Reading's History

Our history collection documents people's everyday life and local history from 1700 to the present day, through objects, photographs and sound recordings.

Reading’s unique full-size Victorian Bayeux Tapestry is displayed in a purpose-built gallery at the Museum. While biscuit tins, photographs, film and ephemera from Huntley & Palmers tell the story of Reading’s world-famous biscuit company in a dedicated gallery.

The town’s nineteenth and twentieth century history is explored in the Story of Reading Gallery. History collections cover Reading's 3Bs - beer, bulbs and biscuits and reflect on Reading's changing cultural diversity and the iconic Reading Festival. A stunning horse-drawn caravan built by Dunton & Sons of Reading in 1914 can be viewed at the Riverside Museum, a short stroll away via the Abbey Quarter.

You can browse highlights from the Reading Chronicle Collection on our online collections website. This consists of over 40,000 negatives taken by the newspaper between 1938 and 1964, recording the changing face of our town.