The Whitley Pump

The view from Katesgrove Hill

Category: History (page 1 of 12)

What’s happening in Katesgrove and Whitley from 14 October


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What’s happening in Katesgrove and Whitley from 7 October


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A talk about Southern Hill at Christ Church by Dennis Wood

Poster for Southern Hill talk

Local historian and author Dennis Wood will be giving a talk on the history of Southern Hill at 2pm on Wednesday 9 October at Christ Church, Christchurch Road, Reading. Southern Hill is the name by which the area that now lies along Christchurch, Redlands and Upper Redlands Roads was once known.

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A talk about George Lovejoy from the History of Reading Society

George Lovejoy by Charles L Havell c1850

George Lovejoy, the nineteenth century London Street bookseller, is famous on the virtual pages of the Whitley Pump for his insistence on the proper audit and scrutiny of the Corporation of Reading’s accounts. The History of Reading Society‘s talk this evening, 18 September, at 7.30pm will no doubt fill in some more details of the life of this fascinating Reading figure.

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Matt Rodda MP’s petition to Save Reading Gaol

Matt Rodda at the opening of the ‘In Reading Gaol by Reading Town‘ exhibition at the Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock

The Whitley Pump asked Reading East MP, Matt Rodda, about his ‘Save Reading Gaol’ petition.

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Two years on, what has changed on the scenic route to the Madejski Stadium?

Sustrans signpost on Waterloo Meadows

Reading were at home to Sheffield Wednesday for their first game of the 2018/19 season. It was a fine day, so we decided to see what had changed since 2017 on the scenic cross-country route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium.

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Heritage Open Days events 2019 in and around Katesgrove

Heritage Open Days (HODs) are celebrating their 25th birthday with an extended programme of events over ten days from 13 to 22 September. There are over 40 participating venues and events in Reading this year and you don’t have to go too far from the Whitley Pump for some of them.

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Friends of the IDR respond to the RBC transport consultation

The Black History Mural and the IDR

The Whitley Pump asked Reg Vastern-King, chair of the Friends of the IDR (Inner Distribution Road), what he thought about the Reading Borough Council (RBC) consultation on transport strategy; he was not impressed. “I just don’t understand,” he said “how can you carry out a transport strategy consultation which does not even ask how you feel about the IDR?”

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Whitley Pump is participating in Heritage Open Days 2019

The Whitley Pump is giving two ‘Discovering Katesgrove‘ tours at Reading Museum as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days. Both tours will take place on Saturday 21 September.

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Excavations well underway at 62-68 Silver Street

David Sanchez of Thames Valley Archaeological Services

Archaeological excavations are underway at 62-68 Silver Street in Katesgrove, next door to where mediaeval tileries were discovered earlier this year. David Sanchez of Thames Valley Archaeological Services told the Whitley Pump that there were new discoveries on this site. They had found evidence of metalworking and four layers of occupation: modern, Victorian, seventeenth century and mediaeval.

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A lifetime of music in Reading, with Fiona Talkington

Fiona Talkington on New Road, Redlands, in January 2019

The BBC Radio 3 broadcaster, writer, Norwegian arts enthusiast and Reading Fringe Festival curator Fiona Talkington still lives near Christchurch Green, Reading, in the home in which she grew up. Her house was, as it should be for a music presenter, almost knee-deep in CDs, although Fiona did confide that the CDs also met an insulating role where they lined inside external walls.

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A Katesgrove tour of the Story of Reading Gallery at Reading Museum

Reading Hindu Temple

The stunning centrepiece at the entrance to the new Story of Reading gallery at Reading Museum contains an object from each of Reading’s 16 wards. For Katesgrove, it is a small brass lamp used during prayers at Reading Hindu Temple at the top of Whitley Street.

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Story of Reading Gallery is officially open

Deputy mayor Councillor David Stevens cutting the ribbon to open the gallery.

The completely remodelled ground floor gallery of Reading Museum has been officially launched. Following a brief introduction from museum manager, Matthew Williams, the deputy mayor, councillor David Stevens, cut the red ribbon with a sharp pair of Reading museum scissors and declared the gallery open.

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Windrush Day comes to south Reading on 22 June

Image courtesy of BAFA.

Reading celebrates the Windrush generation’s contribution to the town with four events, starting with a sports day at South Reading Leisure Centre on Windrush day, 22 June.

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St Augustine’s Conduit House in Canterbury

St Augustine’s conduit house

The conduit house which supplied water to St Augustine’s Abbey should have been the first stop on the Whitley Pump tour of Canterbury, but there were so many other attractions and we almost didn’t find it.

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California (Katesgrove) Dreaming…

Hidden behind an ornate brick frontage on Milman Road stands a quietly growing giant. This giant is a tree, and not just any tree, but a Californian Redwood. It is the only tree on the street with a preservation order, thanks to efforts by local legends John and Edna Tuggey.

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Gillette Building on Basingstoke Road has been locally listed

By Evelyn Williams & Dennis Wood.

Gillette in February 2017 before work started

The recent planning application for a major reconfiguration of the Gillette building on Basingstoke Road in Whitley elicited positive comments about the factory building from councillors on the Reading Borough Council (RBC) planning committee.

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62-68 Silver Street demolition underway

The disused ochre industrial building at 62-68 Silver Street, now being demolished, has been a landmark for many years while it fell into dilapidation, although it never quite reached the iconic status of fancyV Norrisdraper on Southampton Street.

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The sad fate of Albert Illenden of Basingstoke Road, 1865

Blacksmith Edward Eynott shoeing a horse at his forge in Church Road, Caversham, Reading, c. 1895. Photo courtesy of Reading Borough Library Local Studies Collection.

John Illenden, a resident of Katesgrove, has uncovered the tragic fate of one of his family who lived and died on Basingstoke Road in Whitley during the 1860s.

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Addington House is on the market

Addington House, London Street

Addington House on London Street in Katesgrove is being marketed for sale by Sharps Commercial who are inviting offers in excess of £1million. The Grade II* listed property which was once the home of Dr Anthony Addington (1713-1790), physician to George III, was recently granted planning permission for conversion from office accommodation to apartments.

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