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Latitude: 51.4499 / 51°26'59"N
Longitude: -0.9434 / 0°56'36"W
OS Eastings: 473522
OS Northings: 172851
OS Grid: SU735728
Mapcode National: GBR QTH.5P
Mapcode Global: VHDWT.LTND
Entry Name: Nos. 25-34 Oaklands
Listing Date: 4 February 2013
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1411950
Location: Reading, RG1
Electoral Ward/Division: Park
Parish: Non Civil Parish
Built-Up Area: Reading
Traditional County: Berkshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire
Church of England Parish: Reading St Luke
Church of England Diocese: Oxford
Block of six maisonettes set over four flats, built 1967 to the designs of Frank Briggs and Peter de Souza of Diamond Redfern and Partners, with landscaping by Sheila Hayward.
Heavily raked dark brickwork, with horizontal white weatherboarding and bands of black vertical boarding to upper floors; flat roofs.
The block is of three storeys and comprises six maisonettes on the upper two floors with four flats below. Each dwelling has its own external doorway on the east side of the block. The flats and maisonettes have varying plans of 2 bedrooms and 2 -3 bedrooms respectively; the maisonettes have balconies to their first-floor living rooms.
On the east (entrance) side, projecting brick walls form a series of irregularly-shaped yards enclosed by white boarded timber gates. Original front doors are of white-painted timber with two large glazed panels. Windows are centrally-hinged black timber casements, those to the upper floors set in bands of black vertical boarding; the living-room windows are taller, creating a varied pattern of fenestration. On the west (garden) side, the flats have glazed sliding doors with black timber surrounds opening onto semi-enclosed patios. At first-floor level is a continuous balcony, the parapet lowered in sections to allow views from the maisonette living rooms.
Original internal fittings, including built-in cupboards, glazed partitions to living rooms/kitchens and timber handrails to stairs, survive to varying degrees across the estate.
This is a private development of unusual character. Oaklands was the name of the large Victorian house previously on the northern part of the site, which with its extensive grounds was developed with the five blocks of flats and maisonettes in 1967. The promoter of the scheme was the house's owner, J A Spurgeon, a descendant of the famous Nonconformist family; one block (Nos. 35-48) was retained for letting to retired Baptist ministers and their families. There are 21 flats and 29 maisonettes in all, with landscaping by Sheila Hayward that retained the lawns and mature trees of the original garden as well as red-brick garden walls and an apple store. Facilities for residents included a laundry block and several rows of garages. The scheme won a Ministry of Housing Award in 1969 and a Civic Trust Award in 1972.
The development model of small groups of houses or flats, designed in a homely yet frankly modern style and set in landscaped grounds, was pioneered by Span Developments Limited in the London suburbs during the 1950s, and afterwards imitated by other developers such as Wates. The firm of Diamond Redfern & Partners specialised in housing work in both the public and private sectors. Much of their work was in Ireland, including the much-admired Castlepark Village development at Kinsale, County Cork.
Nos. 25-34 Oaklands, built in 1967 by Diamond Redfern and Partners, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality: an unusually well-planned and crisply-detailed housing scheme, combining frankly modern design with simple, homely materials in the manner of the contemporary Span Estates developments;
* Landscaping: the landscape design by Sheila Hayward, which retains elements of the older gardens, is of high quality and succeeds in tying these overtly contemporary buildings into their leafy Victorian setting;
* Group value: the five listed residential blocks form a clearly defined group.
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