Berkshire is a historic county in south-east England is one of the Home Counties. This is a special royal county, recognised as such by Elizabeth II due to the presence of Windsor Castle. Historically, the River Thames formed the northern boundary of Berkshire, however, changes in 1974 transferred several towns including Abingdon Didcot Farringdon Wallingford and Wantage to Oxfordshire.
According to Asser’s 893 biography of King Alfred, Berkshire’s original name bearrocsir takes its name from award of Boxtree’s which were calledbearroc based on the Celtic word meaning hilly. This wood existed near present-day Newbury. Much of our knowledge of early Berkshire was provided from Abingdon Abbey which was very wealthy. The Abbott of Abingdon Abbey had a significant fiefdom and jurisdiction over local matters. The assizes were held in Reading, Abingdon and Newbury.
Reading became the county town of Berkshire in 1867 taking over from Abingdon. In 1974, Berkshire lost several areas including Abingdon, but gained the administrative duties over Slough and Eton.
Berkshire is drained by the Thames.
A demographic study in 2003 suggests a population of 803657 people in Berkshire. The highest population density is in large towns such as Reading, Slough, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Woodley, Wokingham, Windsor, early, Sandhurst and Crowthorne. West Berkshire is much more rural and sparsely populated with fewer towns the largest being Newbury Thatcham and Hungerford.
Reading has historical involvement in software development and IT. Significant employers in the area include Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard Microsoft and Oracle. Other technology companies in Reading include Huawei, Bang and Olufsen, Cisco, Ericsson, Nvidia, Sage, semantic, virgin media, varies on business and Xerox.
Financial companies including ING direct has their headquarters in Reading. Prudential has an administration centre in the town. The big four accountancy firms Dell act, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers all have offices in Reading. The global headquarters of Reckitt Benckiser and Mars are based in Slough. European head offices of major IT companies blackberry, O2, Nintendo, Black & Decker, Amazon, Dulux paints.
Bracknell is a base for high-tech industries and include companies such as Panasonic, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Siemens computers, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, Honeywell, Cable & Wireless, Avnet technology solutions and Novell.
Newbury is home to the world headquarters of Vodafone which employs over 6000 people.
Reading is a major commercial centre of Berkshire. Reading originates from the eighth century when it was an important trading and ecclesiastical centre. The site of Reading Abbey one of the largest and richest monasteries of mediaeval England still exists as ancient ruins. By 1525, Redding was the largest town in Berkshire and 10th in England the taxable wealth. The 19th century saw the great Western Railway born. Industries including brewing, baking and sea growing businesses also germinated.
Looking back through history, we can see in the Domesday book that the town was described as a borough. Six mills are reported for on land belonging to the King and two on the land given to Battle Abbey. Battle Abbey having been formed following Royal gifts of land following the Battle of Hastings. Reading Abbey was founded in 1121 by Henry I who is buried within the Abbey grounds.
Reading Abbey was powerful and was among the most prominent losers from Henry VIII disillusion of the monasteries. The last Abbott being hand drawn and quartered in front of the abbey church.
By 1611 Reading had a population of over 5000 people and had grown in size and importance based on its trade in cloth. Improved transport links as early as the 18th century through better turnpike roads improved its trading connections to London Oxford and the West Country. The Kennett navigation opened in 1723 which allowed boats as far as Newbury.
During the 19th century, Reading grew rapidly as a manufacturing centre. The great Western Railway arrived in 1841 followed by the south-eastern Railway in 1849 and the South Western Railway in 1856.
Reading continued to expand in the 20th century. Redding is one of the largest urban areas in the UK not granted city status.
Reading is 37 miles west of central London, 25 miles south-east of Oxford and 70 miles east of Bristol. This makes it a good trading centre.
Slough is a large town in Berkshire. It is very ethnically diverse. Slough has the highest concentration of UK headquarters of global companies outside London.
Slough has been a source of employment for many years and now has unemployment levels at around 1/3 of the national level. In the 1930s, many unemployed Welsh people settled in Slough on their walk up the great West Road. This is endemic of the cultural and ethnic diversity in the area. According to the 2011 census, 46% of the population was white, 40% Asian, 9% black.
Historically Slough was largely agricultural. James Horlick opened the purpose-built factory near Slough railway station in 1906 to manufacture his malted mink milk drink. Slough Estates created Slough trading estate in the 1920s which became a centre for manufacturing and insulated the area against many of the effects of recession. In the last generation, it has changed emphasis from a manufacturing centre to an information-based hub.
Financial Adviser Berkshire
We work with a number of clients in Berkshire looking for the best financial advice in Berkshire. We provide independent financial advice in Slough and Reading to executives and retired executives looking for wealth management advice. Our financial adviser Reading provides advice to clients at all ages, but specialises in providing pre and post retirement advice and wealth management.