Newtown

share your memories from Reading's past
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Newtown

Postby OLDMAN » 18 May 2011 08:48

OLDMAN wrote:Right here we go bubble burst time – mine as well!!

Apologies if off topic and if Les John, or anyone wants to push this to another thread please feel free

Thought I would drag out a few books especially a treasured one as it was given to me by someone who knew the subject well

It’s called - NEWTOWN, Reading – The Inside Story.......... I think you can guess the subject!

Anyone interested it was compiled and written by Wendy Hobson and published by Newtown Local History Project in 1995
If anyone wants to borrow it for a read as well please feel free to ask

I also check a few other books and old maps

They state that Newtown is the area bounded by – Kings Rd / London Rd to the south – the railway to the north – Forbury Rd to the west and the A4 railway bridge to the east

The first houses were built on the old Orts Farm (Orts Rd area) also known as New Farm – maybe why the name, which was part of Crown Estate and was sold off for the development in the 1830’s and it all began in the 1840/50’s

It was jointly owned and developed by John Sutton and George Palmer for their workers and by the 1870/80’s extended up to Cholmeley Rd, from there across to the railway was Suttons planted areas – this was then developed in the late 1800’s early 1900’s

The bit I missed is where Palmer park is now and up the Wokingham Rd etc came under / between two estates – on one side was Maiden Erleigh owned by Solomon Barnato Joel and the other side was Erleigh Court the rest belonged to the Palmers / Suttons who then built the houses as extras for workers in 1881 This area was known as Earley and also had the parishes of Earley St Peters (which is where i live now but that was dropped in the 70’s when Earley Town became official) and Erleigh St Bartholomew’s (which is roughly where Lady Pi live but was moved down to St Bartholomew’s Rd when thaw a developed in the late 1880’s)

– As far as I know (and I was born in Wokingham Rd and still have family in their 90’s who had family in the area before that)its never been called nor known as Newtown up this was and only a few like myself who called it (and still do) Earley St Peters) – maybe some people who did not live here called it that but it’s never been official nor on a map!

Well that took some studying and I hope it was worth it and useful

Cheers


daisyanne wrote:Oldman two questions the book on newtown you hold as a bible it wouldn't be the book with a lot of info from certain residents name of spicer/brooker amongst others? Second question would you class all the info given by the residents as factual as to the way people lived in that area.? I would like to be interested in your answer.Though sorry I know I'm off topic. Though your map ref's are correct but the statement on what the locals knew as what was what is a little off. From one very old newtown girl born and bred. sorry john have read the book too but still want the question asked just in case it's a differant book.


Okay now we have a Newtown Thread going

First off it sounds like the same book and no, I do not consider it a ‘bible’ - just ‘treasured’ due to who gave it to me

Yes some of the stuff is a bit ‘wooly’ as it is from people’s memories / experiences and those stories can change but there are also a lot of factual items in the book

According to a family friend who helped on it, is now in her late 70’s, worked at Newtown School and also lived in the area, most of the factual parts of the book was written from information gleaned through libraries / maps etc – it’s the ‘stories’ that came from local residents’

I also said above that some of the information came from other books I have, all about old Reading not just from this book

Over the last few days I have been asking other people who have lived in this general area (RG6 / East Reading) some of whom have families going back to when Newtown was first built and none of them ever knew the area as being other than stated – one person whose family lived at Cemetery Junction (De Beauvoir Rd) since the 1910’s even reckoned that did not come under Newtown plus another woman who lives in St Bartholomew’s Rd who is now in her late 70’s and whose mother (who was 90 when she passed away 10 years ago and had lived there most of her life) had never known that road as being part of Newtown

Hope that helps a bit more and we can get some interesting Newtown stuff on here now – and not just one part of it!
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Re: Newtown

Postby piwacket » 18 May 2011 12:38

Thanks Oldman - looking forward to the comments :whistle1:
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Re: Newtown

Postby lizwing » 18 May 2011 13:10

My grandparents lived in Radstock Road and they certainly didn't ever speak of that area as Newtown, Newtown was down towards the river where the school is. Definitely over that side of the London Road.
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Re: Newtown

Postby jamie » 18 May 2011 21:25

Hi Oldman, that sounds like an interesting book, would really like to get my hands on a copy if anyone has one they don't want.

