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.

But first, one town centre event which is definitely worth travelling beyond the IDR for. On Saturday 21 September at 11am and then at 2pm, the Whitley Pump will be Discovering Katesgrove in the Story of Reading Gallery at Reading Museum on Blagrave Street. Booking is essential via eventbrite.

Reading Town Hall and Museum

Reading University Venues

The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology on the Whiteknights Campus has Dig It, a talk for young people on the history of publishing archaeology that takes place on Friday 13 September from 5pm to 7pm. On Saturday 14 September, 10.30am to 12.30am children can create their own archaeology book. The museum also has a temporary exhibition about Allen W Seaby (1867-1953). The Ure Museum is in the Edith Morley Building. You are advised to book by phone 0118 378 6990 or email to [email protected].

The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL) is putting on two tours. The theme for this year’s HODs is People Power and The MERL has a People Power gallery tour on 13, 14, 15, 17, 20 and 22 September from 2pm to 2.45pm and an additional morning tour on 17 September from 10am to 10.45am.

Their second tour is House and archives behind the scenes which is an opportunity to tour the building housing The MERL and the University’s Special Collections. The Grade II listed (1321880) East Thorpe was designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse. This tour takes place in 18 and 19 September from 10am to 11am.

Booking is essential by phone 0118 378 8660, by email to [email protected] or via the MERL events website.

There are four walks around the University’s London Road campus led by the Friends of the University taking place on Saturday 14 and Saturday 21 September starting in the morning 11am to 1pm and in the afternoon 2pm to 4pm. On the tour you will have the opportunity to see inside The Acacias, the former home of George Palmer, as well as other University buildings. Booking is essential by email to the [email protected].

Katesgrove churches and meeting houses

S Giles Church on Southampton Street is open on multiple days and times vary. This is an opportunity to see the interior of the church and many historic memorials including the one to Rev John Cecil Grainger. It is open on 13, 14, 20 and 21 September from 10am to 4pm, on the 15, 17 and 22 September from 12 noon to 2pm, 18 September from 10.30am to 12.30pm and on 19 September from 2pm to 4pm.

A few steps away on Church Street, the Quaker Meeting House has an art exhibition on Saturday 14 September 2pm to 5pm, Our Life is Love, to share the values, people and places that they love. The title is based on a quote from 17th century Quaker Isaac Pennington:

Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.

Christ Church on Christchurch Road is open on Saturday 21 September from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday 22 September from 2pm to 8pm. Sunday services are taking place at 8am and 10am and there will a special choral evensong at 6pm with a drinks reception afterwards.

Christ Church, Reading from Glebe road

Other venues

There is an opportunity to visit the magnificent edible roof garden at RISC on London Street on Saturday 14 September from 12 noon to 4pm; no booking is required.

On Sunday 15 September from 11am to 12 noon and Thursday 19 September from 6pm to 9pm there is an opportunity to visit the Green Park wind turbine. The turbine tour is a regular feature in the HODs calendar. Booking is essential by phone 07792 158530 or email to [email protected].

The Royal Berkshire Hospital Medical Museum in the hospital’s former laundry will be open on both HODs weekends 14,15, 21 and 22 September from 2pm to 4.30pm.

More information

Reading UK CIC have produced a leaflet with a map of the venues or meeting points for HODs events that can be downloaded from their website and a printed copy is available from various locations including libraries and Reading Museum. Some events have been added since this was printed and so it is advisable to also check the HODs website.

They have also produced a podcast about this year’s HODs, available on soundcloud, in which Alex Brannen from Reading UK CIC discusses the programme of events.

All HODs venues and events are free of charge.

  1. Heritage Open Days 2019
  2. Reading Heritage Open Days events
  3. Whitley Pump is participating in Heritage Open Days 2019
  4. A rooftop Eden at RISC
  5. Bringing the countryside into the town
  6. St Giles, guarding Reading since the civil war
  7. A postscript to Reverend Grainger of St Giles
  8. Heritage Open Day at the Quaker Meeting House
  9. The extraordinary Royal Berkshire Medical Museum