Monday, 26 June 2017

Reading Abbey Restoration


Thanks for calling in.

Reading Abbey is currently undergoing restoration works and is due to reopen to the public next year, 2018.  The Abbey was founded by King Henry I in 1121 and he is believed to be buried in the vicinity. Jane Austen also went to school there when The Abbey School was located in the Abbey Gatehouse in the 18th Century.

Reading Museum's current exhibition -The Abbey Quarter: Then and Now - is linked to the work and even has some video footage of the current building works.  It's so interesting to see the pictures of old Reading and see how it's changed over the centuries.

Nobody really knows what the Abbey looked like in the 1500s but this is an Artist's impression.

Here's the Abbey Gateway in 1759

In 1840 where you can see a train through the gate as the railway had just arrived in Reading.
 The Gateway collapsed in 1861 and had to be rebuilt.

Here it is in 1890.

A view of Market Place in 1790

Here's the Abbey Gateway today, all covered over but with builders working on it behind.

The ruins themselves are all cordoned off, scaffolding up in places, builders working hard.

I've walked past this memorial in Forbury Gardens countless times without realising it was for King Henry I.

The rose garden was at its best, the red rose winning the competition of having the best scent, lots of research done by me!

This is a tulip tree and it's the first time I've noticed the flowers, just like tulips.

Edward VII post box

There are already tours around the ruins to look at the works and talks too.  Not too long to wait until it's all finished.  Sometimes it's been asked why it's all taking so long, but the reply is that it's not long really spread over the 900 years since it was first built!



  1. I'm so glad to see this blog post about the Abbey ruins and progress on the restoration. Thank you. I like to go to the Forbury when I'm in Reading. I'm looking forward to when everything is finished and the public can go in and enjoy the experience of walking around the ruins as we did before it was closed up.

    1. I thought of you when I was writing this, knowing you'd be pleased to hear that things were moving along. It will be great when all the work is done.

  2. A lovely post, it was a joy to see the old post box.

    1. I'm always on the look out for an Edward VIII one as there are a few out there but I haven't seen one yet.