, and I am quite sure that by making, I will not say this sacrifice, but by making the offering of that part of the land which he holds in this charming site he will feel an inward satisfaction at having advanced the influence of that Church of which I believe he is a sincere follower, as well as the advancement of the cause of Christianity in this great and important town. (Applause) [ref 3].
The dean had been parish priest at St Mary’s Minster earlier in his career and in his speech he also commented on his working life in Reading. “I cannot but feel that I ought to look back upon my career at Reading with anything but perfect satisfaction.”
A subscription list published about a year later lists £500 from Christ’s Hospital, £400 from the diocesan board, £450 from the Church Building Society and other contributions including £200 from local MP, R Benyon. Funding of £950 was still needed to complete the project [ref 4].
Next stop: Next week, we walk along the north side of Christchurch Road to the Hillingdon Prince Hotel (no 7).
- Christ Church listing entry 1113441. The listing for St Paul’s School is 1321985.
- Berkshire Chronicle 13 July 1861
- Reading Mercury 13 July 1861
- Reading Mercury 19 April 1862
Newspaper references from British Newspaper Archive, courtesy of British Library, online at findmypast.uk (subscription required), unless stated otherwise. Reading Central Library also has a full set of copies on the Berkshire Chronicle and Reading Mercury.
- Conserving Katesgrove – An introduction to Christchurch Conservation Area
- Reading Borough Council Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings
- Reading Borough Council locally listed buildings
- Planning Inspectorate Case Number APP/E0345/A/12/2185303
- Heritage Open Days around Katesgrove
- Christ Church, Christchurch Road, Reading
- Henry Woodyer 1816-1896
- Milman baronets