Reading's architecture


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Reading Town Hall - Town Hall Square

Designed by renowned Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse, and built between 1872-75, the complex is actually made up of three linked buildings - The Town Hall, Reading Museum and the Concert Hall. The Concert Hall boasts the famous Father Willis organ, which is still played in  regualr public performances.

Waterhouse also designed a number of other important buildings in Reading. Read Altreading's article on Waterhouse and Reading. 

Church architecture

Read our dedicated page on Reading's churches

The George Hotel - King Street

The hotel dates from the 1500s and was originally a coaching inn with an atmospheric coblled yard.

Mill Arches - Abbey Square -behind the Blade

Spanning the Holy Brook, a branch of the River Kennet, the Mill Arches date from the 1100s. They are today surrounded by modern Reading, but had survived thanks to the Holy Brook powered water mills on this site until the 1960s. 

Abbey Gateway - Abbot Walk

The Gateway was originally part of the Reading Abbey complex. The Gateway was rebuilt by the Victorians and will be conserved as part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project in the next few years. Jane Austen attended the Abbey School here between 1785-87. 

Simeon Monument - Market Place

The obelisk was designed by Sir John Soane, architect of the Bank of England who was educated in Reading.

Reading Abbey ruins - Chestnut Walk / Abbot Walk

The ruins of the twelth century abbey are currently closed for conservation work, read more about the Abbey here

Forbury Gardens

Reading town centre's green space was created by the Victorians on the site of forecourt of Reading Abbey. Forbury Hill, in its centre, has Civil War fortifications on it. The Gardens host the Maiwand Lion, scupted by George Simonds as a memorial to the men of the Berkshire Regiment killed in Afghanistan in the ninemeenth century. There is also a memorial to Henry I, who was buried in Reading Abbey and to the Reading men who volunteered in the Spanish Civil War.

Reading Prison

The oldest buildings in the former prison were built on the 'model' style in cruciform shape by Sir Gilbert Scott and William Moffatt in 1842. The prison became famous thanks to 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol', an epic poem written by Oscar Wilde following his incarceration in the prison between 1895-97.

Huntley and Palmers

Reading was home to the largest biscuit factory in the world. Little remains today of Huntley & Palmers' factory. You can see a fabulous collection of their biscuit tins in Reading Museum. Blake's Lock on the Kennet was part of Victorian industrial Reading and is has been preserved as a riverside restaurant, Bel and the Dragon, and the Riverside Museum. 



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