Berkshire

Reading Abbey to re-open after £1.77m lottery bid

Reading Abbey ruins Image copyright Reading Museum
Image caption Public access to the ruins at Reading Abbey was closed in summer 2009

The ruins of a 900-year-old abbey are to re-open to the public in 2018 after a successful bid for £1.77m of lottery funding.

Reading Abbey closed in the summer of 2009 after a survey highlighted the "poor and rapidly deteriorating condition of the walls".

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money will support Reading Abbey Revealed - a conservation and education project.

Reading Borough Council said it would contribute £1.38m to the scheme.

'Visual connection'

Works are due to start in 2016 and will take up to two years to complete.

Culture councillor Paul Gittings described the abbey as "a site of national significance".

He said: "This award is the culmination of years of planning on the part of the council and allows vital conservation works to take place which will preserve the ruins for generations of people to explore and enjoy."

Stuart McLeod, head of HLF South East, said: "The 900-year-old Reading Abbey ruins provide a visual connection to the important, but little known, role that the city has played in European history since medieval times."

The abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121 and the king was buried there.

Buildings in the quarter include Jane Austen's former school and Reading Gaol, where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated.

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