The Olympic Torch returns to Reading

At 6.14pm today, the Olympic Torch will arrive in Reading. This will be the second time the famous flame has passed through as the town was also a stop during the 1948 Torch Relay. This marks Reading out as one of the very few places in the UK to host the Torch twice – whilst the 2012 route sees the Torch carried all around the British Isles, in 1948 the flame only went to 15 places, all of which were in southern England.

Cameras were not widely owned when the Olympic torch last visited Reading, and images of the Torch in Reading in 1948 are very rare. Reading Museum has a few of these precious images and have pinned them, including this one taken by a member of the public and lent to the museum by a private collector. It shows Cemetery Junction when hundreds of people turned out at Cemetery Junction to see the torch pass from K.R. Martin to W.O. Nichols.

K.R. Martin handing the Olympic Torch to W.O. Nichols

Did you see the 1948 Torch Relay? Have you seen the Torch in other decades or countries?

Add your photos and memories to Historypin to build up a picture of past Torch moments and stories.

Nick 'Wally' Nichols carrying the Torch through Reading.

In 1948 the torchbearers were young athletes chosen from the Reading Athletics Club for their appearance and stamina. This time the torchbearers of Reading will represent a cross section of the community and includes individuals that have raised substantial amounts for charities. With the youngest torchbearer aged just 12 and the oldest 74 Reading is also making sure all generations will be represented on this historic relay. Tonight a flame will be lit in the Madejski Stadium, home of Reading FC for a big celebration celebrating the diversity of Reading.

Are you planning to watch the Torch pass through Reading? Have you seen it pass through your area already?

Add your photos and stories to Historypin to record the Torch’s 2012 journey.

Bunting, barges and a balcony

"Here is one of my many photos of the Queen and the rest of the royal family when they appeared on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on the final day of the Jubilee celebrations. My friend and I had a brilliant view - we couldn't believe how close we were. It was such a brilliant day, and one I'll never forget." Shared by cozzyross1

Over the last week pins showing pomp, pagentry and your Diamond Jubilee celebrations across the UK and around the world have been flooding onto Pinning the Queen’s History.

We’ve got some excellent snaps of the flotilla on the River Thames, just visible through the dark skies:

"The crowd was more than 10 deep - we stood on our tippy toes to catch a glimpse. The first boat went past and camera held up high and caught this - at least we saw something." Shared by maypingwong

Like the Coronation in 1953 when it also poured with rain, the Jubilee weekend was very wet and jokes about Her Majesty’s rain abounded. But this did little to deter people from watching the celebrations:

"It was a bit damp to begin with on the day of the river pageant, but it cleared up, until 4 o'clock when it decided to rain, however, our spirits were not dampened, here is the view of where I stood on the Albert Embankment." Shared by YesIamEccentric

Bunting bedecked many a street holding a Jubilee shindig …

Bury Drive, Goring Diamond Jubilee Street Party Celebrations Monday 4th June 2012 Residents doing the Conga! Shared by L11CY

as families and communities around the world celebrated, from Dubai to Australia and even as far as Hawaii:

A Big Jubilee Lunch gathering with neighbors and friends to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We taped the River Pagent (2:45 a.m. our time) and watched it together at a civilized hour while enjoying wonderful company and food. God Save the Queen - Long May She Reign!! Shared by mauidi

Food of course played a central role in the celebrations, like this amazing blueberry Union Jack cheesecake made by this family in Chile who woke up early to watch the Thanksgiving Service at St Paul’s and had a special lunch:

Far away from the UK, here in Chile, South America, my family and I celebrated Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee during all the Jubilee Weekend. After watching the river pageant on Sunday, we had a special lunch in our Union Jack decorated dinning room. On Tuesday, I woke up very early to watch the service at St. Paul's Cathedral, and afterwards, my little brothers and I watched the procession and the fly past over Buckingham Palace. Then we ate this amazing blueberry cheescake! We are chileans, not british, but we love the Queen and the Monarchy! Long live Her Majesty! Shared by msuzarteskarica

We’ve had lots of great stories pinned, including this warm tribute from Will to his Gran:

"... I remember The Queen’s words as she addressed us from the tremendous parade ground at Sandhurst: “You must be courageous yet selfless, leaders yet carers, confident yet considerate.” These qualities of selflessness and duty are values that The Queen has continuously demonstrated over the last 60 years and are qualities that remain very important to me." Shared by HRH The Duke of Cambridge

And some more eccentric tributes to Her Majesty’s sixty year reign …

"The Queens Jubilee Sheep - taken in Queens Lane, Arundel - decorated by the farmer and children living in the road." Shared by Vicki Isted

Did you hold a Diamond Jubilee celebration? Catch sight of The Queen on a barge or balcony? Add your photos, videos and stories to Pinning the Queen’s History.

To see more of what’s been pinned, head over to Pinning the Queen’s History. You can also check out our animation of The Queen whizzing around the globe, featuring your video and photo contributions:

Whoosh! The Queen’s 60yrs of globe-trotting

6 continents, 116 countries, 261 visits … The Queen sure has been to a lot of places over the past 60 years.

Around the world, individuals, communities and archives have been feverishly pinning photos, videos and stories of The Queen’s globe-trotting plus Jubilee celebrations they’ve attended to our communal archive Pinning the Queen’s History.

See some of the best pics pinned in our animation which takes you on a whistle-stop tour of her travels.

