Charles Philbrick and his brother George were the second generation to run Philbrick’s tannery on Katesgrove Lane. They took over the business from their father John in the 1860s.
When Oscar Wilde visited the Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory in 1892, he simply wrote ‘poet’ as his profession in the visitors’ book. It is this affirmation that I think poets first crave; simply to be called a poet. Nigel Pounds is a poet bubbling with enthusiasm about his new work tentatively titled ‘my response to’. His 2015 fat volume called Spark was a vivid, angry, albeit romantic look at the injustices of love and life. Nigel says his new work is even better.
People do collect all manner of odd things and it’s a great rare bonus when these collectibles have some significance for all. I have over 200 matchbox covers of old pubs from Reading and other places, mostly within Berkshire.
by John Dearing
Among the inscriptions and memorials in St Mary’s, Castle Street is a memorial to Corporal William Henry Cross of the 58th company of the Imperial Yeomanry, killed at the battle of Bethlehem on 7 July 1900 during the conflict variously called the Second Boer War or South African War.
For the past four years or so, Edible Reading has been the fearless Keyser Söze of Reading’s food scene; the anonymous blogger and local food chronicler of our times. I not only managed to track ER down to the great Katesgrove boozer The Turks (Head) for an 80s-Smash-Hits-style interview, but I also managed to eat an incredible, table creaking five course Georgian meal from former in-residence food sensation Caucasian Spice Box just before they left the pub for pastures new.
On a fresh Mayday morning, I went along to the first part of an organised walk at that eleven acre wedge of melancholy calm and beauty known as Reading Old Cemetery. An eager crowd of around a hundred souls had gathered to learn more of Reading’s trees and celebrate the publishing of a remarkable book on the subject.
By John Dearing.
Early in 1980 I wanted to move from Maidenhead to Reading, where houses were cheaper. I contacted an estate agent and one Saturday in May I collected details of four properties, three of which were in Katesgrove. After the usual laborious process of house purchase, I moved to Sherman Road in October 1980. By 2015 more than half my life had been spent at this address.
When I was growing up in Wales, my local corner shop was called Eva’s after the homely purveyor of goods and gossip who lived on the premises with her doddery black mongrel, Paddy.
One of the more surprising views of Katesgrove is from the western side of the Kennet on Berkeley Avenue.
There is a mysterious mound of earth just off the beaten paths of the Whiteknights campus that when viewed all way around has the look, air and feel of a Hobbit barrow in the Shires. There is a brick entrance and a lonely shadowy gate that looks like a good habitat for bats and small birds but no other hints of its origin or use.