Yes, it’s Reading Borough Council. This is a council
of extraordinary ineptitude and failure; one that takes
the word ‘risible’ to new levels. Most councils are
poor, but Reading’s is incredibly poor. The Councillors
are a joke that would benefit a Russian village. Indeed
the Village Idiots’ annual bash can’t hold a candle to a
Reading Council meeting. But the minions who work
for the Council (in office) are just as poor and inept.
It’s like they found each other. So welcome to Reading...
Where is Reading? Reading is around 40 miles west (left) of London, at the bottom
edge of the Chiltern hills.
How big is Reading? It’s around 5 miles by 5 miles.
How many people there? Around 160,000 including illegal immigrants.
Does it have a university? Yes.
Is it expensive to live in? To buy a property, yes.
Is there lots to do there? No, not really.
Do tourists go to Reading? No, only by mistake.
Can you see the sea? Yes, if you go up about a thousand feet and look south.
What’s the best thing to come out of Reading? Any main road.
Sell it to me.
Reading sits by the River Thames and has (fairly) easy access to the M4 and to London.
It’s also only 42 miles from the sea. It is surrounded by beautiful Berkshire countryside
and has high employment. There is a mix of housing and a good bus service. In 2019
Reading will be linked to the Crossrail route, allowing non-changing travel to London
and Canary Wharf, (though few people realise that it will actually take longer to
get to these destinations than it currently does!). Reading has a good mix of shops
and retail outlets, and even some specialist retailers. The weather, with Reading
being inland and in the south, is generally good. There is a good mix of schools
- state and private.
Why wouldn’t I want to live in Reading?
The Council. Reading is busy, with traffic that is often on the verge of standstill.
The local Council don’t seem to care about the town and can treat its inhabitants
with contempt. The town is ‘multicultural’ and can seem like a foreign place. Reading
has a lot of speed humps on its roads, and many potholes. Advertising hoardings are
many, with very few flowers and shrubbery. The solitary hospital struggles to cope
with the town, let alone those sucked in from around, and its car park is the size
of a cinema’s car park. There is no adequate car parking around the town (unlike
similar towns) and charging is exhorbitant. Reading only has to have the M4 closed
to bring it to a standstill, and all hell breaks loose.
Why living in Reading is sometimes like an episode of The Outer Limits...here is
a small list of bizarre Reading:
Reading has the Hexagon Theatre...that isn’t hexagonal.
Reading isn’t a particularly nice town, although it isn’t unpleasant either. Little
is done by the local council to improve it. Trading shops in Oxford Road are allowed
to have their large commercial bins out on the pavement, which makes the road an
unpleasant site. The local council has also managed to blight the town with its insistent
wheelie-bin policy in inappropriate streets. Advertising hoardings are also large
in number across the town, and there are very few measures taken to promote trees
and flowers (as in many other large towns). There is also little or nothing done
to promote the fact that the River Thames runs right through the town. Reading has
no river regatta. The council’s chief promotion is its bus service - which is good.
But this is often at the expense of other road users! The traffic signal system is
poor, and results in congestion in some places. Reading’s people are well aware that
just one incident (like a road being closed off by the police because someone has
tripped up) can cause chaos in the town within minutes.
Access to the M4 is fairly easy, though morning peak time can obviously be a trial.
Roads to and from the M4 are littered with traffic signals, and this slows down travel
time. With its proximity to Heathrow, London, and the A34, Reading is a good ‘central’
place to be. It is surrounded by attractive countryside, and has some impressive
shopping. Please also see the ‘Travel’ bit below.
When Reading was smaller in the 1960s, it had no less than three hospitals. Now that
it is twice the size, it has one - the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and parking at the
site is seen by Reading people as some kind of cruel joke. If you are lucky enough
to get a space (fortune indeed) then you will pay handsomely for it. The hospital
is a rambling mess of buildings and add-ons, of differing levels too. Accident &
Emergency certainly isn’t pleasant, with its squeaky metal chairs and unwelcoming
area. The wait in A&E can be horrendous, even when the room is virtually empty -
which is rare. If the receptionist makes eye-contact with you then consider yourself
truly honoured. Try to avoid Friday and Saturday nights at A&E, as this is when the
stupid young of Reading have it booked up after sniffing the town-centre bar towels...now
you might understand the receptionist’s attitude.
Reading is blessed with very many companies, making employment high. Its population
ensures that services, such as plumbing, building and electrical, etc. are much in
demand. There is a diverse social make-up, from traditional ‘working class’ estates
to high-value homes, and everything in between. These help make Reading a very average/typical-type
Educational establishments in Reading are very good. There are some excellent schools;
state, public, and private, and a Technical College and highly-regarded university.
There are plenty of opportunities for further education and private courses.
Reading is seen as a multicultural town. Indeed, one school has 27 different languages
spoken. Non-English-born make up one in five of the population in the west of the
town. This rises to one in four to the east of the town. Out of 326 local authorities,
Reading is ranked 125th ‘most deprived’. A fifth of the town’s children are eligible
for free school meals. The average family income is £2,527 per month. On balance,
Reading can be an ideal place to live for a family, with its schools, entertainment,
shopping, and its surrounding countryside. Its ill-thought-out traffic and road system
really let it down, and some parts of the town are very unattractive. Like many towns,
the centre can be a bit wild-west late on Friday and Saturday nights, and is probably
best avoided by everyone but the young.
Crime in Reading is around average for a large town. The highest rates of crime are
in the Oracle shopping Mall area, Broad Street Mall area, and the area around Friar
Street and Queen Victoria Street - which bears out the earlier point about the wild-west.
A murder is thankfully still a rare event in Reading.
Reading was a town of smells in the past, both with biscuits and the unmistakable
smell of Courage’s beer brewing - that covered a wide area, and was very pleasant.
