Category Archives: formembers

Chairman’s letter to the Friends February 2016

Dear Members,

Over the past few months we have been in discussion with the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office (CSEO) to agree on the way ahead for us at a time when the University is reshaping its management structures so as to make best use of its resources.

As a result, we as an Association have largely taken over our own administration, while still making use of the University as our base and as provider of practical assistance in matters of managing our finances and of printing and circulation of papers.

We now manage our own membership database, which we think will actually make communication easier in the future.  We have also re-designed our website and hope that this will assist us in making it more timely and informative.

Importantly, members of your Executive Committee have stepped forward to take over those functions needed to run the Association, the new officers being:

  • Peter Must: Hon. Secretary, looking after the Executive Committee and the Yearly Meeting;
  • Brenda Morris: Membership Secretary, dealing with subscriptions and arrangements for events;
  • Annette Haworth: Grants Officer, inviting applications for grants and presenting them to the Executive Committee to select cases for recommendation to the Yearly Meeting. She is also  our IT mastermind.
As your Chairman, I would like to emphasize my immense gratitude to each of the new officers, and to John Grainger in Peter Must’s Working Party, for their admirable efforts to achieve such a positive outlook for the Friends. The same goes for Dennis Wood’s tireless work in preparing the Heritage event to mark our 90th Anniversary in 2017.

This is still a learning curve for all of us and I know you will bear with us if further challenges arise.  Indeed, the new arrangements envisage others joining in to help: we will be most grateful for any further assistance offered.  Meanwhile, I trust you will accept that our measures have been necessary to keep the Friends’ Association alive and well, with a solid platform for future growth and activity. As evidence of this I have pleasure in enclosing our programme for 2016.  We hope to see as many of you as possible at these events, starting with the visit to Classics on 20 April, and including some really special treats – notably the Vice-Chancellor’s invitation for 29 June.

Andrew Palmer (Chairman)

Grants

THE 2024 GRANTS ROUND IS NOW CLOSED.

Here is the calling notice from the 2024 round for info:

Do you have a project which would benefit from a Friends of the University grant?

If so please send a short email describing your project and the amount requested to: thefriends@reading.ac.uk as soon as possible and in any case by Monday 8th April 2024.

We are particularly interested in helping to fund projects which will enhance University-community relations and/or help student or staff extra-curricular activities.

We will be in touch shortly after receiving your email to let you know if your project is eligible and whether we need further information. The final decisions will be made towards the end of April and applicants will be informed immediately of the outcome.

If you would like further information see below where there is a list of our previous grants. However, please note that while we traditionally mainly funded physical “things”, we will consider funding towards other projects, online work, events etc.

Note that we give grants only to organisations, not to individuals. Students are welcome to apply but should ensure that a member of UoR staff agrees with the application and can provide information on the University account that the grant is to to paid into. An alternative route would be through another associated organisation such as RUSU.


Below is information on our normal grants procedure.

Each year we give out around half a dozen grants normally ranging from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand pounds, responding to applications for projects which would not normally be funded from University academic resources. In this way we enrich students’ experiences, provide additional social and cultural amenities, enhance the University’s landscape and support its outreach into the community.

Students across University life benefit from contributions. Examples range from materials for an Art/Archaeology outreach project to help towards purchase of an engine for the Scuba Diving Club.

Donations to departments have ranged from models of fossilised creatures to paintings. The ceremonial furniture seen in the Great Hall at London Road at Graduation ceremonies was among our earliest grants; we have since since contributed to the refurbishment of its organ.

Our funding has enhanced University landmarks, including The Friends’ Bridge over Whiteknights Lake, wildflower meadow planting, and the cloisters that characterise London Road campus. The fine stained-glass window at the Museum of English Rural Life and music stands for concerts by Music at Reading are other examples.

