One of Reading’s most treasured landmarks could be nationally listed, if community leaders get their wish.

The Black History Mural, at the former Central Club on, is now old enough to be put forward to Historic England for listing.

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for Heritage at Reading Borough Council (RBC) and the town’s new Heritage Champion, led the calls on the 30th anniversary of the mural’s creation.

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The mural reached its 30th birthday on Tuesday (June 16) and is now eligible to be put forward for listing, according to Historic England.

Cllr Rowland tweeted: “Reading’s fantastic black history mural was livicated 30 years ago today.

“It’s high time this is nationally listed in recognition of the importance of our black community.”

There is a 30-year year benchmark for listing, which means buildings and structures under 30 years old are only considered if they’re under imminent threat of demolition.

A spokesman for Historic England said: “We have been in touch with the Reading Conservation Area Advisory Committee (RCAAC) about the Black History mural and will be considering it for listing as part of the Reading High Street Heritage Action Zone.”

Councillor Sophia James, Reading’s joint first black councillor, said: “The mural deserves listed status and is a huge marker to the community here which is especially important during the BLM era.”

She helped to organise a peaceful Black Lives Matter sit down demonstration on Saturday(June 14), also delivering a moving speech.

Former councillor Glenn Dennis, who became Reading’s joint first black councillor along with Cllr James in 2014, added: “It would be a testament to Reading if the mural gained listed status.”

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According to Cllr Rowland, the site has previously been put forward for listing Evelyn Williams, RCAAC’s chairman.

She said: “I am pushing, as Heritage Champion for Reading, for it to be reconsidered. By right, this needs to be listed as a testament to our black communities in Reading.”

The mural was ‘livicated’ on June 16, 1990, in memory of C.L.R James and and the peaceful anti-apartheid demonstrators who were massacred in Soweto by the South African regime during the uprising on June 16, 1976.

Livication is a rastafarian word combining ‘live’ and dedication’.

The mural includes figures such as Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King and Bob Marley as well as Reading-based people involved in founding the Central Club.

The council listed the mural as an “asset of community value” in 2017.

Sale of the Central Club

The Central Club, the “spiritual home” of the black community in Reading, was sold in late 2019 subject to planning permission being granted by November 2 this year.

However, this date can be extended till April 22, 2021 if the planning position is still “live” next November.

RBC chose to sell the former Central Club site to Redline in July 2018.

Redline will build a seven-storey structure with affordable housing, with local theatre company Rabble taking over the ground floor for storage and rehearsal space.

The black history mural will be preserved.

Community group Aspire failed in its bid to take over the property, with members of the group reacting angrily when they realised their bid had been unsuccessful, shouting “shame on you”.

RBC had previously offered more than £200,000 to help fund a community bid, but had to pull council resources after a fundraising campaign failed to get the required contributions.