The Whitley Pump

The view from Katesgrove Hill

Author: Paul Williams (page 1 of 2)

Matt Rodda MP interview during the pandemic

Matt Rodda at the Turbine House

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 interviewed Matt Rodda in a socially-distanced telephone call on Friday 27 March. Parliament had closed for an early recess the previous Wednesday and we wanted to ask him about the adjustments that he had to make to the normal pattern of an MPs life.

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Interview with Katesgrove resident Councillor Jason Brock

In April The Whitley Pump interviewed councillor Jason Brock because of his local connection as a Katesgrove resident. He also appeared to be part of the new guard of politicians eager and ready to step up in the Labour Party hierarchy and surprise, surprise he has now been promoted to lead the party in Reading Borough Council (RBC).

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Interview with Tony Page, deputy leader of Reading Borough Council (part two)

Our interview with Tony Page continues with reflections on Reading, its waterways and the Abbey.

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Interview with Tony Page, deputy leader of Reading Borough Council (part one)

Tony Page has been a councillor for 45 years and is lead councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport and deputy leader of Reading Borough Council. The Whitley Pump interviewed him at the beginning of December at the Civic Offices on Bridge Street and we started with a local topic.

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Marianne Faithfull delivers a Dusky Rock meditation on Ageing and Death

Negative Capability is the twenty-first album by former Milman Road, Katesgrove resident, singer and songwriter Marianne Faithfull. Negative Capability was a phrase used by the romantic poet John Keats in 1817 in a letter to his brothers.

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Katesgrove – this day – 7 August 1862

Christ Church, Reading from Glebe road

The ‘Reading Book of Days from the History of Reading Society reminded us that Christ Church was consecrated by the Right Revd Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford on 7 August 1862.

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When will Lloyds Pharmacy logistics respect residents in Milman Road?

Thursday 8 March 2018 10:21

Lloyds pharmacy at the Milman Road Health Centre does an excellent job for the community. However, the deliveries, which are not controlled by the local manager, are becoming a danger to people using the road.

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Well Done New Christ Church Primary School!




Up Holy Brook without a paddle: Interview with Audit and Governance Chair

Interview with David Stevens.
Venue: Sweeney & Todd.
Date: Friday 1 December 2017 @ 18:00

The Whitley Pump had a conversation with David Stevens (Conservative), chair of the Reading Borough Council (RBC) Audit & Governance committee (A&G). Over a pint in one of our favourite venues in Reading he helped us understand how he sees his responsibilities and accountability. The good ship RBC is attempting to deliver the accounts 2016/17 for audit by Xmas and the same times as getting to grips with managing the 2017/18 budget, struggling with reconciliations and attempting multiple computer software upgrades and changes.

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The next episode of “up Holy Brook without a paddle”: the RBC Audit and Governance committee – a satire?

A dour set of councillors trooped into the council chamber for the Reading Borough Council (RBC) audit and governance committee meeting on 21 November to find out if the captain, chief executive Peter Sloman, and his first mate, strategic finance director Peter Lewis, had any good news for them about their voyage to get the accounts sorted out.

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Giant Maps of Reading in New Christ Church Primary school

Cathy and Dot with modern Ordnance Survey Map of Reading

Earlier this year the New Christ Church Primary School entered a competition run by Redcliffe Imaging Ltd, a Bristol-based company who produce wall murals. As part of the entry, the school explained that, with their 150th anniversary coming up, they would really love to have a copy of the 1880 map of Reading which showed the school and its surrounding area.

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The Life and death of Reading’s King, in the Oracle on the Kennet

Courtesy of the “Reading-on-Thames Festival“, which is sadly a misstatement when clearly Reading’s whole history is based on the River Kennet, came free culture in the form Reading Between the Lines Theatre Company’s play The Life and Death of Reading’s King. For the lucky 700 ticket holders on the night of 15 September this was a history making moment.

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Who owns these pieces of land in Katesgrove?

Reading Borough Council (RBC) owned all these properties in April 2017. Information about land and properties owned by the council throughout Reading is published on the RBC website.

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Unity tunes as auditors are damned

Reading Full Council Meeting
28 March 2017

I will try to succinctly sum up this meeting, drawing out any local interest matters to our readers on Katesgrove Hill. All resolutions and motions were accepted unanimously except one. I will start with the most fascinating agenda item.

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His Dark Materials (part one) at the Progress Theatre

Staging this play presents an amazing challenge for the Progress Theatre. They have to create over 130 characters with 28 actors, create two major battles and many smaller skirmishes, represent 43 locations on a small stage, costume the 130 characters and create puppetry for the daemons (a physical embodiment of a human soul).

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Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Progress Theatre

Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Morte accidentale di un anarchico) is the best known play by Dario Fo, who died on 13 October 2016. If you know the play, you will be enchanted by this production in the intimate atmosphere of the Progress Theatre.

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Proposal to replace After Dark Club with 10 apartments rejected

After Dark Entrance

The application to demolish Katesgrove’s After Dark Club and replace it with 10 apartments was rejected at Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee on Wednesday 7 December.

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Clouds are gathering over the Civic Offices

A Whitley Pump opinion
clouds gathering
Much was made by the audit & governance committee on 18 November of the problems caused by the transition from the previous auditors, KPMG, to the new ones, Ernst & Young, who were appointed by the Audit Commission to audit Reading Borough Council (RBC) for the next three years.

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Henry I of England at St James’ Church


Do I stay at home to watch England v Scotland on television or should I find out more about King Henry, whose remains are being searched for in Reading’s Abbey Ruins? Culture wins; off to the Catholic Church next to the prison.

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Anathema Concert Review

Anathema 081116

Tuesday 8 November 2016
Sub89, Friar Street, Reading

On a cold wet Tuesday night, a band from Liverpool came to entertain a cosmopolitan crowd of approximately 500 in Sub89.

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