Wokingham is a small
market town and civil parish in Berkshire in South
approximately 33 miles (53 km) west of London.
east-southeast of Reading and west of Bracknell.
It spans an area of and, according to the
, has a
population of 30,403. It is the seat of the Wokingham
1844, the northern part of the parish of Wokingham was part of a
detached portion, or exclave, of the county
of Wiltshire, some to the west.
The Counties Act
of that year
resulted in its transfer to the county of Berkshire.
Wokingham was a borough
before the 1974 reorganisation of local
, when it merged with Wokingham Rural District to
form the new Wokingham District. What had been Wokingham Borough
became Wokingham Town, but retained its Mayor. The District Council
applied for borough
, which was granted and came into force on 9 March 2007.
As of this date, the District (which stretches from the Buckinghamshire
borders in the north to the Hampshire
border in the southwest) has also been
able to elect a Mayor
The formerly important industry of brick-making
has given way to software development
, light engineering
and service industries
Halifax Estate Agents ranked
Wokingham as the number one place to live in the United Kingdom.
Arms of Wokingham town council, as
displayed on the entrance of the town hall
Wokingham means 'Wocca's people's home'. Wocca was apparently a
Saxon chieftain who also owned lands at
Wokefield in Berkshire and Woking in Surrey.
, it was known as
Oakingham and the acorn with an oak
the town's symbol.
The courts of Windsor Forest were held at Wokingham and the town
had the right to hold a market
from 1219. It
has remained a small market town all its life. Queen Elizabeth
granted a town
charter in 1583. From the 14th to the 16th centuries, Wokingham was
well-known for its bell foundry
supplied many churches
south of England
Wokingham was once famous for its bull-baiting
. In 1661 George Staverton left a
bequest in his will giving two bulls to be tethered in the Market
Place and baited by dogs on St Thomas' Day (21 December
) each year. The bulls were paraded
around the town a day or two before the event and then locked in
the yard of the original Rose Inn
which was situated on
the site of the present-day Superdrug store. People travelled from
miles around to see the dangerous spectacle. A number of dogs would
be maimed or killed during the event and the bulls were eventually
destroyed. The meat and leather were distributed amongst the poor
people of the town. Some of the spectators also sustained fatal
injuries. In 1794 on the morning after the bull-baiting Elizabeth
North was found dead and covered with bruises. In 1808 55-year-old
Martha May died after being hurt by fighters in the crowd. The
cruel 'sport' was prohibited by the Corporation in 1821 but bulls
were still provided at Christmas and the meat distributed to the
poor. Bull-baiting was banned by Act of Parliament in 1833.
In 1723, the 'Black Act
' was passed in
to make it an
offence to black one's face to commit criminal acts. It was named
after an infamous band of ruffians, known as the 'Wokingham Blacks'
who terrorised the local area.
Wokingham, centred on Ashridge, was, archaically, a detached part of
Wokingham town hall
This area extended well into the town
centre (and the area currently where the Dowlesgreen, Norreys and
BeanOak estates currently are situated) until transferred to Berkshire
in 1844. The ancient parish was divided in 1894 into
urban and rural civil parishes, Wokingham Without forming the latter.
Wokingham was one of the boroughs left unreformed by the Municipal Corporations Act
, and was reformed subsequently in 1883. Wokingham merged with
Rural District in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972 to form
the non-metropolitan district of Wokingham, which has been a unitary authority area since 1998.
It consists of 54 elected councillors and is presided over by one
councillor who is elected annually to be the Chairman of the
Council. The Borough Council Offices are based at Shute End in the
town of Wokingham.
A successor parish
existence in Wokingham and is governed by Wokingham Town Council.
The council is elected every four years and consists of twenty-five
Evendons, Norreys and Wescott, the four wards
of the town. Every year, they elect
one of their number as Mayor
. The present
was erected in 1860 on the site
of the guildhall
The Wokingham constituency's MP
is the Conservative John Redwood
and he has represented the town
is on the Emm
Brook in the Loddon Valley in
central Berkshire situated from Central
London. It sits between Reading and Bracknell and
was originally in a band of agricultural land on the western edge
of Windsor Forest. Suburbs include
Emmbrook, Matthewsgreen, Dowlesgreen, Woosehill, Limmerhill
Older names include Woodcray and Luckley
is a rich loam
with a subsoil
Wokingham currently consists of the town centre, with main
residential areas radiating in all directions. These include
Woosehill to the west, Emmbrook to the northwest, Dowlesgreen,
, Keephatch and Bean Oak to the east
and to the south Wescott and Eastheath.
Much of Wokingham has been developed over the past 80 years.
Woosehill and Dowlesgreen were built on farmland in the late 1960s
and early 70s, along with Bean Oak. Keephatch was built in the
early 90s. The Norreys Estate was built in the 1960s; however, Norreys Avenue is
the oldest residential road in that area, having been built in the
late 1940s as emergency housing following the Second World
Norreys Avenue has a horseshoe shape and occupies the
site of the demolished Norreys Manor. Much of the road contains
1940s-style prefabricated houses, although there are some brick
houses along with three blocks of 1950s police houses.
services to Reading, London
Waterloo and Gatwick Airport run from Wokingham
Most local bus services are provided by First Group
but the Sunday and Bank Holiday
services from Wokingham to Reading are operated by Courtney
- The Lucas Hospital, almshouses founded
in 1663 for sixteen elderly men from the surrounding parishes.
