History of Caversham Weir & View Island
‘IT ALL BEGAN BEFORE DOOMSDAY…’
There’s evidence that people have used the power of the River Thames for over a thousand years. One of the earliest examples recorded is in the Doomsday Book of 1086, where some of the Thames river flow had been diverted to power a water mill, just beyond View Island in Caversham.
Over the subsequent centuries, the weirs and lock at Caversham built up as the surrounding area grew, and the river became increasingly managed. If you visit to Caversham Weir today, you can still see these changes and the impacts they have made on the area.
History of Reading Hydro CBS
‘A sustainable idea forms’
The Reading Sustainability Centre realised the potential for generating hydro power at the weir and got plans underway.
Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society was set up in 2017 to drive the project forward. Its purpose was to generate hydroelectricity on the Thames for the benefit of the local community.
Reading Hydro CBS achieved the necessary permissions for a hydro scheme; raised nearly £1.2m investment through Pioneer and Main share offers; commissioned a detailed project design; and appointed and supervised contractors to manufacture and build the main parts of the system. Reading Hydro volunteers cleared undergrowth and rubbish from View Island to make a natural fish pass; built the turbine house; pulled the cable through an under-river conduit to connect Reading Hydro to our main electricity customer Thames Lido; and painted the ‘Community Energym’ mural and ‘Climate stripes’ on the outside of the turbine house.