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17 Oct 2017

Have you got a bit of Reading Abbey in your rockery?

Reading Borough Council Press Release:

Could You Own a Piece of Reading History?

October 16, 2017 Oscar Mortali

RESIDENTS will have the opportunity to learn more about the ambitious new Hidden Abbey Stones project at an upcoming public meeting on Friday 20 October.

The Hidden Abbey Stones Project (HASP) is an exciting new venture which aims to learn more about the lost and hidden stones of the Abbey that were removed following its dissolution in 1539. Many of the stones that once formed the Abbey still exist in Reading today, built into walls or houses or simply unrecognised in rockeries and flowerbeds.

By studying the composition and decorative style of many of these stones, it is hoped that the group will be able to reveal not just aspects of the Abbey’s architecture, but also speak of its life, musical tradition, art, and even the changing social and religious attitudes of the nation.

The meeting takes place at St James Church Roman Catholic Church, The Forbury, on Friday 20th October at 7.30pm. It will include contributions from the Right Rev Geoffrey Scott (Abbot of Douai Abbey), Toby Davies (Reading Between The lines), Dr Kevin Hayward (Reading University) and John Mullaney (one of the initiators of the project).

Entry to the meeting is free but ticketed. Tickets can be obtained by entering Hidden Abbey Stones Project Launch on Eventbrite or by using this link: 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hidden-abbey-stones-project-launch-tickets-38682606718

Councillor Sarah Hacker, Lead Councillor for Culture, and a member of the project’s steering group said:

“Many people across the town may have stones that once formed part of Reading Abbey in their gardens, but simply don’t realise they own a part of Reading’s history. The public meeting is a brilliant opportunity for residents to learn more about the project and the materials that were once part of one of the most important religious buildings in Europe.”

The project forms part of the ‘Hidden Abbey Project’, which has been set up to discover the full extent and significance of the Royal Abbey, founded by Henry in 1121, which was the final resting place of the king and his Queen Adeliza. The project won a Reading Cultural Award in the category Celebrating Reading’s Heritage in June 2017.

13 Oct 2017

Never been happier to see road closures! Cow Lane bridges update



Lots of things make me happy.  My family and friends, a really good curry, prosecco, getting through a body pump class without having to stop once and a beautiful clear and frosty day.  This week a new thing was added to my list - road closures.  Not just any road closure but ones that allow the final stage of the Cow Lane Bridge widening to be completed!!!!!

Cllr Gul Khan, Cllr Chris Maskell and the MP for Reading West Martin Salter from 2008 when the current plans were approved.
The Cow Lane Bridges project has been going for a loooooooong time (see more here).  It would have been done by now if it hadn't been for an objection to a compulsory purchase order (which was withdrawn!).  Reading Labour have been fighting for it's completion for years and the end is now in sight.

From 2013 when the first bridge was put in place
Since the original plans were drawn up I have ensured the addition of a dedicated cycle and pedestrian path under the bridges so all road users can use the road safely.  Network Rail are beginning the works and they should be completed before the Reading Festival next year.  I know closures are inconvenient but the results should be worth it.

  •  3 to 6 November 2017 between 20:00 to 06:00 
  • 10 to 13 November 2017 between 20:00 to 06:00 (contingency) 
  • 6 to 9 July 2018 between 20:00 to 06:00
  • 13 to 16 July 2018 between 20:00 to 06:00 (contingency)
  • 14 to 17 September 2018 between 20:00 to 06:00


A signed diversion route will be in place throughout the weekend closures and a pedestrian diversion will be in place as required to accommodate the works and maintain all  users safety.