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Reading (borough, England)

Reading (rĕd´Ĭng), borough and unitary authority (1991 pop. 194,727), S central England, on the Kennet River near its influx to the Thames. Reading, which was the seat of the former county of Berkshire, is a market center with iron founding, engineering, malting, brewing, and biscuit and seed industries. It was occupied in 871 by the Danes, who burned it in 1006. A gateway and ruins of buildings, surrounded by a public park, remain of a Benedictine abbey founded in 1121 by Henry I, who is buried there. Several parliaments met in the abbey. In 1643 the town surrendered to the parliamentarians under the 3d earl of Essex. There are a 15th-century grammar school, the Reading College of Technology, and the Univ. of Reading (1926; formerly a college, founded 1892, of the Univ. of Oxford). Oscar Wilde's Ballad of Reading Gaol was inspired by his imprisonment there, and Reading is the Aldbrickham of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure.

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Reading

Reading. County town of Berkshire, situated where the river Kennet joins the Thames. A small borough by 1086, it grew partly thanks to Henry I's foundation of a major Cluniac abbey (1121), where he was buried. The abbey dominated the town until the dissolution (1539), and not until 1542 did Reading become an autonomous borough. From the 14th to the 17th cents. it flourished through cloth-making: it was temporarily the eleventh wealthiest English town under Henry VIII, and Archbishop Laud was the son of a Reading clothier. The town suffered badly in the Civil War; was only of modest importance in the 18th cent.; but revived as an industrial town in the 19th (‘Biscuitopolis’).

David M. Palliser

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Reading

Reading City in s central England, at the confluence of the Thames and Kennet rivers; county town of Berkshire. The area was occupied by the Danes in the 9th century. Industries: ironware, engineering, electronics. Pop. (1994 est.) 138,503.

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