A Timeline of Reading, Berkshire

By Tim Lambert

871 The Danes capture the settlement at Reading

1006 The Danes burn Reading

1086 Reading has a population of about 600

1125 Henry I builds Reading Abbey

1320 Reading has a population of around 1,300

1500 Making cloth is the main industry in Reading

1539 Henry VIII closes Reading Abbey

1550 Reading has a population of around 2,000

1619 The first wire maker in Reading is mentioned

1628 The Oracle is built

1650 The cloth industry in Reading is declining

1643 During the Civil War Reading changes hands several times

1664 Reading gains its first fire engine

1688 A fight takes place between Irish troops and Dutch troops in Reading

1720 Reading has a population of about 4,500

1723 Reading gains its first newspaper

1781 High Bridge is built

1785 Simmonds brewery opens

1800 The streets of Reading are lit by oil lamps. A private company provides a piped water supply

1801 Reading has a population of almost 10,000

1807 Suttons Seeds is founded

1810 The Kennet and Avon Canal opens

1819 The streets of Reading are lit by gas

1822 Joseph Huntley begins baking biscuits

1839 The Royal Berkshire Hospital opens

1840 The railway reaches Reading

1843 The first cemetery opens

1850 A Public Board of Health is formed

1879 Horse drawn trams begin running in Reading

1884 A public library opens in Reading

1889 The boundaries of Reading are enlarged

1903 Electric trams begin running in Reading

1909 The first cinema in Reading opens

1920 The first council houses are built

1926 Reading University opens

1939 Trams in Reading cease running

1941 41 people die in an air raid

1959 The first council flats are built

1971 Friars Walk Shopping Centre opens

1976 Suttons Seeds closes. The first commercial radio station in Reading begins. New Civic Offices are built.

1977 Huntley and Palmers biscuits closes

1985 A new Central Library is built

1988 Rivermead Leisure Centre opens

1999 The Oracle Shopping Centre opens