Itis pronounced "Redding".
Reading Abbey, founded for the Benedictines by Henry I in 1121, was one of the most wealthy in the country, and where this king was buried. A monk at the abbey wrote "Summer is Icumen in", one of the earliest known English songs, in about 1240. Only the 13th century Inner Gatehouse and a few picturesque ruins survive today.
The town grew considerably in the 19th century, chiefly due to the establishment of the Huntley and Palmer biscuit factory in 1826.
St. Lawrence`s Church has a tower rising to 111 feet, and the font where Archbishop Laud was baptised.
St. Mary`s Church has a carved pak gallery dating from 1631.
Greyfriars Church, with its fine flintwork, dates from the 14th century, and was once used as the Guildhall.
Blake`s Lock Museum, in 19th century industrial buildings, concentrates on the waterways and industry.
The Museum of Reading has displays on the town and the Abbey, and also features a lifesize reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry, made in the 1880s.
Oscar Wilde wrote "De Profundis" in 1897, while doing time at Reading Gaol. He later wrote "The Ballad of Reading Gaol".
Among the prominent people born at Reading are Ken Barriongton, England cricketer; Alec Bedser, England cricketer; Tracey Edwards, yachtswoman; William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury; Peter May, England cricketer; Arthur Negus, TV antiques expert; and Mike Oldfield, musician.
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Reading for groups.