My life in Reading is very small, I stay in the same areas and know what I know about the place and never really look beyond the obvious. This upsets me, so last November I decided that I would do a post a month about where I live and research the place a bit more. Education is key to a happy life and I want to learn more about my own backyard. So here are 5 facts I learnt about Reading this month... apologies they are a bit random.
1: We had the first ever Little Chef
Did you know that Reading had the first ever Little Chef?? You know the ones that you see down the motorway that give you red sweets when you finish your dinner? (well they did when I was a kid). Well it was opened as a snack bar in 1958 here on the Oxford Road, it doesn't exist now but the famous brand of motorway restaurants started and went on to serve over 30 million customers per year. I'm sorry but that is an epic fact so I put it as number 1.
2: The Dalai Lama loves Reading
As a strange but true fact, research shows that the Dalai Lama used to, may still, visit Reading regularly due to very strong ties with the Standard Tandoori on the Caversham Road (a favourite of mine and Hoff's). Strangely he's rumoured to be doing Glastonbury this year too... I think he should do Reading Festival instead if he's that close to us.
3: Bryan Adams lived here
Yep, you read that right, the Canadian rocker used to live in Tilehurst as a child whilst his dad was based at nearby barracks. Someone once told me this and I laughed at them, but research shows it to be true and I think that is pretty cool, mainly because now I can pretend to myself all of his songs are about Reading. Simple pleasures.
4: We have more famous people than you think.
I often hear people say that we only have three famous people from Reading, Ricky Gervais, Chris Tarrant and Kate Winslet. That is just LIES! I mean we raised Princess Kate, for God's sake. Here are a list of all the cool people that you may know of who have graced our beautiful town over the years...
- Kate Middleton (you know the bloody Princess, the gorgeous wife of Prince Wills)
- Pippa Middleton (her ass was born here, fact)
- Ricky Gervais (comedian and friend of The Muppets)
- Chris Tarrant (Who wants to be a millionaire and so on)
- Kate Winslet (The bird from Titanic)
- Oscar Wilde (the legend that is)
- Bryan Adams (ok so it wasn't for long but I'm going with it)
- Jeremy Kyle (you know, Jezza fro day time tele)
- Sir John Madejski (Reading FC main man and Auto Trader founder/geezer)
- Natalie Dormer (Actress, the hunger games, Game of Thrones and cool stuff like that)
- Nicholas Holt (Actor, About a boy and skins etc, a bit fit)
- Ricky Whittle (Strictly star and Kalvin from Hollyoaks, way more exciting)
- Justin Fletcher (THE Mr Tumble himself, Cbeebies star)
- Yasmina Siadatan (winner of the Apprentice and co-owner of the best restaurant in Caversham)
- Irwin Sparkes (from the Hoosiers, who seem to have disappeared for ages)
- Jane Austen (yes the author, she went to the Abbey Gate boarding School)
- Elizabeth Taylor (The other Elizabeth Taylor, the glamorous Author)
- Michael Bond (creator of Paddington bear was born here, Reading Station Bear didn't quite have a ring to it)
- Sir Kenneth Branagh (actor and patron of the Progress Theatre)
- Mike Oldfield (the first ever signing to Virgin Records and the reason Branson is a squillionaire - Info courtesy of Ian Barthelemy)
- Loads more historical figures and people too
5: Best education in the UK
I thought I'd end on a nice positive fact. Despite many mean jokes about Reading schools being useless, the Reading borough has the best A Level results in the country (of 151 local authorities) for the third consecutive year. The combination of high achieving grammar schools and academies alongside leading independent schools means Reading pupils achieve an average 855.8 per candidate, almost 23 points higher than national average.
(education facts from LivingReading.co.uk)