scribbles tagged ‘cemetery junction’

stop it!

Friday, July 5th, 2013 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Can you guess what this design is meant to do:
Don't drin the wine in the store

Plastic locks on the top of wine bottles displayed in a local store.

Is it to stop terrorists putting poison in the wine?  Or to stop locals drinking the wine straight from the bottle (for free) when no-one’s looking. Neither option is a promotional point for living locally. Oh dear. Defensive design gives out such a poor message about human behaviour…something, somewhere’s gone wrong…

stop it!
3 votes rating 2.7

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passed and past

Saturday, February 16th, 2013 | tags: , , , , ,  |

planted crossThe graveyard at Cemetery junction in Reading town is a ‘Garden Cemetery’, designed and planted to enable visitors to promenade.

Most weekends I’ll take a stroll around the cemetery, enjoying the natural peace and beauty and the wonderful sculptural art placed there as remembrances to people….

passed and past

passed and past
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the Gladstone club

Sunday, October 21st, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Gladstone Club Gladstone clubI’ve always admired the wrought ironwork on the porch of the London road side of the Gladstone club. It’s a grade II listed building.  The listing mentions that in 1887 the house was the home of the recently founded Reading High School.

It’s easy to notice the Gladstone club, without actually noticing it. It’s a substantial building in a significant location facing out onto both  Reading’s London Road and Kings Road. The club is next door to the Abbot Cook pub on the Cemetery junction on the southern edge of Newtown. Newtown is where the Huntley and Palmer factory employees lived.

Once it was a grand building. It’s namesake William Gladstone was a record breaking 4 times (Liberal) Prime Minister of Britain. The link with Huntley and Palmers is more than the proximity of the club to Newtown. The Huntley and Palmer website says:

In 1878 George Palmer became a Member of Parliament for the Liberal party. He was nicknamed the ‘silent member’, although he did make a few contributions to debates. In his maiden speech he supported a bill to grant women the right to vote “

The Acacias (London Rd)George Palmer lived on London Road in “The Acacias” about 500 yards west of the Gladstone club. An easy walk.

Sadly, the Gladstone building now stands empty with a for sale sign on it.  Until 2010 it was a delightful Indian restaurant and wine bar called the “Sardar Palace”.  Now it looks forgotten, overlooked. Grass is moving into the gaps in the forecourt paving.




the Gladstone club
1 vote rating 4

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Newtown in a new century – 1900 through to 2000

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

The wendy house is south of Cemetery junction. Newtown is north of cemetery juntion. My neighbour! Several friends live in Newtown. I bump into them when shopping in the local Co-op or in the local Abbot Cook pub.

The Newtown area appears to be described by being bounded by:

  • North: the Great Western Railway (GWR)
  • South: Kings Rd / London Rd
  • East: A4 railway bridge
  • West: Forbury Rd

According to Wendy Hobson (1995), cited on the Reading Forum:

It was jointly owned and developed by John Sutton and George Palmer for their workers and by the 1870/80’s extended up to Cholmeley Rd, from there across to the railway was Suttons planted areas – this was then developed in the late 1800’s early 1900’s

It includes a beautiful primary school that looks much as it would have done when it was originally built in 1864.

Natural Gas StorageOne of the most striking visual features of the area is a disused gas storage tower that can be seen from the river Kennet, the train lines, and at the northern end of cumberland road. It’s diagonally opposite the Jolly Anglers pub. I find it strangely beautiful and peaceful. An architectural sculpture.

NewtownThe remaining original housing in this area is mainly small terraced house’s with walled gardens and narrow back lanes.  What I’d call ‘2-up, 2-downs’. Houses where you walk from the street, or forecourt, through the front door into a front room.  A staircase goes to 2 bedrooms and the 2nd room downstairs was originally the kitchen where the fire was used to heat water for a tin bath. The toilet was outside the house – at the bottom of the garden.  Newtown clearly includes some larger homes with forward facing gables more bedrooms, front gardens and downstairs hallways.

