Reading Civic Centre

Coordinates: 51°27′13″N 0°58′37″W / 51.453519°N 0.976989°W / 51.453519; -0.976989
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Reading Civic Centre
Civic Centre, Reading - - 2769072.jpg
Reading Civic Centre in 2011
Reading Civic Centre is located in Reading Central
Reading Civic Centre
Location within Reading Town Centre
General information
TypeCivic centre
LocationReading, Berkshire, UK
Coordinates51°27′13″N 0°58′37″W / 51.453519°N 0.976989°W / 51.453519; -0.976989
Construction started1976
Design and construction
Architect(s)Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners

Reading Civic Centre was a civic centre in the town of Reading, itself in the English county of Berkshire. The centre dated from the mid-1970s.


Prior to the 16th century, civic administration for the town of Reading was situated in the Yield Hall, a guild hall situated by the River Kennet near today's Yield Hall Lane. After a brief stay in what later became Greyfriars Church, the town council created a new town hall by inserting an upper floor into the refectory of the Hospitium of St John, the former hospitium of Reading Abbey. This was to remain the site of Reading's civic administration, through the successive re-buildings that eventually created today's Reading Town Hall, until the 1970s.[1][2][3][4]

By the 1950s the administration of the town of Reading had overflowed the available offices in the Town Hall, and the council decided to build new civic offices. The decision was taken to build these at the opposite end of the town centre from the Town Hall, where land was available following slum clearance.[4] The architect for the new civic offices was the firm of Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners, who also designed the new police station and Hexagon theatre. The new Civic Centre was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May 1978.[5][6]

In 2014, the civic offices were deemed to be at the end of its design life and the council gave approval for demolition.[7] The civic offices were demolished between 2015 and 2016.[8][9][10]


The civic centre originally comprised four adjacent and interlinked buildings. All four buildings were positioned around the southern and western sides of an above-ground public plaza, with the area below the buildings and plaza given over to service roads and car parking structures.[11]

Whilst the plaza, police station, magistrates court and theatre are still extant and in use for their original purposes, the civic offices became empty after Reading Borough Council relocated their offices to Bridge Street in 2014, and the civic offices were demolished between 2015 and 2016.[10]


  1. ^ Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 37. ISBN 0-905392-07-8.
  2. ^ Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 42. ISBN 0-905392-07-8.
  3. ^ Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 88. ISBN 0-905392-07-8.
  4. ^ a b Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. pp. 168–9. ISBN 0-905392-07-8.
  5. ^ "Remembering the Queen's visit to Reading in 1978". Get Reading. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  6. ^ "The Queen visits Reading in 1978". Get Reading. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  7. ^ "Reading's Civic Centre approved for demolition". BBC News. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Reading Civic Centre demolition: Contractor picked by council". Get Reading. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Watch Reading Civic Centre demolition". Get Reading. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Demolition of Reading Civic Centre continues". Get Reading. 1 October 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Pick of the Past: Civic Centre construction changes face of Reading". Berkshire Live. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2020.