Wokingham Baptist Church
All Saints Church
- Evendon's Manor
- Ashridge Manor (now in [[Hurst, Berkshire|
- Beche's Manor (burnt down 1953)
- Buckhurst Manor (now St. Anne's Manor)
- Norreys' Manor
Wokingham is served by four state secondary schools. The Emmbrook
School and St Crispin's School are mixed-sex comprehensive schools, both of which
have specialist status as Maths and Computing
Colleges. The Holt School
, founded in 1931 in the Dower
House of Beche's Manor, is a girls' school and is a specialist
. The Forest
School is a boys' school and is a specialist Business and Enterprise
College. It is in Winnersh but it shares the same catchment area as the Holt
and the majority of the pupils are from Wokingham - A small number
of Wokingham pupils gain places at Reading School and Kendrick School, the two single-sex grammar schools in Reading.
In the 18th century, the ballad
of Fair Molly
Mogg was written in Wokingham. Molly was the barmaid daughter of
the publican of the old Rose Inn (not on the site of the present
was well-known to local Binfield man, Alexander Pope,
who, during a storm, found himself stranded at the inn with his
friends, Gay, Swift and Arbuthnot.
They wrote the ballad
extolling her virtues to pass the time.
The character of Tom the chimney sweep in Charles Kingsley
's classic childhood story
The Water Babies
on the life and times of a Wokingham boy called James Seaward, who
was a boy sweep in Victorian times. In his later years Seaward swept the
chimneys at Charles Kingsley's home at the Rectory in Eversley, Hampshire.
was elected Alderman
of Wokingham from 1909
until his death in 1921. He had 12 children and many of his
descendants still live locally. The Water Babies are the subject of
Wokingham's first public sculpture, installed in 1999, which graces
the upper level entrance to Wokingham Library.
The 1971 film Blind
, starring Mia Farrow
directed by Brian Clemens
, was filmed
largely in Wokingham. The train station can clearly be seen, as can
the town centre and the interior of the Old Rose Pub.One of the
scenes from Series 3, Episode 7 of the ITV
was filmed in the
Red Lion pub in the town centre.
- Anna Bebington, bronze medallist
at the Beijing Olympics in 2008
in the women's double sculls
- Luke Bedford, composer
- Thomas Bradley, Chaplain
to King Charles I
Richard Browne, 1st Baronet of London
- Tom Burrows, cricketer
- The Cooper Temple
Clause, post-hardcore punk band
- Jennifer Rae Daykin, a
Wokingham schoolgirl, played the part of Lily Brown in the film
- Claude Duval, highwayman who owned a house in the town
- Dick Francis, writer
- Thomas Godwin, Bishop of Bath and Wells who was
born and died in Wokingham
- Nicholas Hoult, actor
Hughes, footballer was born in Wokingham
- Steven Lewington, professional
wrestler formerly known as "The British Babe" in Ohio Valley
Wrestling, now wrestling under the alias "DJ Gabriel" and
contracted to WWE
- Frederick Lucas, founder of
- Henry Lucas,
founder of the Lucasian Professorship of
Mathematics at Cambridge University
- Sir Henry Marten,
Judge of the Admiralty Court
- John Dawson Read,
- Francis Edward Robinson, Bellringer, clergyman
and founder of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell
- Anne Snelgrove, MP
- Bill Stone,
veteran of both World Wars lived in
- William Talman,
architect and landscape designer
- Nathan Tyson, footballer for
Nottingham Forest FC, went to Forest School
- John Walter III, local
benefactor and proprietor of The
- Will Young, singer
Sport and leisure
- There are public parks at Barkham Road Recreation Ground,
Langborough Recreation Ground, Cantley Park, Chestnut Park,
Elizabeth Road Recreation Ground, Elms Field, Riverside Walk and
- The Council provide a number of leisure facilities such as the
Carnival Pool, St. Crispin's Sports Centre and the Pinewood Leisure
Centre. Pinewood is the base for over 20 clubs and associations.
There is a King George V
Playing Field behind St. Crispin's in memory of King George V.
local football team is Wokingham and Emmbrook F.C.
- The Wokingham Half
Marathon is held in February each year and starts and finishes
at Cantley Park.
- Wokingham Library is in Denmark Street.
- Wokingham Cricket Club (founded 1825) play at their
ground on Wellington Road.
Speedway racing was staged at California in Reading. Before then
the track, known then as Longmoor was used as a training track.
After the war the track featured in the Southern Area League in the
1950s. The team were known as The Poppies.The site of the stadium
is now part of a nature reserve but a few remnants of the track
Wokingham is twinned
- Goatley, K. Wokingham: The Town of my Life. Reading:
Conservatree Print and Design, 2004. ISBN 0-9534735-9-7.
- The Wokingham Society. Wokingham: A Chronology,
- Wyatt, B. Wokingham in Old Photographs. Stroud,
Gloucestershire: Budding Books, 1999. ISBN 1-84015-128-5.
- Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, 7 & 8 Vict. c.
- Wokingham granted borough status BBC news
online, 26 January 2007
- Wokingham the 'best' city to live BBC
news online, 17 October 2007
- Bronze glory for town Athlete. Get Wokingham
website, 20th August 2008