History in Structure

3 and 5 London Road

A Grade II Listed Building in Katesgrove, Reading

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Latitude: 51.4506 / 51°27'2"N

Longitude: -0.9668 / 0°58'0"W

OS Eastings: 471892

OS Northings: 172908

OS Grid: SU718729

Mapcode National: GBR QMH.XF

Mapcode Global: VHDWT.6S7V

Plus Code: 9C3XF22M+67

Entry Name: 3 and 5 London Road

Listing Date: 14 December 1978

Last Amended: 8 January 2024

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1113503

English Heritage Legacy ID: 38997

Also known as: 3-5 London Road, Reading

ID on this website: 101113503

Location: Reading, Berkshire, RG1

County: Reading

Electoral Ward/Division: Katesgrove

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Reading

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Reading St Giles

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

Tagged with: Building

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The building now known as 3 and 5 London Road, probably originally a house with commercial premises included, constructed in the C16 or possibly earlier, now two dwellings.


House, probably originally including commercial premises, constructed in the C16 or possibly earlier, now two dwellings.

MATERIALS: the timber-framed construction is exposed, painted black, with rendered infill panels, under a pitched roof covered with modern plain tiles. The rear extensions are rendered, with felted roofs.

PLAN: the original two-storey building as it survives has a rectangular footprint. The building overall now has a U-shaped plan, with the principal elevation facing south towards London Road, and two C20 ranges extending northward from either end of the historic range.

EXTERIOR: the building has a jettied first floor to the principal elevation, corbelled out at the western end, and supported elsewhere on later timber brackets. On the ground floor are two doorways, irregularly spaced, with later-C20 doors. There are horizontal multi-pane shop windows, also belonging to the later C20, though possibly in original openings, with a row of studs beneath each window. The jettied first floor is symmetrically framed, with arched braces to the outer bays, and alternating wider and narrower posts between, meeting in a narrow central bay. Later-C20 horizontal windows are set beneath the eaves, containing sash frames – two pairs to the outer bays and two single windows. The partially exposed west elevation has large framing with rendered infill panels. The two extensions to the building’s north elevation each contain a single bay of fenestration on their garden-facing façades.


The first written record of Reading dates from the ninth century when the name seems to have referred to a tribe, called Reada’s people. It is possible that there was a river port here during the Roman occupation, and by 1086 Reading had grown into a town, recorded in the Domesday Book. The early Anglo-Saxon settlement is believed to have been located in the Castle Street and St Mary’s area, which has St Mary’s Minster at its heart.

After Reading Abbey was founded in 1121, the town grew substantially as a place of pilgrimage as well as an important ecclesiastical and trading centre, with cloth production as the principal industry. Reading’s increasing prosperity saw the establishment of the new Market Place (drawing trade away from the old marketplace at St Mary’s Butts), and of what is today known as London Street, an extension to the High Street, which facilitated trade to and from London, intersecting with the old London Road coming in from the east. By 1525, Reading had become the largest town in Berkshire. Following its dissolution in 1539, Reading Abbey became a royal palace. The cloth and leather trades continued to flourish and by 1611 the town’s population had grown to over 5,000.

Following significant upheaval during the Civil War, the town flourished during the C18 and C19. Several developments during this period spurred further growth and prosperity, including the arrival of the Great Western Railway, improvements to the navigability of the River Kennet, and the expansion of the local brewing industry.

The building known as 3 and 5 London Road was constructed as a single residence, probably with commercial premises on the ground floor, in the C16 or possibly earlier. It was extended to the rear (northwards) on several occasions prior to the late C19. These rear extensions were remodelled during the early C20 and eventually swept away during the second half of the C20, when two new extensions were added along the eastern and western plot boundaries, enclosing the rear garden. Historic photographs taken in 1943 show that at that time much of the timber framing was concealed behind render, the ground-floor window openings were in their current positions but served as shop windows, and the first-floor fenestration consisted of two window openings, smaller than those currently seen, with a very small central opening. There was also a dormer window in the roof to the west. At that time the building had a substantial brick stack to the west end, and a smaller one to the east end, both now lost. By the time of listing, in 1978, the building had taken on its current external appearance. In the early C21, the building returned to residential use after a period as office accommodation. The building is currently (2022) divided into two dwellings.

Reasons for Listing

The building known as 3 and 5 London Road is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a building of C16 origins which contributes to the character of an architecturally varied historic streetscape.

Historic interest:

*     as part of the urban development of Reading’s ancient core, and as a rare survivor of Reading's pre-industrial urban development.

Group value:

*    the building is in close proximity to a large number of listed buildings and forms part of a strong historic grouping.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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