Sketches (L->R): Mohan Banerji, Jean Claydon, Ellen Bentley

Urban sketchers are a global community of artists who draw on location, and there are local chapters worldwide. The Reading Urban Sketchers got officially recognised as a local chapter recently but it has been around as the Reading Sketchers for two and a half years.

We regularly arrange sketching events called sketchmeets and find venues or events to sketch. These open and inviting groups are free and informal to attend.

We have sketched at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), Reading University’s London Road campus and Harris Garden, as well as Reading Bowling Club and Watlington Street.

Sketches (L->R): Beth Bentley, Elizabeth Thomas

Richard Bentley joined the group at the end of last year and suggested that we sketch at the Whitley Community Museum where he collects digital and physical artefacts for the museum and records social history and local sounds. We arranged for our February sketchmeet there.

We thought a lot about what could be good options for the sketchers in all weather. Everyone at the Whitley Community Café and the Whitley Pump were so helpful in suggesting locations and we even managed to get access to the Whitley GrowAllot allotments in Meavy Gardens before it opens for the growing season.

Sketches (L->R): Ruth Howard, Huma Jehan

On the day, a group of sketchers, some with connections to Whitley, met at the Whitley Social Club where Richard gave some background. We happily devoured pastries, hash browns, coffee and tea and people sketched and chatted in the café and along Northumberland Avenue. The weather was not nice enough to wander to the Cowsey and take in the views, but we may return at some point.

We then met up again to have a throwdown (which is when we reconvene to put our sketches together and talk about what everyone has done) before we headed over to the allotment. Imke Wilson gave us a quick tour of Whitley GrowAllot and a few of us settled into some quick sketching, as well as some sound recording and photography.

Sketches (L->R): Huma Jehan, Sue Eley, Jean Claydon

The Urban sketchers Reading plan to return the allotment periodically and also loved discovering the Whitley Social Club and Café. The group really enjoyed their visit and would like to thank all the folks at the café who helped us, as well as Imke Wilson.

One of the sketchers, Sue Eley, donated her drawings to the Whitley Community Museum:

Sketches: Sue Eley


If anyone is interested in trying out urban sketching, then join the group; it’s free and friendly. We welcome suggestions of good places in Reading for sketching, whether or not you’d like to sketch.

Sketch: Ruth Howard

More sketches from Huma Jehan are on our What’s On page.

  1. Reading Urban Sketchers on Facebook and Twitter
  2. Whitley GrowAllot
  3. Whitley Social Club and Café
  4. Whitley Community Museum
  5. Museum of English Rural Life
  6. Harris Garden
  7. Reading Bowling Club