The Full Wiki

Berkshire: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on Berkshire

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Berkshire
EnglandBerkshire.png
Shown within England
Geography
Status Non-metropolitan &
Ceremonial county
Origin Historic
Region South East England
Area
- Total
Ranked 40th
1,262 km2 (487 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-WBK
ONS code Formerly 10
NUTS 3 UKJ11
Demography
Population
- Total (2005)
- Density
Ranked 26th
812,200
643 /km2 (1,665/sq mi)
Ethnicity 88.7% White
6.8% S.Asian
2.0% Black.
Politics
No county council
Members of Parliament
Districts
EnglandBerkshireNumbered.png
  1. West Berkshire (Unitary)
  2. Reading (Unitary)
  3. Wokingham (Unitary)
  4. Bracknell Forest (Unitary)
  5. Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary)
  6. Slough (Unitary)

Berkshire (pronounced /ˈbɑrkʃər/ BARK-shər or /ˈbɑrkʃɪər/ BARK-sheer; abbreviated Berks) is a county in the South East of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1958, and Letters patent issued confirming this in 1974.[1]

Berkshire borders the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Wiltshire and Hampshire, and is usually regarded as one of the home counties. Under boundary changes in 1995, it also acquired a boundary with Greater London.[2]

Historically the county town was Abingdon, but in 1867 the town of Reading - by then much larger - superseded Abingdon in this role. In 1974 local government reorganisation moved Abingdon and several other north-west Berkshire towns into Oxfordshire. A later reorganisation, in 1998, abolished Berkshire County Council, although retaining Berkshire as a ceremonial county. The highest tier of local government in Berkshire are now the unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham.[3]

Contents

History

The county is one of the oldest in England. It may date from the 840s, the probable period of the unification of "Sunningum" (East Berkshire) and "Ashdown" (the Berkshire Downs, probably including the Kennet Valley). The county is first mentioned by name in 860. According to Asser, it takes its name from a large forest of box trees that was called Bearroc (believed, in turn, to be a Celtic word meaning "hilly").[4]

Berkshire has been the scene of many battles throughout history, during Alfred the Great's campaign against the Danes, including the Battle of Englefield, the Battle of Ashdown and the Battle of Reading. During the English Civil War there were two battles in Newbury. During the Glorious Revolution of 1688, there was a second Battle at Reading, also known as the "Battle of Broad Street".

Reading became the new county town in 1867, taking over from Abingdon[5] which remained in the county. Under the Local Government Act 1888, Berkshire County Council took over functions of the Berkshire Quarter Sessions, covering an area known as the administrative county of Berkshire, which excluded the county borough of Reading. Boundary alterations in the early part of the 20th century were minor, with Caversham from Oxfordshire becoming part of the Reading county borough, and cessions in the Oxford area.

On 1 April 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972, the northern part of the county became part of Oxfordshire, with Faringdon, Wantage and Abingdon and hinterland becoming the Vale of White Horse district, and Didcot and Wallingford going to form part of the South Oxfordshire district. The Berkshire Yeomanry (94 Signal Squadron) still keep the Uffington White Horse as their symbol above the motto Berkshire, even though the White Horse is now in Oxfordshire. Berkshire obtained the towns of Slough and Eton and part of the former Eton Rural District from Buckinghamshire. The original Local Government White Paper would have transferred Henley-on-Thames from Oxfordshire to Berkshire: this proposal did not make it into the Bill as introduced.

Detailed 17th-century map of Barkshire by Wenceslas Hollar

On 1 April 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, and the districts became unitary authorities. Unlike similar reforms elsewhere at the same time, the non-metropolitan county was not abolished. Signs saying "Welcome to the Royal County of Berkshire" have all but disappeared but may still be seen on the borders of West Berkshire District, on the east side of Virginia Water, and on the M4 motorway.

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Berkshire at current basic prices published (pp.240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British pounds sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added1 Agriculture2 Industry3 Services4
1995 10,997 53 2,689 8,255
2000 18,412 40 3,511 14,861
2003 21,119 48 3,666 17,406
Notes
  1. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  2. Includes hunting and forestry
  3. Includes energy and construction
  4. Includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
Advertisements

Agricultural produce

A number of distinctive cheeses are produced in Berkshire, including Wigmore, Barkham Blue and Waterloo cheeses.

