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University of Reading - Stop the proposed demolition of St Patrick's hall

This petition had 904 supporters

As part of their on-going plans to update and renew their halls of residence, Reading University and their partner UPP want to renew St Patrick's hall. Except they don’t want to renew it as much as completely demolish it!

St Pats, specifically Pearson Court (or old court) is not only a truly historic building, occupying an important place in the town, universities and nations history, but it’s also held in deep affection by current and former residents and university alumni.

The hall was used during world war one, along with the listed (and therefore protected) Wantage Hall, to house and train pilots in what was to become the RAF. It still contains war memorials to former student residents who went to fight in both world wars. It has a beautiful wood panelled old dining hall, now the JCR as well as a historic library, Warden’s cottage and attractive grassed quad.

This is not an ugly, unloved creaking old student halls building –this is the kind of building that Historic England no less says ‘led the way’ in university accommodation design at the turn of the century.

Of course the university should be able to upgrade its student accommodation for current and future students’ needs, but we don’t believe this needs to be at the cost of demolishing fine historic buildings, one that both architecturally and historically are more than worthy of retention.

We are calling on the university to abandon plans to demolish the original 1913 St Pats buildings and seriously explore how these could be retained, whether as student accommodation or with another use.

If the university is willing to smash the 100 year old hall to bits, it should surely be willing to modify it enough to meet 21st century student demands.

- Joshua Mellor (St Patrick's Hall JCR President 2008-2009)
- Karl Hobley (Reading University Student's Union President 2011-2012)

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