Caversham 100 Years On
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'From Village to Suburb: Caversham 1840 to 1911' by Joan A Dils

The transformation of villages into suburbs in the 19th century was not a phenomenon limited to areas around industrial towns; burgeoning country towns such as Banbury also spread out into neighbouring rural communities, as did Reading , the chief town of Berkshire . Although it was an Oxfordshire village, Caversham was inevitably affected by developments in Reading Borough, only a mile away across the Thames. Caversham’s population increased six-fold in 70 years as dwellings to house incomers attracted by new job opportunities in Reading spilled out into the surrounding parishes. This article looks at the development of Caversham and the building of streets of terraces, suburban villas, schools, churches and commercial premises. It examines the process of development by institutions and individuals, the architects and styles of new building, and the creation of socially distinct areas within the emerging suburb. Caversham’s size and its public health problems led to it becoming a local sanitary authority in its own right in 1891, and in 1894 it became an urban district. Dependent on Reading for employment and for amenities such as water and education, at the end of the 19th century it became the object of the borough’s ‘earth hunger’ and despite determined opposition from its local politicians and inhabitants, Caversham was incorporated into the Borough of Reading in 1911.

Joan Dils, Oxoniensia, Vol. 64, 1999: 87-115 The full article can be read at"Caversham


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