People do collect all manner of odd things and it’s a great rare bonus when these collectibles have some significance for all. I have over 200 matchbox covers of old pubs from Reading and other places, mostly within Berkshire.

They were collected with great thirsty joy by Coley boy, the late Alan ‘Bowie’ Bosher and his dad, George, over a period of 40 years from post war to the millennium.

I would love to know who these people are and where they are now.

The odd photos, colours and art, the short phone numbers, the landlords’ and ladies’ comments and names are not only generous fuel to the great pub bore, but also of great social and  cultural value as well as being a warm and nostalgic look into local history.

The Butler and the Retreat: some pubs have virtually stayed the same.

I suggest you pick up a copy of John Dearing‘s excellent book Reading Pubs if you would like to know more on the subject.

Lost or changed town watering holes.

I hope these bring back some happy memories of some great nights down the pub. If you want more memories though, I think we should ‘use or lose em’, especially for the few remaining red brick pubs.

Some lost pubs and some still standing. The Tanners Arms became the Hook and Tackle.

Ricky Gervais used to drink in the Greyhound at one point with a lot of Ashmead six-formers. I jacked my job in at British Rail just ‘cos my mates had an all night lock-in there and I was doing nights and envious. The Barley Mow was on London Street where Hewetts Solicitors is now and was lost in the mid 80s.

The World Turned Upside Down: named after an obscure civil war poem. Some of the furniture was once playfully secured to the ceiling.

Matthew Farrall, the author of this article, died on 20 April 2018.
We are grateful to his family for allowing us to continue to display his work online.

  1. Reading Pubs, by John Dearing.
  2. The Hook and Tackle on the Whitley Pump
  3. The Hop Leaf on the Whitley Pump
  4. John Dearing on the Whitley Pump
  5. Reading Museum collections
  6. Lost pubs of Reading