The Friends are particularly interested in projects which support the University’s outreach into the wider community. Past examples of such grants include a 3D model of a DNA molecule which can be used both for University teaching and in schools, support of community events such as May’s Community Festival and completion of an African Drum circle to enable workshops to be held outside the normal curriculum with local schools and at community events./p

Grants awarded

Analysis of grants by decade to 2015

Grant making policy

Events

  • The Friends have devised walking trails around the University campuses. These may be available to local groups. Please contact thefriends (usual at sign) reading.ac.uk for further information.

    The Whiteknights trail covers the gate lodges before moving on to describe the background to the Temporary Office Buildings, the Citadel and more recent development of the Earley Gate area by the University (Agriculture, Psychology etc), and ending at the site ...

  • An informal series of get-togethers 3pm-430pm first Sunday of each month starting Sunday 3 September 2023 to find out how one of the Friends’ grants worked out. Join us over a cup of tea from the Museum of English Rural Life cafe. Non-members welcome to come along and find out something about the Friends. No need to book but to stay in touch please email: thefriends usual at sign reading.ac.uk

    Note: occasionally we may coincide with another event and alter the date/time – please check on the website

  • Professor Anne Curry was in the History Department before moving to Southampton. She was appointed Arundel Herald Extraordinary in 2022 – the first woman to be appointed as a herald in England. Her talk will cover the origins, development and activities of the heralds of the College of Arms.

  • A programme will be issued later.

  • Mr Wood, Vice-Chairman of the Friends of the University plans to offer tours of the University and others plan offer tours of University building on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September. Details will be sent out when they are available.

  • A guided tour of the material held by the Society of Antiquaries, arranged by our chairman, Professor Mike Fulford, and led by the Director of Development, Dominic Wallis, combined with a visit to the adjacent Geological Society arranged by Professor Peter Worley, member of The Friends.

  • With the Ure Museum 2016

    The East Reading Festival, a community-focused festival, will take place in Palmer Park from 12 noon to 6 pm on Sunday 23 June.

    With a music stage, a spoken-word/poetry stage, a funfair, food from around the world and a wide variety of community, charity and commercial stalls, there is something for everyone at East Reading Festival. The Friends of the University will have a stand so do come along to see us and all the other events.

  • The Whiteknights Studio Trail will be open from 11am to 6pm on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 of June this year. Venues will include the University’s Museum of English Rural Life. The Studio Trail map will be issued in due course or can be obtained in May at
    https://studiotrail.co.uk

  • This Festival, hosted by the University and the Students’ Union, will take place between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm. The Festival is designed to give the people of Reading a free, local day out and to bring some vibrancy to the heart of Whiteknights Campus. The day will be action-packed with live performances, workshops, competitions and much more. The Friends of the University will provide a stall at the event. No booking required.

  • In association with Reading’s Economy and Destination Agency (REDA) Chris Rayner and colleagues among The Friends have volunteered to lead guided walks round Whiteknghts and London Road during the Walks Festival in May. Details will be sent out in due course.

  • We will be visiting the Bee Meadow on London Road which was part funded by our grants. The planting is designed to be particularly insect friendly and the area supports the work of the Institute of Education in teaching children. Followed by the nearby Dairy Cafe (once the teaching block for dairying on campus). No need to book. All welcome.

  • John Mullaney is a member of The Friends and holds first and postgraduate degrees from the University, as does his wife Lindsay. Booking essential via form already sent to members.

  • We’ll be investigating 3 portraits the Friends funded and which now hang in Park House.

    Meet at Reception at 3pm, followed by tea (£1/cup) in the SCR.

    Please note, the portraits and SCR are up stairs and there is no lift in Park House. The Park House bar is on the ground floor

  • We will have a stand at the Lower Earley Family Fun Event on Friday 5 April 10am-12noon Chalfornt Close Earley RG6 5HZ.

    See Lower Earley Community Fair Poster.

  • The Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at Earley Gate RG6 6BZ, invites twenty Friends to visit on Wednesday 27 March to hear about and see further ephemera. Booking essential.

  • The Friends of the Harris Garden have extended an invitation to join them for a recording of the BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time. Booking is essential. Details have been sent to members.

