Our latest news, additions to the biographies, and events starting from March 2023!
04/12/2023: Jesse PALMER, the last surviving son of Alfred and Mary Ann Palmer died in a tragic boating accident near Sonning.
Getting ready for the memorial service at the Reading Old Cemetery War Plot-tomorrow, Sunday 12 November, at 12.30pm. The photos of some of the people buried or commemorated at Reading Old casualties of WW1 and WW2.
05/11/2023: Cecil Edward MAYNARD’s grave is one of the WW2 CWGC graves at Reading Old.
30/10/2023: Robert James HOUCHIN was an RAF pilot and only 25 years old when he died. He is buried in the family grave which is looked after by CWGC.
29/10/2023: Lewis John KIRK‘s war grave has a plaque in the form of a star bearing the name ‘Lewis’ along with the symbol of a circle with a dot in the centre which is recognised by Scouts around the world and means ‘I have Gone Home’. Scouting’s founder Lord Baden Powell has the symbol on his gravestone.
28/10/2023: William GRANT, who rose to the rank of the deputy chief constable of the county constabulary, was mourned by many parishioners.
28/10/2023: The life stories of John Alfred ‘Jack’ REYNOLDS, Arthur James George ‘Jimmy’ KING both in CWGC war patterned graves are now shared on the website. Also expanded version of the life story of Alfred John LEVEY (WW1 casualty) also hosted on War graves in the Old Reading Cemetery.
27/102023: We welcome the life story of Arthur John (Jack) TOWNSEND whose war grave memorial b (WW2) is in Reading Old.
24/10/2023: Albert Edward ALEXANDER is buried in a war grave as he was Leading Aircraftman (L.A.C.) when he died. At his funeral a guard of honour was formed by members of the Fire Brigade of Messrs H. and G. Simonds where he had worked before WW2.
15/10/2023: Annie Caroline PETERS nee JOHNSON and her family are buried in Reading Old. We welcome their story shared by Annie’s great granddaughter.
01/10/2023: Detective Constable John Herbert HUTCHINSON was a well-respected officer with the Reading Borough Police. His accidental death at the age of 30 shocked the police force and the town.
01/10/2023: Samuel PIKE and his wife Jane supported many local organisations and charities like the Reading Branch of The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Samuel was a member of the Reading and District Cage Bird Society and was breeding canaries and finches. In 1911 a new winners cup came into being known as the ‘S. Pike Cup’ or ‘Challenge Cup’. Read about his and his family’s life.
03/08/2023: Delighted to share Caroline WHITE‘s life story told by her third great grandson Her occupation as a laundress would be passed on from mother to daughter(s) to granddaughter(s).
31/07/2023: We welcome the story of young Nicholas (Nicky) James LOVEGROVE. Loved and remembered by his family.
24/07/2023: Updated our page on Edith Mary SUTTON, a social innovator, the first woman to become a councillor in England and the first female Mayor of Reading.
23/07/2023: Thank you to the Friends of the University who have shared information about the ‘Acacias’, the house of Mary WIENHOLT and a portrait of her. Close your eyes! How do you imagine this powerful woman? Click on the link and find out!
23/07/2023: The PHILBRICK family, 4 generations tanners in Reading. Read their story and find out more about the family business and the Philbricks’ role in the lfe of Reading.
19/07/2023: Does the surname ‘Guinness’ ring any bells? Amelia (Amy) Jane D’Esterre GUINNESS was a great granddaughter of Arthur Guinness 1st, the inventor of Guinness beer and founder of the famous Guinness brewing business! Her brother Arthur and her two sons are buried with her in Readig Old. Her husband Captain George Pomeroy Nelson MASON was a grand-nephew of Lord Admiral Nelson.
16/07/2023: Find out about young Ellen Rose Florence COOKSEY, who died at the age of 15. Thank you to Nick Cooksey for sharing Ellen Rose’s story.
15/07/2023: The life story of John HARRIS, a beloved head teacher of Reading Blue Coat School, is now added to the site. Thank you to Peter van Went, the school archivist for sharing his invaluable knowledge on the topic.
15/07/2023: Very excited to see the restoration of Mary WIENHOLT’s sarcophagus.
Super excited to see the entrance to her vault!
We have some vaults in Reading Old but never sure whether they are rooms or ‘boxes’ protecting the coffins.Mary’s vault is the first one uncovered that shows a magnificent entrance to a space as big as a small room containing the coffins of her, her two nieces and her aunt.
14/07/2023: We welcome the stories of Arthur and his father Richard PENSON. They both worked for different branches of Lloyds Bank with Richard being the manager for the Reading Branch.
