READING Register Office is inviting residents to share their fond memories of Yeomanry House this spring, marking 50 years since the registry office opened.
The Register Office on Castle Hill will be opening its doors for a community open day in April and would like to share people’s special memories of the building in a mounted display.
Residents are invited to send in copies of their photos, alongside a short description of the family story behind them, to be included in the public display.
Since Yeomanry House became a register office in 1968, the beautiful Grade II has seen thousands of ceremonies over the years. These range from weddings and vow renewals, to baby naming ceremonies and citizenship ceremonies.
This year is a particularly poignant one for Yeomanry House, being the last before it closes its doors and all ceremonies moves to its new home in Reading Town Hall, with birth and death registration moving the Civic Offices at the end of the year. It is currently still open for bookings until early November 2018.
Cllr Sarah Hacker, Lead Member for Consumer Services, said: “Yeomanry House has seen thousands of ceremonies in Reading over the years and as a result, is very special to many families. We would love to hear some of these special memories and see any photos from the events that have taken place. Yeomanry House will open its doors in April giving Reading’s community a chance to celebrate the history of the building and say goodbye to this location before it moves later this year.
“Yeomanry House is still open for business as usual until early November 2018, so I’d also encourage couples to seize the day for their wedding and register as soon as they can before the move to a new location in December! It is also a lovely place for renewing your vows or for baby naming ceremonies.”
How to contribute
If people would like to contribute to the open day display, they are asked to only send in copies of photos as originals cannot be returned. Scanned copies of photos, along with a short description of the event (not more than half a side of A4 paper) can be emailed to Register.Office@reading.gov.uk or by post to Open Day Event, Reading Register Office, Yeomanry House, Reading RG1 7TA
The community event will take place on Saturday 21st of April 2018 from 10am to 2pm.
People can view a virtual tour of Yeomanry House: www.reading.gov.uk/ceremonies
Details of Ceremony Fees: www.reading.gov.uk/article/10446/Register-office-fees-and-charges
Find out more about ceremonies here: www.reading.gov.uk/marriage
Background on the move to the Town Hall
The decision to close Yeomanry House and relocate to the Town Hall was part a package of savings, efficiency and income proposals totalling nearly £20 million that went before the Council’s Policy Committee on Monday July 18th 2016.
The proposal was 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
Operational and maintenance costs for Yeomanry House are high due to its age and there is also limited scope to undertake cost effective refurbishments as a result of its listed status. The current strong room in the building has run out of space and there are issues with accessibility.
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 purpose-built ceremonial suite will be on the ground floor and is fully accessible, and plans include providing a suitable drop-off for a wedding car at the main entrance to the Town Hall. New registration facilities at the Civic Offices will be a significant improvement in terms of the accessibility issues currently experienced by visitors to Yeomanry House.