The Murder of Alfred Oliver

The murder of Reading tobacconist Alfred Oliver, in Cross Street in 1929, remains unsolved to this day.

Several witnesses saw a man near the shop at the time of the murder and later identified him as Philip Yale Drew, an American-born actor performing at Reading’s County Theatre. The ensuing Coroner’s Inquest, at which Drew was subjected to intensive questioning, divided opinion and attracted considerable crowds and controversy.

Find out more in this fascinating talk by David Downs.

This talk is the third of three in the Autumn Potpourri online talks series. Book all three talks in the series for £12.50 (members £10).   

Pre-booking is required, because the event link will be sent in advance.                             

To join this talk, 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. 

To book – scroll down.

Image: Cross Street, Reading in 1887.


15 Dec 2022


14:00 - 15:15

Tickets from



Zoom Video Conference


  • David Downs

    David is probably best known locally as the club historian for Reading Football Club. 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.

    His interest in history goes much wider however, and his interest in the story of the murder of Alfred Oliver developed from boyhood due to a personal family connection to Alfred and his wife.

QR Code