Restoration begins of Caversham Court

The renovation of Grade II-listed Caversham Court began last week.

Restoration of Caversham Court begins - photo: Carolyn Jenkins
Restoration of Caversham Court begins - photo: Carolyn Jenkins

Caversham Court Gardens, which sits beside the River Thames in Reading, closed to the public on Monday so that restoration work can begin on its 17th and 19th century features.

The project, funded by £1.2m Heritage lottery money and a £400,000 grant from Reading Borough Council, aims to be completed next spring.

Archaeologists, specialist restorers and landscape contractors have joined head gardener Emily Waters on site to begin restoring the gazebo, believed to be the oldest surviving Thameside building, a crinkle crankle (curving) wall and an avenue of ancient yew trees.

An outline of where a medieval building once stood will be created as an area for seating and informal play.

The toilet bock will be remodelled to include two public toilets, baby-change facilities and a kiosk for serving teas.
Allotments will remain in a corner of the site but during the revamp plot holders will need to enter through a new gateway.

Project manager Carolyn Jenkins said It’s an extremely interesting site. Big sites were owned by royalty or the aristocracy. What we’ve got here are gardens which reflect what happened in the middle classes.

We have had the archeologists in during the last few years and each time they dig they find something new. They will look this week to find out exactly where the house was and then we can recreate the footprint.

Councillor Graeme Hoskin said: 'This is a fantastic project that will give a magnificent makeover to one of jewels in Reading's heritage crown.

With the restoration of the Forbury Gardens and the Simeon Monument completed, the King George V Gardens in Eldon Square nearly finished and now Caversham Court coming shortly, we really are seeing our town's heritage being cherished and passed on to future generations with the love and care it deserves."

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