Reading Abbey ruins in £6.7m revamp bid

image captionReading Abbey was founded by Henry I

A bid for lottery funding is to be submitted to help repair the ancient ruins of Reading Abbey.

Reading council wants to create an Abbey Quarter cultural area aimed at attracting more visitors.

It would involve improvements and repairs to historic sites, including the abbey which has been closed for two years because of safety fears.

The council will contribute £850,000 and will bid for a further £6.7m of lottery funding this week.

King's body

If successful, work could start on site in the summer of 2013.

A new Abbey Quarter would pull together a number of historic sites in the town, including the Abbey Ruins, Abbey Gateway, St Laurence's Churchyard, the 1943 air raid memorial, Reading war memorial, and Queen Victoria's statue.

The plans would also see the ground floor of Reading Museum redeveloped, with more Abbey artefacts and improved signage.

The location of Reading Abbey, which was founded by King Henry I in 1121, was chosen because of its proximity to the Thames and the Kennet.

When Henry I died in Lyons-la-Foret, Normandy in 1135 his body was returned to Reading, and was buried in the front of the altar of the then incomplete abbey.

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