Friar Street, Reading

Friar Street is a thoroughfare in the English town of Reading. It runs parallel to Broad Street, connected by Union Street, Queen Victoria Street and Cross Street. At the western end is the Greyfriars Church and at the eastern end are the Town Hall and St Laurence's Church.

Friar Street
Friar Street, Reading looking west.jpg
Friar Street looking west in 2007
Former name(s)New Street[1]
LocationReading, Berkshire, UK
Postal codeRG1
Coordinates51°27′23.95″N 0°58′25.03″W / 51.4566528°N 0.9736194°W / 51.4566528; -0.9736194Coordinates: 51°27′23.95″N 0°58′25.03″W / 51.4566528°N 0.9736194°W / 51.4566528; -0.9736194


Friar Street looking west, c. 1875 by Henry Taunt

Excavations carried out on Friar Street in 1997 at the location of a proposed extension Marks and Spencer store by the Oxford Archaeological Unit revealed successive layers of old buildings, some of which date back to the 13th century.[2]

The Frank Matcham-designed Royal County Theatre, built in 1895, was located on the south side of Friar Street. It burned down in 1937.[3]

The opening of a Sainsbury's supermarket in 1963 led to the closure of many smaller shops.[4]

Friars WalkEdit

Friars Walk shopping centre, located at the western end of Friar Street, opened in 1973-4.[5] From around 2009 to 2019 it was derelict. For six years (up until 2018), Friars Walk was known as "The Mall" and used as a venue for airsoft and immersive zombie survival games.[6][7][8] Zed Events have since moved the Zombie Mall experience to a new site to allow for demolition of Friars Walk as part of the Reading Station Hill development. On 1 August 2019, a scaffolding collapse occurred at the demolition site.[9]


  1. ^ Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 32. ISBN 0-905392-07-8.
  2. ^ "Excavations at Friar Street, Reading, Berkshire". Oxford Archaeology: Exploring the Human Journey. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Reading Theatre". Reading History Trail. Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  4. ^ Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 32. ISBN 0-905392-07-8.
  5. ^ Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 167. ISBN 0-905392-07-8.
  6. ^ "Zed Events "ABOUT US"". Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  7. ^ "First and Only Bring you "THE MALL"". First And Only Airsoft. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  8. ^ "THE MALL ZOMBIE WARFARE – DEPOSIT". National Airsoft Girls. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Shocking pictures as scaffolding collapses in Station Hill demolition site". Get Reading. Retrieved 1 August 2019.