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A County Borough

Reading’s population increased to around 60,000 after the Borough boundaries were extended in 1887. Because of its size Reading became a County Borough under the Local Government Act 1889, independent of but with the same powers as the new Berkshire County Council. It was effectively a forerunner of the unitary authority it is today.

Redlands School 1910
Redlands School class circa 1910
(reproduced by permission of Reading Library Service)

The County Borough became the local education authority in 1903, taking over the School Board. It also took over local welfare provision and health care from the Poor Law Guardians in 1930. It now ran virtually all the local public services provided in the town.

And it became bigger. Not just in terms of population, but in land too. The Borough boundaries were significantly extended in 1911 when Tilehurst and Caversham (previously part of Oxfordshire) became part of Reading. The Borough’s boundaries remain largely unchanged from the 1911 extension.

Grant of arms 1953

(right) The new grant of arms to the County Borough of Reading 1953 (R/acc 7191.1)



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