I've got a quick question if you don't mind, does it mention the houses in school terrace at all? I grew up at the bottom of cumberland road opposite school terrace and it always struck me that those houses were much nicer than the other terraces in the area, I wonder if they were built for the 'managers' of the time?

thanks

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Re: Newtown

Postby savagethegoat » 19 May 2011 07:36

I know very little of Newtown excpet that my office used to be on the Kings Rd and I witnessed the wholesale demolition of what seemed solid houses in the late 70s early 80s. Always seemed a waste to me, did it improve the place I wonder? (Office block now also demolished !

Oh and I had a girlfirend there once too, tbh more a Friend than a gf, and should have kept it hat way :-(
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Re: Newtown

Postby marj58 » 01 Jun 2011 20:34

[ :hugs: ] Hi OLDMAN It was so interesting to read about Newtown.My husband and myself and two of our children moved to Coventry Road in 1975 after being evicted from our farm cottage in Playhatch,as the farm had been bought lock stock and barrel by Folley Bros,and so with the help of Reading Borough Council gave us a mortgage to buy a terraced house in Coventry Road in Newtown. We learned from several of the residents there, that, in fact they considered Newtown to be from Cumberland Road,and stretched to the Railway embankment as far as the bridge,emcompassing Manchester and Liverpool Road and all along the river as far as the Horseshoe bridge. My sons Kevin and Micheal went to Newtown school until they went to the school in Crescent Road and started work.Became members of the Canoe club and we had a little boat called "Copperless " and many happy hours exploring the Thames weekends My Youngest son Martin was actually born at 50 Coventry Road and we all spent many happy years until we were tenants of a pub in Camberely. We returned to Reading into an off licence in Salisbury Road and then to our present location through my husbands ill health. P.S. Have just been informed by my eldest son Kevin that we moved to Newtown in 1965 sorry for the goof, :hugs: ]
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Re: Newtown

Postby OLDMAN » 02 Jun 2011 09:01

jamie –

Sorry did not reply earlier but wanted time to sit and read the book through as not done so for a few years

Have done now, and although it mentions School Terrace it does not say why the houses where built like that – one can only presume that given certain families lived / had businesses down that way it may have had something to do with them!

marj58 –

Sounds like your boys went to Sutton (Crescent Rd) and you / they would have been around the same time as my family (St Bartholomew’s Rd, 1965 on – mother still there – Wokingham Rd before that)

I can understand people having the idea that Newtown went from Cumberland Rd to the railway as that came later, but the original bit was from the river / Kings Rd – London Rd (Cemetery Junction) up to Cumberland Rd

The bit up to Cholmeley Rd came later and the rest up to the railway after that – it all came under the name Newtown
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Re: Newtown

Postby lizwing » 02 Jun 2011 10:30

I spent so much of my childhood in that area as my grandparents lived in Radstock Road and we lived at 243 London Road. In my dreams I'm often back in the house in Radstock Road and I keep promising myself that one day I'll go back and see how different it is. I would love to be able to go into my nan's house but the people who live there now would probably think I was a mad woman if I knocked the door and asked if I could go in !
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Re: Newtown

Postby piwacket » 02 Jun 2011 12:07

I wouldn't worry too much Liz. I've never done it myself - but been on the receiving end. Here and at the Gallery premises, and learnt a lot each time. Let alone the looks on their faces at what had been done since they left.
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Re: Newtown

Postby Les » 02 Jun 2011 14:10

Lady Pi is right Liz, generally folk do not mind. A couple of years ago I went it search of a water mile that used to be run by one of my patternal great great grandfathers. I found it and was looking over the gate and debating whether to go in or not when a lady came out asking if she could help me. When I explained why I was looking I was welcomed with metaphorical open arms and invited in. Having checked that the house was not made of Ginger Bread because I ahd travelled along Witches Lane to get there, I went in and had a good chat and explore.
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Re: Newtown

Postby piwacket » 02 Jun 2011 15:21

.........and Liz, a possible reason for a haunting which we wondered about at the gallery! She was a very friendly spirit!
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Re: Newtown

Postby OLDMAN » 02 Jun 2011 15:51

piwacket wrote:.........and Liz, a possible reason for a haunting which we wondered about at the gallery! She was a very friendly spirit!