Geology, landscape and ecology

From a landscape perspective, Berkshire divides into two clearly distinct sections with the boundary lying roughly on a north-south line through the centre of Reading.

The eastern section of Berkshire lies largely to the south of the River Thames, with that river forming the northern boundary of the county. In two places (Slough and Reading) the county now includes land to the north of the river. Tributaries of the Thames, including the Loddon and Blackwater increase the amount of low lying riverine land in the area. Beyond the flood plains, the land rises gently to the county boundaries with Surrey and Hampshire. Much of this area is still well wooded, especially around Bracknell and Windsor Great Park.

In the west of the county and heading upstream, the Thames veers away to the north of the (current) county boundary, leaving the county behind at the Goring Gap. This is a narrow part of the otherwise quite broad river valley where, at the end of the last Ice Age, the Thames forced its way between the Chiltern Hills (to the north of the river in Oxfordshire) and the Berkshire Downs.

As a consequence, the western portion of the county is situated around the valley of the River Kennet, which joins the Thames in Reading. Fairly steep slopes on each side delineate the river's flat floodplain. To the south, the land rises steeply to the nearby county boundary with Hampshire, and the highest parts of the county lie here. The highest of these is Walbury Hill at 297 m (974 ft), which is also the highest point in South East England.

To the north of the Kennet, the land rises again to the Berkshire Downs. This is a hilly area, with smaller and well-wooded valleys draining into the River Lambourn, River Pang and their tributaries, and open upland areas famous for their involvement in horse racing and the consequent ever-present training gallops.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Summer Snowflake as the county flower.

Sport

One football club from the county plays professional football, Reading, who were formed in 1871.

The London Irish rugby club also ground-share with Reading FC at Madjeski Stadium.

Demographics

According to 2003 estimates there are 803,657 people in Berkshire, or 636 people/km². The population is mostly based in the urban areas to the east and centre of the county (Reading, Slough, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Wokingham, Windsor, Sandhurst, Crowthorne and Twyford being the largest towns) with West Berkshire being much more rural and sparsely populated, with far fewer towns (Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford and Lambourn).

The population has increased massively since 1831; this is largely due to Berkshire's proximity to an expanding London. In 1831, there were 146,234 people living in Berkshire; by 1901 the population had risen to 252,571 (of which 122,807 were male and 129,764 were female).

Population of Berkshire:

  • 1831: 146,234
  • 1841: 161,759
  • 1851: 170,065
  • 1861: 176,256
  • 1871: 196,475
  • 1881: 218,363
  • 1891: 238,709
  • 1901: 252,571

Ceremonial County

The ceremonial county of Berkshire consists of the area controlled by the six unitary authorities, each of which is independent of the rest. Berkshire has no county council. The ceremonial county has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. Currently the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire is Mary Bayliss and the High Sheriff of Berkshire is Dr Christina Bernadette Thérèse Hill Williams.

Berkshire districts
District Main towns Population (2007 estimate) Area Population density (2007)
Bracknell Forest Bracknell, Sandhurst 113,500 109.38 km² 1038/km²
Reading Reading 143,700 40.40 km² 3557/km²
Slough Slough 120,100 32.54 km² 3691/km²
West Berkshire Newbury, Thatcham 150,700 704.17 km² 214/km²
Windsor and Maidenhead Windsor, Maidenhead 141,000 198.43 km² 711/km²
Wokingham Wokingham, Twyford 156,600 178.98 km² 875/km²
TOTAL Ceremonial N/A 825,600 1262 km² 643/km²

Population figures for 2007 estimates [1]. See List of English districts by population for a full list of every English district.

Politics

Berkshire is a ceremonial county and non-metropolitan county and it is unusual in England in that it has no county council as its entire area is divided into several unitary authorities, which do not have county status. It was the only county to function in such a manner until the English local government reforms of 2009, where it was joined by Bedfordshire and Cheshire.

In the unitary authorities the Conservatives control West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest councils, Labour controls Slough and Reading is under no overall control.

Since the 2005 general election, the Conservative Party dominates, controlling six out of eight constituencies. Slough and Reading West are both represented by the Labour Party.

