VISITORS to Reading’s Town Hall and Museum will notice the exciting transformation work is now complete, including the complete refurbishment of the former 3Bs Café which opened this month as The Pantry Café and Kitchen.
As well as the opening of the new café, the big changes that have taken place include the creation of a new town hall reception and museum shop, alongside maintenance, energy efficiency upgrades and improvements throughout the building.
The Pantry Café and Kitchen, which opened to the public on 16th September, offers a fresh exciting place for breakfast, brunch or lunch and a great place to meet and eat. All the café’s fillings are freshly prepared each day using ingredients from local suppliers, supporting local businesses such as Reading based Kingdom Coffee Co, who supply the café with coffee that is triple certified (Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance certified) and roasted in the UK.
The museum celebrated the opening of two new galleries in May, which complement the other major openings for the Reading Abbey Revealed project last year and bring the Story of Reading up to date to modern times. The new galleries and town hall reception represent the starting point for visitors to explore the Abbey Quarter and discover the wider interpretation of the area.
Reading Museum has also extended its opening hours on Saturdays by staying open until 5pm, so there’s even more time to explore the new galleries, as well as enjoy refreshments at The Pantry.
The transformation work, which started in April 2018, has also included the move of the Register Office’s ceremony room (for marriages, civil partnerships and naming ceremonies) to its new stunning new location in the former box room gallery of the museum. To find out more about the ceremony room visit www.reading.gov.uk/ceremonies
The Coroner’s Court is now based in the Victorian gallery – the museum’s Victorian schoolroom has relocated to the newly renovated Abbey Gateway.
Cllr Jason Brock, Reading Council’s Leader, said: “I’m delighted our ambitious project to transform Reading Town Hall is now complete.
“We’ve carried out some major improvements over the last 18 months which have significantly enhanced the facilities this venue has to offer. This is now an exciting destination – you can soak up Reading’s history in the museum’s new galleries, find out what’s on for Reading Arts and enjoy a delicious lunch at the new Pantry Café and browse for a special gift in the new museum shop, which offers some unique and interesting items.
“Our new reception offers a ‘gateway’ information point for visitors to the Abbey Quarter and to the wider town. All of this is on top of our excellent conferencing facilities, family friendly museum activities and exciting calendar of events.
“The Town Hall is now home to our beautiful Register Office’s ceremony room – which has stunning architectural features that are full of history, making it the perfect backdrop for a special big day.
“We have also installed low energy LED bulbs, added insulation to the Concert Hall’s roof area and carried out improvements to make the building’s heating more efficient. The transformation work is part of our wider plan to make the best possible use of our buildings, including improving sustainability and energy efficiency.”
The Town Hall’s Grade II listed facilities offer space for conferencing and special events, such as weddings, parties and Christmas events. The venue also boasts an exciting calendar of cultural events in the Concert Hall, which houses the restored Father Willis Organ, offering superb acoustics. The venue hosts a varied programme of classical music, organ recitals, blues, jazz, folk, acoustic pop & rock, stand-up comedy, and lectures to suite all tastes. Find out more at www.readingtownhall.co.uk