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Reading: a history
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Table of Contents

Foreword vii Chapter 1 Beginnings and the early medieval town to c.1350 1 Beginnings 1 The Norman Conquest 9 Domesday Reading 10 The early medieval town 14 Wealth in 1297 22 Religious life 22 Reading's relative standing by 1350 23 Chapter 2 Abbey, borough and urban government, 1121-1529 25 The Merchant Gild and the Abbey 34 Chapter 3 Prosperity and piety, c.1350-1540 43 Population 43 The Merchant Gild and the borough economy 45 Occupations 47 Wealth and social structure 54 Late medieval parish and religious life 58 Chapter 4 The years of crisis, 1529-1600 65 The dissolution of the friary and the abbey 66 The Borough Charter of 1542 68 The sale of abbey lands and the demolition of its buildings 70 The Reformation in the parishes 71 The 1560 charter and urban government to 1600 76 Population and the appearance of the borough 81 Chapter 5 Borough society and economy, c.1540-1640 87 Population 87 Craft gilds 88 Regulation of trade 94 Reading in its hinterland 95 Women in society and economy 100 Inns, alehouses and leisure activities 101 Chapter 6 A troubled and divided community, 1600-1660 105 Plague 105 Food prices and shortages 106 Trade, unemployment and poverty 107 Politics national and local, 1625-1640 113 Parliament and the drift to war, 1640-1642 116 Chapter 7 A changed economy and society, 1660-1740 129 Population 129 Society in the 1660s and after 131 A changing economy 132 National and urban politics and the work of the corporation 138 Anglicanism and the birth of nonconformity 145 Poverty, vagrancy and crime 147 A changing culture: `consumer revolution'? 148 Chapter 8 Politics, commerce and improvement, 1740-1835 153 Population 153 Borough government 154 Schools 155 Corporation business and finances 156 Parliamentary elections 158 Commerce and industry 159 Poverty and poor relief 166 Prisons, crime and immorality 167 Religion, charities and charity schools 169 Appearance of the borough c.1830: gentrification and improvement 177 Need for reform 185 Chapter 9 From Belford Regis to Biscuitopolis: Reading, 1840-1911 187 Population 187 Expansion, housing and social class 189 Consequences of growth: local government, poverty and public health 195 Industry, commerce and transport 204 Trade 217 Chapter 10 Religion, education and culture c.1892: retrospect and prospect 225 Church and chapel 226 Education 228 Reading School and other schools 232 Libraries, private and public 235 Adult Education, the Extension College and the WEA 238 Leisure activities: improving and popular 243 Chapter 11 Survivals and arrivals: Reading, 1912-1960 253 Reading before the First World War 253 The First World War 254 Reading between the wars 257 Party politics 258 Housing and council housing 258 Education 261 Poverty, health and welfare 263 Industry, commerce and occupations 264 Trams and buses 265 Leisure 266 Reading in the Second World War 267 Post-war Reading 270 Population 271 Housing 272 Social security and health 274 Education 274 Trade and industry before 1960 276 Leisure 277 Chapter 12 The latest transformation: Reading since 1960 279 What is contemporary Reading? 279 Population and migration 280 Religion 281 Housing 282 Education 285 Commerce 287 Manufacture and industry 290 Wealth and social structure 294 Transport 295 Local and national politics 297 Popular culture 298 Into the future 301 Bibliographical essay 303 References 309 Index 332

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