First night of Henry II at Reading Minster

The first night of Henry II, the pay what you want night, on 8 October was booked with much anticipation as soon as tickets came out in June. There are 17 more days and 24 more performances to come until Reading collapses exhausted with the last night of the last part of the Conquerors trilogy.

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Whitley past and present explored with Dennis Wood

By John Howard and Adam Harrington.

Dennis Wood at the Whitley history talk on 29 September. Photo: John Howard

Dennis Wood, the author of Views from the Hill, the Story of Whitley gave a charming and fascinating talk called Whitley Past and Present at Whitley library on 29 September.

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Memories of the paintings at the South Reading Community Centre

by Dennis Wood

The opening of the South Reading Community Hub

The opening of the South Reading Community Hub took place in June this year after the Whitley Library had been moved there. After I attended the opening and told some friends about it, they mentioned to me about the two large paintings that they remembered from their younger days as hanging in the main hall of the South Reading (Whitley) Community Centre and wondered whether they were still there. Although I knew they were no longer in the hall, there were various recollections of these paintings and clearly a bit of research was needed to unravel their story. This is the result with the valuable help of Reading Museum.

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Walking stages 3 and 4 of the IDR

The ski jump at the end of the IDR in 1984. The Hook and Tackle is the on the left, painted white.

Having carved its way from Caversham Road to the foot of Southampton Street, in the 1970s Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) stopped abruptly at the ‘ski jump’ where the Oracle roundabout now is. During this hiatus, Reading consulted and debated about whether and how to continue.

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Walking stage I of Reading’s IDR

The IDR as it was intended to be built at the time that Stage I was under construction.

Construction of Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) started in 1969, but it had been included in development plans since 1957 and no doubt was a twinkle in someone’s eye some time before that. It still bothers Reading’s civic soul when proposals are brought forward to make it one-way or to cover over part of it or turn it into a park.

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32 years of Reading trolleybus history

Reading 174 (ERD145). Photo courtesy of the Trolleybus Museum, Sandtoft

An exhibition of Reading trolleybus history opened at Reading Museum on 14 August. Items on show will delight the transport enthusiast and local historian. This is one of several events in Reading and at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft near Doncaster to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of Reading’s trolleybus system.

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Lessons at the Victorian schoolroom at Katesgrove School

By Wynne Frankum

1873 school on Katesgrove Lane

Good better best,
never let it rest,
’till your good is better
and your better best.

This was the Victorian rhyme learnt by heart by pupils visiting the Katesgrove schoolroom. It became our mantra when setting up the Victorian schoolroom. Artefacts and lessons used in the schoolroom had to be thoroughly researched and, as far as the budget allowed, historically accurate.

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Introduction to “a walk around Reading’s IDR”

The IDR as it was intended to be built at the time that Stage I was under construction.

The Whitley Pump is leading a walk around Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days in September. Reading’s post-war history, in which it transformed from a primarily industrial to a retail town, circle the IDR like the IDR circles the town centre.

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Reading Fringe – On the Couch – Wednesday edition

From L to R: Sir John Madejski, Fiona Talkington, Zsuzsi Lindsay, Matthew Williams and John Luther

Reading Fringe Festival presented the first of a series of four ‘On the Couch‘ events today (Wednesday 25 July). BBC Radio 3 presenter and Fringe guest curator, Fiona Talkington navigated the panel of four of Reading’s cultural celebrities: Sir John Madejski, John Luther, Matthew Williams and Zsuzsi Lindsay through a lively and entertaining programme.

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