A Potpourri of Social History Talks – Autumn Series

This all series ticket covers all three talks in the Autumn “Potpourri of Social History” talks series, for the discounted price of £12.50 (members £10.00). You may also book each talk individually – see each separate event page. All three talks are on Thursdays at 2pm and last about an hour. Afterwards there will be time for questions and discussion. This is an online talks series using Zoom. 

Thursday 24 October “Tea Before Victoria”: 2 – 3.15pm with Joy Pibworth

We are all very familiar with the concept of Afternoon Tea as a very agreeable social event. Before this mini-meal was conceived in the 1840s the role of tea was very different and this talk explains the social and legal changes which had to take place during the 17th and 18th centuries before tea took its place as Britain’s national drink.

Thursday 28 November “Curtain’s Up: The History of Reading’s Art Venues”: 2 – 3.15pm with Katie Amos

Katie Amos is known as the Local Studies Lead for Reading Library. However, she has also been a member of the Reading Arts Front Of House team for over 30 years too. With these dual roles, she is ideally placed to discuss the histories of the three Arts venues – The Hexagon, Concert Hall and South Street. From old to new, each venue has a different feel, but they have hosted many national and international stars over the years, some of whom may get a mention in this talk.

Thursday 12 December “An Historical Tour of the Streets of Old Coley: 2 – 3.15pm with Joe Doak and Graham Turner

This virtual tour of Old Coley will take participants through the streets of Coley before slum clearance and the Inner Direction Road destroyed large sections of working class housing in this inner city area of Reading. Using a mixture of historic maps, old photographs, personal knowledge and desk-top research, Joe and Graham will present a history of the area and tales of life in this tough but vibrant community. They will stop-off along the way to explore the Coley Steps, Coley Primary School, Simonds Brewery, St Savour’s Church and the local brick making industry. It should be of interest to Old Coleyites, local historians, current residents and anyone intrigued about what existed before the IDR.

Zoom Talk Requirements

To join these talks, you will need a computer device with speakers. Ideally, also a webcam and microphone. You also need to be able to access the internet from it. First-time users of Zoom, will need to download a small piece of software – included in the link. 

How to Book

Pre-booking is required because places are limited. Full joining instructions will be emailed to attendees in advance. Bookings close one day before the first event.

To book – scroll down.

Book Event

Available Tickets: 30

For members of Berkshire Family History Society

The "Member" ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
Available Tickets: 30

For non-members of Berkshire Family History Society

The "Non-Member" ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
Total: 0


Thu 24 Oct




Zoom Video Conference


The Centre - Berkshire FHS
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  • Graham Turner
    Graham Turner

    Graham Turner spent 21 years of his youth living in Bright Street in Coley until construction was started on the I.D.R.. He is currently retired from the motor insurance industry after spending 41 years in various dealerships and 11 years as a claims engineer working on insurance warranties. During that time, he became a member of the Institute of the Motor Industry.

    In early 2017, he started the Facebook group “History and Events of Coley, Reading” which has grown into a thriving and very active community.

  • Joy Pibworth
    Joy Pibworth

    Joy has always been fascinated by history and is particularly interested in the history of the towns and villages of the former North Berkshire (now the Vale of the White Horse) and the history of Reading pre 1837. She is a long-standing member of several local history societies. Joy has been a Janeite (Jane Austen fan) since her school days and is particularly interested in the life and times of Jane and her immediate family.

  • Katie Amos
    Katie Amos
    Local Studies Lead, Reading Central Libraries

    Katie has been working at Reading Library for around 30 years, mostly in the Local Studies Department, where she is now Local Studies Lead. Through her work here, she has developed an interest in family history, and has been researching her own tree for the last 18 odd years. This led to her first book on her Timms family, and her second book came about from a customer request and is on the history of the Mansion House in Prospect Park. When not researching she loves contemporary English folk music, reading and also works for the Hexagon theatre as part of their front of house team.

  • Joe Doak
    Joe Doak

    Joe Doak is undertaking doctoral research on the development and redevelopment of Huntley & Palmer’s Biscuit Factory at the University of Reading, where he was formally an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Development. He lived in Field Road (Coley) for 30 years and has recently moved to Dorchester in Dorset. He has supported Graham Turner for a number of years in his work on the history of Old Coley.