A NEW exhibition exploring the history of Reading's most iconic buildings opens tomorrow.

Reading Abbey Then and Now charts the history of the ruins as major restoration works continue.

The Sir John Madejski Art Gallery hosts the exhibition until September 23.

Sarah Hacker, lead member for culture on Reading Borough Council will open the exhibition along with mayor Rose Williams.

"I am thrilled to launch this fascinating new exhibition illustrating the immensely rich history of the Abbey Quarter," she said.

"This is just a small part of the overall works to regenerate, what was the heart of Reading and I would like to encourage residents to visit the exhibition when they have an opportunity to realise such an important part of the heritage of the town."

The abbey was one of the most important religious buildings in Europe after it was founded by Henry I in 1121.

Visitors to the free exhibition will also have a chance to give feedback on the new information panels built around the ruins.

The Quarter shows evidence of all periods since the Abbey’s dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539.

Uses include a royal residence, civil war defences, Jane Austen’s school, the impressive municipal buildings, Victorian public gardens and Oscar Wilde’s infamous Reading Gaol.