Visting Christ Church, Reading, Berkshire, Reading, England: A Conspicuous and Memorable Spire
A Victorian sense of commanding heights
Dating from 1861-1862, the crowning feature of Christ Church, Reading, in Berkshire, England is its magnificent spire, which attains the height of 50 metres (164 feet). Given that the building is already situated on a hill, located at the intersection of Kendrick and Christchurch Roads, and no other building in the vicinity is remotely similar in height, the effect of Christ Church's spire is truly imposing.
(In fact, taken from certain angles, photos of the spire of Christ Church, Reading can even resemble or even be mistaken for the spires of some of England's Medieval Cathedrals; the spire of Norwich Cathedral particularly comes to mind.)
So what's in a name? While it is not unusual for Anglican parish churches to be named Christ Church, this particular one is in the Diocese of Oxford, the Cathedral of which is also known as Christ Church.
Interestingly, nearby Reading University emerged from a college founded in 1892 by Christ Church, Oxford, the College of Oxford University which shares the Cathedral premises. In fact, Christ Church, Reading has a musical tradition which is sometimes expressed through concerts performed by musical students of Reading University. So the name Christ Church and its historical and musical associations is redolent of several interwoven cross-references.
As a structure, Christ Church, Reading is strongly Gothic in style, with its point window and door arching, flying buttresses and pinnacles. Its prominent spire only accentuates this Gothic styling.
The interior of the building is noted for its extensive stained glass windows.
Its architect was Henry Woodyer (1816-1896)(1). At Christ Church, Reading he arguably captured a Victorian sense of commanding heights.
March 8, 2018
(1) Architect Woodyer was known as a designer of church and residential buildings in England and Wales in a career which lasted many decades during the Victorian Era; he was also responsible for the New Schools at Eton College.
Also worth seeing
In Reading itself, visitor attractions include many other church buildings of note, including Reading Minster, St Mary's Episcopal Chapel, the former Broad Street Independent Chapel, the church of St Lawrence-in-Reading, the Hospitium of the former Reading Abbey in which what became the University of Reading partly originated in 1892; and many others.
How to get there : United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Distance from Heathrow Airport to Reading is 49 kilometres. A regular bus link exists between Heathrow Airport and Reading. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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