This was first in the town centre (Courage occupied a site just to the south of St.
Mary’s Butts), then next to the M4 at Junction 11. Unfortunately, brewing ended some
time ago. This mixed with the odour of sewage at the treatment plant near Smallmead.
Reading installed a huge fan (still subsidised today) to try and blow away what became
known as ‘The Whitley Whiff’...But unfortunately this didn’t work! So it’s used every
now and again for generating a little bit of electricity...when it isn’t being paid
to just sit there. In 2011, the Daily Mail dubbed it the UK’s most useless wind turbine.
Local residents use it for pointing out to tourists where Whitley is on the skyline.
Like every large town, Reading has had, and continues to have, its fair share of
characters. Many years back there was a lady who lived to the west of the town who
was known as Jilted Joan. She wore white cream on her face and walked about Tilehurst
in a long coat. Naturally, many urban legends described the reasons for her demeanour,
but few knew her personally. She frightened some of the local children. Reading also
has ‘Reading Elvis’, an amiable character that can be seen walking around Reading
with an Elvis Presley album in his hand. He is much-loved. Then there’s Tony Page.
Please note that AboutReading has no formal links with Reading Borough Council (why
would we want that?). Contacting Reading Borough Council isn’t easy, as they bizarrely
have decided not to have a ‘Contact Us’ link on their main website! This is rather
typical of the Council itself - never wanting to actually make things really easy
for the people they serve. It’s (0118) 937 3787. The number isn’t even on their website’s
‘About’ page without further clicking! For out-of-hours emergency, try telephone
(0118) 937 3737. Their useless website is here.
If you phone (make it before 4.00 p.m. as many of the staff go home) you’ll get a
very pleasant young man called Wayne. He will politely explain that the person you
want to talk to isn’t there at the moment. He will take all your details and say
that someone will phone you. They won’t (no reflection on him). We’ve had this from
Planning, Highways, and Traffic signal departments. We’re still waiting for a call
back (phoned and emailed) about a junction in Reading from two years ago now! If
you are lucky enough to have the direct number, you’ll likely get an answering service
telling you the person isn’t available to take your call, and to leave a message.
No point in doing that. Their email is FIVE DAY response (if you get one at all)!
We should point out that not all Council employees are unhelpful, brusque, and unresponsive.
But many of them seem to be. Like many Councils (all Councils?), Reading’s forgets
that it’s there to serve its people, not lord it over them.
Forbury Gardens close to Abbey Gateway
Reading Station behind Burger King
The Oracle close to the straight bridge over the Kennet Canal
Southampton Street top of
Cemetery Junction opposite the church
Palmer Park right-hand side of main building
Reading Bridge actually by the childrens’ splasher pool in Christchurch Meadows
Richfield Avenue Thames Side Promenade, to the left of the Crown Plaza Hotel
St. Martin’s Precinct between Waitrose and Iceland
Caversham Court Gardens The Tea Kiosk
Shepherds Hill Reading Road
Earley Earley Railway Station
Plus, of course, many large shops and pubs, or the street - if you’re French.
WHAT’S TO DO?...What can you do here?..more than most of the residents realise!
Swimming...Yes, but it isn’t particularly pleasant...
Central Pool, Battle Street (Tel. 0118 901 5070)
Ten-pin bowling...No...it got torn down to make way for IKEA. Completely different
load of balls.
Hexagon, central Reading (Tel. 0118 960 6060)
Treasure Trail...Yes, if you really haven’t anything else to do with the kids...
(Tel. 01872 263692)
There are more things to do, but they involve travelling out of Reading. Those companies
are welcome to use the right-hand site of this website to advertise their facilities
TRAVEL...best not to
LIVE READING TRAFFIC CAMERAS...courtesy of Reading Borough Council
We originally put that up as a joke - to show how poor Reading Borough Council’s
camera system is. Then they went and provided the actuality. Yes, really. Here is
a screenshot from March 6th...the cameras have been ‘down’ for months!...
Reading has gained a well-deserved reputation for its road and traffic system - or
rather lack of one. Support for its bus service is made generally at the expense
of other road users. This is a pity, as this lack of traffic management often sees
Reading very congested. Needless bus lanes can infect traffic signal junctions. It’s
infuriating to be sat in a car, and see a virtually empty bus (and taxis!) sailing
down their own empty corridor. Ironically, a bus lane itself can be the cause of
the problem, or at the very least, a large contributing factor. Poor signal management
and design also allows traffic to build, and Reading has seen its fair share of roundabout-removal
in favour of traffic signals. The owners of this website are still waiting to be
told where a single road-traffic system in Reading has been devised to ease traffic,
rather than add to it. One could be forgiven for thinking that the local Council
has a weird fixation with making traffic worse. On May 18th, 2015, Reading Bridge
(to and from Caversham) was closed for essential repairs. The Reading traffic CCTV
cameras (broadcast live to the internet) number only 20 cameras - of which 10 were
out of action on that morning, and of the three which showed Caversham traffic, two
were out, and the third was pointing in the wrong direction! This graphically shows
the level of intelligence that is applied to Reading’s traffic and travel from Reading
Borough Council. Then it got worse. In May of 2016, a serious accident closed the
M4 and created a major traffic problem in Reading. ALL of Reading’s traffic cameras
were out of action...for four weeks!
Road signs in Reading can be extremely confusing, and just plain wrong. For decades
now, ‘M4’ signs have been sending traffic needlessly through congested points, when
it would be better to send the traffic exactly the other way. It is far better to
trust your often-errant satellite navigation device rather than Reading’s road planners/managers!