See also: List of Parliamentary constituencies in Berkshire

Places of interest

See also

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

Berkshire is a county in the South East region of England, located immediately to the west of London. Whilst its proximity to that city, and its own centers of commerce, ensure a large and affluent population, Berkshire still possesses much rural scenery, including long stretches of the River Thames. A visit to Windsor and its royal castle is almost a must for any first time visitor to London.

Map of Berkshire
Map of Berkshire

The following towns and villages may be of interest to visitors:

  • Bray — home to three-star Michelin restaurant and molecular gastronomy pioneer, The Fat Duck
  • Streatley
  • Twyford
  • Beale Park, Lower Basildon, Pangbourne, 0870 777 7160, [1]. Low Season (March & Oct) 10AM-5PM; High Season (Apr-Sept 10AM-6PM). A 350 acre park dedicated to the conservation of birds and a smaller selection of mammals, with children's playgrounds, cafeteria and steam train. £6.00 adults, £4.00 children.

Drink

On the whole Reading is a safe place, but, like most towns and cities in the country can have its problems. The centre on a Friday and Saturday night can be intimidating for someone if they are not used to the kind of atmosphere generated. Just west of Reading town centre, and in particular the Oxford Road district, though improved, has suffered from drug abuse and the sex trade. These areas are similar to those found around London, and are best avoided at night. The Forbury Gardens and Abbey ruins, though attractive during the day, are best avoided after dark. As always just be cautious of your surroundings; it's obvious in Reading when one enters into a rougher area, but generally one's chances of being a victim in Reading are slim.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BERKSHIRE [abbreviated Berks, pronounced Berkshire], a southern county of England, bounded N. by Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, E. by Surrey, S. by Hampshire, W. by Wiltshire, and N.W. for a short distance by Gloucestershire. Its area is 721.9 sq. m. Its entire northern boundary is formed by the river Thames, in the basin of which practically the whole county is included. In the north-west a narrow and broken line of hills,. pierced in the west by the Cole stream, which here forms the county boundary, extends past Faringdon and culminates in a height over 500 ft. at Cumnor Hurst, which, with Wytham Hill, fills a deep northward bend of the Thames, and overlooks the city of Oxford from the west. The range separates the Thames valley from the Vale of White Horse which is traversed by the small river Ock, and bounded on the south by a line of hills known as the White Horse Hills or Berkshire Downs, richly wooded along their base, and rising sharply to bare rounded summits. In White Horse Hill on the western confines of the county a height of 856 ft. is reached. The line of these hills is continued north-eastward by the Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire, but a division between the two is made by the Thames in a narrow valley or gap at Goring. Southward the Downs are scored with deep narrow valleys, the chief of which are those of the Lambourn and the Pang. The last stream runs eastward directly to the Thames; but the Lambourn and others join the Kennet, which drains a beautiful sylvan valley to the Thames at Reading. Another line of downs closely confines the vale of Kennet on the south from Newbury upwards, and although the greater part of these does not fall within the county, their highest point, Inkpen Beacon (1011 ft.), does so. The Enborne stream, rising here, and flowing parallel to the Kennet until turning north to join it, is for a considerable distance the county boundary. Between Reading and Windsor the Thames makes a northward bend, past Henley and Marlow, in the form of three sides of a square. Within the bend slight hills border the river,. but south of these, and in the Loddon valley south of Reading, the county is low and flat. In the south-east of the county, however, there is a high sandy plateau, forming part of Bagshot Heath, over 400 ft. in elevation, and extending into Surrey. Fir-woods are characteristic of this district, and northward towards the Thames extends the royal park of Windsor, which is magnificently timbered. The proportion to the total area of the county which is under woods is, however, by no means so great as in the adjacent counties of Surrey and Hampshire. There is fine trout-fishing in the Kennet and some of its feeders.

