We are working with Reading Borough Council to launch two new self-guided audio trails celebrating Reading’s heritage.
We caught up with local artist and BBC Radio 3 presenter Fiona Talkington to find out more about her audio trail.
Can you tell us more about the Audio Trail? What are the key themes, stories and sounds that you are exploring?
It’s a real journey of discovery. We’ve called it Pints, Pies and Protest because breweries were a key feature, there’s a famous pie shop there, and we meet am important Reading woman of the past who stood up for what she believed in and the legacy of her work is still here in Reading today. It’s a real bringing to life of Reading as an ever-evolving town.
What do you hope audiences will experience from doing the Audio Trail?
I hope they’ll be surprised and delighted at the range of things we find in the trail. It’s a nice walk close to the town centre, so I hope they will enjoy the reminder that Reading is a truly historical town.
What is your relationship to Reading and how has this influenced your approach to this project?
I was born in Reading, grew up here and still live here, and although my work has taken me to so many places Reading is my home and the opportunity to discover and learn more about an area I had just taken for granted has been wonderful.
What’s the favourite thing that you’ve discovered about Reading & this area during the creation of this audio trail?
In one sense, talking to other people who know so much about the history, about how things fit together and who really opened my eyes.
But I’ve also loved thinking about the sounds of Castle Street when there were carts and wagons instead of cars and buses.
And the Allied Arms!
And what is the most unusual or interesting sound that audiences can expect to hear during the walk?
Personally, what do you enjoy most about Audio Trails?
It’s probably my background in radio (I’m a presenter on Radio 3) but I love the way voices can transport you to another place. And I love learning new things in anything I’m researching, then I become so desperate to share it all.
How would you describe the experience to someone who has never done something like this before?
It’s magical! Like being taken by the hand by a friend and being shown around, things to discover, something to smile at. And it’s something you can do over and over again, in different weathers, at different times of day.
From 21 June Reading Audio Trails will be available to listen to on the Reading Borough Council website and members of the public will be able to walk the trails using their smartphone.
The audio trails are commissioned by Reading Borough Council. Produced by Sound UK in association with Readipop and Berserk Productions.
The commission is part of the Reading High Streets Heritage Action Zones Programme, led by Historic England and Reading Borough Council.
Photo credit: James John