For many years, in Rose Kiln Lane, there was a road sign sending Basingstoke-bound
traffic into a trading estate. And for longer than anyone can remember, there is
(still) a road sign in Caversham’s George Street sending Crematorium traffic down
a one-way residential street that would lead back out to where you have just come
from. A large road sign in Portman Road advises traffic to turn left for ‘Reading
FC’. Although this is arguably technically correct, the sign is actually pointing
toward Reading FC’s old ground...which they left way back in 1998. There would be
no reason at all for anyone visiting Reading FC’s Madjeski Stadium to be in Portman
Road - no matter from which direction they had come from!
Reading has some bizarre traffic signal junctions that hold up traffic unnecessarily,
such as the junction of Henley Road and All Hallows Road. There is absolutely no
sense to these junction signals at all. There is also a very curious position at
Chatham Street where it meets Bedford Road. Due to a lack of white paint markings,
traffic wishing to turn left (to go up to the Oxford Road junction) get in the RIGHT-HAND
lane at the roundabout - and queue. Oddly, locals wishing to get to the Central Swimming
Pool know to travel down the LEFT-HAND lane to turn RIGHT! This has been pointed
out to the local Council many times, but they remain unconcerned that tourist drivers
are completely caught out by this. All it takes to solve it is some white paint and
a ‘Get In Lane’ sign. But that’s never bothered Reading Borough Council.
Turning left from King’s Road into Duke Street commits you to a little bit of horror.
First of all, you cannot turn back, then you are led into a curious one-way system
has been created once you cross Duke Street Bridge. Only buses, taxis and cycles
are allowed to travel up the hill (London Street). All other traffic has to turn
left, then go on a little tour of the Queen’s Road area (and what is very often a
huge traffic jam) just to come back on yourself! It adds about a mile to your journey
and results in more traffic fumes, of course. If this system were to help the congestion
at Mill Lane traffic signals, then it might be understandable. But it isn’t, it’s
to help buses...again. So it’s best to never find yourself in Duke Street at all,
unless you are looking for Queen’s Road car park.
There are also bus lanes - where no buses travel (Beresford Road), and Reading has
its own suicide lane - named ‘Castle Hill’. This road has a middle lane that morning
traffic can use - town-ward. However, after the morning peak period, it reverts to
a lane for traffic coming out of the town centre. This can catch the unwary tourist
motorist, who is advised to check his car clock. There is also a bus stop, which
was moved from its perfectly safe position in a lay-by (Norcot Road)...to a blind
right-hand bend. Local residents have reported numerous accidents since. Road planners
can also suddenly decide to change priority on a road, so it is broken up by allowing
traffic to flow across it (Russell Street). There are often severe hold-ups in Mill
Lane (by the Oracle car park) because the traffic signals are ‘wrong’. The Council
doesn’t care, because no buses use it! Reading Borough Council only EVER care about
the bus service. All other road users are treated with utter contempt - so we (other
road users) hold the Council in equal contempt.
One of Reading Borough Council’s favourite tricks is to install a refuge island in
the middle of the road immediately adjacent to a bus stop. When the bus stops, all
other road traffic cannot get past. Now, this ‘looks’ ostensibly like an attempt
to help pedestrians safely cross the road after getting off a bus. Not so. Some people
have even thought it was just the Council again acting out of crass stupidity. This
time, not so. In fact, it is a quite deliberate policy of holding up traffic in order
to allow the bus to move away from the bus stop unhindered by other road traffic
- not like that’s ever made any difference, as buses will just pull out in front
of you anyway! Of course, it also has the effect of causing a traffic jam...until
Chardonnay, all her little ones, and the pushchair, have all got on for their free
bus ride. The authors of this website have witnessed huge tailbacks behind buses
because other road traffic cannot get past...but Reading Borough Council just don’t
care. All that matters to them is that their bus can get out into the traffic without
losing any place. What they’ve never been able to grasp is that this can have a domino
effect on traffic - back to the next bus!
All this is part and parcel of living in, and travelling through, Reading. Just one
set of roadwork signals can bring the town to a grinding halt, as can any significant
event on the M4.
Car parking in Reading is largely inadequate. Not enough spaces exist for dropping
down and picking up - and neither for ‘20-minute shopping’. The car parks themselves
are generally good, but far from cheap! Six hours in a Reading town centre car park
can see you pay more than £15. Odd, when you can pay a quarter of that at a seaside
town centre. Such pricing doesn’t encourage town centre shopping. Park & Ride schemes
are conspicuous by their absence in Reading. This is being mildly addressed, but
far from enough is being done. This often results in residents creating their own
park’n’ride scheme - by parking their car in a residential street or edge-of-town
retail park, and using the bus service into town.
Some of Reading’s traffic problems are caused by the town’s age. But Reading seems
confused on whether it wants to have a business-based, shopping-based, or residential-based
town centre. Reading’s planners have tried to accommodate all three, and this mix
is difficult to achieve successfully in a town which has just two bridges crossing
the Thames, and 15 sets of traffic signals infecting a road straight out to the M4!
The bus service in Reading is very good, and reasonably-frequent buses on principle
routes aid the ‘car-less’. There are also bus services out of the town to other nearby
towns. The full timetable for Reading’s bus service is complex and large, so a link
is provided HERE.
There are many cycle lanes throughout the town. Some of these allow excellent travel
times to and from the town centre. Unfortunately, these lanes are MUCH under-used.
Indeed, they can often be empty - while cyclists are to be seen a metre away on a
busy road! There appears to be no real reason for this other than the mentality of
many cyclists. Cycling for pleasure isn’t really advised in Reading. It’s traffic
system and some narrow streets are not conducive to safe cycling. However, there
are routes around the town, and locations like Dinton Pastures, where cycling can
be a pleasure.
