Berkshire (/ˈbɑːrkʃər/, abbreviated Berks, in the 17th century sometimes spelled phonetically as Barkeshire) is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.
The River Thames formed the historic northern boundary, from Buscot in the west to Old Windsor in the east. The historic county therefore includes territory that is now administered by the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire in Oxfordshire, but excludes Caversham, Slough and five less populous settlements in the east of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. All the changes mentioned, apart from the change to Caversham, took place in 1974. The towns of Abingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage were transferred to Oxfordshire, the six places joining came from Buckinghamshire. Berkshire County Council was the main local government of most areas from 1889 to 1998 and was based in Reading, the county town which had its own County Borough administration (1888-1974).
Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham. The ceremonial county borders Oxfordshire (to the north), Buckinghamshire (to the north-east), Greater London (to the east), Surrey (to the south-east), Wiltshire (to the west) and Hampshire (to the south). No part of the county is more than 8.5 miles (13.7 km) from the M4 motorway.
Royal County of Berkshire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Lord Lieutenant||James Puxley|
|High Sheriff||Lucy Zeal|
|Area||1,262 km2 (487 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||40th of 48|
|Population (mid-2017 est.)||905,800|
|• Ranked||24th of 48|
|Density||717/km2 (1,860/sq mi)|
|Joint committees||Berkshire Local Transport Body|
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Districts of Berkshire
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Police||Thames Valley Police|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC+1)|
According to Asser's biography of King Alfred, written in 893 AD, its old name Bearrocscir takes its name from a wood of box trees, which was called Bearroc (a Celtic word meaning "hilly"). This wood, perhaps no longer extant, was west of Frilsham, near Abingdon.
Berkshire has been the scene of some notable battles through its history. Alfred the Great's campaign against the Danes included the Battles of Englefield, Ashdown and Reading. Newbury was the site of two English Civil War battles: the First Battle of Newbury (at Wash Common) in 1643 and the Second Battle of Newbury (at Speen) in 1644. The nearby Donnington Castle was reduced to a ruin in the aftermath of the second battle. Another Battle of Reading took place on 9 December 1688. It was the only substantial military action in England during the Glorious Revolution and ended in a decisive victory for forces loyal to William of Orange.
Reading became the new county town in 1867, taking over from Abingdon, which remained in the county. Under the Local Government Act 1888, Berkshire County Council took over functions of the Berkshire Quarter Sessions, covering the administrative county of Berkshire, which excluded the county borough of Reading. Boundary alterations in the early part of the 20th century were minor, with Caversham from Oxfordshire becoming part of the Reading county borough, and cessions in the Oxford area.
On 1 April 1974, Berkshire's boundaries changed under the Local Government Act 1972. Berkshire took over administration of Slough and Eton and part of the former Eton Rural District from Buckinghamshire. The northern part of the county became part of Oxfordshire, with Faringdon, Wantage and Abingdon and their hinterland becoming the Vale of White Horse district, and Didcot and Wallingford added to South Oxfordshire district. 94 (Berkshire Yeomanry) Signal Squadron still keep the Uffington White Horse in their insignia, even though the White Horse is now in Oxfordshire. The original Local Government White Paper would have transferred Henley-on-Thames from Oxfordshire to Berkshire: this proposal did not make it into the Bill as introduced.
On 1 April 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, and the districts became unitary authorities. Unlike similar reforms elsewhere at the same time, the non-metropolitan county was not abolished. Signs saying "Welcome to the Royal County of Berkshire" exist on borders of West Berkshire, on the east side of Virginia Water, on the M4 motorway, on the south side of Sonning Bridge, on the A404 southbound by Marlow, and northbound on the A33 past Stratfield Saye.
All of the county is drained by the Thames. Berkshire divides into two topological (and associated geological) sections: east and west of Reading. North-east Berkshire has the low calciferous (limestone) m-shaped bends of the Thames south of which is a broader, clayey, gravelly former watery plain or belt from Earley to Windsor and beyond, south, are parcels and belts of uneroded higher sands, flints, shingles and lightly acid soil and in north of the Bagshot Formation, north of Surrey and Hampshire. Swinley Forest also known as Bracknell Forest, Windsor Great Park, Crowthorne and Stratfield Saye Woods have many pine, silver birch and other lightly acid-soil trees. East of the grassy and wooded bends a large minority of East Berkshire's land mirrors the clay belt being of low elevation and on the left ('north') bank of the Thames: Slough, Eton, Eton Wick, Wraysbury, Horton and Datchet. In the heart of the county Reading's northern suburb Caversham is also on that bank but rises steeply into the Chiltern Hills.
