READING’S Register Office is on track for its move in December.
The Register Office will be operating as normal from its current location at Yeomanry House, on Castle Hill, until Friday 30th November, after which it will move to three new locations.
From Tuesday 4th December all birth, death, marriage and nationality enquiries and appointment bookings will relocate to Reading Council’s Civic Offices in Bridge Street, offering a significant improvement in accessibility for visitors.
From 4th December all applications for replacement certificates will only be available online at www.reading.gov.uk/life-events
The Register Office’s new ceremony room at Reading Town Hall is nearing completion and will be finished by next month. The ceremony room (for marriages, civil partnerships, citizenship, renewal of vows and naming ceremonies) is on schedule to move to its new home in the former box room gallery of the museum in early December.
The new purpose-built ceremonial suite is on the ground floor and is fully accessible. The relocation of ceremonies to the Town Hall will provide an attractive and historic setting with a choice of internal and external backdrops for photographs, including the nearby Forbury Gardens, which is a short walk away.
The Register Office’s Strong Room, which holds all of Reading’s birth, death and marriage records since 1837, will move to a new purpose built building at Henley Road Cemetery.
Cllr Jason Brock, Reading’s Lead Member for Consumer Services, said: “I’m pleased the Register Office’s move is on track for early December. People can access the service from its current location up until Friday 30th November. From Tuesday 4th December all enquiries and booking will transfer to the service’s new home at the Civic Offices – which is easier to access due to its central location and offers improved accessibility.
“I’m also delighted the new purpose-built ceremonial suite at the Town Hall is progressing well. The new ceremony room location will provide a great choice of backdrops for photographs, including the nearby Forbury Gardens, which is a short walk away.”
Visitors to Reading’s Town Hall and Museum will have noticed the exciting transformation work that has been happening over the summer, including the complete refurbishment of the former 3Bs Café, which is due to open in February 2019.
As well as the re-opening of the 3Bs Café, the big changes completing in 2019 include:
• The upgrade of all toilets by the reception and on the first and second floors;
• The reconfiguration of the reception desk area;
• The completion of the new Story of Reading gallery;
• The creation of a new museum shop;
• The Coroners Court will move into the Victorian gallery – the Victorian schoolroom has already relocated to the newly renovated Abbey Gateway;
• General maintenance and improvements throughout the building.
The work is designed to minimise disruption to visitors and staff as far as possible.
Some preparatory work began last October and included the creation of the new Abbey gallery on the ground floor, as well as reorganisation of the museum’s loan boxes in preparation for the new register office ceremony room space. These boxes have been relocated to Darwin Close and the loan box service continues to be available as normal.
The investment at the town hall links to the wider regeneration of the Abbey Quarter, including the newly re-opened Abbey Ruins and improved information points across the town centre.
Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “These are exciting times for the town hall and museum, with some major improvements taking place which will enhance the facilities this venue has to offer. This links to the wider investment we have made in the Abbey Quarter, including the opening of the Abbey Gateway in April and the Abbey Ruins in June. We envisage the town hall and museum acting as a ‘gateway’ information point for visitors to the quarter and to the wider town.
“Whilst there will inevitably be some level of disruption to its existing use, we have been working closely with our contractors Lakehouse Contracts Limited, to keep any disruption to a minimum whilst the work is completed.”
Photo of the new ceremony room available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmuwCSqD
Contact details for Reading Registration Service after 4th December:
Telephone: 0118 937 3533
Post: Reading Registration Service,
Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU
Opening Times: 9:00 – 5pm M-F
Background to the changes
The changes are part of the Council’s Asset Management Plan, which details how the Council’s is making the best possible use of its buildings to help reduce running costs and contribute to closing the budget gap by through the sale of buildings, as well as providing a better services to residents: www.reading.gov.uk/media/5706/item11-2/pdf/item11_(2).pdf