BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.
the Victorian Age Reading was famous for 'Reading Sauce'.
It was a bit like Worcester sauce and very popular at the
time, but when demand declined the company went bust.
Wilde was imprisoned in Reading Gaol for two years in 1895.
Huntley & Palmer factory did have one final role to play
before it closed down. In 1975 it provided the location for
the bar scenes in the Hollywood movie ‘Bugsy Malone’ with
Jodie Foster and Scott Baio.
version of this page.
you don't need to trawl through hundreds of reference books to learn
a bit about the history of your town.
surfed the pick of the history websites to bring you that need-to-know
pub trivia about Reading that'll impress your mates.
first things first, beer is probably the one you're most
William Blackall Simonds (WB Simonds)founded the Simonds
Brewery in Broad Street in 1785.
brew house, designed by locally-born architect John Soane,
was built at Severn Bridges, now Bridge Street, and
the firm was famous for its hop leaf symbol.
1805, Simonds owned 10 pubs and he even supplied beer to the
Royal Military College at Sandhurst.
Simonds' son, Blackall Simonds, eventually took over the brewery
and he opened up more pubs, and went into partnership with
his two younger brothers Henry and George.
their father retired in 1834, the brewery became known as
H & G Simonds.
brewery was taken over by Courage in 1960, and in 1973 it
anounced it would move away from the centre of town, to Worton
Grange next to Junction 11 of the M4.
Bridge Street site shut its doors in 1980 when Worton Grange
was finally finished.
Sutton Seeds was founded in Reading in 1806, by John Sutton.
was initially named the 'House of Sutton' and supplied corn.
was joined in 1832 by his sons Martin Hope and Alfred.
was then that the business moved to its famous premises in
Market Place and they launched the flower and vegetable seed
1836 Martin Hope became a partner and the 'House of Sutton'
became Sutton & Son.
company continued to expand and in 1873 new offices and warehouses
replaced the premises in Market Place.
new premises were huge and even had their own fire station
along with cottages for the firemen, and stables.
1962, Suttons moved to state-of-the-art premises on the A4
in 1976 the company relocated to Torquay, because Reading
couldn't provide enough staff and in 1998 the firm moved to
the firm is part of an international seed distribution business
From 1870 until the 1970s, Reading was known as ‘Biscuit Town’
because of the fame of Huntley & Palmers biscuits.
Huntley opened his bakery in London Street, Reading, on the
busy London to Bath road.
would send a boy to sell biscuits to the hungry coach travellers.
the railways developed, Reading's position on the main line
from London to the West Country meant that Huntley & Palmers
biscuits could be easily transported around the country.
opening of the Kings Road factory in 1846 led to a dramatic
increase in the number of people employed by the firm.
16 workers in 1844, this figure reached 5,000 within 50 years.
demand for labour contributed to the town’s population growth
from 19,000 to over 88,000 in 1911.
By the 1970s the King’s Road factory was felt to be too cramped
for necessary modernisation and in 1972 the closure of the
factory was announced.
many years of being run down, biscuit production at Reading
was finally discontinued in 1976.