…………………….not the sort of ‘spirits’ your usually interested in? :lol2:
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Re: Newtown

Postby piwacket » 02 Jun 2011 16:52

:raspb1: I knew something like that was bound to come forth!!
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Re: Newtown

Postby lizwing » 02 Jun 2011 17:43

It's strange you should say that about a spirit,pi, when I dream I'm back there I'm walking through the house and I'm aware that there are other people living there now so Idon't feel as though I'm dreaming. As I'm wandering about I think 'I hope no one comes in and sees me,they'll be scared to death' as though I'm a ghost. I wonder if they're ever aware of a presence?
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Re: Newtown

Postby piwacket » 02 Jun 2011 18:01

Oh eerie Liz! :)

But this lady ghost had been 'gone' for some 40 or 50 years before I moved in - and the layout of the building was quite different - apart from anything else it had been a private house and had quite an interesting history to it. The room she was 'in' was used by us as a basement, whereas in her day it had apparently been a garden room with a door/stairs up into the garden....which we hadn't known of course until the ex-resident visited.
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Re: Newtown

Postby lizwing » 02 Jun 2011 18:22

I wonder if she's still there
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Re: Newtown

Postby piwacket » 02 Jun 2011 19:49

Quite posssibly :)

Certainly we did nothing to persuade her to 'move on' she didn't seem troubled, and I for one was quite easy with her being there.... she didn't however go anywhere else in the building, and she wasn't always present, mainly late afternoon, early evening.

But I've always reckoned you have to be receptive, so I'm not sure the present occupiers would necessarily have met her. :) There were only 2 of us in the building who 'met' her out of 6 others at any one time, or in total over the years of perhaps 18 or 20.
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Re: Newtown

Postby Les » 02 Jun 2011 20:04

That must be a very good reason to go and visit then Liz and to see if they are aware of you wandering about in 'their' house. My guess is that there was a very strong bond between you and your grandmother.
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Re: Newtown

Postby lizwing » 02 Jun 2011 22:34

Couldn't have been much stronger,les. My parents had a newsagents shop from about 1952 and worked so hard that I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.I used to go on holiday with them,too, to Margate or Cliftonville, in a boarding house where you had to be out of the house by 10am and you weren't allowed back in until 6pm! I f the weather was bad,which it usually was, we spent time eating ice creams in the glass shelters on the sea front trying to keep dry. I have so many happy memories of those times. My sons were lucky enough to know my grandmother too as she lived until she was 91. I wish I'd asked her more about her life because she was born in 1894 so she was a real link with the past.
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Re: Newtown

Postby daisyanne » 03 Jun 2011 08:13

Oldman sorry like you said mind gets wooly over time. But can remember newtown back to early 30s though my dad bless him and uncles all lived in newtown back to when newtown was first developed. My grandad was one of the first employees of huntley and palmers.Giving up a shoe and boot making business to go and work there. I suppose with the making of factory shoes handmade ones became less profitable. The reason why I stated newtown was classed as past cumberland road was letters allways had newtown on them as part of the address for liverpool road. I myself was born and bred in newtown as was my siblings we stayed there till mid 60's.Our friends most of whom moved when the slum clearance began.Yes some houses were in good nick but some were in very poor state indeed. So damp fungi grew on the walls (rising and penetrating damp) Roofes with sagging rotting supports. Gas pipes rusted through so gas company shut it off.Lead pipes of coarse was the norm if you had water in the house most did by my time though outside loos no hot water. But the community was second to none.

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Re: Newtown

Postby OLDMAN » 03 Jun 2011 08:48

daisyanne wrote:Oldman sorry like you said mind gets wooly over time. But can remember newtown back to early 30s though my dad bless him and uncles all lived in newtown back to when newtown was first developed. My grandad was one of the first employees of huntley and palmers.Giving up a shoe and boot making business to go and work there. I suppose with the making of factory shoes handmade ones became less profitable. The reason why I stated newtown was classed as past cumberland road was letters allways had newtown on them as part of the address for liverpool road. I myself was born and bred in newtown as was my siblings we stayed there till mid 60's.Our friends most of whom moved when the slum clearance began.Yes some houses were in good nick but some were in very poor state indeed. So damp fungi grew on the walls (rising and penetrating damp) Roofes with sagging rotting supports. Gas pipes rusted through so gas company shut it off.Lead pipes of coarse was the norm if you had water in the house most did by my time though outside loos no hot water. But the community was second to none.


