Local History Society

 The 'Mercury' and the Home Front in WW1

The Small-Holdings Scheme of 1919 purchased land off Betty Grove Lane on Carter's Hill Farm for use as small-holdings for ex-servicemen. Click here for further details.


Berkshire County Council

The Reading Mercury faithfully recorded the quarterly meetings of Berkshire County Council. By late 1916, the Councillors were concerned about the state of the county's roads following heavy wear and tear, as reported on November 11th:


Military traffic , Reading and Eversley Road: A supplementary estimate of the cost of repairs to the main road, which has suffered considerable damage by heavy military traffic, has been forwarded to the Finance Committee.

On Sept. 4th, the Government asked that the three heavy steam rollers belonging to the Council should be handed over to the war Dept. for use overseas. The council asked that replacements should be provided as soon as possible, and to pay for the hire of rollers in the meantime.

Cottages and Land for Blinded Soldiers, etc., for Poultry Farming – Enquiries were made on behalf of the Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Hostel, St. Dunstan’s, as to whether any assistance could be given in finding locations near Reading for blinded soldiers who have been taught chicken rearing. They require a cottage and about an acre of ground at a rent not exceeding £30 per annum. There didn’t seem to be any available in the Reading area for rent, and only 3 or 4 had been put forward for sale.

Aug 4th 1917: Berks County Council Roads – Requisitions had been received from the Military Authorities for surface tarring of roads at Ascot and at the Remount Depôt, Arborfield.

From 24th May 1919:


Arborfield to King Street – This road has been seriously damaged by timber haulage from Farley Hill Saw Mill to Wokingham Station, and the traffic is continuing. The estimated cost is £1,283.14s. The length of road (included in the claim) between Sindlesham cross-roads and the junction with the Reading to London road at King Street has also been damaged by Canadian Red Cross traffic to and from Bearwood.


The committee have considered several offers of land for ex-Service men. For various reasons the following offers were regarded as unsuitable:

[Numbered (a) to (j) ..]
(b) Arborfield – Arborfield Hall Estate (Mr. J. R. Hargreaves) (450 Acres).

Barkham – Brook farm (370 Acres): This property, belonging to Mr. W. C. J. Hissey and situate about 2 miles from Wokingham and five from Reading, has been offered for sale, and is under consideration.

November 15th 1919:

Berkshire County Council Meeting

The Small Holdings and Allotments Committee reported on the purchase of Brook Farm in Barkham. Also, under ‘Arborfield (part of Carter’s Hill Farm)', it stated: Mr. J. M. Dimond, who recently purchased Carter’s Hill Farm, has offered to the Council 20 acres of pasture land and two semi-detached cottages, part of the farm, for £1,150. The committee are favourably impressed with the offer, and consider it will form two useful cottage holdings, and ask that sanction be given to its acquisition for £1,150, the price approved by the Board of Agriculture.

War Memorials CommitteeArborfield Cross – An application has also bee received from Mr. John Simonds for permission to erect a war memorial opposite the pond at Arborfield Cross. The committee recommend that no objection be raised.



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