Two main tributaries skirt past Reading, the Loddon and its sub-tributary the Blackwater draining parts of two counties south and the Kennet draining part of upland Wiltshire in the west. Heading west the reduced, but equally large, part of county becomes ever further from the Thames which flows from the north-north-west before the Goring Gap; West Berkshire hosts the varying-width plain of the River Kennet rising to high chalk hills by way of and lower clay slopes and rises. To the south, the land crests along the boundary with Hampshire; the highest parts of South-East and Eastern England taken together are here. The highest is Walbury Hill at 297 m (974 ft). To the north of the Kennet are the Berkshire Downs. This is hilly country, with smaller and well-wooded valleys those of the Lambourn, Pang, and their Thames sub-tributaries. The open upland areas vie with Newmarket, Suffolk for horse racing training and breeding centres and have good fields of barley, wheat and other cereal crops.
According to 2003 estimates there were 803,657 people in Berkshire, or 636 people/km². The population is mostly based in the urban areas to the east and centre of the county: the largest towns here are Reading, Slough, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Woodley, Wokingham, Windsor, Earley, Sandhurst, and Crowthorne. West Berkshire is much more rural and sparsely populated, with far fewer towns: the largest are Newbury, Thatcham, and Hungerford.
In 1831, there were 146,234 people living in Berkshire; by 1901 the population had risen to 252,571 (of whom 122,807 were male and 129,764 were female). Below are the largest immigrant groups in 2011.
|Country of Birth||Immigrants in Berkshire (2011 Census)|
Population of Berkshire:
The ceremonial county of Berkshire consists of the area controlled by the six unitary authorities, each of which is independent of the rest. Berkshire has no county council. The ceremonial county has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire is James Puxley, and the High Sheriff of Berkshire for 2018/19 is Graham Barker.
|Bracknell Forest||Bracknell, Sandhurst||113,696||109.38 km²||1038/km²|
|West Berkshire||Newbury, Thatcham||150,700||704.17 km²||214/km²|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||Windsor, Maidenhead||104,000||198.43 km²||711/km²|
|Wokingham||Wokingham, Twyford||88,600||178.98 km²||875/km²|
|TOTAL Ceremonial||N/A||752,436||1264 km²||643/km²|
Berkshire, as a ceremonial county and non-metropolitan county, is one of three currently in England in that it has no council covering its entire area; rather it is divided into unitary authorities. Of the other English non-metropolitan counties, at present Bedfordshire and Cheshire function in the same manner.
As at 2015-2019 a Conservative Party group of local councillors co-run the unitary authorities of West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest with the employed executives. An equivalent group of Labour Party local councillors co-run Reading and Slough.
Since the last general election in 2017, six of the elected candidates (MPs) have been Conservative and two (Slough and Reading East) have been Labour. The Prime Minister since June 2016, Theresa May represents Maidenhead, the geographically larger seat west of Slough.
