The Abbey gallery team at Reading Museum
Mayor Councillor Rose Williams and Councillor Sarah Hacker opening the new Abbey exhibition, 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.
If you are out on the local roadway or on the pavements grey and you are looking for an interesting walk or a peaceful place to visit, then just over the old Whitley borders across the M4 there is a beautiful church that is almost a thousand years old.
Glen Dinning, of the Blue Collar Food Market
Glen Dinning is the 25 year old enthusiast behind Blue Collar Food, which can be found at the Butter Market on Wednesdays, the summer foodie events at the Forbury and other recent well-received markets in Henley and Guildford. In a town where a wagon-train-like huddle of feisty independent shops and cafés survive and sometimes thrive amongst a Scooby Doo background of chain coffee shops and retail, Glen is a true innovator and entrepreneur, but he’s not a bit like Del Boy or the Wolf of Wall Street. He is a friendly Reading geezer with a blue and white hooped heart who has already achieved great things with a smile on his face and a large portion of savvy and sheer bottle. He agreed to meet me over a pot of tea to give up some of his business secrets and tell of future plans (and perhaps seek investment in my toast business). He had his phone turned off and he paid for the tea.
David Archibald at the Black History mural
Councillor Sophia James at the Black History mural
Crossing the IDR
Reading Borough Council (RBC) have listed the ‘Black History’ mural on Mill Lane as an asset of community value after it was nominated by the Aspire community interest company (CIC) as part of their campaign to acquire the Central Club.
Whitley library was built in 1935 in the classical and confident municipal style of the time, and is a stand-alone building in smart red brick, with a lovely scrolled Bath stone cartouche at the top with “LIBRARY” written on it. It stands on Northumberland Avenue next to a roundabout at the heart of south Reading. There is a very similar library building in Palmer Park and the style does seem to project a pride in civic life, education and the burgeoning welfare state with that glorious dawn of the National Health Service just a war away.
Earlier this year there was a campaign to save Reading’s cast iron heritage lamp posts by the Bell Tower Community Association. There is now a ‘Love your lamp post‘ website. This has a map of streets where 400 old columns are thought to be so that you can track down those in your local area.
Cathy and Dot with modern Ordnance Survey Map of Reading
Earlier this year the New Christ Church Primary School entered a competition run by Redcliffe Imaging Ltd, a Bristol-based company who produce wall murals. As part of the entry, the school explained that, with their 150th anniversary coming up, they would really love to have a copy of the 1880 map of Reading which showed the school and its surrounding area.
Views from the Hill – The Story of Whitley by Dennis Wood
The Whitley Pump met local historian Dennis Wood and his wife Pearl to talk about his book Views from the Hill, the Story of Whitley at the Whitley Community Café on Northumberland Avenue.
Southampton Street today opposite the Huntley Boorne & Stephens Southampton Street entrance
For local historians with a penchant for photographs and films, David Cliffe’s Picture Palace to Penny Plunge may turn out to be the book of the year. Following up on the filming of A Bridge too Far on Hill Street in 1976 led to the discovery of ‘The Firefighters’.
The Mayor Councillor Rose Williams speaking at the service
At the centre is the Mayor’s wreath and in front three from Katesgrove School
The Mayor, Katesgrove councillor Rose Williams, laid a wreath at the Forbury war memorial on Saturday 11 November following the two minutes silence at 11am.
Matthew Farrall (left) and David Archibald (right), making a sign for ‘Africa’
I was on a lunchtime walk from work with colleagues recently and among them was Jamaican-born Rastafarian, David Archibald. David’s knowledge of the Afro-Caribbean history of three Katesgrove buildings had us all enthralled. He gave us some real insight into the cultural and socio-political side of life growing up in Reading in the 70s and 80s. With vivid joy, he talked of the great times he had at the Apollo Youth Club, the Caribbean Club and the Central Club; David explained most of his life at the time revolved around social gatherings with music at the heart of everything.
The Emperor has no clothes
A Vision for Reading 2050 has been published. What is it all about beyond the garish bright pink cover and the migraine inducing rainbow coloured graphics?
Matilda, barefoot, escapes Oxford. Mixed media, 11″ x 8″. Robert Fitzmaurice 2017
Katesgrove artist Robert Fitzmaurice has produced an artwork inspired by Empress Matilda’s dramatic escape from Oxford Castle on a freezing cold, snowy night,dressed in white.
The news that Sweeney & Todd’s pie shop and restaurant is up for sale sent a shudder down the spine to all of us who still look upon a Sweeney pie as a treat and a Reading food icon.
Lighting of the church porch
There really was a buzz of excitement and expectation around the eagerly awaited opening night of Matilda the Empress. A queue had formed outside St James’ Church on the chilly evening well before the official door opening time 7pm.
County Lock Photograph c.1898; Philbrick’s Tannery is on the right with the Louvred Windows – courtesy Reading LIbrary
The 2017 edition of ‘Berkshire Old & New’, the journal of the Berkshire Local History Association, includes a history of Philbrick’s tannery on Katesgrove Lane.