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Brock Keep

Heritage Open Days 2020

Fri 11 - Sun 13 Sep from 11:00

Hidden Nature: Come and help build "bug hotels" in The Artists' Garden, and enjoy guided tours of Brock Keep, historic former armoury and gatehouse to Brock Barracks, now studios and art gallery - with a special exhibition inspired by its garden.

The Artists' Garden is a peaceful space in busy West Reading: a small urban haven for people and wildlife, with trees, shrubs, flowers and artwork. Come and help us build "bug hotels" to increase diversity and strengthen food chains.  All ages welcome.

Friday 11 September: 1100 - 1800, tours on hour, and half past
Saturday 12 September: 1100 - 1800 tours on hour, and half past
Sunday 13 September: 1100 - 1800, tours on hour, and half past

Max 8 people per tour/session. 

Brock Keep, completed in 1877, is a fine example of the Victorian keeps, built to aid recruitment and to increase local pride. They provided a ceremonial gatehouse, guardroom, fire engine house, and secure storage for arms, ammunition and soldiers' kit. They were designed by distinguished architect Major H C Seddon of the Royal Engineers. Reading's Keep is one of the surviving few that have not been demolished or converted.  

It is grade II listed and is particularly special because of its setting next door to the Lutyens War Memorial and its original Army Depot that is still occupied by 7th Battalion the Rifles. Its original features are well preserved. The Keep is now owned by Reading Borough Council and since 1980 has provided artists' studios for OpenHand OpenSpace and Reading Space Studios, and exhibition space for many artists. In the early 1980s it was used as a shelter for homeless people. OpenHand OpenSpace is grateful for funding and support from Reading Borough Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Clarks Legal, the Architectural Heritage Fund, and for the time generously given by its volunteers.