  • MOVED TO UNIVERSITY BOATHOUSE RG4 8BB. The University Boat Club invites The Friends of the University to join them from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday 2 March 2024 to watch the afternoon division of the RU Head of the River, and enjoy tea and cake provided by the student rowers. The event is hosted at Reading Canoe Club, The Warren, Reading RG4 7TH (parking available), which has fantastic views of the final stages of the Head of the River, and providesthe comfort of being in the warm and dry. No need to book.

  • The Willis Museum in Basingstoke will be hosting an exhibition ‘Becoming Roman – Silchester a changing town’ in its Sainsbury Gallery and our Chairman, Professor Michael Fulford, has offered to act as a guide to the collection, which will showcase finds from the University’s excavations ranging from thetown’s Iron Age origins to its demise at the end of the Roman occupation of Britain. Booking essential.

  • We gave a grant towards a special table for the reading room in the MERL/special collections and archives.

    Meet some of those who have read there for a wide variety of projects and explore the grant over tea from the MERL cafe.

    No need to book but it helps us find enough chairs in the cafe if you could email thefriends@reading.ac.uk to let us know you might be coming. Guests welcome.

  • We will be looking at how our grant to the Special Collections for display cases worked out. We will be joined by Jackie Bishop, archivist for the recently acquired James Joyce archive. Jackie will introduce the current exhibition in the main hall. Please meet in MERL reception area at 3pm.
    Parking is available. Non-members welcome. No need to book but letting us know you may be coming by emailing thefriends@reading.ac.uk helps with the organisation.

  • An informal get together over a cup of tea from the MERL cafe to chat about the book ‘The Art and History of Whiteknights’ that the Friends helped to fund with the editor and fellow member, Jenny Halstead. Note CHANGE OF DATE – to coincide with Museum Shop Sunday 11am-3pm – the book’s publishers, Two Rivers Press, will have copies for sale.

    Just come along between 3pm-4.30pm on Sunday afternoon and look for us in the Museum of English Rural Life cafe. Parking is available. Non-members welcome. No need to book but letting us know you may be coming by emailing ...

  • An informal get together over a cup of tea from the MERL cafe to chat about the Shepherd’s Hut the Friends helped to fund with the grant holder, Philippa Heath, and convenor of the Museum’s knitters, Fong Scott.

    Just come along between 3pm-4.30pm on Sunday afternoon and look for us in the Museum of English Rural Life cafe. Parking is available. Non-members welcome. No need to book but letting us know you may be coming by emailing thefriends@reading.ac.uk helps with the organisation.

  • Peter Must, Member of The Friends and Chairman of the Wokingham Society, will give a talk about the Heelas family, who established a draper’s store in Wokingham at the end of the eighteenth century and then a large department store in Reading in the nineteenth. Tea/coffee and cakes will be available from 3.00 pm in the Meadow Suite, Park House, and will be followed by the talk at 4.15 pm. Booking information will be sent out nearer the time.

  • The Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday 11 October preceded by a guided tour of the Library at 3.00 pm. Tea will be provided in the Meadow Suite from 4.00 pm and the Annual General Meeting will be held there at 5.15pm, with an opening address from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Parveen Yaqoob. Booking details will be circulated in due course

  • In place of the visit which could not take place last year Martin Kaufman is offering a combined mini Royal Docks tour- with half the amount of walking and half the number of times getting on and off the coach – followed by a trip to Tilbury to see the container Docks and Tilbury Fort, a double visit which Martin says would be “a fitting end to our Docklands tour.” Details have been sent to members.

  • An informal get together over a cup of tea from the MERL cafe to chat about the booklet The Friends’ funded with Ian Akhurst, previous Director of Sport at the University.

    Just come along between 3pm-4.30pm on Sunday afternoon and look for us in the Museum of English Rural Life cafe. Parking is available. Non-members welcome. No need to book but letting us know you may be coming by emailing thefriends@reading.ac.uk helps with the organisation.

  • We are again taking part in the National Trust’s Heritage Open Days with a tour of Foxhill House and through the meadows to Whiteknights lake.

