Reading, its history and attractions

Updated 14 February 2018

The Trooper Potts VC Memorial Trust Website contains information about Reading Past and Present.

                  The History of Reading

The vision of Reading in the future Reading 2050 can be reached via the link; Reading 2050

There is NO Tourist Information Centre in Reading.  Despite the large number of visitors this was dispensed with years ago.  The council view was that visitors (old and young) will use their mobile phones to find any relevant information.  So good luck with that.

The Living Reading website is helpful but that is probably it;

               Living Reading – Visitor Information

Alt Reading provides a good source of information –Information about Alt Reading

Their site also includes information about The Gentlemen Danes,  prisoners from the Napoleonic Wars who were held on parole in Reading.   The Gentlemen Danes of Reading. The article features the memorial on the south wall of Reading Minster to Laurenthius Braag, one of the prisoners who died in Reading.   Reading Civic Society members contributed funds to us to restore his memorial in 2009.  We were alerted to the deteriorating condition of the memorial by society member John Nixon.


The completed restoration with, L-R; Michael Eastham (Restorer) Canon Brian Shenton (Reading Minster) and Richard Bennett (Reading Civic Society)

In early 2017 John has  completed a book about this story which we believe will be a significant contribution to understanding Reading’s history.  If you would like to support publication of this book we will be delighted if you will consider making a donation:

  • Cheque to Reading Civic Society, 69, Baker Street, Reading RG1 7XY
  • Via our Charity Aid Foundation Bank.  Our charity number is 263959.   To make a direct donation find our site by searching CAF Bank to find Reading Civic Society to make donation.  In the “Special Instructions box” indicate that your donation is to support the publication of the book.

All donations given for this purpose will ONLY be used for this purpose.

Alfred Waterhouse designed several major buildings in Reading as explained in this article by Kate Ellis  Alfred Waterhouse

 The local attractions?

The Trooper Potts VC Memorial, unveiled by Chris Tarrant OBE and the Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire on 4 October 2015.

The ruins of Reading Abbey are closed. Contractors were appointed in January 2017 and work is due to commence in mid February 2017.  They re-open on 16 June 2018.   A good source for information and events,  including any planned visits to the ruins, is the Friends of Reading Abbey website.   Reading Museum information about the Abbey and the Abbey Quarter gives an insight to the plans but does not  is also useful.

Trip Advisor lists 73 things to do around Reading;                                               Attractions around Reading

Heritage Open Days in  2018 will run over two weekends; 6-9 and 13-16 September.

     Heritage Open Days

Recent Posts

Station Retail Park development plans submitted

Station Retail Park Development (the TGI Fridays/ ALDI/ Majestic Wine Warehouse site), Caversham Road / Vastern Road. Application for Outline Planning Consent now submitted.

The initial design for the development which will run along Vastern Road and Caversham Road.

3 April 2020 An application for Outline Planning Consent has been submitted for this site No 200328. The link to the application on RBCs Planning site is HERE

A final exhibition was held on 30 & 31 October 2019.  The link HERE takes you to information about the proposals. On Social Media there are understandable concerns from local residents about the loss of the supermarket and other facilities, which will not be replaced for 5 years (the expected time the scheme will take to complete). If taken to completion this scheme will add some 900 flats and some office space with retail on the ground floors. The scheme raised a lot of opposition from people living in Caversham the company commented after the exhibition that “Most of the 220 comments came from Caversham residents and 70% objected.” The Reading on Thames Nov 2019 blog commented The height of the tall building has been pointlessly shrunk to placate the moaners from Caversham Heights.”

On 21 January members of the RCS committee, the CAAC and CADRA met Barton Willmore, the advisors behind the scheme, high up in the Blade to gain a better understanding of what is proposed here. When we meet developers and their agents in this way there is an agreement about confidentiality. It would not however be any surprise that as the site is owned by AVIVA (pension company) that Barton Willmore are developing a scheme which will lead to an Outline Planning Application, the site will then be sold on to a developer who will submit a detailed application with a view to implementation. We were given to understand that the leases on the sites end from 2021 to 2025. It will probably take up to 2 years to work up an outline planning application which gains consent so it is understandable why the scheme has been raised now.

The concerns we raised with BW included: how would construction be undertaken, would the whole site be worked on at the same time or would it work block by block as each lease came to and end (difficult either way), the challenges of all the construction traffic serving developments on Station Hill, SSE, Reading Metropolitan and this site all at pretty much the same time, the closeness of the accommodation blocks to each other, views though the site from the station to the Thames, how the design of the 3 nearby development sites work together (SSE Vastern Road, Reading Metropolitan (the former GPO Sorting Office)), pollution from the nearby road, the accumulated impact of the town centre developments on Healthcare facilities, what social facilities would be provided to build communities, are the units for sale or rent, affordable element? We have been offered a return discussion when there is more information.

  1. New proposals for Local Listing Comments Off on New proposals for Local Listing
  2. Drews buildings added to local list Comments Off on Drews buildings added to local list
  3. Plans for Station Hill Comments Off on Plans for Station Hill
  4. SSE site, Vastern Road Comments Off on SSE site, Vastern Road
  5. King Edwards Building added to local list Comments Off on King Edwards Building added to local list
  6. The future of Reading Golf Club Comments Off on The future of Reading Golf Club
  7. Updated information about plans for Reading Golf Club Comments Off on Updated information about plans for Reading Golf Club
  8. Chazey Barn: a sad state of repair Comments Off on Chazey Barn: a sad state of repair
  9. Chestnut Walk trees to be replaced Comments Off on Chestnut Walk trees to be replaced