There is plenty of info on this site about Reading’s roads. It’s not a good town
for a driver - thanks in very large part to Reading Borough Council.
Reading is a very central place, and has seen great benefit from being so. The original
Great Western route went straight through Reading, and was pivotal to the town’s
early success and growth. London is less than half an hour away, although the service
was called ‘Britain’s Worst Train Service’ by a national newspaper in 2011. This
criticism was due to overcrowding. Indeed, in 2010, a Department of Transport report
detailed the 10 most-crowded commuter trains...and nine of them went through Reading!
A huge improvement programme and electrification to the rail network through the
town costing almost £1 billion has been taking place for many months, and will allow
faster through-times. Reading’s station has also seen a great improvement scheme
with new platforms and improved accessibility. Though it has to be said that half
the problem is actually getting to the Station in the first place.
Although Reading is a heavily-populated town, it isn’t spread out, like many towns,
so its residential areas are little more than two miles from the centre. Traffic
can make commuter walking rather unpleasant, though there are many side-streets that
can be used (where commuting traffic cannot go) that can help. A tow-path alongside
the Thames is popular during commuting hours too. Recreational walking can be made
along traditional pathways like the Ridgeway - about ten miles out of the town at
Streatley. This is an excellent summertime walk, and highly recommended, as is riverside
walking along both the Thames and the Kennet. Reading is blessed with some beautiful
surrounding countryside that is accessible and pleasurable - especially if that walk
ends up at one of the good pubs dotted around the town. Few Reading residents seem
to get out of the town into Berkshire’s fields and footpaths, yet it’s a costless
pursuit that can be fantastically rewarding on a warm summer’s day.
WASTE & RECYCLING
There is a dedicated site at Smallmead (RG2 0RP)
Warning - you must have a resident’s permit to prove that you are ‘local’ to either
dispose of waste, or for recycling. This is a poorly-designed site, unfriendly and
unwelcoming. There are height restrictions which mean a phone call should always
be made prior to visiting, as the staff are not accommodating, and bizarrely, there
are times of the day when your car may not be allowed in! We turned up there in a
car that was two inches too tall for the barrier. Despite requests, some complete
dickhead in the office wouldn’t allow it to be lifted to let us through, and forced
us to return in the afternoon...what a nice person!
The facility is under cover, although it is obviously smelly with dust in the air.
There are ‘bays’ for particular types of waste (which they refer to as recycling
materials), and there are special places for items such as car batteries, tyres,
etc. There can be traffic problems at certain times, so you would be best advised
to pick your time - except you can’t, because your car may not fit under their barrier
- in which case you will need to visit the ‘commercial’ section between 2.00 and
4.00 p.m. - but you must show proof that you are a local resident, so take along
your permit and a utility bill and another form of identity. You CANNOT dump other
people’s waste! So ensure that anything you are dumping is your own. A member of
staff who will only speak to you in grunts may well inspect what you are dumping,
and you are required to sort your waste into different materials and carry it to
the allotted bays. Take care crossing the passing traffic.
The facility is not designed to accept sheet glass as recyclable(!), so that would
be a ‘household’ item. There is a separate entrance for vehicles considered to be
‘over height’, so be wary when approaching what you think is the entrance. Go just
past this entrance and use the next one. If over height, then your vehicle will be
inspected before it is allowed to proceed up a VERY ill-conceived rampway which crosses
traffic coming in - and chances are that you are in a vehicle where sight to your
left is restricted (like a Transit-type van). The person/s who designed this doesn’t
seem to be at all smart.
All in all, it can be a really annoying facility, and generally staffed by people
who simply couldn’t care less about you even if they tried really, really hard -
even though they are there to serve you. On one occasion when we were there, someone
was complaining that the site had evidently “been designed by a chimp”. Alright,
that was us. We’ve also seen (almost) fisty-cuffs there. You are kindly asked not
to verbally abuse the staff...but you can get a sense of why this is an issue that
needs highlighting. No one at work should suffer abuse, but the design of the place
makes visitors annoyed, and as we said, the staff just aren’t the least bit accommodating.
Obviously, they have to put up with people who take advantage of the facilities and
act in an irresponsible and unsociable way, with either illegal or even dangerous
waste. We recently heard of one particular moron who thought it would be good to
tip his load of asbestos there. But the facility has a duty to be accommodating to
the people who just want to legally use the site. We have experienced this facility
many times - and these comments are based on our experiences there. It’s a REAL negative
to any experience of the town of Reading, and remains something that Reading Borough
Council does nothing to correct. By its very nature, it’s obviously dirty and smelly,
but it isn’t a pleasure to use at all.
A few facts about our home town in Berkshire:
Did you know that Reading is the only town in Britain that is twinned with itself?
Reading is so-named, because in ancient times, not a single resident of the town
could read (or write).
Reading is famous for its ‘Three Bs’: Boring, Bland, and Blighted.
Michael Ball once visited (he says he got off at the wrong station).
Oscar Wilde famously wrote about the town. In 1899 he penned ‘Oh What A Shithole’.
After the title came in for heavy criticism, Wilde changed it to ‘Ode To A Shithole’
shortly before his death from biting too hard on a pillow.
Singer, Kate Bush lives near the town, and can often be seen flying her kite above
Burghfield Sailing Club, dressed only in a black leotard.
In 1972, Russian military chiefs were set the task of how to bring a typical British
town to collapse leading up to war. In 1973 Tony Page became a councillor.
Reading was the first town in Britain to use women bus drivers. Here is a picture
of Edith Norris carrying out a 21-point turn on Duke Street Bridge in 1941:
Our thanks to Antony Page for the photo. He can be seen between the two men, in a
skirt and white ankle socks
Ridgeway School was the first school in Britain to attempt to split the atom without
using nuclear physics:
Due to Ridgeway’s robust Apartheid policy, the black pupil (partly shown) is not
allowed to take part in the photo.
