Origins of the Reading Transport Group. Prior to April 1974 Reading had the status of a County Borough Council, and was quite independant of Berkshire County Council. As an education authority in its own right, it ran evening classes, which among other things, included lectures on "steam railways". Before April 1974 these were held at South Reading Commuity Centre in Northumberland Avenue on Wednesday evenings. The lecturer was Mr M Turner. The Local Government Act 1974 had the effect of reducing Reading County Borough Council to the status of a district Council, when Berkshire County Council took over responsibility for education, social services, highways, public transport, libraries etc. Although Reading was allowed to use the title "borough" it had no more power than the other district councils in the county, which were formed from the old "rural" and "urban" district councils. As from April 1974 Berkshire County Council became the education authority for Reading and decided to drop "steam railways" from their evening class list. Some dozen or so individuals who had been attending the classes, decided to try to keep things going themselves by booking room "J" at the centre, and initially engaging the services of Mr Turner for a while. It was then attempted to get involved with the W.E.A. which meant moving to College Road in east Reading. However it was decided to go back to Northumberland Avenue and for members to each provide an evenings entertainment. Everyone contributed enough to the Treasurer, to pay rent and the Group struggled on. After 5 years our cash balance was only £23 with a couple of accounts outstanding. The Group which for a time did not really have a name, decided to call itself The Reading Transport Group and its talks and lecturers were widened to include virtually any type of transport. As a result membership grew to an all time peak in 1997/98. After a short move to the Griffin public house, the Group is now established at Church House, in Caversham town centre, since 1997.
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