Latest news

Back to News

Just Catalogued June 2023

Posted in Behind the Scenes on 01 Jun 2023

Reading Düsseldorf

Children standing together as part of the first Reading Düsseldorf exchange in 1949 ref. D/EX653/5/4/3/2/10

We are pleased to announce the completion of cataloguing of the archive of the Reading Düsseldorf Association, one of the country’s earliest such organisations (D/EX653). The records cover the period 1947-2013, and highlights include accounts by some of the participants of the first official exchange in 1949; as well as the original design for the iconic Cartwheeling Boys sculpture erected in 1981 to commemorate the Association (the statue is currently being repaired following storm damage in 2022). The archive is one of the first we hold to include significant amounts of digital material, which we hope will soon be possible to access.

Pencil sketch of a boy doing a cartwheel ref. D/EX653/4/3/1/6/1

Stuck in the mud: the secrets of Lady Wantage

We were pleased to be given the diary of Lady Wantage for 1919 (D/EX2862). Born the Hon. Harriet Sarah Jones-Loyd in 1837, she was the daughter and heiress of the 1st Baron Overstone (1796-1883), heir to a banking fortune. In 1858 she married Robert Lindsay, VC (1832-1901), and she and her husband adopted the surname Loyd-Lindsay. The couple lived principally at Lockinge House, which Harriet's father gave her as a wedding present, but also at Ardington House in Berkshire, Overstone Park in Northamptonshire, and in London. Loyd-Lindsay was MP for Berkshire 1865-1885, and was then created Baron Wantage. Lady Wantage's personal interests included nursing; she and her husband founded the British Red Cross Society. Although she was in her 80s by the time of this diary, she still took a keen interest in personal, local and international matters.

The diary reveals that it was a challenging year internationally, as although the First World War had just finished, there were worries over Communists who had taken over Russia and were making headway in defeated Germany. Domestically large scale strikes seemed to be crippling the country, and at home Lady Wantage’s farm labourers wanted higher pay. She still managed to entertain extensively, with guests including Gertrude Bell, the celebrated archaeologist, who was on a visit home from Baghdad. Early motoring issues are reflected by more than one occasion when her chauffeur-driven car got stuck in mud for hours (with her still in it!). Lady Wantage died in 1920.

Maps and plans

Plan of the Feenes House estate, 1689 ref. D/EZ214

17th century maps are quite rare, so we were delighted to be able to buy a lovely little plan of the Feenes House estate, White Waltham, 1689 (D/EZ214). We have also received a copy of the site master plan of grounds of Aldermaston Court, with signs and lighting, by Colvin & Moggridge, landscape consultants, for Blue Circle Industries, the company which restored the mansion for use as a hotel and conference centre in 1985 (D/EX2700).

Historic buildings surveyed 

In 1982 members of Thatcham Historical Society carried out a photographic survey of all the historic buildings in the parish of Thatcham, which is now available to consult (D/EX691).

Blue Coat School building, Thatcham 1982 ref. D/EX691

Local democracy: medieval to modern 

We have received additional records for several Parish Councils: Theale, minutes 1984-2014 (CPC132B); Woodley and Sandford (later Woodley Town Council), minutes, 1948-2013 (CPC113B). Apparently strayed from the Wallingford borough records is a file of writs, mostly from Richard de Wyndesore, sheriff of Berkshire, to the bailiffs of the borough of Wallingford, c.1315 (D/EX700).

New for family history

The following parish registers have been deposited:

Combe: baptisms, 1813-2004; and burials, 1813-2020 (D/P197).

Cox Green: marriages, 1978-2016 (D/P183).

White Waltham: marriages, 2004-2019 (D/P142).


Our ongoing project listing newly available coroners’ records has now completed Abingdon, Maidenhead and Reading Districts, and Reading Borough, for 1947 (COR/A, COR/M, COR/R and COR/RB).

You can find out more about any of the records mentioned here and more, by searching our online catalogue. Simply enter the collection references mentioned above into the Catalogue Reference field.