Reading is the capital of Berkshire, situated on the Thames near its confluence with the Kennet, 36 miles by rail west of London.
Its strong castle was wholly demolished by Henry II. The ruined Benedictine abbey, founded in 1121 by Henry I, is surrounded by public gardens. Reading University was constituted in 1926 from the university college affiliated with Oxford University in 1926.
Reading was occupied by the Danes in 871, who burned it in 1006. At the time of the conquest a fortification existed there. It was important for its cloth industry in the 16th century.