A Potpourri of Social History Talks – Winter Series

This all series ticket covers all three in the winter “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 with time for questions and discussion afterwards. This is an online talks series using Zoom. 

Thursday 27 January “Georgian Reading” 2 – 3.15pm with John Missenden and Richard Bennett

The origins of this talk date back to 2018 and a Reading Civic Society tour of Bath. After the visit,  Professor John Missenden, was seized by not only how important the buildings of Bath are but that Reading has many great Georgian buildings too. He mused that we, and the Council, do not value in the same way so they are hidden in clear sight.  John decided to develop a presentation about Reading, Berkshire’s Bath Spa.  This began as a rolling slide show and has now been developed into this talk especially for the Berkshire Family History Society.

Thursday 24 February “The History of Yeomanry House, Reading” 2 – 3.15pm with Katie Amos 

Yeomanry House sits at the junction of Coley Avenue, Castle Hill, Bath Road and Tilehurst Road, hidden by trees. It is perhaps a little ignored in comparison to the other big houses in the area. Until recently, it was home to Berkshire Family History Society and the Berkshire Register Office, but what of its past, and where does its name come from? From its origins on the fringes of the town, confusing house names (it was previously called Castle Hill House, as was another in the same area), to polite society, a school, military links and weddings, this house has seen it all. Discover its history and some of the families associated with it – the Sherwood’s, Jesse’s, Levett’s, Fiennes and more.

Thursday 24 March “150 Years of Reading Football Club” 2 – 3.15pm with David Downs

Established in 1871, Reading Football Club is one of the oldest teams in England, celebrating its 150th birthday in 2021. Nicknamed “The Royals”, due to the Royal County of Berkshire, they were previously known as “The Biscuitmen”, because of Reading’s association with Huntley and Palmers. We are delighted to welcome David Downs as our speaker for this talk, official historian to Reading Football Club. David will talk about the history of the club and many of those associated with it. Football lover or not – this will be a hugely entertaining talk.

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 be asked to download a small piece of software, which will be sent in advance. Technical help is available, please contact  

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.

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  • David Downs

    David is a long-term supporter of Reading Football Club, a regular commentator on its matches for local hospital radio and for some twenty years was an employee. He is also their unofficial club historian.

    He has published several books on the club’s history and is a regular contributor to newspapers, magazines, and local radio and television on the subject.

  • 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.

  • Professor John Missenden

    John is a long standing member of Reading Civic Trust.

  • Richard Bennett DL
    Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire

    Richard started with the idea of being a teacher but after a brief spell in the security industry became an accountant working for Whitbread Brewery. After the Monopolies Commission took its axe to the brewing industry, he worked for British Rail InterCity for 7 years. Post privatisation he joined the MOD as the Chief Accountant in a number of its organisations including; Naval Support Command, Defence Logistics and finally RAF Air Command, where his last 4 years were as the Head of Civilian Human Resources, which was great fun… apart from having to close several UK RAF Stations.

    He finally got his Tri Service “badge” in 2015, when he led a team which erected a memorial to Reading’s only VC winner, and the Berkshire Yeomanry. As Chair of Reading Civic Society, he engages with Reading Council, and developers, on their “mad ideas” which change the face of Reading. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 2018.

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