Arthur died in WW1 and he is commemorated at the Lloyds Bank First World War memorial.
We are grateful to Richard’s granddaughter for sharing a wonderful anecdote about the process of locking the bank’s strong room.
09/07/2023: Hello Mr Hieatt! So pleased to see you looking so dashing again! What a make over! Pollution has roughened the carrara marble but not the intricate details of the monument. Read Bern’s story, the Tom Cruise of his time!
29/06/2023: We welcome Charles and Florence SEDGBEER’s life story on the website.
25/06/2023: Read about the life of Charles POULTON, livestock dealer and involved in the opening of Reading Cattle Market in Great Knollys Street in 1850.
12/06/2023: A trip to Berkshire Records Office helped with many explorations about Reading Old but more detective work we need to do more detective work for the owner of the terracotta grave marker!
09/06/2023: Today whilst on a geological exploration of Reading Old with the geologist Lesley Dunlop, Dr Musominari noticed this unusual terracotta grave marker, which Lesley described as unique! We are now determined to find the owner, an interesting but tricky task! Updates will follow!
08 June 2023: Mary Wienholt‘s Carrara marble sarcophagus is one the 3 Graded II listed grave monuments in Reading Old. Find out more about her family and her life story.
04 June 2023: We are sharing the life story of Samuel Jeremiah COLLIER, brother of E.P. COLLIER of the famous Reading brickworks family. We will be sharing information about other members of the family buried in Reading Old. You can also read about his grandson, Samuel Robert COLLIER, known as Bob, on the website War Graves in the Old Reading Cemetery.
03 June 2023: A small addendum by Simon Shiel about the famous artist Kathleen Wheeler Crump, Samuel WHEELER’s granddaughter.
03 June 2023: For #VolnteersWeek2023 a huge shout out to everyone who supports the history, memories and preservation of Reading Old Cemetery in so many and wonderful ways by reading the posts, researching the life stories, spreading the word, etc!!
03 June 2023: We will be sharing the life story of Mr George LOVEJOY, philanthropist, estate agent and above all bookseller and the founder of a remarkable private circulating library. We have found some wonderful photos, one of them being taken by the famous Henry Fox Talbot, a photography pioneer who had set up his studio in Reading. Compare it to the painting of Mr Lovejoy in Reading Museum.
30 May 2023: Read about our Cambridge scholar Mr Eustace FYNES-CLINTON. We are very protective of his cast iron grave inscription, which is written in Ancient Greek. Mr Fynes-Clinton is also the uncle of Sir Hubert Parry, composer or the hymn Jesusalem and the coronation anthem I was glad.
28/05/2023: Excited to locate the grave of Maria GILBERT, the granddaughter of Thomas Gilbert who proposed the Relief of the Poor Act in 1782, known as Gilbert’s Act. The inscription on her grave includes reference to her famous grandfather. More of her life story soon.
25 May 2023:Read about Alice Sarah TRUSELL, her first husband George SNOW and her second husband Charles BARTLETT.
29 April 2023: Thank you to Malcolm Gray for sharing precious information about Thomas & Martha Wilson, family members.
14 April 2023: Sit comfortably and read all about the life and adventures of our arctic explorer, William Joseph Ibbett , chief engineer for the Intrepid that sailed with the Resolute. Find out about his son, the poet, and don’t forget to read the last line and his son alleged involvement in a notorious crime!
06 April 2023: Find out more about William Silver DARTER, well-loved Mayor of Reading 1850-1852, one of the key figures in modernising Reading.
03 April 2023: Meet three of the VENNERS, another family of the Bs of Reading: Richard James VENNER, his mother Martha Annie VENNER, the force behind the family sausage and bacon empire and her grandson William Frederick Fouracre VENNER.
02 April 2023: Sharing the biography of Samuel WHEELER Senior. He and his brother John set up one of the three big brickmaking businesses in Reading! One of Samuel’s granddaughter’s is the sculptor Kathleen WHEELER CRUMP.
27 March 2023: Really excited to share the biography of Henry BURNETT, Charles Dickens’s brother-in-law!
26 March 2023: Updated the biography of James George TATEM
24 March 2023: New biography added: James & Janet DYMORE BROWN
22 March 2023: One new biography added: William Ellis GIBBS
8 March 2023: Happy International Women’s Day! Read about our Reading suffragist, Eliza RATCLIFFE
3 March 2023: APPEAL for the return of the 2 Old Contemptibles grave markers at Reading Old! HELP spread the word!