Old and new in the Abbey Quarter - the Abbey Ruins and The Blade
Reading Borough Council is developing an exciting plan to transform Reading's Abbey precinct into a unique historical and cultural destination. The Abbey Quarter plans will pull together a number of important historic sites, buildings and structures, under a single, co-ordinated approach.
Many of the Quarter's historic features are recognised as having national and local importance being designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Listed Buildings. Reading Museum's significant collections relating to the Abbey are of international importance and both reflect Reading's long history of global links.
The main conservation priorities are the Abbey Ruins and the Abbey Gateway, both Scheduled Monuments on the English Heritage ‘Heritage at Risk Register’. Separate funding has already improved Town Hall Square in 2013 and has been secured to restore St Laurence's churchyard wall and work began in February 2015.
In June 2014 the Council secured initial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This means the Council can now move on to developing more detailed plans for the project which includes widespread conservation work of the Abbey Ruins and Gate, the site-wide interpretation of the Abbey Quarter area and a programme of events and activities. There is now a two year window to work up our application seeking the full grant amount of £1.7 million from the HLF.
Consultants have been appointed to start work on these plans and to consult with local people. We have already carried out an online survey asking people to give us their detailed thoughts about the Abbey Quarter site, an impressive 1066 people responded. The results are being feed into our plans for interpretation and activities as part the project's development phase.
You can download the latest project update at the bottom of this page. You can also follow us on our Abbey Quarter facebook page.
The project to conserve the Abbey was initiated after public access to the ruins was closed in summer 2009 after a condition survey highlighted the ‘poor and rapidly deteriorating condition of the walls’. Survey work has recently been carried out by specialist building surveyors taking high-tech images of the ruins. Following a study of these 3D scans, architects have created a detailed picture map of each area to help identify the extent of the conservation required. They have also reviewed the work required on other areas including the Abbey Gateway.
You can also view a short podcast about the Abbey on the Museum's Youtube Channel.
As part of creating a wider strategic framework for Reading's heritage, the Council has prepared a draft Heritage Statement. This is to provide context and initial input in the development of the heritage section in the forthcoming Cultural and Heritage Strategy.
Date updated: 12 Feb 2015
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Reading Abbey podcast
Friends of Reading Abbey