Headlines for March Issue

Christian Unity Service at Our Lady & St.Anne
This year’s Unity Service was held at Our Lady & St. Anne Roman Catholic church. Given that the ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ was launched by a Catholic priest from Lyon, the Abbé Paul Couturier, in the early years of the 20th century, it is fitting that from time to time a Catholic church is host to this annual celebration. Last year, when the new parish priest at South View Avenue, Father Patrick H. Daly, was the preacher at the Unity Service in the Anglican parish church, St. Peter’s, the ceremony, although relaxed and to some extent informal, still was shrouded in the majesty which the Established Church alone can provide. The Unity Service this year was a more non-Conformist event and was held on Wednesday 23 January. Hosted in the Catholic church and with…. (Read more)

Lent Groups 2019
The front page feature in the current issue carries a full list of Lent Groups in Caversham for the Lent period, starting from Monday 11th March…. (Read more)

A Spring Concert
It is said that music brings people together. Looking at Reading Youth Orchestra, one of the oldest youth orchestras in the country, this is an easy fact to observe. We have a group of students who bond over a common hobby, who grow as young people and musicians by learning and playing music together, and striving to achieve a musical outcome both accomplished and beautiful. This phenomenon has been in our very own Reading for 75 years now. In 1944, before the end of the war and shortly after the…. (Read more)

Highdown School – Caversham’s hub for secondary education
Highdown School was established as a comprehensive school in 1971. Currently some 1350 students are enrolled from 11 to 18 years of age. The school includes three Grade II listed buildings within its 32 acre grounds, and is very proud to be at the heart of its community. The school estate is buzzing all day and every weekend and holiday many members of ‘Highdown Sport and Leisure’ come to use our facilities. We are delighted that many clubs book our swimming pool and astro turf pitches as well as other areas – Highdown never sleeps! As Headteacher, and on behalf of the School, I am very glad to be contributing to the ‘Caversham Bridge’ newspaper and hope that this feature will give the community a better understanding of what we do in school and of life inside the Highdown gates. Highdown was awarded academy status ine…. (Read more)

Caversham Heights Society: November talks on fusion power and swan upping
November 2018 saw two contrasting talks given to members of the Caversham Heights Society. The first, given by Chris Warwick from the Culham Atomic Research laboratories on the 7th November entitled ‘Fusion – a clean future?,’ was a serious and thoughtful explanation of the attempts at Culham to fuse hydrogen atoms together in order to generate energy that could then be used in the National Grid. This has been the Holy Grail since the 1950s but still has a long way to go. There is a sense of urgency to find a means of producing cheaper energy as soon as possible because it is estimated that the amount of energy needed will double by 2050. Currently the USA uses twice the amount of energy than any other country. Both Professors Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox have advocated the development of nuclear power as the future way to go and…. (Read more)

The Digital Society: danger, disruption and opportunity
There was only one evening talk for the Caversham Heights Society during January. This was a very topical one on ‘The Digital Society: danger, disruption and opportunity’ given by Nick Jones, former Head of Digital Communications at No. 10 Downing Street, during David Cameron’s premiership and now working for the HS2 project. He is also an adviser to business as well as to government. He began his talk by explaining how he became involved with the Internet and digital communications while he was working with Craig Oliver on the student magazine at St Andrews University. He then went into…. (Read more)

The Influence of Victorian Mourning in Reading Cemetery – History of Reading Society
The subject of the January talk was the Influence of Victorian Mourning in Reading Cemetery. The speaker was Anna Ellis who as a mature student has completed a BA Honours degree in archaeology at the University of Reading. On the 6th May 1843 the ‘Berkshire Chronicle’ reported the first interment at the new Reading Cemetery. The burial was of Elizabeth Jacobs the daughter of Mr T. Jacobs of Eldon Terrace, Reading and the mourners were led by the Reverend William Legg of Broad Street Chapel; a considerable number of spectators had gathered to witness the event. The Reading Cemetery Company was established by an Act of Parliament in 1842 to build and…. (Read more)

A taste of the Royal institution at Highdown, Caversham
While the Royal Institution is best known for its annual Christmas Lectures, it also has an extensive educational outreach programme. Last term thirty Year 5 children from the nine Caversham primary schools – Caversham, Caversham Park, Emmer Green, Micklands, St Anne’s, St Martin’s, The Heights, The Hill and Thameside – greatly enjoyed a series of…. (Read more)

Caversham flood defence proposals – are these the right solution?
For most people who live near the Thames in Caversham, flooding of some kind is a known risk. Some may even remember the flood of 1947 or at least have seen pictures. Currently a major flood is estimated to occur once in a hundred years, but current proposals by the Environment Agency (EA) for a large-scale Flood Alleviation Scheme in Caversham are predicated on an even bigger flood, once-in-200-years – that is a 0.5% chance of such an event occurring every…. (Read more)

Winter tree identification walk at Mapledurham Playing Fields
Over 40 people turned out on a chilly morning with the Friends of Mapledurham Playing Fields to take a walk with Reading Tree Warden Marcus Wheeler. Marcus admitted it can be tricky identifying trees at this time of year, but guided the participants through the clues of bud shape and colour, twig patterns, bark patterns, fallen leaves below, etc and told interesting facts about …. (Read more)

