In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Reading like this:
Reading.-- parl. and mun. bor., and co. town of Berks, on river Kennet, near its confluence with the Thames, 36 miles W. of London by rail - mun. bor., 2186 ac., pop. 42,054; parl. bor., pop. 46,054; 4 Banks, 4 newspapers. Market-days, Wednesday and Saturday. Reading was a town in Saxon times, was occupied by the Danes in 871, and has remains of a magnificent abbey founded by Henry I., who was buried within the precincts in 1135; was the frequent meeting-place of church councils and parliaments until 1466; and was fortified by the royalists, and besieged and taken by Essex, during the Civil War. ...
The town is well laid out, and has some fine public buildings. Reading is the centre of a large agricultural district, and is also a great railway centre, while it has extensive water conveyance by the Thames and Kennet navigations; and it carries on an important trade in all kinds of agricultural produce, and in supplying the surrounding towns with goods. The industrial establishments include iron foundries, engine works, agricultural implement manufactories, flour mills, breweries, potteries, boat-building yards, a biscuit factory, and a seed emporium. Archbishop Laud (1573-1G45) was a native. Reading returns 1 member to Parliament; it returned 2 members from the time of Charles I. until 1885, when the parliamentary limits were extended.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Reading has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Reading. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Reading and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Reading in Berkshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 25th May 2013
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