Have you got photos and memories of one of The Queen’s 261 Visits around the world?

Did you hold a street party to celebrate the 1953 Coronation or 1977 & 2002 Jubilees?

Add your photos, videos and memories to Pinning the Queen’s History.

Queen Elizabeth II: 60 years in 60 seconds

Want to see the Queen whizz around the world, showing off all the spots she’s covered in the staggering 261 official State and Commonwealth visits during her 60 year reign?

Just click here. (Warning you might need a sit down and a cup of tea afterwards, she’s been awfully busy…)

Our special Whizzing Queen animation shows where she went each year and links to the photos pinned so far for each visit.

From Tonga to Tobago, Canada to the Cook Islands, she has been to 116 different countries (out of the total 192), travelling by steamship, yacht, train, plane and car.

If you have any photos of visits by the Queen, at home or abroad, or pics of celebrations for her coronation or 1977 and 2002 Jubilees, add them to Pinning the Queen’s History to make them part of this special Jubilee collection.

Historypin volunteers discover rare photo of the Reading FC squad in 1966

As part of Pinning Reading’s History, two Reading locals, Michelle Charlton and Niki Mehta, have been volunteering with the Reading Post newspaper to share treasures from their photographic archive.

Michelle and Niki have digitised and uploaded hundreds of photos from Reading Post’s rich archive and you can explore them on Reading Post’s Historypin profile.

One of the images they have unearthed was this rare colour photo of the Reading FC squad in 1966. The photo shows ‘the biscuitmen’ (Huntley and Plamers Biscuit factory was one of the major employers in Reading) in a sky blue kit which had been introduced the season before. Reading Post was one of the few newspapers to print in colour at this time. Read more about the photo and Reading FC’s history here.

Wessex Film and Sound Archive

Oxford Road, ReadingClick here to watch the video

As part of ‘Pinning Reading’s History‘ we approached Wessex Film and Sound Archive about sharing some of their films of Reading. With over 35,000 films and sound recordings, they are a rich resource for recordings relating to Southern England.

They were keen to get involved and have shared some great clips from their archive, including Reading Town Centre (when there were still trams on Oxford Road) and how biscuits were made at Huntley and Palmers.

You can find out more about Wessex Film and Sound Archive here, on their Flickr page and by following them on @WessexFilm.

If you’d like to share video or audio recordings from your collection on Historypin, contact Rebekkah on

Launch of Pinning Reading’s History Exhibition

Last night Pinning Reading’s History exhibition launched, attended by over a hundred people including local archivists, teachers, residents, community groups and Historypin Champions & volunteers from all around Reading and beyond.

Nick Stanhope, Historypin CEO, spoke about Reading’s rich history and encouraged everyone in Reading to dig out their photos and share them on Historypin.

It was a fantastic evening, with many stories shared, some new archives discovered and lots of excitement to start digging out and pinning Reading’s history.

Thanks to everyone who came, and we look forward to working with you to share Reading’s history over the coming months.The exhibition showcases some of the content collected so far and runs until January 8th. Soane space at Reading Museum
Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm.

Drop-in session every Friday, 2-4pm, Soane space, Reading Museum.Meet our volunteers, and bring your stories & photos to scan and pin or contact Amanda Holland on or 07527 931325 to arrange a time to come in and share your history.

We would also like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for the funding that has made this project possible.

Opening of ‘Pinning Reading’s History’ Exhibition

Pinning Reading's HistoryWe are very excited to announce the opening of the ‘Pinning Reading’s History‘ exhibition at Reading Museum.

The exhibition features some of the amazing photos, films and stories collected so far from the people of Reading and shared by Reading Museum, Museum of English Rural Life, Reading Post, Reading Festival, Wessex Film and Sound Archive and English Heritage Archives.

Come down and have a look at what’s been added, explore Reading’s history and scan and pin your own photos.

3rd Sept – 8th January
Open Tues-Sun, 10am-4pm

Soane Space, Reading Museum
The Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1QH

Explore what’s been pinned to the map so far and pin your own.

Reading Festival

Bob brok his new hat, 29 August 2009, shated by digital_geeIt’s Reading Festival this weekend, and as part of Pinning Reading’s History we’ve been collecting photos and stories from the Festival which started in 1971, growing out of the National Jazz Festival. Check out Reading Museum’s website for a full list of all the bands who’ve played on the main stage in years past.

Reading Festival and Reading Post have contributed some great pics from their archives (including mechanical horses and bin-bag fashion) and we’ve had some great pins from Festival goers.

If you’ve got photos and memories of Reading Festival add to the map. If you’re heading down for the weekend, hope the weather’s kind!

Historypin Coffee Morning, Whitley Wood

Residents of Whitley Wood outside the community centre

We are delighted to see that Historypin coffee mornings are becoming a regular feature in Reading’s community spaces. Here are some of Whitley’s residents outside the Whitley Wood Community Centre after their monthly get together to chat about photos, stories and their area.

This week Diane brought along a photo of a relative who had been in the police force but she didn’t know when or where the photo was taken (see the photo here).  Using great detective skills, Jenny did some research and found out from the insignia on his helmet that he had worked in Holborn, solving the mystery for Diane.  We are really impressed that people in Reading are not only sharing stories about their heritage but helping each other find out more about their family histories.

This is all part of our local project ‘Pinning Reading’s History’.  If you live in Reading or have photos or stories of Reading, keep an eye on the Historypin Community pages for ways to get involved.