India & Me: A Journey

Detail showing a scene from the L'Hindoustan wallpaper in the Garden Room at Basildon Park

This year, the Garden Room in the mansion has been transformed with an audio-visual exhibition, looking at personal stories from a collaboration with the Reading Indian Centre. This powerful exploration of contemporary migration is available to experience for free at Basildon Park with normal admission to the property.

The safety of our staff, volunteers, visitors and supporters is our top concern and in accordance with Government guidelines on social distancing, our houses, shops, cafes, gardens and parks are now closed for the foreseeable future.

In a series of workshops, we invited the local Reading Indian community to respond to Basildon Park’s India-inspired Zuber wallpaper, which was designed in 1806 by a French artist who had never been to India.

Garden Room at Basildon Park
The Garden Room at Basildon Park
Garden Room at Basildon Park

We have worked with Studio 24,  a digital design agency, to create an atmospheric soundscape mapped to the idealised depictions of India on the wall paper. As you move around the room, you’ll be able to experience the memories and imagination of the Reading Indian community with the sounds of water lapping, people rowing, and birds singing in the banana trees.

Quotes from the Reading Indian Community are projected on to the wall paper.
Quotes from the Reading Indian Community are projected on to the wall paper.
Quotes from the Reading Indian Community are projected on to the wall paper.

Projected onto the wallpaper are quotes in English, Punjabi and Hindi from the series of workshops, which also explored themes of migration, arrival and culture adjustment. You'll be able to sit and listen to these personal journeys of the Reading Indian community using a headset in the Garden room, or you can listen to some of them from the comfort of your home using the link below.

The headsets where visitors can listen to the personal stories of the Reading Indian Community
The headsets where visitors can listen to the personal stories of the Reading Indian Community.
The headsets where visitors can listen to the personal stories of the Reading Indian Community
" As general manager, part of my role is to make sure we are sharing the history of the properties with visitors, and local stories are part of the social history we need to tell. India and Me: A Journey tells moving stories from the local community from the place I now call home, Reading."
- Rob Hayes, General Manager of Basildon Park

This powerful exploration of contemporary migration is available to experience at Basildon Park from Thursday 13 February. The exhibition is free and normal admission to the property applies.