History of Caversham Weir & View Island


There has been evidence of people using the power of the River Thames going back over a thousand years. One of the earliest examples recorded is in the Doomsday Book of 1086, where people were damming and diverting some of the Thames river flow 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 pay a 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 project were the ones who realised the potential for generating hydro power at the weir. They applied for our initial planning permission in September 2015. You can view the full application here.

The centre formed Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society to drive this project forward, with the goal to deliver hydroelectricity on the Thames for the benefit of the local community.

Reading Hydro has subsequently worked on gaining the required consents and permissions, as well as raising the required funding through our Pioneer & Main Share Offers. At the same time, we have been able to finalise the most appropriate technology and design, as well as start to build our education and communication strategies for when we’re generating. As of the end of 2020, we are currently building at our site by Caversham Weir.

Key Dates

Reading Hydro obtained planning permission in Summer 2015 from Reading Borough Council. The Environment Agency granted licences required to operate the hydro project on Caversham Weir in February 2016. The Council granted Final planning approval in May 2017. We ran our Pioneer Share Offer in December 2018 and concluded our successful Main Share Offer in September 2020. On-site construction work has started as of October 2020, and is expected to continue until 2021.


EA requirements for licensing included producing a contaminated land risk assessment. This involved a significant amount of research of the local history and geology of the site.