Press Releases

University announces £30 million development of historic London Road campus – University of Reading

Release Date : 10 December 2009

The University of Reading is delighted to announce that it will be undertaking a major refurbishment of its London Road campus, the original home of the University in the heart of Reading.

The £30 million investment in the University's academic infrastructure will create a new London Road home for the University's Institute of Education, which trains nearly 1000 teachers every year. The project also allows for the sensitive conservation of many of the historic and listed buildings on the site.

The major works programme will start in the summer of 2010 and complete by summer 2011. The capital work required will include a new electricity sub-station, new gas and water piping, new boilers for each building and refurbishment and renovation works of many of the buildings including the Great Hall.

The completion of the sale of the University's Mansfield Hall site to the student accommodation provider, Unite, in January, will make a major contribution to the funding for this project. 

Professor Tony Downes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "We are delighted to be able to announce a major investment in the University's London Road campus which will create a dedicated new home in the centre of Reading in which to train many of the region's and UK's future teachers and educationalists. The Institute of Education is the number one place to train primary school teachers and is ranked amongst the top ten teacher training providers in the country. It is very appropriate that it will become the main focus of the redeveloped historic London Road campus."

The University of Reading's Institute of Education is a major provider of teachers nationally and regionally, offering PGCE Secondary and Primary, BA (Ed) and the Graduate Teacher Programmes (GTP). The secondary programme and the primary programme both received the top Ofsted grades in 2006/7 and the Institute is now a category 'A' provider for all courses. The employment rates of graduates are the highest in the University and the best in the country of any initial teacher training provider.

The University's London Road campus was founded in 1904 when Alfred Palmer presented six acres on the south side of London Road to what was then the University Extension College at Reading. By 1906, most of the College had relocated there and the campus also included the five houses known as ‘Acacias' and ‘Greenbank', on London Road itself. GW Palmer, Lady Wantage and the Suttons were among the first to make substantial donations to a fund for new buildings. The central scheme for the site was a series of low buildings linked by cloisters through beautiful gardens.  The foundations for the Great Hall were laid in 1905 while the wonderful library at Acacias was opened in 1923. In the period up to the end of WWII, the campus was home to the study of French, classics, history, crafts and fine arts, zoology, botany, physics and chemistry, geography, geology, agriculture and education.

The University of Reading is in the process of completing the sale of the Mansfield Hall site to Unite, a leading developer and manager of student accommodation, as the land is surplus to the University's requirements. Although the Mansfield Hall site is not part of the University's own accommodation strategy, the University recognises the demand for quality student accommodation across Reading and is pleased the site will be used to fulfil this need. Unite's new student accommodation will help consolidate students in purpose-built accommodation rather than in houses of multiple occupancy in the local community.  


Further information from Alex Brannen, University of Reading: 0118 378 7388

Notes to editors:

A recent decision by the planning inspector has granted Unite permission to develop the Mansfield Hall site for student accommodation. The University is now undertaking the necessary steps to offer vacant possession of the site to Unite and has served notice on its tenants at Mansfield Hall under the terms of their tenancy agreements.  The University will try, wherever possible, to offer alternative accommodation to its tenants.

The University is redeveloping its own halls of residence over the next few years to provide improved accommodation, particularly for its first year students, on or near to its Whiteknights' campus. Unite's proposed scheme, although not part of the University's own plans, would offer more choice to University of Reading second and third year students and lessen pressure on the private housing stock. Unite will build and run the halls on the Mansfield Hall site.


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