    Please see: https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/tour-of-foxhill-house-and-walk-through-meadow-area-to-whiteknights-lake for details. Booking essential.

  • Visit to Downe village and Down House with Professor Peter Worsley, Wednesday 6 September 2023

    Following his talk at last year’s Annual General Meeting about Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle, Professor Peter Worsley, Friend of the University and Professor Emeritus of Quaternary Geology, has kindly offered to lead a coach trip on Wednesday 6 September 2023 from Whiteknights to Charles Darwin’s home at Down House, now an English Heritage property, in Kent. After visiting the house it will be a short guided walk to nearby Downe village, from where the coach will return members to Whiteknights. Details have ...

  • We will be looking at how our grant for improvements to the MERL garden worked out. We will be joined by Chengcheng Guo, a postgraduate student who helps with the Friday Fledglings in the Garden.
    Just come along between 3pm-4.30pm on Sunday afternoon and look for us in the Museum of English Rural Life cafe. Parking is available. Non-members welcome. No need to book but letting us know you may be coming by emailing thefriends@reading.ac.uk helps with the organisation.

  • With the Ure Museum 2016

    The Friends will be taking part in the East Reading Festival, Palmer Park, 12noon – 6pm alongside a small display from the Cole Museum of Zoology with hands-on exhibits.

  • The Whiteknights Studio Trail will be open from 11am to 6pm on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 of June. Venues include the University’s Museum of English Rural Life. The Studio Trail map can be obtained in May at studiotrail.co.uk

    The book celebrating the Trail’s > 20 years which a Friends’ grant helped to publish can be bought from https://tworiverspress.com/shop/the-art-history-of-whiteknights/

  • Members running Ure Museums object handling activity

    This Festival, hosted by the University and the Students’ Union, will take place between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm on land behind the Students Union. The Festival, based on the theme of Agriculture and Food, is designed to give the people of Reading a free, local day out and to bring some vibrancy to the heart of Whiteknights Campus. The day will be action-packed with live performances, workshops, competitions and much more. The Friends of the University will provide a stall or two at the event. No booking required.

  • In association with Reading’s Economy and Destination Agency (REDA), and at the request of the University’s Events Team, Mr Chris Rayner and colleagues among The Friends have volunteered to lead guided walks round Whiteknghts on Saturday 13 May at 11 am and 2 pm, and round London Road on Sunday 14 May at 11 am. There will also be a nature walk by someone else on Saturday 13 May at 4 pm. The complete programme of walks, and the arrangements for booking to join a walk can be found at: https://whatsonreading.com/venues/reading-walks-festival/whats-on-events or obtained from REDA, The Library ...

  • Talk on Wednesday 5 April 2023 about The Origin and Development of Halls of Residence at the University by Mr Ian Burn and Dr John Grainger in the Meadow Suite at 4.15 pm.

    Mr Burn and Dr Grainger have recently issued a brochure describing and illustrating the History of Halls of Residence at the University and their talk will expand on the information in the brochure.

    Tea/coffee with cakes, will be available from 3.00 pm in the Meadow Suite, Park House, and will be followed by the talk at 4.15 pm.

    Please see the enclosed letter for further details and use the enclosed ...

  • ‘An Ephemeral Encounter’ at the Department of Typography, Tuesday 28 March 2023

    The Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at Earley Gate RG6 6BZ, invites twenty Friends to visit on Tuesday 28 March 2023 to look at and discuss examples of Reading ephemera, with an opportunity to print from a block made by a Reading printer.

    The exhibition illustrates everyday life in Reading and work on this collection has been partly funded by a grant from The Friends.

    Arrival is 2.15 pm for a 2.30 pm start. Tea will be provided.

    Places are limited to 20 and will be allocated on a ‘first-come, first-served’ ...

  • The University Boat Club invites The Friends of the University to join them from 2 to 4 pm to watch the afternoon division of the RU Head of the River, and enjoy tea and cake provided by the student rowers.

