Queen Victoria's Statue 1904, Reading
Memories of Queen Victoria's Statue 1904, Reading
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Reading & local memories
Read and share memories of Reading and Berkshire inspired by Frith photos.
''Fanny'' Hawkins Sweet Shop.
In reply to Keith Hawkins' appeal to anyone that knew of F.W. Hawkins shop on Hosier Street, Reading, I used this shop during the 1950s as a small boy while spending the weekends with my Nan & Grandad who lived at 61 Hosier Street. My Mum & Nan referred to Miss Hamkins as Fanny, I have no idea if this was her real name. The shop was very dark inside with gas light brackets on the walls. On entering the shop as a small boy clutching a few coppers my Nan had given me to buy some sweets with the silence was unreal, the shop was always empty, after a few minutes of waiting to be served and looking at lots of glass cube-shaped display jars with round lids, all full of different sweets, trying to decide what to buy, Miss Hawkins would emerge through the part glazed door (which sported a heavy net curtain) at the rear of the shop, which must have been her living accomodation, the doors were... Read more
Thames-Side Miniature Railway
The Thames-side Miniature Railway opened in about 1946 and closed in 1954. The station, which had a single platform, stood at the Caversham end of the line. To the east of the station was the engine shed and, beyond that, a turntable. At the western end of the railway was another turntable and a passing loop that enabled the locomotive, once turned, to return to the front of the train. The railway was single-track throughout, and it ran for about half a mile to just short of Cow Lane.
The maroon locomotive was named 'Western Queen' and, if I remember correctly, had a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement. One memorable feature, was the very penetrating chime whistle which could be heard a considerable distance away.
University Rag Days
Rag Days , who knows why they were called rag days I believe Reading Uni is now rated as one of the top 100 unis in the world , as far as i can ascertain the rag day parades have gone now mores the pity they were fun days and brightened bleak times. My last memories of them where based on where i worked at the time which was the 1960/70s i worked at Wolfe and Hollanders who were Furnishers in broad street when we heard the parade approaching we used to scoot up the stairs to the old abandoned rooms overlooking Broad Street and bomb the students with whatever we could find half pennys bits of fabric and carpet etc great fun we used to think of it as revenge for the flour bombs etc that we endured prior to working in such a propicious position we used to have bets on whether we could land coinson the parade decorated trucks ,i also remember the rag... Read more
Reading University in The 1950s
Great memories of my years as a student at Reading University in the 1950's. At that time there was only one campus, and on entering through the covered London Road entrance (on the left of the photo) the cloister-bordered campus seemed so green and peaceful, with the library and clock tower at the centre. I boarded at St. Patrick's Hall (on Northcourt Avenue), many of the students then had completed their two years of National Service, some serving overseas. We also had some overseas students, one whom kept us laughing all the time and was good naturedly nicknamed Iraqi 'Arry, and another, from Ohio State University, could throw (not pass!) a rugby ball about 50 yards, but that wasn't much help during a match! We became pretty childish on Rag Days and in raids on other residences. These raids were planned like military operations, with blackened faces and thick socks over our shoes. On one raid we switched cutlery in St. George's Hall and Wantage Hall dining rooms late at... Read more
My Marriage to Readings Beauty Queen Margret Gash Later Green
I was married to my wife, Margret Gash, in this church in 1962. I had to look twice when she approched me in her bridal gown, I felt like the luckiest man alive. We had a beautifull white wedding and we had a grey wals car. We had a great reception with about 70-80 guests.