Ashmead School in Northumberland Avenue, now re-named after a friend of Cilla Black
[deceased], became the first comprehensive school in Britain to go ‘fully multicultural’
by having no culture at all. It was once said that one Headmaster regularly invited
pupils to sleep-overs at his home. We couldn’t possibly say.
Copyright: Mr A Page
Ashmead School later became famous for having the UK’s highest number of truants.
On June 6th, 1972, not a single pupil attended.
Actress, Eliza Bennett, comes from Reading, and was voted the prettiest actress that
plumbers would most like to sleep with in a private poll conducted by a Reading plumber.
Ms Bennett attended Leighton Park School, and is currently in hiding.
About our town...
...for people who haven’t grown up
Reading has a football team, and at least three badminton players who play once a
WHO’S YOUR COUNCILLOR?
See which Ward you live in...
.........THIS SECTION IS CURRENTLY BEING CONSTRUCTED..........It will be completed
How is the Council made up?
Reading Borough Council comprises of 46 Councillors. They are:
Green Party 3
Liberal Democrat 2
Whom should you send a brown envelope to?
The leader of the Council is Jo Lovelock
The deputy leader is Tony Page
Tony Page is Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning, and Transport (Yes,
we know, right?)
Richard Davies is Lead Councillor for Housing
Paul Gittings is Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport, and Consumer Services
Tony Jones is Lead Councillor for Education
Graeme Hoskin is Lead Councillor for Health
Jan Gavin is Lead Councillor for Children’s Services and Families
Rachel Eden is Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care
Liz Terry is Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods
Chris Maskell Chairs the Committee on Planning
Paul Woodward Chairs the Committee on Licensing
Eileen McElligott Chairs the Committee on Adult Social Care, Children’s Services
Kelly Edwards Chairs the Committee on Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure
David Absolom Chairs the Committee on Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport
WHO’S YOUR MP?
Alok Sharma voted to REMAIN in the EU
Rob Wilson voted to REMAIN in the EU
Just remember that when it comes time to vote.
Seen a big mess in the town? (we don’t mean Oxford Road, that’s normal)...
Then report it HERE But you do have to open an ‘account’!
No, they couldn’t make it really easy, could they?
CAR PARKS Do you have enough money? Well, do ya, punk?
Listed by proximity to town centre. Prices shown are as of June 23rd 2016. Information
provided by car park owners - so if it doesn’t say something, then they didn’t provide
it. Use the links provided to ensure accuracy of information, because they change
details and raise prices, sometimes by as much as 15%.
Civic Centre B Evenings & weekends only RG1 7AE. NCP - 170 spaces. Enter via Castle
Street, at mini roundabout half-way, next to Rising Sun pub. Headroom 1.83 metres
- underground & surface parking. Pay & display. Disabled bays available (6). Payment
by card, cash and phone.
Broad Street Mall 24 hour RG1 7QE. NCP - 720 spaces. Park Mark. Enter via Castle
Street as in car park above, or via Chatham Street roundabout (take exit for ‘Civic
Centre’ beside Travelodge building. Keep in left hand lane). Headroom 1.83 metres
- multi-storey. Barrier operated. Disabled bays available (18). Payment by card and
Oracle Riverside - from Mill Lane/Southampton Street roundabout 24 hour RG1 2AG.
1679 spaces - Park Mark. Cycle lockers. Motorbike spaces. Enter via roundabout at
the bottom of Southampton Street and off the Inner Distribution Road slip road. Get
in left hand lane. Headroom 2.1 metres - multi-storey. Barrier operated. Disabled
bays available. Payment by card and cash.
1 hour - £1.50
2 hours - £3.50
3 hours - £5.50
4 hours - £7.00
5 hours - £9.00
6 hours - £10.00
7 hours - £13.00
8 hours - £15.00
Over 8 hours - £20.00
Entry after 6.00 p.m. - 6.00 a.m. up to 1 hour £1.50
Entry after 6.00 p.m. - 6.00 a.m. over 1 hour £3.50
Oracle Holy Brook - from Bridge Street Opens 7.00 a.m and closes 30 minutes after
shops shut. RG1 2LR. 623 spaces - Park Mark. Mother & baby spaces available on level
2. Electric car recharging point (one) on level 1. Enter from Bridge Street - one-way
street, heading south. Get in right hand lane. Headroom 2.1 metres - multi-storey.
Barrier operated. Disabled bays available (on level 1 only). Payment by card and
1 hour - £1.50
2 hours - £3.50
3 hours - £5.50
4 hours - £7.00
5 hours - £9.00
6 hours - £10.00
7 hours - £13.00
8 hours - £15.00
Over 8 hours - £20.00
Entry after 6.00 p.m. - 6.00 a.m. up to 1 hour £1.50
Entry after 6.00 p.m. - 6.00 a.m. over 1 hour £3.50
Garrard Street 24 hour RG1 1NR. NCP - 918 spaces. Enter via Greyfriars Road. Headroom
1.98 metres - multi-storey. Barrier operated. Disabled bays available (6). Electric
car charging points. Payment by card and cash. Apart from the Station car park, this
car park is the most expensive to do up to four hours shopping. They will relieve
you of £10.00. Cheaper to shop on the internet, eh?
Chatham Place 24 hour. RG1 7JF. Q-Park. 590 spaces. Park Mark. Enter via Eaton Place.
Enter Eaton Place via westward lane of Chatham Street (off Inner Distribution Road)
or from Oxford Road. Headroom 2.1 metres - multi-storey. Barrier operated. Disabled
bays available (30). Payment by card and cash.
