Bid submitted for £3.1m Abbey Quarter project

by Jim Dunton Thu 27 February 2014, 4:00 pm

Reading Bourough Council has formally submitted its bid for financial help from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a £3.1 million package of conservation and promotion measures for the town's historic Abbey Quarter.

As R:UK Magazine reported last month, the authority is keen to increase awareness of the 900-years of history behind the town’s traditional civic and ceremonial heart.

As well as showing evidence of a royal residence, Civil War defences, Jane Austen's school, Victorian public gardens, and Oscar Wilde's infamous Reading Gaol, the quarter also boasts buildings by famous architects including Sir John Soane, Pugin, and Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Reading is keen to introduce interpretation panels, pedestrian signage, and a programme of events for the Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gate and is asking the Heritage Lottery Fund for £1.73 million towards the cost with the expectation that the authority will match-fund the remaining £1.36 million.

Councillor Paul Gittings, the authority’s lead member for culture, said the final version of the funding bid had been shaped by residents' feedback to an online survey, which had received 1,156 responses.

“There is tremendous interest from people in Reading on backing this latest bid to preserve and promote the historic Abbey Quarter,” he said.

“We are fortunate to be home to a site of such historical significance and we have a duty to ensure it is something we conserve for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

“We have taken on board feedback received from previous bids and are hopeful that, come the end of June, we will be in a position to take this important project forward.”

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