Table of contents

Geology

The dominant feature of the county, the Chiltern and White Horse Hills, owes its form to the Chalk, which spreads from Ashbury and Hungerford on the west to Henley and Maidenhead on the east. In the northern face of the escarpment we find the Lower Chalk with a hard bed, the Totternhoe Stone; on the southern slope lies the Chalk-with-Flints. At Kintbury it is quarried for the manufacture of whiting. At the foot of the Chalk escarpment is the Upper Greensand with a narrow crop towards the west which is broken up into patches eastwards. Looking northward from the Chalk hills, the low-lying ground is occupied successively by the Gault Clay, the Kimmeridge Clay, and finally by the Oxford Clay, which extends beyond the Thames into Oxfordshire. This low-lying tract is relieved by an elevated ridge of Corallian beds, between the Kimmeridge Clay and the Gault. It extends from near Faringdon past Abingdon to Cumnor and Wytham Hill. At Faringdon there are some interesting gravels of Lower Greensand age, full of the fossil remains of sponges. South of the Chalk, the county is occupied by Eocene rocks, mottled clays, well exposed in the brickfields about Reading, and hence called the Reading beds. At Finchampstead, Sunninghill and Ascot, these deposits are overlaid by the more sandy beds of the Bagshot series. Between the two last named formations is a broad outcrop of London Clay. Numerous outliers of Eocene rest on the Chalk beyond the main line of boundary. The Chalk of Inkpen Beacon is brought up to the south side of the Tertiary rocks by a synclinal fold; similarly, an anticline has brought up the small patch of Chalk in Windsor Park. Clay-with-Flints lies in patches and holes on the chalk, and flint gravels occur high up on either side of the 'Thames. Fairly thick beds of peat are found in the alluvium of the Kennet at Newbury.

Industries

About seven-ninths of the total area is under cultivation; a large proportion of this being in permanent pasture, as much attention is paid to dairy-farming. Butter and cheese are largely produced, and the making of condensed milk is a branch of the industry. Many sheep are pastured on the Downs, important sheep-markets being held at the small town of East or Market Ilsley; and an excellent breed of pigs is named after the county. The parts about Faringdon are specially noted for them. Oats are the principal grain crop; although a considerable acreage is under wheat. Turnips and swedes are largely cultivated, and apples and cherries are grown. Besides the royal castle of Windsor, fine county seats are especially numerous.

The only manufacturing centre of first importance is Reading, which is principally famous for its biscuit factories. The manufacture of clothing and carpets is carried on at Abingdon; but a woollen industry introduced into the county as early as the Tudor period is long extinct. Engineering works and paper mills are established at various places; and boat-building is carried on at Reading and other riverside stations. There are extensive seed warehouses and testing grounds near Reading; and the Kennet and Windsor ales are in high repute. Whiting is manufactured from chalk at Kintbury on the Kennet.

Communications

Communications are provided principally by the Great Western railway, the main line of which crosses the county from east to west by Maidenhead, Reading and Didcot.

A branch line serves the Kennet valley from Reading; and the northern line of the company leaves the main line at Didcot, a branch from it serving Abingdon. The Basingstoke branch runs south from Reading, and lines serve Wallingford from Cholsey, and Faringdon from Uffington. Communication with the south of England is maintained by a joint line of the South Western and South Eastern & Chatham companies terminating at Reading, and there are branches of the Great Western and South Western systems to Windsor. The Lambourn valley light railway runs north-west to Lambourn from Newbury. Wide water-communications are afforded by the Thames, and the Kennet is in part canalized, to form the eastern portion of the Kennet and Avon canal system, connecting with the Bristol Avon above Bath.

Population and Administration

The area of the ancient county is 462,208 acres; with a population in 1891 of 239,138, and in 1901 of 256,509. The area of the administrative county is 462,367 acres. The county contains twenty hundreds. The municipal boroughs are Abingdon (pop. 6480), Maidenhead (12,980), Newbury (11,061), Reading, the county town and a county borough (72,217), Wallingford (2808), Windsor or New Windsor (14,130), Wokingham (3551). Wantage (3766) is an urban district. Among lesser towns may be mentioned Faringdon in the north-west (2900), Hungerford on the Kennet (2906), and Lambourn in the valley of that name (2071), the villages of Bray (2978), Cookham (3874) and Tilehurst (2545), which, like others on the banks of the Thames, have grown into residential towns; and Sandhurst (2386). The county is in the Oxford circuit, and assizes are held at Reading. It has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided into twelve petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Abingdon, Newbury, Maidenhead, Reading, Wallingford and Windsor have separate commissions of the peace, and Abingdon, Newbury, Reading and Windsor have separate courts of quarter sessions. There are 198 civil parishes. Berkshire forms an archdeaconry in the diocese of Oxford; a small portion, however, falls within the diocese of Salisbury. There are 202 ecclesiastical parishes or districts, wholly or in part within the county. There are three parliamentary divisions, Northern or Abingdon, Southern or Newbury, and Eastern or Wokingham, each returning one member; while the parliamentary borough of Reading returns one member, and parts of the borough of Oxford and Windsor are included in the county. There are several important educational establishments in the county. Radley College near Abingdon, Wellington College near Sandhurst, and Bradfield College, at the village of that name, 8 m. west of Reading, are among the more important modern public schools for boys. Bradfield College was founded in 1850, and is well known for the realistic performances of classical Greek plays presented by the scholars in an open theatre designed for the purpose. Abingdon and Reading schools rank among the lesser public schools. At Reading is a university extension college, and in the south-east of the county is the Sandhurst Royal Military College.