Many of the buildings nearer downtown, to the East, were knocked down and redeveloped as social housing in the mid 1970s. Coinciding with the closure of the Huntley andPalmer business.

The areas north of the Kennet and south of the Thames were developed with both private apartments for London commuter set and more modern social housing. It looks like this happened in the 1980s and 90s.

There are only 2 pubs in the Newtown area. they sit on the river (kennet) bank and look like they may pre-date Newtown. Perhaps being built to serve the canal traffic that would pass this way between London and Bristol. The pubs are:

  • Fishermans cottage
  • Jolly Angler

The Abbot Cook is on the borderlands, effectively south of Newtown and in either the “University District” or possibly “Earley

Fisherman's Cottage Jolly Anglers

Fishermans cottageRumour cited on Reading forums suggests that:

The story went that H&P realising that the workers, not being quite so ‘religious’ would go to the pub anyway, and rather than have the drunk / hung-over they would control it. They supposedly gave out rationed tokens as part of the salary that could be exchanged for a limited amount of drink. Enough to wet the whistle but not get drunk!

Note to self – must get a copy of: Terry Allsop’s “NEWTOWN A Photographic Journey in Reading 1974″ Two Rivers Press (cover photo at top of page)
Newtown in a new century – 1900 through to 2000
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can you improve cemetery junction?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

A4 going east approaching Cemetery JunctionCan you improve Cemetery Junction?

Is it so gorgeous that any changes are more likely to ruin its existing gorgeousity?

Is it so icky that people have given up hope of being able to improve it without first obliterating it?

The question raises all sorts of emotionally charged, creative, cynical, optimistic, pragmatic and other reactions from people who live near, or pass through, the infamous local junction of the A4 (London Road) and A329 (Kings/Wokingham Road).

A local councilor, Rob White, is working with local action groups to improve the Cemetery Junction area. At the moment he’s consulting with locals. The co-op has a big cardboard suggestions box decorated with a collage of magazine pictures of pretty things. Excellent stuff. It made me feel like being back at school where having a go was important, encouraged and easy.

I’m loving the humour and creativity evident in this summary of suggestions to improve cemetery junction made on a ‘Get Reading’ news article:

  • i’m thinking giant dinosaurs
  • how about a cinema or a roller disco?
  • Napalm
  • Make it a spooky theme park
  • How about a monorail?
  • A small tactical thermo-nuclear device
  • Bit of paint and a clean should do it….or if you really wanna prettify it, hanging baskets
  • An underpass
  • make a big roundabout where resturant is
  • Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure
  • re-install the gallows that used to stand on the site now occupied by The Granby? It might act as a deterrent to the hoodies and wannbie gangsters in that area
  • What about an H Bomb?
  • Prevent shop keepers and traders from parking cars and vans on the pavements
  • The overhanging bushes on the London Rd side need trimming… …new paving and signage
  • can’t be improved – its a dead loss
  • A Tesco supermarket each side of the road, with a couple of Tesco Expresses sprinkled around Liverpool and Cholmeley Roads
  • big ornamental archway would brighten up the area considerably
  • Give me some explosives and a bulldozer and Ill give you instant results. Guaranteed
  • Zombie Apocalypse
can you improve cemetery junction?
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up and coming

Thursday, October 21st, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Abbot Cook The Abbot Cook is a Mitchell and Butler pub at Cemetery junction in Reading town. You can see the Arthur Hill swimming baths through the window in the night-time picture. In this decade it Abbot Cookhas changed to the Abbot Cook from the Upin Arms and before that from the  ‘Jack of both sides’. The pub appears to reflect and redefine the character of the area, charting social change.

The Upin Arms used to court the custom of Reading town’s many students being placed half way between  Thames Valley University buildings and the Reading University campus. It had the feel of a vampires lair where the vampires drank shorts and Lager. Only one ale available and it was not hand pulled. Dark, and possibly a bit dank, with a sticky carpet, loud music, TV screens playing sport or music videos, cheap microwaved food and long opening hours.  Service was slow and surly. Recent Government cuts will inevitably lead to fewer and poorer students, their target customers are disappearing.  The pub re-invented itself as the Abbot Cook targeting an altogether different customer. Hopefully it will appeal to my friends and family.

