Reading Abbey’s much anticipated big day re-opening was well celebrated by visitors yesterday, 16 June. The formal cutting of the crimson and gold ribbons was undertaken by Reading Mayor, councillor Debs Edwards, and HM Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire James Puxley.
Reading Abbey dormitory wall today
The conservation work at Reading Abbey is technically fascinating. One of the more visible aspects, even from the outside, is the soft green capping on top of the walls. This has been introduced as the best way to protect the fabric from the affects of rain.
Rabson’s Recreation Ground
In the time of Abbot William (1165-1173), Reading Abbey was given permission by Henry II to enclose land that it had in Whitley into a park. By the time of the dissolution of the Abbey in 1539, large swathes of Whitley were owned by the Abbey; Whitley Manor to the west of Basingtoke Road and Whitley Park to the east.
Cloister style garden with Elizabeth Frink statue and Abbey and Prison in the distance
Just three days until Reading Abbey re-opens (#abbeymania) and up here on the hill what we most want to know is – ‘If the water supply for the Abbey came from the Whitley Conduit where did it arrive?’
By Simon Wise.
1957 AEC Regent III Bus, Reading Corporation Transport. Photo used by permission of TV&GWOT
They are just maroon and cream coloured ghosts now, their web of wiring long gone; even the posts that supported those wires have been removed from Whitley’s streets, but Reading’s trolleybuses will be recalled in a special event this Sunday 3 June 2018.
Reading Memory Routes map by Alda Terracciano
Opening night of Matilda the Empress
Christopher Tajah – older Gordon Greenidge
Abel Auer and rented dogs outside the Rising Sun Arts Centre
Painted column at Abbey exhibition, Reading Museum
The Whitley Pump has featured at least one of the finalists in each of the twelve categories of this year’s Reading Cultural Awards, some on more than one occasion. This shows how much is going on in, or linked with, our little patch of Reading!
A plaque which was placed on the Whitley Conduit when it was refurbished in 1908 is now on show in the new Story of Reading Gallery display at Reading Museum.
‘Curtains Up!’ is the latest publication from Reading Borough Council (RBC) libraries. It tells the history of each of RBC’s music venues: the 1882 Concert Hall, the Hexagon and the newly refurbished South Street Arts Centre.
In the autumn of 1973 David Turner was told by a friend that there was a derelict detached house on the Basingstoke Road that had been empty for a few years and was up for sale.
Rear of Yeomanry House
Reading register office at Yeomanry House on Castle Hill will be holding an open day on Saturday 21 April from 10am to 2pm. This is to mark the fiftieth anniversary since it opened in 1968, and also its closure later this year.
The Berkshire book of song, rhyme and steeple chime was published in 1935 and is a unique record of country song, children’s games, epitaphs, droll church inscriptions, poems, doggerel, social history and some scurrilous local gossip. These pieces were lovingly collected over twenty years or so by the publisher and author Arthur L Humphreys.
By Adrian Lawson.
Coley Meadows (c) Adrian Lawson
I met the owner of part of Coley meadows many years ago, and he told me a fascinating tale of two aeroplanes colliding there. He described the area where he thought they had crashed, and for many years I kept my eyes open for any sign. When the Fobney Island nature reserve was being dug I had hoped to find some evidence, but there was none. I looked it up and found a news report; the crash happened on 4 November 1962. There was no detail on the actual location, so I asked a few of the more senior residents, but strangely nobody knew much.
Local historian Dennis Wood, author of Views from the Hill: The Story of Whitley, will be giving an illustrated talk at 2pm on Saturday 10 March at Whitley Library on Northumberland Avenue [this event has been cancelled].
The Shady Side of Town (© Two Rivers Press)
Picture Palace to Penny Plunge
St Lawrence Jewry Memorial Fountain
Views from the Hill The Story of Whitley by Dennis Wood
As a celebration of World Book Day 2018, the Whitley Pump looks back at the books we reviewed in the last year.
(L to R) Matthew Farrall and David Cliffe (holding the ticket)
Whitley Pump contributor Matthew Farrall was idly looking at a wall in his mum’s house recently and noticed a framed local newspaper article featuring a ticket dated 17 July 1867 for Whitley toll gate.
Mayor Councillor Rose Williams and Councillor Sarah Hacker opening the new Abbey exhibition, Reading Museum
The Abbey gallery team at Reading Museum
Reading Museum opened its new abbey gallery to the public on Monday 12 February. The museum’s abbey gallery is the most recently completed part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, which is jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Reading Borough Council (RBC). Restoration of the abbey gateway will complete in April 2018 and the abbey ruins will re-open to the public on 16 June 2018.
Henry Philbrick, elder brother of Charles and George Philbrick of the tannery on Katesgrove Lane, went out to Australia to seek his fortune in 1857. After a period in the goldfields of Victoria he turned to the family trade and set up a tannery at Broadford in 1865.
Plan of the 1643 siege of Reading defences – north is at the bottom of the page. © British Library Board (ADDMS.5415.E.3.)
The heritage antenna on Katesgrove Hill crackled into life when it received a transmission from the Reading Borough Council planning committee webcast in November about possible English Civil War defences underneath a town centre site proposed for redevelopment .
Staff and Employees of Poulton & Sons outside 185 Waterloo Road. William Poulton is standing by the front door on the right.
St Giles’ Close Playground
Katesgrove Primary School
Whitley Pump contributor Evelyn Williams will be giving a talk on the History of Katesgrove at the 17 January meeting of the History of Reading Society.
St Laurence’s Church Fountain
Horse trough donated by Annis & George Bills. Broadford, Victoria, Australia
Morin-Gacon, Dijon water pump
Samson Fountain – Bern, Switzerland
Attwells Fountain on Thames Promenade
‘Parched City‘ was an impulse buy from the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) bookshop. The cover featuring the 1859 opening of London’s first public drinking fountain in the wall of St Sepulchre’s Church in the City of London was a magnet for this Whitley Pump correspondent.