Reading gas company 1880

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The people pictured on this sign on a bridge over the river Kennet do not look altogether happy about Reading gas company.   I wonder who they are meant to be?    Maybe it is King Henry I who founded the Reading Abbey in 1121  and was subsequently buried there before its completion.   The Abbey was built with stone from France and staffed by French monks from Cluny.   Maybe the chap in the crown is king Henry VIII who was responsibly for dissolving the Abbey and martyring the last Abbot by the gruesomely messy method of ‘hung drawn and quartered’ for failing to swear an oath of allegiance to Henry VIII as the supreme leader of the church in England.   Four of Henry VIII wives died  (and 2 more a little later)*,   maybe that’s who the four other people are and why they look so sad.   Does anyone out there know?

*edited after AFH’s insightful comment


one wonderful muse on “Reading gas company 1880”

  1. A F Harrold writes:

    I think yu’ll find that all six of Henry VIII’s wives have died. It was the sixteenth century after all. Which is quite a long time ago, and increasingly so.

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