History

During the Heptarchy Berkshire formed part of the kingdom of Wessex, and interesting relics of Saxon occupation have been discovered in various parts of the county. Of these the most remarkable are the burial grounds at Long Wittenham and Frilford, and there is evidence that the Lambourn valley was occupied in early Saxon times. The cinerary urns found in Berkshire undoubtedly contain the ashes of the Anglians who came south under Penda in the 7th century. The fortification called Cherbury Castle, not far from Denchworth, is said to have been first made up by Canute.

At the time of the Norman invasion Berkshire formed part of the earldom of Harold, and supported him stanchly at the battle of Hastings. This loyalty was punished by very sweeping confiscations, and at the time of the Domesday survey no estates of any importance were in the hands of Englishmen. When Alfred divided the country into shires, this county received the name of Berrocscir, as Asser says, "from the wood of Berroc, where the box-tree grows most plentifully." 1 At the time of the survey it comprised twenty-two hundreds; at the present day there are only twenty, of which eleven retain their ancient names. Many parishes have been transferred from one hundred to another, but the actual boundary of the county is practically unchanged. Part of the parishes of Shilton and Langford formed detached portions of the shire, until included in Oxfordshire in the reign of William IV. Portions of Combe and Shalbourne parishes have also been restored to Hampshire and Wiltshire respectively, while the Wiltshire portion of Hungerford has been transferred to Berkshire. The county was originally included in the see of Winchester, but in A.D. 909 it was removed to the newly-formed see of "Wiltshire," afterwards united with Sherborne. In 1075 the seat of the bishopric was removed to Salisbury, and in 1836 by an order in council Berkshire was transferred to the diocese of Oxford. The archdeaconry is of very early origin and is co-extensive with the county. Formerly it comprised four rural deaneries, but the number has lately been increased to nine. Much of the early history of the county is recorded in the Chronicles of the abbey of Abingdon, which at the time of the survey was second only to the crown in the extent and number of its possessions. The abbot also exercised considerable judicial and administrative powers, and his court was endowed with the privileges of the hundred court and was freed from liability to interference by the sheriff. Berkshire and Oxfordshire had a common sheriff until the reign of Elizabeth, and the shire court was held at Grauntpont. The assizes were formerly held at Reading, 1 The derivation from Bibroci, a British tribe in the time of Caesar, which probably inhabited Surrey or Middlesex, seems philologically impossible.


<< Thomas Howard Berkshire

Berlichingen >>


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Proper noun

Singular
Berkshire

Plural
-

Berkshire

  1. A inland county of England, bounded by Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Wiltshire.

Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

This article requires significantly more historical detail on the particular phases of this location's historical development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can..
"Berks" redirects here. For the county in Pennsylvania, see Berks County.
Berkshire
File:EnglandBerkshire.png
Shown within England
Geography
Status Non-metropolitan &
Ceremonial county

<tr><th>Origin</th><td>Historic</td></tr>

Region South East England
Area
- Total
Ranked 40th
1,262 km² (487.3 sq mi)
ONS code Formerly 10
NUTS 3 UKJ11
Demographics
Population
- Total (2005)
- Density
Ranked 26th
812,200
643/km² (1,665.4/sq mi)
Ethnicity 88.7% White
6.8% S.Asian
2.0% Black.
Politics
No county council since 1998.

