Reading Local History Trust

RLHT was established in 1995 to support community-based local history initiatives. It's objects are "to assist, support and promote community-based local history projects."

Newtown Reading
In 1995 the Newtown Local History Project published Newtown - Reading. The Inside Story

This is a book about people: about their lives and their memories. It focuses on the people of Newtown in Reading, and how they remember what life was like in Newtown for their parents, and during their childhood, moving through periods of change and development to the present day. It is a living history, which hopefully will capture just some of the aspects of everyday life that otherwise would be lost forever.

The book was a great success, every copy was sold and over ten years later enquiries still come in from all over. It was possible to return some money to donors and form Reading Local History Trust to carry forward the ideas and enthusiasm generated by the Newtown Project.

Waterloo Sunrise
In 1999 the Katesgrove Community Book Project launched Waterloo Sunrise. Discovering the past, the life and the wildlife of Katesgrove. This most beautiful book contained three elements:

1. Oral history: Recollections from people who had lived in the area all their lives.

2. History and Research: Just what was this area that we lived in: What had been it's past?

3. The Meadows: A natural history

Such was the success of Waterloo Sunrise the Trust were able to help with a second print run.

More of the Tilehurst we remember
In December of the same year the Trust assisted the History of Tilehurst Group for More of the Tilehurst we remember.

This second collection of memories evokes vivid images of life in Tilehurst during the first half of the twentieth century and beyond. In this book we have included extracts from twenty-four interviews and we would like to thank those people who have been so willing to share their memories with us.

For many it will bring back memories of a very different place from today's bustling, sprawling village and for those too young to recall the halcyon days it will paint a lively picture of life in Tilehurst and of those people who lived there from the very end of the Victorian Age through to the past-war years.

We cannot park on both sides
Designed and printed in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication of The University of Reading We cannot park on both sides. Reading volounteers in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 was written by Mike Cooper and Ray Parkes and published by Reading International Brigades Memorial Committee in 2000:

At that critical point in history the Reading volounteers of the International Brigades stood up to be counted and brought great honour to the town of Reading.

...the three young men from Reading who gave their lives in the struggle against Fascism....died fighting in defence of the most noble ideals : peace freedom and democracy.

(This) is the story of these volounteers and of the remarkable campaign at home to support Republican Spain. Most of this story has never been told before, and it appears here in ther own words, in their letters home and in contemporary newspaper coverage.

The Immigrants Project
After a dormant period the Trust began the Immigrants Project in October 2004 leading to the establishment of on which site this RLHT page is located. Details of the interviews and the book plus live interviews from the archive being built with Reading Museums service and in co-operation with BBC Radio Berkshire. The Project Co-ordinator is Ann Westgarth.

Reading Local History Trust today
Today the Trust consists of Chair, Keith Jerrome, Secretary Alison Mackay, Martin Salter MP, Susan Spiers and Elaine Watts.

The Immigrants Project ends in January 2007 and the Trust plans to expand it's membership and build on the work already completed. We welcome ideas, proposals and experiences to share. Please contact us at

In all of these projects there have been generous donors, particularly Reading Borough Council, The Earley Charity, the Co-operative Group and with the Immigrants Project a large award from the Heritage Lottery Fund.