Category Archives: History & Heritage

When Reading Really Rocked

When Reading Really Rocked: The Live Music Scene in Reading 1966–1976, by Adrian Moulton, Mike Warth and Austin Matthews
Two Rivers Press

When Reading Really Rocked relives the decade when Reading’s music scene turned itself up to 11 and really started to rock. A hugely well-informed and entertaining account of live music between 1966 and 1976, from the emergence of psychedelia to the dawn of punk, it covers the early years of the Reading Festival, lost and much-missed venues, local heroes and year by year accounts of the bands and musicians that played in Reading.

Terry Dixon & Linda Saul: Reading’s Influential Women

Reading’s Influential Women, by Terry Dixon & Linda Saul
Two Rivers Press

This wide-ranging and fact-filled compendium of more than 60 influential women who have made a difference in the world, all with a connection to the Reading area is illustrated with a mix of photos and artistic styles. Includes a fish scientist, an air racer, inspirational sportswomen and one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers.

Oliver Dixon: A Reading horseman remembered

The Life and Times of Oliver Dixon, by Caroline Piller
Vikenzo Books

In the 1880s a young Irish boy, showing an exceptional talent with horses, was brought over to Reading. He left behind his family at a time of great agricultural hardship to learn a trade and make something of himself.

His determination to succeed he secured for himself a far reaching reputation, with clients coming from across the social spectrum including aristocracy and royalty.

Oliver Dixon was a generous, religious man who supported many communities in Reading. But he also ensured that his family back in County Mayo were well provided for. His business empire at Mockbeggar Farm has now vanished: all that remains are a field, a gate post and a bus stop.

In this book, Oliver’s life (1869–1939) and his business premises are vividly brought to life. Photographs and maps illustrate how a neighbourhood once looked, while anecdotes reveal forgotten lifestyles across Reading and Ireland.

This fascinating biography is enriched with historical facts on the social, economic and political events of the time.

Ray Atkins: The Reading Years

Exhibition catalogue for Ray Atkins: The Reading Years
Reading Museum, Reading Foundation for Art

Ray Atkins has been painting outside, often on a monumental scale, since the 1960s, and exhibiting nationally, undistracted by calls that painting was dead in the 1970s or that conceptual art was the only way forward. Today his painting is inspiring a new generation of young painters.

He lived in Reading from 1968 to 1974 while the town was changing radically. The Inner Distribution Road swept through the town centre, medieval streets made way for civic buildings and a shopping centre an on the outskirts the M4 was built. Ray observed them all.

‘Ray Atkins uses the outside world as a studio. The landscapes emerge from day to day involvement with an ever changing subject which is finally committed to a specific visual experience. I have admired these extraordinary paintings for many years.’ – Leon Kossoff, 2003