Another day, another Heritage Open Day visit! Today was another building that I had walked past so many times wondering just exactly what was the story behind it.
Watlington House is the oldest occupied house in Reading having stood here, on what is now Watlington Street, since 1688. Now surrounded by houses and only a ten-minute walk from central Reading when built it was in the middle of nowhere.
Over the years the house has seen a number of occupants including at one point Kendrick Girls School. Now held in trust the house contains the offices for a number of charities including what must be one of the most niche I have ever heard of – The Mills Archive, “dedicated to the protection and preservation of the records of milling history”. Most rooms weren’t open to the public but there was one upstairs that had an exhibition from The Mills Archive.
However, the jewel in the crown of the house was the beautiful gardens behind it which have been restored in the last few years. The weather when I visited was glorious which showed off them to great effect. It’s a pity about the quite frankly ugly corrugated iron hall, erected by the school during their occupation, that also stands in the gardens but as that is a source of income for the trust I would imagine that it is staying.
All in all a delightful diversion on a Friday morning and now I need wonder about the house no longer.