Poulton & Sons head office 185 Elgar Road c1900-1909 courtesy Reading Borough Council (Reading Library)

The National Archives at Kew are currently closed and have made some of their digitised records available free of charge until they re-open. Downloadable documents include some historic wills, a selection of military service records including British Army medal cards 1914-1920 and pages from the Domesday Book.

The charge for a digital copy used to be £3.50. The archives have set a limit of 50 items per person during a 30 day period for non-commercial private use and educational purposes. You must register on their website and set an account to use the service.

Other national collections

Reading Library have reminded everyone know that the University of Leicester special collection has a selection of digitised Reading and Berkshire street directories including Kelly’s for Reading 1914, Cowslade’s Commercial directory for Berkshire of 1833 and several Kelly’s directories for Berkshire starting with 1848.

The National Library of Scotland has a free to access digitised map collection that includes OS maps for Reading.

British History Online has made more of its records free to access for individual users until 31 July 2020. This collection already includes useful historical reference works such as the Victoria County History for Berkshire.

Local online collections

The Berkshire Record Office is also closed but you can look at a their online digitised collection of enclosure agreements and maps.

Many images held by Reading Libraries have been digitised and can be searched for in the library’s online catalogue. A search for ‘illustrations whitley pump‘ gave 14 results, 12 of which have been digitised and can be viewed online.

Finally, Reading Museum’s online collection has a well researched and informative selection of images and artefacts. A search on ‘Katesgrove‘ had 12 results including the keystone brick from Poulton & Sons head office at the corner of Elgar Road south and Waterloo Road.


  1. National Archives – free access to digital records
  2. University of Leicester special collections online – historical directories
  3. National Library of Scotland
  4. British History Online
  5. Victoria County History for Berkshire
  6. Berkshire Record Office – enclosure
  7. Reading Library catalogue
  8. Reading Museum online collection