William Marshal: celebrating his 800th Anniversary
The great William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, was Regent to the boy King Henry III and he died at his manor house in Caversham on 14th May 1219. After his death his body was taken across the Thames to Reading Abbey for a solemn mass, and conveyed thence to the Temple church in London for burial. It was thanks to William Marshal that a French invasion force was defeated at Lincoln in 1216, and it was he who ensured that Magna Carta, and…. (Read more)

Caversham Court Gardens photography competition!
Win a £25 gift voucher with an entry to the Caversham Court Gardens photographic competition! To mark the 10th anniversary year of the refurbishment of the gardens, the Friends of Caversham Court Gardens are holding a photography competition, to run from March to the…. (Read more)

Tribute to Norman Kent
Norman Kent was born in Birmingham in 1926 and came to Reading as a small boy, where his widowed mother could work as a Housekeeper at Farley Hill, near Arborfield. Later, he moved to George Street in Reading and at 13 years old started work as a baker’s boy with a most recalcitrant horse called Nobby. Norman had a great affection for Nobby and he told many a tale of how this obdurate and obstinate creature would…. (Read more)

Curry Night raises funds for the parish of Our Lady and St Anne
On Saturday 19th January at around seven o’clock in the evening some 60 parishioners and friends met in the Cenacle at Our Lady and St Anne RC Church in Caversham to enjoy a Curry Night and to combine culinary enjoyment with some charitable fundraising. Edwin Raj and a goodly number of members of the Tamil Catholic community who worship at Our Lady and St Anne were the prime movers in what turned out to be a…. (Read more)

All Emojis Welcome at the 3rd Space
Fourteen children accompanied by seven adults were greeted by the welcoming team for the first ever 3rd Space (Café style church) at St Barnabas Church, Emmer Green at 2.00pm on Sunday 27th January, and what fun we had! After a selection of cakes, fruit, and a chat, we got to know each other by playing Pictionary. I remember when my children were young, how Pictionary would draw us close together. No pun intended. On every table were emojis, which are images used on social media which relate to emotions we might be feeling at that moment e.g. happy, sleepy, anxious etc. Everyone was asked what emojis are. Do they use them? What are their favourite emojis? Families then designed an…. (Read more)

Caversham WI
Our January meetings are set aside as an opportunity for any one of the members to present a topic on a subject of interest. Previously we have had a wide range of talks and demonstrations. This year, our President took us into the scientific world reflecting her interest and career. For an hour we learned facts and had demonstrations about the way…. (Read more)

Rosehill WI
President Arlene Riley welcomed all (including visitors) to our first meeting of 2019 which took place on Wednesday, 2nd January at 2.00 pm and wished everyone a Happy New Year. Arlene then introduced our speaker, Paul Whittle. Paul’s talk was entitled ‘Steam to Mandalay’. It was a very interesting talk, with slides, about the history of Burma with all its political upheavals over the years. Part of the talk was about a steamer trip on the River Irrawaddy from Mandalay heading north. From the slides we were able to see many and varied temples all very…. (Read more)

Caversham Heights Townswomen’s Guild
Caversham Heights Townswomen’s Guild had a quiet January with no meetings. Nevertheless the cinema group went to see ‘Collette’ at the Vue cinema and the Luncheon club had a nice meal at the Cote Brasserie. We met again in February when Jaye Windmill told us about the ‘Witches of Pendle’, and Tony King entertained the Social Studies group. A visit was made to the Mill at Sonning to see ‘Fanny by gaslight’. Our Annual…. (Read more)

The Library Clock
In November last year I went to hear a talk by Dr Megan Aldrich, ‘The Architectural History of Caversham – a Personal View.’ She said that the library was one of her favourite buildings, and I could see why. The souvenir brochure produced for the library’s opening said that the architectural style was ‘Free Renaissance.’ The first edition of Pevsner’s Berkshire volume in the ‘Buildings of England’ series ignored the library completely, preferring to mention Alfred Waterhouse’s two Baptist Free Churches. The second edition called it ‘provokingly eccentric.’ Megan Aldrich thought it owed much to the Arts and…. (Read more)

Caversham Centre replacement sub-Post Office update: no progress at mid-February
Matt Rodda MP received a further communication from the Post Office at the end of January about the ongoing matter of a sub-Post Office for Caversham Centre (see ‘Caversham Bridge’, February 2019 p.1). In the current absence of a clear resolution of the matter to the satisfaction of Caversham residents the content of the most recent statement received from the Post Office is as follows: “I can confirm that we are intending to open a Post Office at 163-165 Caversham Road, Reading, RG1 8BB towards the end of February. We will contact you when we are in a position to confirm the exact proposed date. However, this is part of our strategy to open new Post Offices where we believe they are sustainable, and was…. (Read more)

Canonization of the Blessed John Henry Newman
On February 13th Pope Francis approved the canonization of the Blessed John Henry Newman, a Roman Catholic Cardinal, scholar and founder of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Birmingham. The Birmingham Oratory is an English Catholic religious community of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, located in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. The community was founded in 1849 by the Blessed John Henry Newman, and was the first house of that congregation in England. Newman was born in 1801 and died in 1890. Anglicans and Roman Catholics alike…. (Read more)

World Day of Prayer
Our Lady and St Anne Roman Catholic Church (South View Avenue, Caversham) is hosting this year’s service for the Women’s World Day of Prayer on Friday 1st March and does so on behalf of other Christian churches in Caversham. The service begins at 7.00pm and will be followed by refreshments in the Cenacle. Women of Slovenia, one of the smallest and youngest countries in Europe, have prepared the service this year and they encourage us…. (Read more)

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