    The event is hosted at Reading Canoe Club, The Warren, Reading RG4 7TH (parking available), which has fantastic views of the final stages of the Head of the River, and provides the comfort of being in the warm and dry.

    There is no need to book; just turn up to cheer on the crews and enjoy the afternoon speaking to some current ...

  • A talk by Dennis Wood and colleagues on the Huntley and Palmer families in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Huntley’s founding of his biscuit business in Reading. Members are welcome to bring guests. Further details will be circulated to members in due course.

  • Members and their guests are invited on this tour with our guide Martin Kaufmann. Booking essential. Details will be sent to members.

  • Weather observations commenced at the university in London Road in 1901, and today there are over 100 years unbroken daily records of temperature, rainfall etc. Most of the instruments are fully automatic, and logged by computer every second of every day, 365 days per year. The wide range of observatory instruments and their records provide a valuable teaching and research resource to the Meteorology Department as well as continuing the long climate record. Please click to find out more and access the booking form.

  • Members and their guests are invited to a talk by Professor Peter Worsley on Darwin’s Voyage in the Beagle and tea in the Palmer Building preceding an update from the Vice-Chancellor on University strategy and our AGM.

  • With the Ure Museum 2016

    The Friends will once again have a stand at this Festival 12noon-6pm Palmer Park. All welcome, entry free. This time we’ll be showing an exhibition relating to the history of the Palmer family and the University to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Huntley & Palmers.

  • We helped fund the publication of the Art & History of Whiteknights celebrating 20 years of the Whiteknights Studio Trail which was co-founded by Friends’ member Jenny Halstead. Other members contributed articles to the book and created video tours of the based on some of the book’s artworks. Learn more and order the book on the publisher’s website: Two Rivers Press Whiteknights and come to this year’s trail.

  • An invitation to members of the Friends from the Alumni and Supporter Engagement Office to attend a Supporter Engagement Evening as a thank you for our help to the University and to hear about two of the activities that alumni and supporter contributions have assisted. Please click to book.

  • Members and their guests are invited to join students and staff for tea and cake at the Reading Canoe Club from 2pm to watch the afternon’s racing. No booking required.

  • Join a small group of us in the MERL cafe for a cup of tea and to look at the result of one of the Friends’ grants – the stained glass window.

  • The trustees have decided to conduct the AGM by email where possible and by post where not. Agenda papers for the Meeting hzve been sent to members who are invited to contact the Secretary if with any issues they would like to raise.

  • THE TRAIL HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JUNE 2021.

    A book entitled The Art and History of Whiteknights celebrating the founding of the Trail 20 years ago can be purchased through tworiverspress.com . The Friends have not only given a grant towards the cost of publication but also, through some of its volunteers, provided chapters on the Southern Hill area round Christchurch Road, and about Whiteknights Park derived from their work on its history that has resulted in a series of published Friend’ Heritage Trail Guides.

  • Event postponed due to Coronavirus restrictions

    Martin Kaufman will follow up his visit to Limehouse, Shadwell and Wapping last year with a proposed guided tour of the Royal Docks, the Thames Barrier and Tilbury Docks. Details will be sent to members nearer the time with an itinerary, timings and cost.

  • Update July 2020: in view of the continuing uncertainty over the safety of holding events and the timing coinciding with the University welcoming students on campus we are postponing our participation in this event until 2021

    The Friends will be collaborating with other local organisations in these National Trust-coordinated Heritage Open Days, the theme of which is Hidden Nature. We hope to co-ordinate something around the Grotto in the Wilderness on Whiteknights. Details will be sent out later in the year.

  • The AGM will take place via email and snail mail this year. The Secretary will be in touch with members in June.

    Our Annual General Meeting will start with a visit to the Library at 2.30 pm to be shown the changes made as a result of the recent renovation programme. Tea will be available in in the Meadow Suite from 3.45 pm followed by the Annual General Meeting at 4.30 pm, at which the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert Van de Noort, will talk to us about University’s activities and plans