The current exhibition at Reading Museum tells the story of Reading Station from the very beginnings of the railways to the present day with objects, displays, and vintage film clips. Many of the artefacts had been donated by the public following an appeal by the museum in the local media.
The original station was really quite small, as was Reading, and situated in the countryside amid the water meadows of the Thames. With the coming of the railways both the station and Reading grew in size as the impact of the railways took hold.
The railway served in the Great War to transport the excited volunteer troops to their departure points, and for the sad return of the surviving few with terrible injuries to be treated at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Then in the Second World War Reading station was the destination for many child evacuees from London to escape the Blitz. In fact so many evacuees arrived in Reading that it was declared a “Closed Town” as it could not take any more.
Reading was the location for the Huntley and Palmer biscuit factory. At its peak Huntley and Palmer was receiving so many raw ingredients in bulk, and shipping out so many biscuits, that they had their own branch line from the railway station to the factory where there was an extensive goods yard complete with their own steam engines.
Access in the museum is excellent with a lift to all floors and entrance is free. This exhibition is on until 14th January 2017 with supporting talks on some Saturdays for £2.00. An exhibition that is well worth a visit.