Second part of the walk along Oxford Road is all about past meeting the future. While looking at the historic buildings I wonder how they’ll serve generations to come.
While walking with me through the first part of this walk along Oxford Road you may have got a little bit tired. And probably a bit overwhelmed by all the attractions we’ve seen. But I believe that after a reviving cup of coffee at Workhouse Coffee you’re ready for more.
Look into the past: The army barracks
When you already thought that the best things Oxford Road has to offer are behind you, there’s a tall red brick tower appearing on the horizon. It doesn’t belong to an old fire station, as I initially thought but it’s part of Brock Barracks. They belong to the British Army and has most of its buildings Grade II listed. From 80s of 19th century they served different regiments. During WWII US Army stationed here in preparation for landing in Normandy.
Look into the past: Old inscriptions
In the times when The Oracle wasn’t there and Broad Street wasn’t the main shopping street, Oxford Road was the trading centre of Reading. As the name suggests it was main route towards Oxford and many businesses were located there. You can trace the history by looking at the old writings on the houses, like these two.
Look into the future: Art gallery
After you pass Brock Barracks gate you’ll find a gallery – Open Hands, Open Space. I haven’t yet visited it, as whenever I was passing by it was closed. I like the fact that there’s an art gallery on Oxford Road. At the same time I wish it was a closer to town centre, so more people would know about it and had a chance to visit it.
It represents to me also what Oxford Road could become – a hub for art that would breath creative spirit into the town.
Look into the future: What’s next?
All those places that you can see while walking along Oxford Road tell its history. But they also make me wonder what’s the future for this part of Reading.
Will we let it just be what it is or are we going to dig out those gems and show them to the world?
I’m still wondering who’s going to buy the Bridge Hall and what they’re going to do with it. Will it become again a community hub that brings people together or just another development? I really want to see Oxford Road thriving and passing on the energy on to the rest of Reading, because this place has so much potential and great people who want to make it a place to live, learn and laugh.
What would you like Oxford Road to look like? If you have interesting ideas to share and you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also subscribe to Walkletter, so you’ll always stay up to date.