Featured post

Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

25 Jan 2014

A visit from the fire service

Last week we got a leaflet through the door saying Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue would be visiting my street. Naturally I forgot all about it until there was a knock at the door this morning.
My youngest was very excited to have firemen in the house. 

They had a good look round,  fitted two free smoke detectors to replace our old ones and went through lots of fire safety advice. I shall be doing the following:
  • Fitting a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Giving the smoke alarms a vacuum every few weeks to keep them dust free.
  • Checking they work weekly.

My youngest even got to have a look at the fire engine parked outside. As a huge Fireman Sam fan he nearly exploded with joy.
If you get a leaflet saying Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue will be popping round, I can assure you they are well worth letting in. Their visit could save your life!

7 Jan 2014

Arts Forum Agenda - 8 January

There is a Arts Forum meeting tomorrow and anyone who is part of the Reading Arts community is welcome.

Here's the agenda.  If you would like to be included on the mailing list, please email me at sarah.hacker@reading.gov.uk.  

Arts Forum

Wednesday 8th January 2013, 6-7pm

Committee Room 1


1.   Reading, a Town of Culture

2.   Timetable for new Cultural Strategy

3.   “Arts Hub” Working Group

4.   Arts Heritage project for the Abbey Ruins

5.   AOB

6 Jan 2014

Memories of Jacksons

I have just watched Inside Out on BBC 1 (it will be on iPlayer) which featured the closing of Jacksons and I couldn't help but get a lump in my throat. 

I have some very old memories of Jacksons.  I used to go there with my mother and late maternal grandmother when I was a little girl.  We'd go to the haberdashery department and I'd spend my time, while they were browing, pushing the cotton reels in on their sprung stand and marvelling at the different colours of tapestry wool and stranded embroidery cotton.

I loved the wool department too.  It just seems so safe and comforting to be surrounded by the rustling packets of wool.

When I was at school you couldn't take a Jacksons bag with you as you'd be teased. In the early 90's Jacksons Corner was somewhere people said the streetworkers were.  I guess they moved after Broad Street was pedestrianised and there was no through traffic.  Or maybe they weren't there at all?  I was too young to know anything more than the rumours.

Even though I passed Jackons when popping into town from work, I rarely bought anything as an adult as they just didn't sell things I needed.  I can knit, crochet and sew but I just don't have the time.  My children don't need specialist school uniform. The fashion just wasn't for me.  I think the last thing I bought was something from the haberdashery department.

I went to view the auction lots on Friday and seeing the haberdashery department empty was so sad.  The step didn't even ring a bell (or was it a buzzer) anymore to let the sales assistants that we were down there.

I watched the auction on my laptop and bought a table.  I wanted a memory of Jacksons (and also needed a table as we don't have one).  It would seem that lots of Reading's residents wanted to keep a little bit of Jacksons too.

5 Jan 2014

Get involved with the Abbey Quarter bid!

Reading Borough Council are putting together another bid for Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money.  Having strong resident participation can only boost the bid.  If you care about the heitage of Reading, please read on and complete the consultation questionnaire.  I have! :

"Abbey Quarter Project Consultation

View of Abbey Ruins

The Council is putting together proposals for the conservation and promotion of Reading’s historic Abbey Quarter. The aim is to highlight the Quarter’s many heritage gems of both local and national importance to create a unique heritage destination for residents and visitors.

You can help us by taking a few minutes to complete our short online survey. This will inform our grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) that will be submitted in February 2014.

Follow this link to complete the online survey to have your say.


The Abbey Quarter is an opportunity to reverse the previously piecemeal approach to the conservation and interpretation of historic monuments within the former precinct of Reading Abbey. Working with English Heritage we have already completed comprehensive condition surveys and investigations of the Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gate (both grade I listed buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments). These surveys have established a detailed schedule of repairs and a cost plan that will be included in our lottery funding bid.

Our new application to HLF will focus on the Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gate, site-wide interpretation, pedestrian signage, and a programme of events and activities. The HLF will assess our application against outcomes for heritage, people and communities. The project will encourage a wide range of people to visit and engage with the Abbey’s heritage through consultation, activities and evaluation.

You can find more information about the Abbey Quarter Project by following this link to the Reading Museum Website

Feedback from this consultation will be used to help support our application for Heritage Lottery Funding at the end of February. The results to this consultation will also be made available by the end of February.

The deadline for this consultation is Friday 31st January 2014 - 12noon."