|General Election 2010 : Berkshire|
|Conservative||Liberal Democrats||Labour||UKIP||Green||Others||BNP||Christian Party||Monster Raving Loony Party||Turnout|
|Overall Number of seats as of 2010|
|Conservative||Labour||Liberal Democrats||UKIP||Green||Others||BNP||Christian Party||Monster Raving Loony Party|
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added1||Agriculture2||Industry3||Services4|
Reading has a historical involvement in the information technology industry, largely as a result of the early presence in the town of sites of International Computers Limited and Digital. These companies have been swallowed by other groups, but their descendants, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard respectively, still have local operations. More recently Microsoft and Oracle have established multi-building campuses on the outskirts of Reading. Other technology companies with a presence in the town include Huawei Technologies, Agilent Technologies, Audio & Design (Recording) Ltd, Bang & Olufsen, Cisco, Comptel, Ericsson, Harris Corporation, Intel, Nvidia, Rockwell Collins, Sage, SGI, Symantec, Symbol Technologies, Verizon Business, Virgin Media, Websense, Xansa (now Steria), and Xerox. The financial company ING Direct has its headquarters in Reading, as does the directories company Yell Group. The insurance company Prudential has an administration centre in the town. PepsiCo and Holiday Inn have offices. As with most major cities, Reading also has offices of the Big Four accounting firms Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst and Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The global headquarters of Reckitt Benckiser and the UK headquarters of Mars, Incorporated are based in Slough. The European head offices of major IT companies BlackBerry, CA Technologies, are in the town. O2 has headquarters in four buildings. The town is home to the National Foundation for Educational Research, which is housed in The Mere. Other major brands with offices in the town include Nintendo, Black and Decker, Amazon.co.uk, HTC, Scottish and Southern Energy and Abbey Business Centres. Dulux paints are still manufactured in Slough by AkzoNobel, which bought Imperial Chemical Industries in 2008.
Bracknell is a base for high-tech industries, with the presence of companies such as Panasonic, Fujitsu (formerly ICL) and Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens (originally Nixdorf), Honeywell, Cable and Wireless, Avnet Technology Solutions and Novell. Firms subsequently spread into the surrounding Thames Valley or M4 corridor, attracting IT firms such as Cable and Wireless, DEC (subsequently Hewlett-Packard), Microsoft, Sharp Telecommunications, Oracle Corporation, Sun Microsystems and Cognos. Bracknell is also home to the central Waitrose distribution centre and head office, which is on a 70-acre (280,000 m2) site on the Southern Industrial Estate. Waitrose has operated from the town since the 1970s. The town is also home to the UK headquarters of Honda Motors Europe and BMW Group.
Newbury is home to the world headquarters of the mobile network operator Vodafone, which is the town's largest employer with over 6,000 people. Before moving to their £129 million headquarters in the outskirts of the town in 2002, Vodafone used 64 buildings spread across the town centre. As well as Vodafone, Newbury is also home to National Instruments, Micro Focus, EValue, NTS Express Road Haulage, Jokers' Masquerade and Quantel. It also is home to the Newbury Building Society, which operates in the region.
Abingdon Abbey once had dairy-based granges in the south-east of the county, Red Windsor Cheese was developed with red marbling. Some Berkshire cheeses are Wigmore, Waterloo and Spenwood (named after Spencers Wood) in Riseley; and Barkham Blue, Barkham Chase and Loddon Blewe at Barkham.
Berkshire hosts more Group 1 flat horse races than any other county. Ascot Racecourse is used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 13 of the UK's 35 annual Group 1 races. The course is closely associated with the British Royal Family, being approximately 6 miles (10 km) from Windsor Castle, and owned by the Crown Estate.
Ascot today stages twenty-five days of racing over the course of the year, comprising sixteen flat meetings held between May and October. The Royal Meeting, held in June, remains a major draw; the highlight is the Ascot Gold Cup. The most prestigious race is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes run in July.
Newbury Racecourse is in the civil parish of Greenham, adjoining the town of Newbury. It has courses for flat races and over jumps. It hosts one of Great Britain's 32 Group 1 races, the Lockinge Stakes. It also hosts the Hennessy Gold Cup, which is said to be the biggest handicap race of the season apart from the Grand National.
Windsor Racecourse, also known as Royal Windsor Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in Windsor. It is one of only two figure-of-eight courses in the United Kingdom. (The other is at Fontwell Park). It abandoned National Hunt jump racing in December 1998, switching entirely to flat racing.
Lambourn also has a rich history in horse racing, the well drained, spongy grass, open downs and long flats make the Lambourn Downs ideal for training racehorses. This area of West Berkshire is the largest centre of racehorse training in the UK after Newmarket, and is known as the 'Valley of the Racecourse'.
Reading F.C. is the only Berkshire football club to play professional football. The club did not join the Football League until 1920, and first played in the top tier of English football in the 2006–07 season.