The name ‘Jack of both sides’ refers to a proverb ‘jack of both sides, is before long, trusted by nobody, and abused by both parties.’  and to its physical location with entrances on two sides, towards two roads. According to some pub reviews it used to have trouble with drugs and violence.

As the pub has moved to serve different segments of the community so the character of its location, Cemetery Junction, is gradually changing. It’s definitiely calmed down in its most recent incarnation.   Abbot Cook Abbot Cook

The Abbot Cook incarnation is named after a 16th century local Catholic Martyr, the Abbot of the now-rubble Reading Abby,  Hugh Cook Farringdon. The pub serves overpriced average food (£9 for a chicken breast and some potatoes in a mushroom sauce)  including some vegetarian options. There is a friendly, bare-parquet-flooring with authentic victorian furniture, church-candle riddled, warmth to it’s atmosphere.

It has about 4 real ales on tap, they pull pints into jugs and have oversized stemmed glasses for half pints. Oh! I felt all girly drinking a half pint, never again. The staff don’t know what a slieve glass is, but they are phenomenally polite, cheerful and helpful. One bar man spent nigh-on half an hour talking to be about Mitchell and Butler and the different chains of pubs they own. I’m guessing he’s on the management trainee track.  It has a supportive and friendly atmosphere. Like me it’s pleasantly quirky – succulent plants in teacups decorate each table. There are also some double sockets for the cupboard and her companions.

My local pub has become somewhere I want to go.

up and coming
2 votes rating 4.5

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Cemetery Junction

Thursday, July 9th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s first feature film is named after a place in Reading called ‘Cemetery Junction’. “A 1970s-set comedy centered on three upstart professional men working at an insurance company” staring Ralph Fiennes.

I haven’t noticed the film cameras locally.

Cemetery Junction
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2am bustle

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

A4 going east approaching Cemetery Junction2am
Cemetery junction
Heards of black taxi’s rumbling by
Smaller, colourful, cabs weave between them
Heels clicking, skirts, hair and make-up readjusted
Bright laughter and  flourescent light waft from the rows of fast food shops
sometimes I feel wonderfully invisible in the bustling crowds as I wander the Reading streets at night

2am bustle
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bog standard excuses

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 | tags:  |

These reasons for not catching the bus to work have been cropping-up rather more frequently than I anticipated before moving to Reading:

  • The cat ate my homework.
  • I can’t get my computer to work.
  • Washing machine, drains, pipes, roof,  (replace with home-feature of choice) is broken and I have to wait for the repair-person.
  • Aliens have surrounded cemetery junction.
  • I’ve got a cold.
bog standard excuses
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Sikh new year: Vaisakhi

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Singing and high spirits in the streets near cemetery junction,   Balloons tied to fire engines,   lamp-posts,   leaple and shops.   Police directing traffic and cycling aound,   smiling.   A yound boy offered me bottled water and a leaflet.   I took the leaflet and  read…   …Nagar Kirtan is a Punjabi term that literally means “neighbourhood hymn singing“.   The seek new year is April 14th,   the day that Sikhism was born in 1699.   It is the holiest day of their calendar.

Wikipedia described Vaisakhi

Such singing and laughter and happiness,   it was a joy to mingle with the crowds

Sikh new year: Vaisakhi
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muntjac deer

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

in the city cemetery

at cemetery junction

wandering around as if they own the place and no way-out except using the pedestrian crossings across the A4 or A329.    Neither crossing to be taken-on lightly by even the most hikingly-well-equipped-human.  

Odd to find wild deer in the city so close to my home…   well protected deer,   by the community police that live in the cemetery gate and parole the area in small bicycle packs…

muntjac deer
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