Why Save Reading Gaol?

Reading Gaol is an important national, even international, heritage site. Oscar Wilde was imprisoned there for his sexuality and wrote his famous ballad on his release. The prison is in the grounds of Reading Abbey and Henry I is believed to be buried nearby. The prison has been closed since 2013. The Ministry of Justice is planning to sell it to the highest bidder by the end of 2019. The highest bidder is likely to be a (luxury) property developer.

Converting the Gaol into an arts and heritage hub would give the local community a valuable new resource and also provide a venue that visitors from afar will want to visit. Arts, culture and tourism are all recognised as being important to the economy.

“But flowers can grow out of manure, and if living art can rise up from the place where Oscar and so many others suffered then how perfect that will be, for Reading, for Britain and for us all.”

Stephen Fry