Power Flush Reading

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Reading is a historic large market town in Berkshire, England, located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the rivers Thames and Kennet. It is located on the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway, 40 miles (64 km) east of Swindon, 25 miles (40 km) south of Oxford, 40 miles (64 km) west of London, 15 miles (24 km) north of Basingstoke, 13 miles (21 km) southwest of Maidenhead, and 15 miles (24 km) east of Newbury. Reading is a major commercial center, particularly for information technology and insurance. It is also a regional retail center, serving a large portion of the Thames Valley, and the home of the University of Reading. Every year, it hosts the Reading Festival, one of England’s largest music festivals. Reading Football Club and Reading Hockey Club are two of its sports teams, and the Reading Half Marathon attracts over 15,000 runners each year.

Reading dates back to the 8th century. It was an important trading and ecclesiastical center in the Middle Ages, the location of Reading Abbey, one of the largest and richest monasteries in medieval England with strong royal connections, the site of which the 12th-century abbey gateway and significant ancient ruins remain. By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire and ranked tenth in England in terms of taxable wealth. The town was severely impacted by the English Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, but it played a pivotal role in the Glorious Revolution, with the only significant military action taking place on its streets. The 18th century saw the establishment of a major ironworks in town, as well as the expansion of the brewing trade, for which Reading would become famous. The arrival of the Great Western Railway in the nineteenth century coincided with the development of the town’s brewing, baking, and seed growing businesses, and the town grew rapidly as a manufacturing center.


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HISTORY

Childhood

The first map of Reading, published in 1611 by John Speed.

View of Reading from Caversham by Joseph Farington in 1793
Reading’s occupation may date back to the Roman period, possibly as a trading port for Calleva Atrebatum.
However, the first clear evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century, when the town became known as Readingas. The name is most likely derived from the Readingas, an Anglo-Saxon tribe whose name means “Reada’s People” in Old English[5] (the Anglo-Saxons often had the same name for a place and its inhabitants). An army of Danes invaded the kingdom of Wessex in late 870 and set up camp at Reading. In the first Battle of Reading, on January 4, 871, King Ethelred and his brother Alfred the Great attempted but failed to breach the Danes’ defenses. The battle is described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and this account is the earliest known written record of Reading’s existence. The Danes remained in Reading until late in 871, when they retreated to their winter quarters in London.

Following the Norman conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror gave land in and around Reading to his foundation of Battle Abbey. The town was explicitly described as a borough in the 1086 Domesday Book listing. Six mills are mentioned: four on the king’s land and two on the land given to Battle Abbey. Reading Abbey was founded in 1121 by Henry I, who is buried within the Abbey grounds. He bequeathed to the abbey his lands in Reading, as well as land at Cholsey, as part of his endowments.

the twentieth century
In the twentieth century, the town continued to grow, annexing Caversham in Oxfordshire across the River Thames in 1911. Reading, in comparison to many other English towns and cities, suffered little physical damage during either of the two world wars that afflicted the twentieth century, despite the fact that many citizens were killed or injured in the conflicts. On 10 February 1943, a single Luftwaffe plane machine-gunned and bombed the town center, resulting in 41 deaths and over 100 injuries.

Lower Earley, completed in 1977, was one of Europe’s largest private housing developments.

It extended Reading’s urban area all the way to the M4 Motorway, which serves as the town’s southern boundary. Further housing developments have increased the number of modern houses and hypermarkets on Reading’s outskirts. The Oracle, a major town-centre shopping center that opened in 1999, is named after the 17th-century Oracle workhouse, which once occupied a small portion of the site. It has three levels of retail space and has boosted the local economy by providing 4,000 jobs.

the twenty-first century
Reading, one of the largest urban areas in the UK without city status, has unsuccessfully bid for city status three times in recent years: in 2000 to commemorate the new millennium, in 2002 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, and in 2012 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee.

Reading Borough Council submitted a bid for city status on December 7, 2021, to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Three people were killed and three others were seriously injured in a mass stabbing at Reading’s Forbury Gardens on 20 June 2020, which is being treated as a terrorist incident.

GEOGRAPHY

Reading is 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of central London, 24 miles (39 kilometers) southeast of Oxford, 70 miles (110 kilometers) east of Bristol, and 42 miles (68 kilometers) north of the English south coast. Reading’s center is located on a low ridge between the rivers Thames and Kennet, close to their confluence, reflecting the town’s history as a river port. The Kennet cuts through a narrow steep-sided gap in the hills that form the southern flank of the Thames flood plain just above the confluence. The lack of a flood plain on the Kennet in this defile allowed for the development of wharves. The floodplains adjacent to Reading’s two rivers flood on occasion. However, during the 2007 floods that devastated much of the United Kingdom, no properties were flooded by the Thames, and only four were flooded by the Kennet.

Reading’s suburbs have spread west between the two rivers into the foothills of the Berkshire Downs as far as Calcot, Tilehurst, and Purley; south and south-east on the south side of the River Kennet as far as Whitley Wood, Lower Earley, and Woodley; and north of the Thames into the Chiltern Hills as far as Caversham Heights, Emmer Green, and Caversham Park Village. Outside of the central area, the valley floors of the two rivers remain largely unimproved floodplain. Apart from the M4, which curves to the south, there is only one road that crosses the Kennet flood plain. All other routes between the three built-up areas are in the central area.

Reading’s town was historically smaller than its borough. Definitions include the old ecclesiastical parishes of the churches of St Mary, St Laurence, and St Giles, as well as the even smaller pre-19th century borough. Reading now includes a number of suburbs and other districts, both within the borough and within the surrounding urban area, in addition to the town center. The names and locations of these suburbs are widely used, but there are no formally defined boundaries, with the exception of some of the outer suburbs, which correspond to civil parishes. The Reading urban area (officially Reading/Wokingham) also includes Winnersh, Wokingham, Crowthorne, and the civil parishes of Earley, Woodley, Purley, Tilehurst, and Shinfield.

Reading, like the rest of the United Kingdom, has a maritime climate with limited seasonal temperature ranges and generally moderate rainfall throughout the year. The nearest official Met Office weather station is at Reading University’s Atmospheric Observatory on the Whiteknights Campus, which has been recording atmospheric measurements and meteorological observations since 1970. The local absolute maximum temperature was 36.4 °C (97.5 °F) in August 2003, and the local absolute minimum temperature was 14.5 °C (5.9 °F) in January 1982.

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