There is much more to Reading than what meets the eye. We have a rich history, underpinned by our hard work, dedication and love for our town. To let you in on some of the little known aspects of the town, we’ve put together a short list of 7 facts about Reading that even our locals may not be aware of. These aren’t things we’ve learned in school but were so important in shaping the city we live in.
Reading is well known for the 3 Bs - beer, bricks and biscuits, which laid the foundation for its role in the industrial revolution. In the 19th century, Huntley and Palmer's biscuit factory was the largest in the world and even provided specially made emergency biscuits to the ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole, led by Captain Scott in 1911. William Blackall Simonds founded ‘Simonds Brewery’ on Broad Street in 1785. Later known as H & G Simonds, the brewery owned and operated 10 pubs in the city. S & E Collier Ltd, Reading’s largest brickmakers, were established in the mid-19th century and produced the famous ‘Reading Red’ bricks.
You’ve probably noticed the gorgeous mural just 5 minutes’ walk from PREMIER SUITES serviced apartments in Reading. The colourful artwork painted on the side of the London Street building depicts black people, contemporary and historical, local and international each of whom have contributed to the struggle against oppression and exploitation. The area was crying out for some colour in the early 1990s and the mural has given the black people of Reading a place to proudly proclaimed their cultural and historical heritage.
Did you know that Reading was considered a safe town during WW2 and deemed ‘unlikely to be bombed’? Many children from London were evacuated to the town early in the war to try to safeguard them from harm. Unfortunately, although our losses were minimal in comparison with other areas, an air raid hit on 10 February 194. 41 people were killed & 153 were injured.
Another little known fact about Reading is, that it’s not actually a City. Reading is the largest town without city status in the UK. A city is classed as ‘an extensive human settlement with a sophisticated system of transport, communication, sanitation, and housing, among others’ and has to be designated as such by the Monarch. Part of the reason we’re not a city, and may never be, is the lack of a Cathedral, although that’s not a deciding factor.
The Royal Berkshire Hospital (or Royal Berks for short) was built in the 19th-century, as a direct result of the building of the Great Western Railway. During the construction of the railway, so many people sustained serious injuries that the hospital was built in response. The first patient was George Earley, a railway worker aged 15 who was treated for a severe compound fracture of the upper arm, resulting in amputation.
The University of Reading was founded in the 19th century as an extension of the college of the University of Oxford and is now ranked within the top 200 universities in the world. Remarkably, the first female university professor in Britain, Edith Morley, was appointed as Professor of English Language at the University in 1908.
We have a long list of famous people we are proud to claim as Reading natives including the beautiful Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge who was born in Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital in 1982. She shares Reading as her birthplace with controversial comedian Ricky Gervais, Titanic actress Kate Winslet, famed novelist Jane Austin, infamous TV presenter Jeremy Kyle, notable director Sam Mendes, and Michael Bond creator of Paddington Bear, among many others.
The best way to find out more facts about the town is to visit for yourself. Our serviced apartments in Reading and across the UK offer space, comfort and value unrivaled by our hotel counterparts. For great value accommodation in Reading, make sure to book your stay using our official website. We look forward to hearing more little known facts you have discovered during your stay.