Reading Abbey Gateway Reopens
12 April 2018, 08:06
There's a special ceremony later to reopen Reading's Abbey Gateway as part of a three-million pound restoration project.
The Mayor will unveil a commemorative plaque, with the public able to take tours of it from this Saturday.
It's the entrance to the Abbey Ruins, which will open again in June.
Reading Abbey Gateway will be revealed next week, following restoration work as part of the £3.15 million Abbey Quarter project.
In the exciting count down to the opening of Reading Abbey Ruins in June, Reading Museum is delighted to open up the newly restored Abbey Gateway, which sits next to Reading's crown court, opposite the Forbury Gardens.
Thanks to National Lottery players and a £1.7million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the gateway has benefitted from vital internal refurbishment and roof repairs, with plans for Reading Museum's popular Victorian Schoolroom experience to move into the space in September 2018. The Abbey Gateway will be open for special events, such as history tours, during the summer.
The Abbey Gateway launch is the second event in a series of major openings as part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, with the Museum's new Abbey gallery which opened in February and the Abbey Ruins due to open on 16th June 2018.
There will be a private celebratory evening launch event on Thursday 12th April, where the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Rose Williams, will unveil a commemorative panel describing the gateway's important history.
Members of the public can visit the Abbey Gateway on Saturday 14th April from 10:30am to 3:30pm for free drop in craft sessions and for pre-booked gateway history tours.
Cllr Tony Page, Reading's Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport, and Deputy Leader, said:
"I'm delighted to finally see the newly restored Abbey Gateway open to the public. The building has a rich and varied history, including its claim to fame as the former classroom of the writer Jane Austen. It will make a fitting space for the museum's popular Victorian classroom experience.
"This of course, would not be possible without money raised by National Lottery players, and the Heritage Lottery Fund's recognition the importance of the Reading Abbey Revealed project. I'd also like to say a big thank you to all those involved in the restoration of this beautiful building, in particular CRL Restoration for all their expert conservation work and a special thank you to the Friends of Reading Abbey for supporting our launch event.
"With the launch of the new Abbey Gallery at the museum in February, followed by the reopening of the Abbey Gateway this month, we have an exciting build up to the opening of the Abbey Ruins on 16th June."
Kevin Jones, Head of Conservation at CRL Restoration said:
"It has been an honour and a privilege to work on this iconic building with such a passionate and dedicated team from Reading Borough Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the conservation architects from Hampshire County Council. The collaborative approach from all parties has been wonderful, enabling us to deliver a first class project on time, within budget and to the client's delight.
"CRL Restoration believes strongly in involving the wider community in heritage and restoration schemes, and this project has been a fabulous opportunity to showcase conservation skills such as stonework repairs, leadwork and the re-introduction of hot-mixed lime mortars. This has been achieved through the numerous escorted tours undertaken throughout the course of the project. We wish the Reading Museum all the best with their new venture in the Abbey Gateway building."