Newbury was home to A.F.C. Newbury, which was for a period one of only two football clubs to be sponsored by Vodafone (the other being Manchester United). In May 2006 Vodafone ended its sponsorship of the club, following which the club collapsed. A local pub team from the Old London Apprentice took over the ground temporarily and now compete in the Hellenic Football League as Newbury F.C.
There are several amateur and semi-professional football clubs in the county. These include Maidenhead United, Slough Town, Thatcham Town, Ascot United, A.F.C. Aldermaston, Sandhurst Town, Windsor F.C., Wokingham & Emmbrook F.C., Bracknell Town F.C. and Reading City.
Newbury's rugby union club, Newbury R.F.C. (the Newbury 'Blues'), is based in the town. In the 2004–05 season, the club finished second in the National Two division earning promotion to National One. Newbury had previously won National Four South (now renamed as National Three South) in 1996–97 with a 100% win record. In 2010–11 the club finished bottom of National League 2S, with a single win and twenty-nine defeats. The club was founded in 1928 and in 1996 moved to a new purpose-built ground at Monks Lane, which has since hosted England U21 fixtures.
Slough Jets also play in the English Premier League winning the title in 2007. Slough Jets also won the play-offs in 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10 & 2011–12. they have finished in the top 4 in the last 9 seasons. They also won the EPIH Cup in 2010–11. Slough Jets have been in the EPIHL since 1999.
Slough Hockey Club is home to the Slough Ladies 1XI who play in the Women's Premier League. Slough Hockey club have 5 adult teams; the Ladies 1XI play in the top tier of English Hockey, the Ladies 2XI play in the TrySports League, the Men's 1XI play in MBBO Regional 1, the Men's 2XI play in MBBO Division 3 & the Men's Swifts (3XI) in MBBO Division 6. There are other hockey teams in the county: Reading Hockey Club, Sonning Hockey Club, Wokingham Hockey Club, Maidenhead Hockey Club, Bracknell Hockey Club, Windsor Hockey Club, Newbury & Thatcham Hockey Club and Reading University Hockey Club.
Berkshire is home to the following universities: the University of Reading (which includes the Henley Business School), Imperial College (Silwood Park Campus), and the University of West London. It is also home to The Chartered Institute of Marketing, prestigious independent schools Ludgrove School, Eton College and Wellington College, and several grammar schools including Reading School, Kendrick School and Herschel Grammar School.
Berkshire has many notable people associated with it.
|Accessible open space|
|Museum (free/not free)|
In Berkshire, although the county council will be abolished, the county area will remain. Along with its lord lieutenant, it will retain its high sheriff and its title as a royal county.
Map credited to George Philip & Son, Ltd.
Berkshire County, pronounced , is a county located on the western edge of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 131,219. Its largest city and traditional county seat is Pittsfield. The county was founded in 1761.The Berkshire Hills are centered on Berkshire County. Residents are known as Berkshirites. It exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government, with the exception of the retirement board for former county workers, and certain offices such as the sheriff and registry of deeds.Berkshire County Cricket Club
Berkshire County Cricket Club is one of twenty minor county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Berkshire.
The team is currently a member of the Minor Counties Championship Western Division and plays in the MCCA Knockout Trophy. Berkshire played List A matches occasionally until 2005 but is not classified as a List A team per se.Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. The company wholly owns GEICO, Duracell, Dairy Queen, BNSF, Lubrizol, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, Long & Foster, FlightSafety International, Pampered Chef, and NetJets, and also owns 38.6% of Pilot Flying J; 26.7% of the Kraft Heinz Company, and significant minority holdings in American Express (17.6%), Wells Fargo (9.9%), The Coca-Cola Company (9.4%), Bank of America (6.8%), and Apple (5.22%). Since 2016, the company has acquired large holdings in the major US airline carriers, and is currently the largest shareholder in United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and a top three shareholder in Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. Berkshire Hathaway has averaged an annual growth in book value of 19.0% to its shareholders since 1965 (compared to 9.7% from the S&P 500 with dividends included for the same period), while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt.The company is known for its control and leadership by Warren Buffett, who serves as chairman and chief executive, and Charlie Munger, the company's vice chairman. In the early part of his career at Berkshire, Buffett focused on long-term investments in publicly traded companies, but more recently he has more frequently bought whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including confectionery, retail, railroads, home furnishings, encyclopedias, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales, newspaper publishing, manufacture and distribution of uniforms, and several regional electric and gas utilities.