<tr><th>Executive</th><td>  </td></tr>

Members of Parliament
Districts
File:EnglandBerkshireNumbered.png
  1. West Berkshire (Unitary)
  2. Reading (Unitary)
  3. Wokingham (Unitary)
  4. Bracknell Forest (Unitary)
  5. Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary)
  6. Slough (Unitary)

File:Berkshire coa.jpg Berkshire (IPA: [ˈbɑːkʃə] or [ˈbɑːkʃɪə] say: Baak-shuh/-sheer); sometimes abbreviated to Berks) is a Home County in the South East of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which goes back to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1958, and Letters patent issued confirming this in 1974.[1]

Berkshire borders the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Greater London.

Contents

History

The county is one of the oldest in England. It may date from the 840s, the probable period of the unification of "Sunningum" (East Berkshire) and "Ashdown" (the Berkshire Downs, probably including the Kennet Valley). The county is first mentioned by name in 860. According to Asser, it takes its name from a large forest of box trees that was called Bearroc (believed, in turn, to be a Celtic word meaning "hilly").

Berkshire has been the scene of many battles throughout history, during Alfred the Great's campaign against the Danes, including the Battle of Englefield, the Battle of Ashdown and the Battle of Reading. During the English Civil War there were two battles in Newbury. During the Glorious Revolution of 1688, there was a second Battle at Reading, also known as the "Battle of Broad Street".

Reading became the new county town in 1867, taking over from Abingdon [1] which remained in the county. Under the Local Government Act 1888, Berkshire County Council took over functions of the Berkshire Quarter Sessions, covering an area known as the administrative county of Berkshire, which excluded the county borough of Reading. Boundary alterations in the early part of the 20th century were minor, with Caversham from Oxfordshire becoming part of the Reading county borough, and cessions in the Oxford area.

On April 1, 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972, the northern part of the county became part of Oxfordshire, with Faringdon, Wantage and Abingdon and hinterland becoming the Vale of White Horse district, and Didcot and Wallingford going to form part of the South Oxfordshire district. In return, Berkshire obtained the towns of Slough and Eton and part of the former Eton Rural District from Buckinghamshire. The original Local Government White Paper would have transferred Henley-on-Thames from Oxfordshire to Berkshire: this proposal did not make it into the Bill as introduced.

On 1 April 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, and the districts became unitary authorities. Unlike similar reforms elsewhere at the same time, the non-metropolitan county was not abolished. Signs saying "Welcome to the Royal County of Berkshire" have all but disappeared but may still be seen on the borders of West Berkshire District, on the east side of Virginia Water, and on the M4 motorway.

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Berkshire at current basic prices published (pp.240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British pounds sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added1 Agriculture2 Industry3 Services4
1995 10,997 53 2,689 8,255
2000 18,412 40 3,511 14,861
2003 21,119 48 3,666 17,406
Notes
  1. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  2. Includes hunting and forestry
  3. Includes energy and construction
  4. Includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Geology, landscape and ecology

Historic county of Berkshire
File:EnglandBerkshireTrad.png
Geography
Area: (1831) 472,270 acres
Rank: Ranked 31st
Administration
County town: Abingdon until 1867, then Reading
Chapman code: BRK


From a landscape perspective, Berkshire divides into two clearly distinct sections with the boundary lying roughly on a north-south line through the centre of Reading.

The eastern section of Berkshire lies largely to the south of the River Thames, with that river forming the northern boundary of the county. In two places (Slough and Reading) the county now includes land to the north of the river. Tributaries of the Thames, including the Loddon and Blackwater increase the amount of low lying riverine land in the area. Beyond the flood plains, the land rises gently to the county boundaries with Surrey and Hampshire. Much of this area is still well wooded, especially around Bracknell and Windsor Great Park.

In the west of the county and heading upstream, the Thames veers away to the north of the (current) county boundary, leaving the county behind at the Goring Gap. This is a narrow part of the otherwise quite broad river valley where, at the end of the last Ice Age, the Thames forced its way between the Chiltern Hills (to the north of the river in Oxfordshire) and the Berkshire Downs.

