This illustrated history portrays one of England's finest major towns. It provides a nostalgic look at Reading's past and highlights the special character of some of its most important historic sites. The photographs are taken from the Historic England Archive, a unique collection of over 12 million photographs, drawings, plans and documents covering England's archaeology, architecture, social and local history. Pictures date from the earliest days of photography to the present and cover subjects from Bronze Age burials and medieval churches to cinemas and seaside resorts. The Berkshire town of Reading has been important town in England since the Middle Ages. Reading became renowned for industries such as brewing and iron-making and the town grew rapidly in the 19th century following the arrival of the Great Western Railway and also the development of other industries such as baking and seed-growing. Today the town is a major commercial center in the Southeast of England, and has grown to become the largest town in England.