According to the Forbes Global 2000 list and formula, Berkshire Hathaway is the third largest public company in the world, the tenth largest conglomerate by revenue and the largest financial services company by revenue in the world.Berkshire is currently the seventh largest company in the S&P 500 Index by market capitalization, and is famous for having the most expensive share price in history with a Class A share costing around $300,000 each. This is due to the fact that there has never been a stock split and Buffett has stated in a 1984 letter to shareholders that he does not intend to do so.Business Wire
Business Wire is a company that disseminates full-text press releases from thousands of companies and organizations worldwide to news media, financial markets, disclosure systems, investors, information web sites, databases, bloggers, social networks and other audiences. It is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.Eton College
Eton College () is an English 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore (The King's College of Our Lady of Eton beside Wyndsor), as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.
Eton is one of the original nine public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. The others are Harrow, Charterhouse, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Westminster, Winchester, Merchant Taylors' and St Paul's. Following the public school tradition, Eton is a full boarding school, which means pupils live at the school seven days a week, and it is one of only five such remaining single-sex boys' public schools in the United Kingdom (the others being Harrow, Radley, Sherborne and Winchester). The remainder have since become co-educational: Rugby (1976), Charterhouse (1971), Westminster (1973), and Shrewsbury (2014) and Merchant Taylors' which is now a day school. Eton has educated 19 British prime ministers and generations of the aristocracy and has been referred to as "the chief nurse of England's statesmen".Eton charges up to £12,910 per term, with three terms per academic year, in 2017/18. Eton was noted as being the sixth most expensive HMC boarding school in the UK in 2013/14, however the school admits some boys with modest parental income: in 2011 it was reported that around 250 boys received "significant" financial help from the school, with the figure rising to 263 pupils in 2014, receiving the equivalent of around 60% of school fee assistance, whilst a further 63 received their education free of charge. Eton has also announced plans to increase the figure to around 320 pupils, with 70 educated free of charge, with the intention that the number of pupils receiving financial assistance from the school continues to increase.Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Great Barrington is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,104 at the 2010 census. Both a summer resort and home to Ski Butternut, Great Barrington includes the villages of Van Deusenville and Housatonic. It is the birthplace of W. E. B. Du Bois. In 2012, Smithsonian magazine ranked Great Barrington #1 in its list of "The 20 Best Small Towns in America".Maidenhead
Maidenhead is a large market town in Berkshire, England, on the south-western bank of the River Thames. With a population of about 73,000, Maidenhead is the largest town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. The town is situated 25.7 miles (41.4 km) west of Charing Cross, London, 11.7 miles (18.8 km) northeast of the county town of Reading, 28.3 miles (45.5 km) southeast of Oxford, 8.0 miles (12.9 km) east-south-east of Henley on Thames and 5.8 miles (9.3 km) northwest of Windsor.
The town is also currently the political constituency (since 1997) of the current British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Theresa May; she has held this role since 13 July 2016.National Register of Historic Places listings in Berkshire County, Massachusetts
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 172 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county, including 9 National Historic Landmarks.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted April 12, 2019.Newbury, Berkshire
Newbury is a market town in Berkshire, England, which is home to the administrative headquarters of West Berkshire.
The town centre around its large market square retains a rare medieval Cloth Hall, an adjoining half timbered granary, and the 15th century St Nicolas Church, along with 17th and 18th century listed buildings. As well as being home to Newbury Racecourse, it is the headquarters of Vodafone UK and software company Micro Focus International.
In the valley of the River Kennet, 26 miles (42 km) south of Oxford, 25 miles (40 km) north of Winchester, 27 miles (43 km) south east of Swindon and 20 miles (32 km) west of Reading. Newbury lies on the edge of the Berkshire Downs; part of the North Wessex Downs Area of outstanding natural beauty, 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the Hampshire-Berkshire county boundary. In the suburban village of Donnington lies the part-ruined Donnington Castle and the surrounding hills are home to some of the country's most famous racehorse training grounds (centred on nearby Lambourn). To the south is a narrower range of hills including Walbury Hill and a few private landscape gardens and mansions such as Highclere Castle. The local economy is inter-related to that of the eastern M4 corridor, which has most of its industrial, logistical and research businesses close to Newbury, mostly around Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead and Slough.