So far as I know never was called Oxford Street its always been called Oxford road. My grandfather also Frank, met my grandmother, Dora, when they both worked for Macilroys before the Great War. I believe Macilroys was the large department store situated under the white awnings in the photograph. My grandmother lived in, which was not unusual in those days, I am not sure if grandad lived in as well but shortly after they married, grandad and his brother Lionel joined the Berkshire Regiment and went off to France to fight the Bosch!! Today there is still physical evidence of Macilroys but you will get a crick in your neck seeing it. If you walk back from the entrance to the Butts Centre, towards the crossroads of St Marys Butts/Broad St /Cheapside/and Oxford Road and look upright up you will see the name Macilroys painted on the end of the building. They must of used very good paint back then as I believe it... Read more
I remember many many things As a child about London Street as for many years my father had a photographic business adjacent to the Olympia Ballroom (first property on the right hand side of the ballroom with the name Photo Enterprise). As a child I used to catch a bus from Shinfield council estate to London Street on a Saturday when dad did not have any weddings, and get taken into town for a treat. This used to include a visit to the cafe by Tuttys and then a walk to the toyshop in the Co-Op opposite the Odeon cinema to buy a dinky toy. Oh how I wish I had kept the boxes and toys!!! In later years I developed an interest in chemistry and used to go to a chemistry supply company a few doors up from my dad's place to buy bunsen burners, glass tubes, chemicals etc, the idea being to create big bangs and destructive explosions. A friend and... Read more
Reading in The 60's
I was born in Caversham, Reading. I used to go to a riding school at Sonning Common, owned by Rosemary Drayton and remember the riding school and farm at Bugs Bottom owned by Frank Stokes. I loved the ice cream sold at The Regent in St Mary's Butts, and I worked at Lamport, Gilbert and Co in Gun Street, my window overlooked Courages and I would see the brewery horses Captain and Trixie pulling the dray of beer. This was long before The Oracle was built, there was always a smell of hops brewing in The Butts area, we would go for a drink in The Horn on the corner of Castle St, run by Frank and Pam at the time. I loved Reading in the 60's there were loads of coffee bars with juke boxes, and I loved The Palomino in Duke St, it was between the two Ship hotels, and The Honey Bear in London St, and of course The Cafe O'le in London Road. Above... Read more
My Home Town 1947-1969
I was born in Liebenrood Road Maternity Hospital Reading in 1947 and for my first 5 years I lived in Salisbury Road, moving to Whitley until I left in 1969.
I remember as a young child having many photographs taken at Jeromes in Broad Street. I spent many Christmases queuing to see Father Christmas in Heelas underneath a silk parachute that was suspended from the ceiling and it fascinated me and kept me quiet until I reached Father Christmas’ Grotto.
My schools were Oxford Road Infants, Whitley Park Infants & Juniors, George Palmer Seniors moving to Southlands in 1960, a new school, after it had been built with Miss Hutchinson as Headmistress.
Other things I remember were the trolley buses and the Bus station in, I believe, Mill Lane, where the flyover is now situated. As a very small child I vividly remember being shut in the doors of a new type of automatic door. Luckily my mother, who had got off the bus first and turned round to... Read more
Reading, Oxford Street 1913
This is Oxford Road, not Oxford Street. Otherwise we enjoy! JC Our Archivist has been looking into this - it looks as though the name changed in the 1960's from Oxford Street to Oxford Road. Regards, Editor.
Reading Miniature Railway
This railway ran along Thamesside Promenade in the 1940s and 1950s. It was operated by Harold Judd. The line runs between chain-link fencing and an iron fence, and the train, approaching the camera, carries a number of children. There were apparently two 10 1/4" gauge lines.
My Grandfather Blaskett ( my mother Sylvia was the second daughter of his second wife) owned property in Reading and was a spec builder and for a while our family lived at 24 Bath Road. He had a property I think before the War called Rotherham Grange but I don't know where in Reading it was. I will be over in England in September (I live in Sydney, Australia) and hope to find Rotherham Grange. If anyone can help me I would be very grateful. During the war years our family lived with him at his country property called Cherry Elyot. Bette Schoots (nee Miller).
I think this boathouse was where the Reading Working Men's Rowing Club was based. I remember boys from the Forest Grammar School rowing on the river here and the extraordinary pain in your arms as you rowed the last few strokes of a race!
Huntley & Palmers
This picture shows the factory of Huntley & Palmers - the biscuit makers who were one of the largest employers in Reading in the 20th Centrury. Presumably the photo was taken at the end of a working day with the workers streaming out of the factory? Palmer Park was named after one of the founders of this firm.
Anyone remember Rag Day in Reading? It was the one day of the year when the students of the university used to decorate lorries, in a certain theme and used to go through the streets with music blaring, throwing bags of flour at us kids. I remember getting hit by one, only small bags but it was fun. Also I remember elephants all walking in a line holding on to each other tails, the fleet of lorries used to come up Watlington St. and along the London Rd. I used to stand and watch opposite the Berkshire Hospital - I wonder if they still do it? Also I remember going to the Oxford Road ballroom on a Saturday night jiving the night away and walking home barefooted. Anyone remember the Cellar Club in Duke St? I used to go there most evenings.
Does anyone have memories of the theatre in Reading and any notable productions? I remember going to it but have forgotten the name.