Four of Reading’s most treasured and historic monuments are set to receive a thorough spring clean, starting today (Monday 13 February).
The Queen Victoria Jubilee Statue by Reading Town Hall, the Jubilee Cross and the Zinzan Tomb in St Mary’s churchyard, and the Simeon Monument in Market Place are all set to be cleaned and where needed, like-for-like conservation repairs, thanks to Reading’s High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme (HSHAZ).
About the monuments:
- The Queen Victoria Statue: by the sculptor George Blackall Simonds was erected to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. Simonds also created Maiwand Lion in the Forbury Gardens. Although the urban myth remains that Queen Victoria had a dislike for Reading, with her statue facing away from the town centre, she never actually visited. The Grade II listed statue will be cleaned and replacement boundary chains added.
- The Jubilee Cross: this stone cross was erected in St Mary’s churchyard to commemorate restoration work at the church in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It is Grade II listed. As well as careful cleaning, the original dedication inscription in leaded gothic script has been lost to erosion and is being restored.
- The Zinzan Tomb: this tomb marks the burial of landowner Dr Peter Zinzan who died in 1781, and his family. The Zinzan Tomb is an example of a chest tomb. It has significant damage from weather erosion and vandalism and will now be carefully repaired and reassembled.
- The Simeon Monument: this Grade II* listed monument was commissioned in 1804 by Edward Simeon, director of the Bank of England, with the aim of improving the lighting of Reading’s Market Place. It was designed by renowned architect Sir John Soane. The monument will receive a careful clean to enhance its appearance.
The work is being carried out by an expert conservation team, Cliveden Conservation – who also worked to restore, protect and conserve Reading’s Abbey Ruins.
If you are passing by these areas of the town centre you will notice banners surrounding the monuments while they are being cleaned. The banners will provide a history of the monuments and describe the work being carried out as a part of the HSHAZ.
We'll keep you updated as the work progresses. The work is expected to be completed in April 2023.