Together with the adjoining town of Thatcham, 3 miles (4.8 km) distant, Newbury forms the principal part of an urban area of approximately 70,000 people.Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from Oxonium, the Latin name for Oxford) is a county in South East England. The ceremonial county borders Warwickshire to the north-west, Northamptonshire to the north-east, Buckinghamshire to the east, Berkshire to the south, Wiltshire to the south-west and Gloucestershire to the west.
The county has major education and tourist industries and is noted for the concentration of performance motorsport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press is the largest firm among a concentration of print and publishing firms; the University of Oxford is also linked to the concentration of local biotechnology companies.
As well as the city of Oxford, other centres of population are Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington and Chipping Norton to the north of Oxford; Carterton and Witney to the west; Thame and Chinnor to the east; and Abingdon-on-Thames, Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames to the south. The areas south of the Thames, the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire, are in the historic county of Berkshire, as is the highest point, the 261 metres (856 ft) White Horse Hill.Oxfordshire's county flower is the snake's-head fritillary.Reading, Berkshire
Reading ( (listen) RED-ing) is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles (110 km) east of Bristol, 24 miles (39 km) south of Oxford, 40 miles (64 km) west of London, 14 miles (23 km) north of Basingstoke, 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles (24 km) east of Newbury as the crow flies.
The first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century. It was an important trading and ecclesiastical centre in the medieval period, as the site of Reading Abbey, one of the richest monasteries of medieval England with strong royal connections, of which the 12th-century abbey gateway and significant ruins remain. By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, and tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth. The town was seriously affected by the English Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, and played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688, with that revolution's only significant military action fought on the streets of the town. The 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing, baking and seed growing businesses. During that period, the town grew rapidly as a manufacturing centre.
Today, Reading is a major commercial centre, with involvement in information technology and insurance, and, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow. It is ranked the UK's top economic area for economic success and wellbeing, according to factors such as employment, health, income and skills. Reading is also a major regional retail centre serving a large area of the Thames Valley, and is home to the University of Reading. Every year it hosts the Reading Festival, one of England's biggest music festivals. Sporting teams based in Reading include Reading Football Club and the London Irish rugby union team, and over 15,000 runners annually compete in the Reading Half Marathon.
In the 2011 census, the urban area around Reading had an estimated population of 318,014. The Borough of Reading and its immediate suburbs of Woodley, Earley (part of Wokingham Borough) Tilehurst (part of) and Calcot (part of West Berkshire) are widely considered to be one continuous town. This makes Reading a town/ locality of just under 230,000 inhabitants despite being administered by three different councils. This also makes Reading one of the largest towns in the UK without city status. The Borough of Reading in itself has a population of 163,100 (mid-2017 est.). It is represented in Parliament by two members, and has been continuously represented there since 1295. For ceremonial purposes the town is in the county of Berkshire and has served as its county town since 1867, previously sharing this status with Abingdon-on-Thames.Slough
Slough ( (listen)) is a large town in Berkshire, England, within the Greater London Urban Area, 20 miles (32 km) west of Charing Cross, central London and 17 miles (27 km) north-east of the county town of Reading. It is between the Thames Valley and London and at the intersection of the M4, M40 and M25 motorways.
The A4 and the Great Western Main Line pass through the town, which was historically part of neighbouring Buckinghamshire. From 2019 the Elizabeth line is expected to allow faster journeys to central London.
