Elmhurst Road connects Upper Redlands Road and the junction of Shinfield Roiad/Christchurch Road/Redlands Road. It had not alwys been called Elmhurst Road, and in the 19th. cebntiry had been caled variously Alexandra Road (it follows on over the cross rodas of Alexandra Road as it is today with Upper Redlands Road) and Junction Road (map of 1885- see Maps page) .
Elmhurst Road and Marlborough Avenue is part of The Redlands Conservation Area (see notes below)
At the north eastern end of the road in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries there was a gravel pit near to where old Whiteknights Farm buildings are now situated.
The Darlinghurst Estate
Looking at the maps through the nineteenth century one is inclined to consider that the house known as Elmhurst (and also as Darlinghurst) would have been a mini-estate with the house facing onto Upper Redlands Road and the estate bounded by that road and by Redlands Road and Elmhurst Road. In the map of 1885 one can see that a chunk of land has already gone to create New Road. The whole of the Redlands area would have comprised such small estates. Although there area couple of houses on the north side of New Road which seem to date form the very early nineteenth century, so perhaps selling of bits had started then.The earliest houses date from around the 1850s. Much of New Road and the south side of Upper Redlands Road was developed by 1873. This contrasts with Marlborough Avenue and the north side of Elmhurst Road, where development was not begin until the 1890s.
St.Georges Hall of course is an entirely modern addition, but the old main "hub" of the Hall is still called Elmhurst House. It was once one of the grand old "mini estates" of south Reading throughout the nineteenth century which gradually lost its land through sales for "in filling" of what are today pleasant late nineteenth and early twentieth century detached and semi detached houses, of distinctive character.
In the map of 1877 it is called Darlinghurst.
At the north-east end of Elmhurst Road and just a little along east into Upper Redlands Road, where now stands the former Whiteknights Hall of Residence and current Mackinder Hall, once stood a fine early nineteenth residence called Park House. It was One of the big houses constructed when the Park was broken up and divided into large plots when it was was sold to pay the debts of the Marquees of Blandford.
The maps of 1877 onwards show a large stately house just inside Upper Redlands Road along east a little from the junction with Elmhurst Road.
St.Joseph's Convent School (f had formery been on the Bath Road where it was founded in 1894. Then in 1909 it moved to the house known as Broadoack (the old house can still be seen behind the trees with the subsequent extension and school builidng attached to the right).
1877: The road in terms of its dwellings date from the late nineteenth century. In the map of 1877, no. 25 Redlands Road is clear;y shown and also nos.84, 82 and 76. The plot where 80 and 78 is has been marked in but is yet unbuilt. No other plots are marked or houses yet erected.
all text above: © Stephen B. Cox
Elmhurst Road and Marlborough Avenue: The houses in these streets date from the 1890s and comprise larger semi-detached and detached houses. Each detached house or pair of semi-detached houses is different in their detailing, with extensive use made of decorative mouldings and patterned brickwork. The main colour here is grey, with cream and red brick detailing. Other interesting features include: decorative stone lintels and relieving arch at first floor level at 1 and 3 Marlborough Avenue; herringbone patterning on the front roof gables of 5 and 7 Marlborough Avenue; and Gothic style patterning at 58/60 Elmhurst Road. There are also four pairs of semi-detached properties in the “Old English Revival Style”, with large triangular roof dormers with matching porch canopies, which extend over the adjoining bays. These properties also have distinctive red clay roofs.
One characteristic of these streets is that all properties “front” south. This is not a problem in Elmhurst Road where the properties face the playing fields and, in part, tree cover of the University campus, but the “backs” of properties in Elmhurst Road face the south side of Marlborough Avenue, giving a view of high brick walls, which in themselves are not unattractive, and garage
entrances, which are clearly less attractive, particularly behind numbers 78-84
Again, properties here are “linked” by frontage brick walls and/or low brick
walls with railings above.