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Reading Gaol: new petition

READING Borough Council’s (RBC) bid to purchase the Reading Gaol has been rejected by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The council has expressed its disappointment that its bid to purchase the Reading Prison has been rejected but has now vowed to work with the successful bidder to ensure its huge historical and cultural value is recognised in any future development.

RBC has always emphasised the historical and cultural value of the vacant Reading Gaol site, particularly in the context of re-opening the Grade I listed Reading Abbey Ruins. The council’s position remains that the Reading Gaol site – sitting next to The Abbey on a site of national significance – offers huge potential for heritage-led regeneration.

RBC’s planning policies mean it is essential that any proposed future development of the site has provision of a cultural or historical element which draws on the significance of the Reading Prison site. Any proposals would also need to enhance the Abbey Quarter as a heritage and cultural destination. It is highly likely further archaeological assessments and investigations would additionally be needed to inform any future development.

Please sign the petition to encourage the maximum use of planning law to protect the site as much as possible.

BAS Events Cancelled

Berkshire Archaeological Society Events – March to September 2020

BAS Council members have been following and discussing the developing Covid-19 situation regarding forthcoming events.  Over the past few days there has been a flurry of emails and phone conversations between BAS Council members, lecture season speakers and visit leaders as we have tried to determine which forthcoming events to cancel and which to proceed with.  The final decisions were due to have been taken at the end of a working group meeting scheduled to be held in my flat this morning.  However, with the announcement made by the Prime Minister yesterday evening that all social gatherings and unnecessary travel are to cease with immediate effect we have been completely overtaken by events.  

We have, therefore, now cancelled all BAS events until September but Study Group, Council and Working Group meetings during this time will proceed on Skype.

For clarity:

BAS Council Meeting21st March On Skype
BAS Lecture21st March Cancelled
BAS Day School28th March Cancelled
BAS Study Group1st April On Skype
Avebury Visit3rd April Cancelled
BAS Lecture18th April Cancelled
Blount’s Court Excavations27th April – 7th MayCancelled
BAS Council Meeting20th June On Skype
East Reading Festival21st JuneCancelled
Silchester Visit28th JuneCancelled
Shaw House Summer Fair19th JulyCancelled

Members attending meetings on Skype will be advised of meeting joining instructions beforehand. Please note that dates of such may change from those given above. 

Neighbouring organisations have also cancelled events:

March to Reading Gaol, Saturday 21st March – cancelled

Archaeology in Marlow, Thursday 26th March – cancelled

Rest assured that during this time Council members will be working on events to be held in late 2020 and in 2021.  

We hope to see you all safe and well in September. 

from Julie Worsfold, BAS Lectures and Day School Organiser & Chair Communications Working Group 17/3/20

Image (think of it as geofizz!): This scanning electron microscope image shows COVID-19 virus (yellow), also known as 2019-nCoV and SARS-CoV-2, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (pink) cultured in the lab. Image credit: NIAID-RML / CC BY 2.0.

BAJ 84 now available

Berkshire Archaeological Journal volume 84 has just been published.

It is a multi-article issue covering a wide variety of reports from our county.

Members and subscribers will be receiving their copies by hand or by post. Further copies may be purchased from the society. See this page

Until July 26th 2020 – West Berkshire Museum: Hoards

West Berkshire Museum

Special Exhibition: Hoards

Bringing together for the first time, over 11 hoards from all over West Berkshire.  A chance to see buried treasure from prehistory to the medieval period, ranging from a hoard of Bronze Age Axes, Iron Age hoards of gold coins, Roman hoards of hundreds of coins, to a hoard of coins of Charles I and James I.  Explore the history of each hoard, find out how they were found, and consider why they were hidden and never retrieved.

Entry to West Berkshire Museum is free but donations are most welcomed.
Open: Wednesday – Sunday 10am -4pm

Image: The Crow Down Hoard, Acquired 2006

More info here

Special Exhibition: Hoards