How to make a mayor

1946 Mayor Making in Reading Town Hall - courtesy Reading Museum online catalogue

1946 mayor making in Reading Town Hall (courtesy of Reading Museum online catalogue)

Council business has been quiet during the local election period, but the official 2016 season starts with the council annual general meeting (AGM) at the Town Hall on Wednesday 25 May when Reading’s mayor will be ‘made.’

This event will not be webcast, so the only chance to see it is to attend in person. The proceedings promise to be full of ceremony.

The AGM includes the election of the mayor (the ‘mayor making’) and deputy mayor.  Councillor Mohammed Ayub is expected to be elected mayor and councillor Rose Williams, deputy mayor. Councillor Williams was re-elected for Katesgrove ward in May. Both councillors attended the last Katesgrove Community Association Christmas Fair.

Other business includes:

  • the appointment of leader of the council, currently Jo Lovelock,
  • the appointment of deputy leader, currently Tony Page, and lead councillors,
  • the dates of council meetings for 2016/17.

This meeting will take place at the Town Hall at 6.30pm. Any member of the public who wants to watch the event from the public gallery needs to arrive by 6.20pm as the meeting will start promptly.

Reading Town Hall
Blagrave Street

Phoebe Cusden

Alderman Phoebe Cusden was made mayor in 1946 in the same town hall, as pictured at the top of this story. This image is in the Reading Museum online catalogue and the description states:

After her election, the mayor talked about the tasks facing the borough, the most urgent being housing, then the raising of the school leaving age to 15 and changes to the Health Service.

70 years later, two of these three tasks occupy the energies of Reading councillors once again.

Phoebe Cusden is remembered for championing causes including nursery schools and the controversial post Second World War link with Düsseldorf, which became Reading’s twin town. She was mayor when Reading suffered from severe flooding in 1947. This may be why ‘Cusden Bridge’ was the second most popular choice in the vote for Reading’s new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames, officially named Christchurch Bridge on 18 May 2016.

Phoebe Court on Katesgrove Lane was named after her, as was Cusden Walk which leads from Castle Street to the old Civic Offices.


  1. Reading Council AGM
  2. Reading Museum online catalogue
  3. Mayor of Reading – Labour announces its team
  4. Penguin and elf seen at Waterloo Meadows

3 thoughts on “How to make a mayor

  1. Fascinating stuff as always! Thank you for writing it up. When the title passed my eyes on Twitter, my first thought of “Making a Mayor” was of schoolchildren sellotaping boxes together and dangling milk bottle tops on a chain!


  2. Pingback: Phoebe Cusden House on Basingstoke Road | The Whitley Pump

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