As a consequence, the western portion of the county is situated around the valley of the River Kennet, which joins the Thames in Reading. Fairly steep slopes on each side delineate the river's flat floodplain. To the south, the land rises steeply to the nearby county boundary with Hampshire, and the highest parts of the county lie here. The highest of these is Walbury Hill at 297 m (974 ft), which is also the highest point in South East England.

To the north of the Kennet, the land rises again to the Berkshire Downs. This is a hilly area, with smaller and well-wooded valleys draining into the River Lambourn, River Pang and their tributaries, and open upland areas famous for their involvement in horse racing and the consequent ever-present training gallops.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Summer Snowflake as the county flower.

Sport

The county is represented at professional level by one football club, Reading, who were formed in 1871. They were regular promotion winners in the lower divisions of the Football League during the 20th century, before winning the Football League Championship with an English record of 106 league points in 2006 and gaining promotion to the Premier League for the very first time. They finished eighth in their first-ever season of top division football, just missing out on a UEFA Cup place. For more than 100 years, they played at Elm Park before relocating to the impressive new Madejski Stadium in 1998. The new stadium was named after chairman John Madejski, who bought the club in 1991 having made his fortune with Auto Trader.

Demographics

According to 2003 estimates there are 803,657 people in Berkshire, or 636 people / km². The population is mostly based in the urban areas to the east and centre of the county (Reading, Slough, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Wokingham, Windsor, Sandhurst, Crowthorne and Twyford being the largest towns) with West Berkshire being much more rural and sparsely populated, with far fewer towns (Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford and Lambourn).

The population has increased massively since 1831, this may be in part due to the sweeping boundary changes however. In 1831 there were 146,234 people living in Berkshire, by 1901 it had risen to 252,571 (of which 122,807 were male and 129,764 were female).

Population of Berkshire:

  • 1831: 146,234
  • 1841: 161,759
  • 1851: 170,065
  • 1861: 176,256
  • 1871: 196,475
  • 1881: 218,363
  • 1891: 238,709
  • 1901: 252,571

Politics

Berkshire is a ceremonial county and non-metropolitan county and it is unusual in England in that it is the only such county with multiple districts but no county council. The district councils are unitary authorities but do not have county status.

In the unitary authorities the Conservatives control the West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest councils, Labour control Reading council. Slough is under no overall control.

Since the 2005 general election, the Conservative Party dominates, controlling 6 out of 8 constituencies. Slough and Reading West are both represented by the Labour Party.

See also: List of Parliamentary constituencies in Berkshire

Places of interest

Key
Image:AP_Icon.PNG Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open space Accessible open space
Amusement/Theme Park
Image:CL_icon.PNG Castle
Country Park Country Park
Image:EH icon.png English Heritage
Image:FC icon.png Forestry Commission
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Museum (free)
Museum
Museums (free/not free)
National Trust National Trust
Zoo

    See also

    References

    1. ^ Berkshire Record Office. Berkshire, The Royal County. Golden Jubilee 2002 collection. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.

    External links


    This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Berkshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

    This article uses material from the "Berkshire" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

    Simple English

    Berkshire
    Geography
    Status Ceremonial and Non-metropolitan county (no county council)
    Region South East England
    Area
    - Total
    Ranked 40th
    ONS code
    NUTS 3 UKJ11
    Demography
    Population
    - Total (2005 est.)
    - Density
    Ranked 26th
    812,200
    Ethnicity 88.7% White
    6.8% S.Asian
    2.0% Afro-Carib.
    Politics
    No county council
    Members of Parliament
    • Adam Afriyie
    • Richard Benyon
    • Andrew Mackay
    • Fiona Mactaggart
    • Theresa May
    • John Redwood
    • Martin Salter
    • Rob Wilson
    Districts
    1. West Berkshire (Unitary)
    2. Reading (Unitary)
    3. Wokingham (Unitary)
    4. Bracknell Forest (Unitary)
    5. Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary)
    6. Slough (Unitary)

    Berkshire is a county in the south of England (part of the UK). It is to the west of London. Its county town is named Reading. In the past, a town named Abingdon was the county town, but this town is now not in Berkshire.

    Berkshire is also named Royal Berkshire.

    Cities, towns and villages

    The towns below are not part of Berkshire now, but were in the past.


    Advertisements






    Got something to say? Make a comment.
    Your name
    Your email address
    Message