As of 2011 Slough's population was one of the most ethnically diverse in the United Kingdom, with the highest proportion of religious adherents in England. The town has attracted people from across the country and the world for labour since the 1920s, which has helped shape it into a major trading centre. As of 2017 unemployment stood at 1.4%, circa one-third the UK average of 4.5%.Slough has the highest concentration of global corporate HQs outside London. The Slough Trading Estate is the largest industrial estate in single private ownership in Europe. Blackberry, McAfee, Burger King and Lego have head offices in the town. The Slough Trading Estate provides over 17,000 jobs in 400 businesses. Slough has the second highest gross value added per worker of cities in UK.The Berkshires
The Berkshires (locally ) are a highland geologic region located in the western parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The term "Berkshires" is normally used by locals in reference to the portion of the Vermont-based Green Mountains that extend south into western Massachusetts; the portion extending further south into northwestern Connecticut is locally referred to as either the Northwest Hills or Litchfield Hills.Also referred to as the Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains, and Berkshire Plateau, the region enjoys a vibrant tourism industry based on music, arts, and recreation. Geologically, the mountains are a range of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Berkshires were named among the 200 Last Great Places by The Nature Conservancy.Warren Buffett
Warren Edward Buffett (; born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, speaker and philanthropist who serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is considered one of the most successful investors in the world and has a net worth of US$82.5 billion as of March 9, 2019, making him the third-wealthiest person in the world.Buffett was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He developed an interest in business and investing in his youth, eventually entering the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1947 before transferring and graduating from University of Nebraska at the age of 19. He went on to graduate from Columbia Business School, where he molded his investment philosophy around the concept of value investing that was pioneered by Benjamin Graham. He attended New York Institute of Finance to focus his economics background and soon after began various business partnerships, including one with Graham. He created Buffett Partnership, Ltd in 1956 and his firm eventually acquired a textile manufacturing firm called Berkshire Hathaway and assumed its name to create a diversified holding company. In 1978, Charlie Munger joined Buffett and became vice president of the company.Buffett has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970, and he has been referred to as the "Wizard", "Oracle", or "Sage" of Omaha by global media outlets. He is noted for his adherence to value investing and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth. Research published at the University of Oxford characterizes Buffett's investment methodology as falling within "founder centrism" – defined by a deference to managers with a founder's mindset, an ethical disposition towards the shareholder collective, and an intense focus on exponential value creation. Essentially, Buffett's concentrated investments shelter managers from the short-term pressures of the market.Buffett is a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He founded The Giving Pledge in 2009 with Bill Gates, whereby billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their fortunes. He endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election; and will judge current U.S. President Donald Trump by his results on national safety, economic growth, and economic participation.Wellington College, Berkshire
Wellington College is a British co-educational day and boarding public school near the village of Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. Wellington is a registered charity and currently educates roughly 1,100 pupils, between the ages of 13 and 18, per annum. It was built as a national monument to the first Duke of Wellington (1769–1852), in honour of whom the College is named. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1856 and inaugurated the School's public opening on 29 January 1859.
Many former Wellington pupils fought in the trenches immediately after graduation during the First World War, volunteering for military action, a conflict in which 707 of them lost their lives. A further 501 former pupils were killed in action in the Second World War.The school is a member of the Rugby Group, which includes Harrow School, Radley College, and Winchester College, and is also a member of the G20 Schools group. The Good Schools Guide calls the school "a serious player in the field of education". With school fees of up to £39,750 per annum, Wellington College is considered to be one of the country's most prestigious institutions. The school is also famously strong in sports of all manner, frequently winning many large national competitions.West Berkshire
West Berkshire is a local government district in Berkshire, England, administered from Newbury by West Berkshire Council.Williamstown, Massachusetts
Williamstown is a town in Berkshire County, in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, United States. It shares a border with Vermont to the north and New York to the west. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,754 at the 2010 census. A college town, it is home to Williams College, the Clark Art Institute and the Tony-awarded Williamstown Theatre Festival, which runs every July and August.Windsor, Berkshire
Windsor is a historic market town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family.
The town is situated 21.7 miles (34.9 km) west of Charing Cross, central London, 5.8 miles (9.3 km) southeast of Maidenhead, and 15.8 miles (25.4 km) east of the county town of Reading. It is immediately south of the River Thames, which forms its boundary with its smaller, ancient twin town of Eton. The village of Old Windsor, just over 2 miles (3 km) to the south, predates what is now called Windsor by around 300 years; in the past Windsor was formally referred to as New Windsor to distinguish the two.Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture.
The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle's lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste". Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design.Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England". Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge by the royal family during the Luftwaffe bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the preferred weekend home of Elizabeth II.
1974–1996 ← Ceremonial counties of England → current