Reading Station 24 hour Long-stay. RG1 8BT. APCOA. Tel. 0118 957 9649 - 0845 0774
224. 927 spaces. Enter via Vastern Road/Reading Bridge roundabout. If going eastward
on Vastern Road, take ‘4 o’clock’ exit of roundabout. If coming over Reading Bridge,
take ‘1 o’clock’ exit. If coming from under rail bridge, take immediate left turn
after bridge. You’ll be met with FOUR lanes to go through to the car park itself.
There are THREE different parts to the car park here: Pass holders, normal parking,
and drop-off. Headroom 1.96 metres - multi-storey. Disabled bays available (14).
Payment by card and cash.
Reading Station 24 hour short-stay Multistorey and Underground. This is a mess. The
website says to enter via Trooper Potts Road - BUT, make sure you actually go down
that road and not the road before it - which is buses only. They say the postcode
is RG1 8BT, but we say it’s RG1 1LZ. APCOA. Tel. 0118 957 9649 - 0845 0774 224. Headroom
1.96 metres - underground. Disabled bays available (4) in the underground part and
(2) in the multistorey. Payment by card and cash. Enter via Trooper Potts Road (off
Vastern Road). Travelling westward on Vastern Road, be careful to take the second
left-hand turning (Trooper Potts Road) at a set of traffic signals. This information
may be incorrect, so we say that it’s best if you use the link and read it for yourself
- depending on which car park you require.
Kings Meadow 24 hour. RG1 8BW. NCP - 95 spaces. Enter via Napier Road. Close to Reading
Bridge. Surface car park. Pay & display. Headroom 2 metres. Disabled bays available
(1). Payment by card, cash and phone
Hills Meadow 06.00 - 21.30. RG4 8DH. NCP - 298 spaces. Enter via George Street, Caversham
- close to Reading Bridge. Surface car park. Pay & display. Headroom 2 metres. Disabled
bays available (2). Payment by card, cash and phone.
From the centre of the town, outward. Only cafes providing a Reading telephone number
are listed, this is because those visiting sometimes require to phone and check that
a cafe caters for particular diets. If you cannot provide a READING phone number
then we cannot list your cafe. ‘Coffee shops’, merely selling beverages, and not
eats, are not listed.
45 West Street, Reading. RG1 1TZ. 0118 958 1941. Nearest parking: Chatham Place
211 Caversham Road, Reading. RG1 8BB. 0118 939 1144. Parking: Close to Caversham
The Gorge Cafe
227 Richfield Avenue, Reading. RG1 8BB. 0118 950 3446. Parking: Close to Caversham
Whittington’s Tea Barge (Moored on the north side of Caversham Bridge)
RG4 8DH. 07986 733638. Parking: Hills Meadow Car Park, George Street
A 3-mile radius from Reading town centre is used. Only hotels actually calling themselves
a ‘hotel’ have been included. ‘Serviced Apartments’ have not been included.
Choosing a hotel is fraught with difficulty, and sticking to the big named ones is
usually best. However, Reading does have some really good small hotels. We strongly
advise reading online reviews before booking. Hotels with a C mean they are pretty
much central to the town.
Abbey House Hotel, 118 Connaught Road, Reading. RG30 2UF.
Tel. 0118 959 0549
The Bath Hotel, 54 Bath Road, Reading. RG1 6PG.
Tel. 0118 957 2019
Beech House Hotel, 60 Bath Road, Reading.
Tel. 0118 959 1901
Belle Vue House Hotel, 2 Tilehurst Road, Reading. RG1 7TN.
Tower House Hotel, 70-78 Wokingham Road, Reading. RG6 1JL
Tel. 0118 926 5202
Seemingly often caked in mud, the Reading Festival first began in 1971. It is held
annually at the Richfield Avenue site to the west of the town centre - use postcode
RG1 8EQ. August bank holiday weekend isn’t a good time to visit Reading other than
going to the Festival. Traffic is worse than usual (obviously) and cafes and shops
anywhere near the Festival site, in the town centre, and supermarkets (like Tesco
in Portman Road) have a large population of Festival-goers.
Reading Festival 2017:
The Line-Up will appear here shortly.
Reading Festival History:
The Reading Festival originates from the National Jazz Festival, which was conceived
by Harold Pendleton (founder of the Marquee Club in London) and was first held at
Richmond Athletic Ground in 1961. This festival, in turn, took inspiration from events
held in America. Throughout its first decade the festival changed names and moved
around sites several times, being held at Windsor Racecourse, Kempton Park and Plumpton,
before reaching its permanent home at Reading in 1971. The Festival has always been
staged over three days with the exception of 1970 when it expanded to four days from
Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 August.
The line-up settled into a pattern of progressive rock, blues and hard rock during
the early and mid 1970s, then became the first music festival to embrace punk rock
and new wave in the late 1970s, when The Jam, Sham 69, The Stranglers and Penetration
were among the headline acts. The festival attempted to provide both traditional
rock acts and new punk and new wave bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s, occasionally
leading to clashes between the two sets of fans, though the festival gradually became
known for focusing on heavy metal and rock acts.
During this decade, the festival followed a similar format to that established in
the late 1970s, with large crowds flocking to see the era's leading rock and heavy
metal acts perform on the last two days, with a more varied line-up including punk
and new wave bands on the opening day.