No worries – nice that someone can recall those days as it’s very nice / useful to hear the stories

I think because Newtown seemed to start in the older area then extend twice with roughly 20 year gaps in between then its easily confusing – especially as the whole area then used that name

I got confused about it extending up the Wokingham Rd as I, nor any others I know in / from the area, had heard of that one!!

Even when I lived in St Bartholomew’s Rd it was never classed as Newtown

I knew a few who lived in some of the cleared houses just before the area was demolished and have to agree that they had become very poor indeed!
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Re: Newtown

Postby marj58 » 03 Jun 2011 10:45

[quote="marj58"] :hugs: Hi OLDMAN It was so interesting to read about Newtown.My husband and myself and two of our children moved to Coventry Road in 1975 after being evicted from our farm cottage in Playhatch,as the farm had been bought lock stock and barrel by Folley Bros,and so with the help of Reading Borough Council gave us a mortgage to buy a terraced house in Coventry Road in Newtown. We learned from several of the residents there, that, in fact they considered Newtown to be from Cumberland Road,and stretched to the Railway embankment as far as the bridge,emcompassing Manchester and Liverpool Road and all along the river as far as the Horseshoe bridge. My sons Kevin and Micheal went to Newtown school until they went to the school in Crescent Road and started work.Became members of the Canoe club and we had a little boat called "Copperless " and many happy hours exploring the Thames weekends My Youngest son Martin was actually born at 50 Coventry Road and we all spent many happy years until we were tenants of a pub in Camberely. We returned to Reading into an off licence in Salisbury Road and then to our present location through my husbands ill health. P.S. Have just been informed by my eldest son Kevin that we moved to Newtown in 1965 sorry for the goof, :hugs:

Kevin also has asked me if anyone remembers Adrian Simmonds who used to be a member of the Kennet Mouth Boat club and also if he remembers Bill Mead who owned a large Fire tender that he changed into a very nice cruiser and called it Cascade 111, and also a boat called Sanchez 2 a Carvel built boat.If so it would be nice to meet up sometime and chat about those days.Kevin has been very ill and is suffering the after affects of Weils disease and he loves talkin about the old days.[] :hugs: ]

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Re: Newtown

Postby OLDMAN » 03 Jun 2011 11:17

Well I do remember another person called Adrian (not the surname) who lived down that way – also had a mate by the same name up St Peters Rd which made 3 of us in all!!

Also remember the converted fire tender / boat but did not know the guys name

It was the problem of being in St Bartholomew’s Rd – we where in the middle between Newtown / St Peters Rd area / Cemetery Junction / Earley Rd area and went to school with people from all around those – consequently I had friends from all those areas, although some did not mix with the others!
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Re: Newtown

Postby tallsop » 01 Sep 2012 11:18

savagethegoat wrote:I know very little of Newtown excpet that my office used to be on the Kings Rd and I witnessed the wholesale demolition of what seemed solid houses in the late 70s early 80s. Always seemed a waste to me, did it improve the place I wonder? (Office block now also demolished !

Oh and I had a girlfirend there once too, tbh more a Friend than a gf, and should have kept it hat way :-(


In 1974 I was commisioned to take photographs of all the streets, houses, canal and the people of that part of Newtown prior to demolition. Those unique & evocative photographs are now in a book published by Two Rivers Press called "NEWTOWN A Photographic Journey in Reading 1974" by Terry Allsop. The official launch & signing is at Waterstones Broad Street on 8 September 2012.

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Re: Newtown

Postby Les » 01 Sep 2012 12:10

Hello Terry and welcome to Reading Forum. Thank you for that information. I shall endeavour to attend the book launch and signing as I am sure that a number of my fellow member will try to do likewise. Good Luck with the sales of the book.
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Re: Newtown

Postby tallsop » 01 Sep 2012 12:50

Les wrote:Hello Terry and welcome to Reading Forum. Thank you for that information. I shall endeavour to attend the book launch and signing as I am sure that a number of my fellow member will try to do likewise. Good Luck with the sales of the book.


Hi Les.

I am very new to both having a book published & getting messages onto the Forum, hope I am doing it right and you can get to the launch it's between 12.30 & 2.30. One thing I am sure about is that the book will not disappoint anyone who likes black & white photographs. Thank you for your good wishes.

