Could Reading be City Of Culture?
Here is Reading's Broad Street in 1907, which shows a noble bustling town with a tram service and lots of local businesses.
However modern-day Broad Street features a raft of chain stores, obscuring much of the historical architecture. Reading West MP Martin Salter however said: "I think we've got something to shout about. Why the hell shouldn't Reading express an interest?"
Reading Gaol adds a poignant cultural aspect to the town. Built in 1844, its most famous inmate was Irish author and playwright Oscar Wilde, who was incarcerated there from November 1895 to May 1897. It is now a young offenders institute and remand centre.
The Museum of Reading houses a Victorian replica of the Bayeux tapestry, part of Reading's cultural heritage. Here is a detail of the 'death of Harold'. (C) Museum of Reading
The Reading Festival came to the town in 1971 and has since put Reading on the map as a world famous hot spot every August bank holiday.
Reading's history dates back to Saxon times and archaeologists have found evidence of a Roman settlement. This Saxon burial urn was excavated from the Dreadnought cemetery, Earley. (C) Museum of Reading
Parliament used to meet at Reading Abbey under Henry II in the 15th century, as this 1920s painting at the Museum of Reading depicts. (C) Museum of Reading
Many find Reading's 70s concrete architecture such as the Civic Centre and the Hexagon cause to ridicule the town for its lack of culture. Graeme Hoskin, lead councillor for culture & sport said: "We may look to link up with places like Henley."
Union Street in Reading is otherwise known as Smelly Alley thanks to Frost the fishmongers. A raft of bargain stores in nearby Friar Street, which formerly housed an art deco cinema (pulled down and replaced with a hotel), also doesn't endear people.