In 1984 and 1985, the Conservative Party-led local council effectively banned the
festival by reclaiming the festival site for 'development' and refusing to grant
licences for any alternative sites in the Reading area. In 1984, many acts were already
booked to appear, tickets were on sale with Marillion (2nd on the bill on Saturday
night the previous year) due to be one of this year's headliners. The promoters tried
in vain to salvage what they could but a proposed move to Lilford Hall in Northamptonshire
failed (the proposed bill was published in Soundcheck free music paper issue 12 as:
Friday 24 August – Hawkwind, Boomtown Rats, Snowy White, The Playn Jayn, Dumpy's
Rusty Nuts, Wildfire, Chelsea Eloy, Tracy Lamb, New Torpedoes (sic); Saturday 25th
– Jethro Tull, Hanoi Rocks, Steve Hackett, Club Karlsson, Nazareth, Twelfth Night,
Thor, Silent Running, New Model Army, IQ, The Roaring Boys, She; Sunday 26th – Marillion,
Grand Slam, The Bluebells, Helix, Clannad, The Opposition, The Enid, Young Blood,
Scorched Earth, Terraplane). The resulting gap in the British festival calendar kick-started
the rise of the minor CND benefit event at Glastonbury from obscure beginnings as
a "hippie" festival in the 1970s.
After Labour regained control of the council in 1986, permission was given for fields
adjacent to the original festival site to be used, with a line-up put together at
just three months' notice. The following year saw a record attendance at what was
considered by some to be the last of the "classic" rock years of the festival, with
headlining acts such as The Mission, Alice Cooper and Status Quo.
Late 80s slump
1988 saw a disastrous attempt to take the festival in a mainstream commercial pop
direction, dominated by the likes of Starship, Squeeze, Hothouse Flowers, Bonnie
Tyler and Meat Loaf (the latter was "bottled" off stage), and the ensuing recriminations
eventually saw the ousting of original festival promoter Harold Pendleton by the
Mean Fiddler Music Group organisation.
Pendleton initially tried to continue at a new site near Newbury using the name "Redding
Festival" but this failed to take off. Meanwhile, the official Reading Festival,
now under Mean Fiddler guidance, continued at the Thames-side site in Reading, pursuing
an almost completely Goth and indie music policy that alienated much of the traditional
fan base and saw attendances continue to fall.
Attendances fell further from 1989 to 1991 until the future of the festival looked
to be in doubt. However, things began to improve from 1992 onward when new organisers
moved in to replace the moribund Mean Fiddler group who broadened the Festival's
musical policy and were rewarded with an increase in attendances.
In 1991, Nirvana played the first of their two appearances at Reading, midway down
the bill. This is also the year the first britpop bands such as Suede and Blur started
to show themselves on the festival circuit.
Kurt Cobain's wheelchair
Nirvana played what was to become their last UK concert, and one of their most famous.[citation
needed] Their 1992 live performance was later released as a live album/DVD Live at
Reading in November 2009. The band's frontman, Kurt Cobain took to the stage in a
wheelchair pushed by music journalist Everett True, parodying speculations about
his mental health. He was also wearing a medical gown. He then went on to join the
rest of the band, playing an assortment of old and new material.
Over the next few years the festival continued to grow as the popularity of outdoor
festivals increased. Britpop and indie began to dominate along with traditional rock
and metal acts. Notably, rap acts such as Ice Cube began to appear regularly on the
main stage to mixed receptions. Public Enemy headlined the second day of the 1992
Festival. Beastie Boys were about halfway down the bill for day three.
In 1996, the remnants of The Stone Roses played their disastrous final gig at the
In 1998, it absorbed the failed Phoenix Festival. This resulted in a now infamous
on-stage spat between Beastie Boys and The Prodigy over the song "Smack My Bitch
In 1999, the festival gained a second leg at Temple Newsam in Leeds, where the V
Festival had been held in 1997 and 1998, when it was clear that the Reading site
had become too small to deal with the increasing demand. The first year saw all
bands play the Leeds site the following day to the day they played Reading, with
the Reading leg running from Friday to Sunday and the Leeds leg running from Saturday
to Monday. However in 2001 the current system where the line-up of Reading play Leeds
the following day, with the bands from Leeds' opening day playing the final day in
Reading, was introduced (with the exceptions of 2009 and 2010 when the bands playing
Leeds would play Reading the following day, and the bands on the opening day of Reading
would close Leeds).
After a successful first year in Leeds, a continued resurgence in the popularity
of outdoor music festivals led to the Reading festival selling out more and more
quickly every year. The Leeds leg, however, was plagued by riots and violence which
led to problems in retaining its licence. The worst of these was in 2002, after which
Mean Fiddler moved the festival to Bramham Park, near Bramham north-east of Leeds
in 2003. Since then, security at both sites has increased and problems have been
reduced. (Although the Bramham Park site presents more challenges to the stage builders,
it is far better suited to the needs of festival goers). The early 2000s saw a varied
but predominantly rock line-up, though as the decade has progressed the Main Stage
and Radio 1 Stage line-up has featured mostly Indie artists. Despite being predominantly
a rock festival certain hip-hop artists have played over the years, particularly
when hip-hop was very popular in the early 2000s, including Cypress Hill, Ice Cube,
Beastie Boys, Eminem, Xzibit, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Dizzee Riscal and The Streets. In 2005,
the main stages at both Reading and Leeds were made larger, featuring unique cantilevered
Fringe Festival at Reading
In 2005, the Festival spawned the Reading Fringe Festival in the town. Much like
the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this sees venues in the town hosting fringe acts hoping
to draw crowds and industry figures from the larger festival. The Reading Fringe
has run annually since then.
You can ask Shirley any questions you like about Reading (or anything) - she is a
font of knowledge.
She’s our own Katie Hopkins, though not as lovable (we actually really do like Katie
Hopkins, as you might guess).