Terry

P.S. I even managed to get permission to go on top of the Gasometers to take "aerial" shots.

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Re: Newtown

Postby Les » 01 Sep 2012 15:36

Terry, Some years ago in the pre-digital age, I was able to take some slide photos from the top of the tower of Wycliffe Baptist Church. When I rediscovered them I scanned them and posted them on my Flickr site. You can find them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesdray/page42/ there are some more on the next page. Please feel free to browse.
The tower had a flat roof in those days, it now has a pitched roof which is more visually pleasing.
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Re: Newtown

Postby tallsop » 01 Sep 2012 17:30

Les wrote:Terry, Some years ago in the pre-digital age, I was able to take some slide photos from the top of the tower of Wycliffe Baptist Church. When I rediscovered them I scanned them and posted them on my Flickr site. You can find them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesdray/page42/ there are some more on the next page. Please feel free to browse.
The tower had a flat roof in those days, it now has a pitched roof which is more visually pleasing.


Hi Les.

Have been into your Flickr site, but think page 40 has the ones taken from Wycliffe. However, did like the lighting on Nos. F0033 - 36 on page 41 and the one of your Great Great Grandfather etc is superb. My Flickr site is www.flickr.com/photos/terryallsop May be best to make us a contact.

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Re: Newtown

Postby Les » 01 Sep 2012 18:11

I think that the page numbers come up differently on different PCs Terry, the web address was copied and pasted.
OK we'll become contacts.
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Re: Newtown

Postby lizwing » 01 Sep 2012 18:19

Slightly :offtopic1: but do you find Flickr easier to use than Picassaweb Les?
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Re: Newtown

Postby Les » 01 Sep 2012 19:28

Well, I 'joined' flickr before I found Picassaweb and as I had already uploaded a good few photos onto flickr I didn't feel inclined to change. I have just been looking though the picture in a group called The Freshwater Thames and I haven't got my ironing done because of that! There are some cracking shots on there.
Incidentally I am heading towards 28,000 views of my flickr photostream.
I do use Picassa for editing though.
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Re: Newtown

Postby buseng » 01 Sep 2012 19:44

Les wrote:Terry, Some years ago in the pre-digital age, I was able to take some slide photos from the top of the tower of Wycliffe Baptist Church. When I rediscovered them I scanned them and posted them on my Flickr site. You can find them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesdray/page42/ there are some more on the next page. Please feel free to browse.
The tower had a flat roof in those days, it now has a pitched roof which is more visually pleasing.

Can't believe that lack of traffic in the area compared to now! The roads are virtually empty.
The Granby Cinema & the Thames Valley bus workshop bring back memories.
As the Granby was showing "Sweeny!", I would date the pictures around 1977 when the film was released.

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Re: Newtown

Postby Les » 01 Sep 2012 20:03

Yes, that is correct buseng. We actually replaced the flat roof of the tower with another flat roof because the first one had become thoroughly rotten. One of our blokes climbed up onto the roof via a ladder and walked about on it. Later, when he saw what he had been walking on he nearly had kittens. Elf 'n safety, what was that, never heard of it. :holdb:
It now has a pitched roof on it which is what we should have done but they didn't have enough money.
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Re: Newtown

Postby chris_j_wood » 02 Sep 2012 19:24

Just taken a very hard look at those pictures to see if I could see a 35 year younger version of me, but no joy. I moved to Reading in 1977, and for the first year or so lived around Cemetery Junction (at the Tower House Hotel for the first week or two, then on Alexandra Road for for about 18 months). The pictures reminded me of a few things I hadn't thought of in years - many thanks for posting them Les.

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Re: Newtown

Postby OLDMAN » 03 Sep 2012 08:46

Hi Terry and welcome to the forum

Not sure if I can get down for the book launch as very busy on that day (and most weekends) but will look out for the book for my collection

Should go well with the Newtown book I already have (written by the Newton Residents Group)



As for Les and his pictures – I have always liked the ones from the Cemetery area etc, as like Chris and a few others it was my area, having been born just up the road and have always lived in the East of Reading!

Did the same with them and looked to see if ‘I’ (or anyone I knew) was on there – have managed to do that on a few published pictures over the years
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