Reading Planning Applications Committee on 12 January 2022 approved Reading CAAC’s nomination of the addition of 85-88 Broad Street to Reading’s List of Locally Important Buildings and Structures.
The reasons for the listing are summarised in the committee report (para 4.4) as that the group of four shops:
- Is not within a conservation area, scheduled monument or area subject to an Article 4 direction relating to historic or architectural interest;
- Dates from between 1840 and 1913 and is of clearly-defined significance in the local context and elements that contribute to its heritage significance remain substantially complete;
- Contributes to the heritage of the Borough in terms of its historical association;
- Contributes to the heritage of the Borough in terms of its social importance;
- Contributes to the heritage of the Borough in terms of its sense of place;
- Contributes to the heritage of the Borough in terms of its innovation and virtuosity; and
- Contributes to the heritage of the Borough in terms of its group value.
Proposed wording of the listing entry
This row of four commercial shops, was designed c1868 by local architects, J T & W Brown. The two properties on either end, 85 and 88, had their street facades modified in the 1930s. The centre group of 86 and 87, still retain their original red brick facades on the first and second floors and retain their original, shallow pitched slate roof.
This group of Victorian commercial terraces is (apart from the George Hotel, dating from the 16th century, at the eastern end of the central shopping precinct) one of the oldest groupings of buildings in the central shopping area along Broad Street.
On the first and second floors of numbers 86, 87 and 87a, the original timber double hung windows are still in place. On the first floor the top sash is a semi-circular window with a rendered drip mould and small boss over the window openings. On the second floor, the windows are topped with a shallow arch on the top section, and also have a shallow arched rendered drip mould over. This is an unusual feature and there are not many buildings with this feature in the centre of Reading. There are six pairs of extant windows with this detail on the first and second floors.
While the ground floor shops fronts have been lost, this does not reduce the importance and contribution this group makes to the historic streetscape at the south western end of Broad Street. In contrast the northern side of Broad street has lost most of the original street facades, with only a few remaining historic buildings. On the roof, there are still original chimneys in place, above the shallow double pitched roof, which is still intact across all four properties.
A link to view a recording of the meeting should be available later today (13 January 2022).