Reading’s underground


Despite my deep affection for the Berkshire county town of Reading,  formerly known for its ‘Beer, Biscuits and Bulbs’,  living in Reading does come with some inherent risks under the guise of a 4th ‘B’  


The production of high quality bricks involves mining for materials,   including chalk which produces a yellow coloured brick.   The chalk mines of Reading are not all  well documented.    People who built homes in Reading didnt know and didn’t ask the wise elderly locals  for the location of the mines.    Homes were built above the mines.   Tourist and residents alike should take extra care lest they fall into an undocumented mine when exploring the extremely interesting streets of Reading.

Unfortunately, the normally plucky Reading Borough Council has not-yet maximised on the tourist potential of this interesting and valuable historical feature of the town.    There are no guided tours of the mines,   you cannot visit the Reading underground shop because it doesn’t exist.   In not-existing the Reading underground shop never fails to sell kitsch miniature bricks in red, yellow, and grey as paperwieghts.   The not-existing visitor centre doesn’t  provide hands-on experiences for school children to make their own bricks during educational tours.  The not-existing shop goes on to fail to  provide an unwritten  Two Rivers press book covering the  history of brick making in the Thames Valley featuring Reading and Tilehurst.   The not-exisitng visitor centre tourguide  doesn’t point out that  the town  Aldbrickham (Old brick town)  in Thomas Hardy’s  ‘Jude the obscure’ was inspired by Reading.   Without the visitor centre tour guide to tell them,   even former brickies no longer know that yellow bricks are produced by using chalk  in the clay.   There are no ladders to climb down,   no safety helmets to wear,   and no dank holes to crawl through during the not-existant live and dangerous underground  tour.

As you can imagine I was really rather upset at not being able to wander through the caverns of undeground Reading accompanied by an informative and enthusiastic pot-holing-expert,   probably from South Africa,  tour guide.    

Hankys were poised.

There are times when Reading quite simply isn’t up to par.

Reading’s underground
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one wonderful muse on “Reading’s underground”

  1. Stephen king writes:

    Going underground, not just a song by the Clash opr was it the Jam. I’m not sure.

    Reading may be mindful of organising underground tours, just as the residents of Field road. They had a sinking feeling some years ago.
    Along the lines of a Beatles Song ‘There’s a hole in the ground where the rain gets in’



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