Shirl, Reading Borough Council have adopted a positive policy to make Reading a much
greener, carbon-free place, and to promote birds, bees and insects. I think this
is great, and will make the town more beautiful and carbon-free. I do think you are
too dismissive of what RBC is trying to achieve. In these times of climate change,
we have to look at how we can help nature in Reading, and move toward a carbon-free
town, and I think RBC’s attempts are to be applauded. We’ve never had so much greenery
in our town, and it’s quite clear that the carbon-free policy is working, as I’ve
never seen so many bees and butterflys. I wholeheartedly support this 100% and it
just gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside when I see all the insects making the
most of this great idea toward being carbon-free.
Mr R White, Earley
Mr White, you’re a complete knobhead. The Council have simply got a grass-cutting
contract that stipulates the verges are only cut so many times a year - to save money
- that’s why the grass is so long. Knobhead.
Hey there Shirl, I really need help, and this letter will have to be anonymous. The
other morning I left for work from my home in Southcote. I had only got to the Bath
Road and my car’s engine cut out. I walked back home (only been gone 15 minutes at
most) and found my husband in bed with our dog! I won’t go into details. It was all
very embarrassing, and we aren’t even talking to each other anymore (my husband,
I mean, not the dog). I wrote my husband a letter and left it for him on the kitchen
table yesterday. Clearly he needs help. Our marriage was pretty good, I thought,
and I do want to save it, but obviously there is something very wrong. He acts as
if everything is normal (the dog, I mean). My husband has been under a lot of stress
lately, but I really didn’t expect anything like this. Any advice you can give me
is really welcome.
Mrs Angela Selby, 143 Circuit Lane, Southcote
An engine cutting out is a serious issue. It could be water getting into the fuel
line, and you should check your fuel filter as well. Get it booked into a garage
and get it serviced.
Shirl, where in Reading can I get a veggie burger? You evidently eat meat ones, you
Stan the man, Reading
Burger King do veggie burgers, they are at Reading Station, and there’s a place to
park your pink bike nearby.
Hello Shirl. I heard that the old Civic Centre had to be demolished because it was
built on the site of an old cemetery, and that ghosts used to haunt the building.
Apparently it got so bad that many of the staff were off sick with anxiety and depression.
What do you think, have you heard anything like that?
Mrs Curtain, Coley
Yes, it is true that it was built on top of an old cemetery, and I too have heard
the rumours about ghosts in the building before it was demolished. However, the bit
about the staff is wrong. They are just whinging twats who are off sick if they weep
at a sad film. There’s an M.E. Clinic in Tunbridge Wells that has a contract with
Reading Borough Council. Twats.
If you are a Reading Borough Council staff member who has been affected by Shirl’s
reply, please text ‘Muppet’ to 857737
Do we hate Reading? No, of course not, otherwise we wouldn’t live here, but there
are many things wrong with it that we’d like to be put right. Fat chance, with our
Council! Some of the things would cost money, but the money IS there, the Council
just waste it on crap. So all we can do is moan and whinge about it here on this
website. Our irreverence is our little bit of fun (and justified), while our cynicism
and frustration is born out of the fact that Reading could be so much better....with
little effort. If you have taken ‘offence’ at anything here, then the problem is
all yours. Get a grip. Please do not send Shirl marriage proposals. She is, in fact,
already happily married. Now follows the inevitable disclaimer...
Reading is continually under construction. It’s a rather large town, attracting many
shoppers, but no tourists. The town sucks in many younger people from surrounding
towns and villages - especially for its modest nightlife.
The only real major annual event is the Reading Festival. This always brings a large
influx of young people for three days in August. All the major roads are rather congested
for the day before the Festival and on the first day. The shops obviously love it,
the residents, not so - they get no money out of it.
Reading is rather famous for its roads and traffic congestion - or infamous! Unfortunately,
the traffic system isn’t great, and long hold-ups can often be experienced. A combination
of old roads, poor transport management, and abysmal road design can very often see
Reading grind to a standstill. The locals are rather used to it.
AboutReading.co.uk is the most honest and truthful guide to the town of Reading in
Berkshire. We say it like it is, and you can either like it or not, we don’t care.
We’ve lived here all our lives and know the town inside out. We know it better than
any councillor as we’ve been brought up on its council housing estates - yes, really.
So if you want to read a sugar-coated appraisal of the town, then go and read one
of the totally useless ‘Guide To Reading’ websites there are on the net. They make
it look like a different town! Oh, and we think they’re crap as well. Our guide is
all on one page...
So let’s talk AboutReading.co.uk We’re
brand new, but we will grow
This right-hand side of our website is up for hire. And it is completely...
Get in touch with us...
You’ll get a square box to fit in this right-hand side section. BUT if you decide
to pay for it, the higher up the page your ad will be!
Email us if you want, but don’t bother with abuse or complaints, because as soon
as we get a sniff of it from your first words, we won’t waste our time by reading
down any further, so you’re simply wasting your time, no one else’s, schmuck. But
if you think you’ve spotted a mistake then let us know.
What’s here? We have...
Stuff about Reading
More stuff about Reading
What’s to do
Even more stuff about Reading
Who’s your Councillor
Who’s your MP
...and more to come. Lots will be added.
ANYTHING HERE FOR
You can advertise for nothing!
But you can also pay!
The more you pay, the higher
up the site goes your ad!
Click this box
J D Wetherspoon pubs in Reading
The Hope Tap - RG1 1EP
The Monks’ Retreat - RG1 1HE
The Back Of Beyond - RG1 3BY
The Baron Cadogan - RG4 8JG
Reading has two newspaper websites. And while we would like to enthuse about them,
alas you could have a bath while their webpage loads, so we don’t really advise it.
As if living in Reading isn’t frustrating enough, if you want to know anything about
what’s gone on, the news is out of date by the time the webpage loads! Both newspapers
(their websites) tend to be a day late with the news and travel anyway, so as to
make a visit to their site worthless, really. But here you are if you want the experience
of the World Wide Wait: