CONSERVATION work is underway at Caversham Court Gardens to replace and repair damaged materials.

Contractors started a six-week project on May 20 at the popular park thanks to funding from a developer contribution.

The limestone on the Victorian section of the house has been damaged by winter frosts and is set to be replaced with something stronger.

A site of great historical significance, it is believed to have housed the Alexander family during the civil war period in the late 17th century.

The Simonds family, Reading’s banking and brewing family, remodelled the house, turning it into a splendid Gothic mansion.

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m delighted we are able to invest on restoring this heritage element in the much loved Caversham Court Gardens.

"The house, which sadly no longer stands, had an incredibly illustrious past and played an important role in Reading’s history.

"It is entirely fitting that we should invest to preserve the memory of the house, so its story can be passed on for future generations to understand and enjoy.”

Stone masons at A F Jones will replace and repair the stone masonry that makes up the house footprint over the coming weeks.

The house was demolished in 1931, shortly before Caversham Court was opened up as a public park in 1934.

During the works, the affected area will be fenced off for safety and the replacement will be carried out in two phases.

The first stage will finish on June 20 and the second phase will begin after the annual fete at St Peter’s Church in July, with the entire project due to be finished by the end of August.

In 2004, with Heritage Lottery funding, Reading Borough Council was able to restore the site, marking out the footprints of the houses and the buildings.

Caversham Court Gardens is of national importance and is listed in the English Heritage ‘Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England’.