You are here: Home > Galleries > Charter 750 > Reading in 2003

Reading in 2003

The town still provides glimpses of the Council’s previous incarnations. There are the Abbey Ruins of its long departed landlord; High Bridge restored in 1787 by a Corporation keen to see trade flourish; the expression of Victorian civic pride through the Town Hall and a legacy of public undertakings from schools to the IDR. The Gildhall is now buried underneath the Oracle, with the modern shopping centre now maintaining a link to the merchant traders who started the town.

Guildhall 1935

The Gildhall or Yield Hall shortly before its demolition circa 1935 (D/EX1722/14/3)


The old Borough lost its status and its independence in 1974, when like all boroughs it was abolished and replaced by a district council, sharing its responsibilities with a County Council. But the new Council was permitted to retain the arms, the title and the history of its predecessor.

Since 1998 it has been restored to its position as the sole local authority running the town, responsible for the provision of schools, social services, housing, roads and transport policy and a range of cultural services.

Oracle 2000
The Oracle Centre 2001 (reproduced by permission of The Oracle)


Related Content

There are two mentions of Reading in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The first is in 870, when King Alfred fought the Danes who were camped there. Reading is mentioned again in 1006 as a town that the Danes burnt. It is probable that the name Reading c...

The Dissolution of Reading Abbey in 1539 left a power vacuum in the town. So in 1542 Henry VIII granted the first charter specifically to set up the Merchant Gild as a Corporation to run Reading. They could hold property, run the market, issue war...

By 1835 Reading had changed from being a town of plaster and thatch to being a town of brick and tile. But the old Corporation remained a body concerned more with managing assets and trade than providing services to the general population. What...

Reading Abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121. The Abbey immediately acquired not just the town but enormous privileges to hold courts and fairs and control trade. The Burial of Henry I, by Stephen Reid 1916 (reproduced by permission of The...

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 B...

Leave a Comment

Fields marked with a * are required

0 response(s) so far…


Latest News
Survey of Visitors to UK Archives 2018
Survey takes place between 8th and 26th October
Stocktake and Christmas closure dates announced
Dates now available for when we will be closed this year
Distance Survey 2017 Results
BRO does very well in the latest survey of distance users
Visitor Survey 2016 Results
The results of the UK Visitor Survey 2016 are now available
We're Accredited!
The BRO is now an Accredited Archive Service
10,000th collection received at the BRO
The Berkshire Record Office celebrates receiving its 10,000th accession

Latest Galleries

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol
Biographies of Wilde and Berkshire's Victorian prison

Small Objects of Power

Small Objects of Power
An Exhibition about Medieval Seals

Enemies of the State

Enemies of the State
Irish Patriots in Reading Gaol

The Berkshire Echo

The Berkshire Echo 84
July 2018: Coleshill House and Estate - Conserving Coleshill - New to the Arc...