Below are some brief summaries about various aspects of Caversham's history; where approprirate followed by links to longer 'stand alone' versions (that open in a new browser window) for anyone's who keen.
Latest Update: 'Car Making' expanded.
Caversham legally became part of Reading and Berkshire on the 9th November, 1911, having previously been part of Oxfordshire. We at the Caversham website firmly believe that annexation was a black day for Caversham - and that our local area has far more affinity with the villages and culture of South Oxfordshire than with the urban sprawl and planning policies of Reading.
BBC Monitoring has been the owner of Caversham Park House since the end of the 2WW. This imposing mansion - the large building you see on the hill as you pass through Reading on the train - has long been a major employer in Caversham but it has also always been very low-key. And, because historically it has also attracted so many foreign nationals from many parts of the world to work there, overall BBC Monitoring's presence has contributed immeasurably to the quality and richness of life in Caversham.
To all intents and purposes Vladimir Rubinstein was the main responsible for making BBC Monitoring the success it has been, and his death in 2008 was marked by a generous obituary in the Telegraph. This also goes some way to explaining the role of BBC Monitoring and what goes on today in the 'mansion on the hill'. We're not sure how long the online Telegraph keeps its archive for so we've created a pdf copy of it which you can read here (70kB). His book, 'Assigned to Listen' is sometimes available - see the link in 'Find Out More / Books & Maps / Local History'.
Over time, we will develop this section to include more information about both BBC Monitoring and Caversham Park House.
(Incidentally, if you're keen on the news, Monitoring's own site, here, includes some free world news information that you might find useful.)
The river in Caversham has been important for as long as ... Well, local fossil finds include worked flints from 250,000 years ago. Caversham on Thames (as opposed to Reading on Kennet) has an unbreakable tie to Britain's longest river. The first bridge dates back to at least 1230; these days anyone who has to cross over into Reading regularly will tell you that bridges remain a big issue around here.
Caversham was never going to rival the great motor works of Cowley and the like but it did have Buckler Cars, Herbert Engineering and British Motor and Engineering.
The presence of caves under various parts of Reading, including Caversham/Emmer Green, is quite well known and often the source of speculation. The article we link to, below, by Subterranea Britannica provides a very thorough and interesting history of the site, including several excellent photos. Well worth reading.
» Read Full Article. (External Site)
Caversham played an important role in the Civil War because it was a crossing across the Thames, and because the Royalists controlled the town of Reading to the south.
(New article pending)
Like everywhere in the UK (and in the Commonwealth countries too), the people of Berkshire paid a high price in the First World War. These nine photos on the BBC Berkshire web site were added in connection with the 2009 Armistice Day and focus on men preparing to leave in 1914 - in Reading, Wantage and Wokingham. They serve to remind of how massive an impact the war had. We have the war in Afghanistan now, and the Iraq wars in recent memory, but the scale of First World War puts it in a wholly different league.
The British Pathe online film archive contains a wealth of short clips from throughout the last century. There's some fascinating stuff there, and it's free to visit/view (you just have to put up with some adverts, which seems a fair deal to us!).
And by 'Old Caversham', we mean what was thought old over one hundred years ago.
We are very grateful to Nick Hopton of Caversham, who has made available to us (and thus to you) a copy of a lecture on old Caversham. The lecture itself was given in 1894 by a Mr W Wing. Nick has transcribed and typeset a copy of the talk held by Caversham Library and it is free to download via this link in pdf format (1,698kB). The talk is wide-ranging, covering everything from the origins of the name 'Caversham' to the nearby fossil finds, details about St Peter's Church and Caversham Park, the Civil War and much more besides. As the lecture itself concludes, "Caversham is very far from being a place without a history." If you are interested and know Nick, then in our view the least you could do is buy him a pint to say thanks.
A miscellany of other historical odds and ends, including notes about Buckside; Caversham Court; Caversham House, Lodge, Manor and Caversham Park House; the local public convenience; the Caversham shrine; Fry's Island; St Anne's Well; St Peter's Church; William Marhsall.
If you're interested in the history of Reading Festival, there are links in our 'Find Out More' and 'Books and Maps' sections to get you started.
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