AFTER a long hiatus, the History of Reading Society resumed its monthly âin-personâ lecture series in September.
The subject was the history of the inns and brewing of the city, followed by the launch of a new book, Abbot Cook to Zerodegrees: an A to Z of Reading pubs and breweries.
The book was written by three members of the society, John Dearing, David Cliffe, and Evelyn Williams, and the society paid for its publication.
It took several years to set it up and the three authors explained how it came about and their roles in the research.
There is an alphabetical section on pubs followed by an alphabetical section on breweries, about 500 establishments in total.
Old documents were used to make the book as complete as possible, which means that many of the 500 ads no longer exist.
The title “Abbot Cook” is the book’s first pub, although the name has since been changed to Hope and Bear.
Older residents of Reading will remember it as the Jack of Both Sides.
The Zerodegrees restaurant and microbrewery, the last pub in the book, is still with us. This is where the company hosted a launch party – the perfect venue as it is both a pub and a brewery.
The 334 pages of the book contain maps of the city center, showing the location of the inns along the streets. There have been at least 33 pubs on Friar Street alone over the years.
And there is a subject index and the names of all the innkeepers and brewers mentioned in the text. The book costs Â£ 12 and is available in the Reading Museum shop and from Fourbears Books in Prospect Street, Caversham.
There will also be copies on sale at the next company meeting on Wednesday November 17 where David Cliffe will speak at Reading theaters.
Meetings take place on Wednesday evenings in the Abbey’s Baptist Church on Abbey Square (behind the central library), from 7:30 p.m. Visitors are welcome but will be charged a modest entrance fee of Â£ 2.