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Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a
county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert Chambers (publisher bo ...
in
South East England South East England is one of the nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, ...
. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a at in the English county of . It is strongly associated with the and succeeding , and embodies almost a millennium of . The original castle was built in the 11th century after the by . Since the time of (who re ...

Windsor Castle
, and
letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and formerly the capital of the duchy of Lorraine ** Arrondiss ...
were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a
ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of England to which lord-lieutenant, lord-lieutenants are appointed. Lega ...

ceremonial county
and a
non-metropolitan county A non-metropolitan county, or colloquially, shire county, is a county-level entity in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the ...
without a
county council A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Pub ...
. The county town is
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelli ...
. The
River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known as the South, is an area of England consisting of the southernmos ...
formed the historic northern boundary, from
Buscot Buscot is an English village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is a territorial designation which is t ...
in the west to
Old Windsor Old Windsor is a large village and civil parishes in England, civil parish, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It is bounded by the River Thames to the east and the Windsor Great Park to the west. Etymology T ...
in the east. The historic county, therefore, includes territory that is now administered by the
Vale of White Horse The Vale of White Horse is a local government district of Oxfordshire Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from ''Oxonium'', the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-Europe ...
and parts of
South Oxfordshire South Oxfordshire is a local government district in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from ''Oxonium'', the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branc ...
in
Oxfordshire Oxfordshire is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), ...

Oxfordshire
, but excludes Caversham,
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...

Slough
and five less populous settlements in the east of the
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is a Royal Borough of Berkshire, in South East England. It is home to Windsor Castle, Eton College, Legoland, Windsor, Legoland Windsor and Ascot Racecourse. It is one of four boroughs entitled to be pr ...
. All the changes mentioned, apart from the change to Caversham, took place in 1974. The towns of Abingdon,
Didcot Didcot ( ) is a railway town A railway town, or railroad town, is a settlement that originated or was greatly developed because of a railway station Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and ...
,
Faringdon Faringdon is a historic market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it f ...
,
WallingfordWallingford may refer to: Places * Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom **Wallingford Castle the castle * Wallingford, Connecticut, United States * Wallingford, Iowa, United States * Wallingford, Kentucky, United States * Wallingford, ...
and
Wantage Wantage () is a historic market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it fr ...

Wantage
were transferred to Oxfordshire, the six places joining came from Buckinghamshire.
Berkshire County Council The Council of the Royal County of Berkshire, also known as the Berkshire County Council, was the top-tier local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. T ...
was the main local government of most areas from 1889 to 1998 and was based in Reading, the county town which had its own County Borough administration (1888-1974). Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six
unitary authorities A unitary authority is a local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized gove ...
of
Bracknell Forest Bracknell Forest is one of six unitary authority areas within Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a Counties of England, county in South East England. One of the ho ...
, Reading,
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...
,
West Berkshire West Berkshire is a local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or local government districts to distinguish from unofficial city districts) are a level of subnational division of England used f ...
,
Windsor and Maidenhead The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is a Royal Borough The following list of place names with royal patronage in the United Kingdom includes both those granted a royal title or status by express wish of a specific monarch, and those with p ...
and
Wokingham Wokingham is a market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it from a vi ...
. The ceremonial county borders
Oxfordshire Oxfordshire is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), ...

Oxfordshire
(to the north),
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of Eng ...

Buckinghamshire
(to the north-east),
Greater London Greater London is an administrative area Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names ...

Greater London
(to the east),
Surrey Surrey () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and R ...

Surrey
(to the south-east),
Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (pub ...
(to the west) and
Hampshire Hampshire (, ; abbreviated to Hants) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain mod ...

Hampshire
(to the south). No part of the county is more than from the
M4 motorway The M4, originally the London-South Wales Motorway, is a motorway network. A controlled-access highway is a type of highway A highway is any public or private road or other public way on land. It is used for major roads, but also ...
.


History

According to
Asser Asser (died 909) was a Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** ...
's biography of
King Alfred Alfred the Great (848/49 – 26 October 899) was king of the West Saxons from 871 to and king of the Anglo-Saxons from to 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex, Æthelwulf, who died when Alfred was young. Three of Alfred's ...
, written in 893 AD, its old name ''Bearrocscir'' takes its name from a wood of
box tree ''Buxus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also ref ...
s, which was called ''Bearroc'' (a
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...
word meaning "hilly"). This wood, perhaps no longer extant, was west of
Frilsham Frilsham is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish centred boxing the compass, NE of Newbury, Berkshire, Newbury, in the England, English county of Berkshire. It is a village near the Berkshire Downs, bisected by the M4 motorway, M ...
, near Abingdon. Much of the early history of the county is recorded in the ''Chronicles'' of the
Abingdon Abbey Abingdon Abbey was a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Catholic ...
, which at the time of the survey was second only to the crown in the extent and number of its possessions, such as
The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay The Abbey in Sutton Courtenay Sutton Courtenay is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is ...
. 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 I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to i ...

Elizabeth I
, and the shire court was held at
Grandpont Grandpont is a mainly residential area in south Oxford. It is west of Abingdon Road, and consists mainly of narrow streets that run at right angles to the main road, with terraced late-Victorian architecture, Victorian and Edwardian era, Edwardian ...
. The assizes were formerly held at Reading, Abingdon, and Newbury, but by 1911 were held entirely at Reading. Berkshire has been the scene of some notable battles throughout its history.
Alfred the Great Alfred the Great (848/49 – 26 October 899) was king of the West Saxons This is a list of monarchs of Wessex until 886 AD. For later monarchs, see the List of English monarchs. While the details of the later monarchs are confirmed by a numbe ...

Alfred the Great
's campaign against the
Danes Danes ( da, danskere, ) are a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a lang ...
included the battles of
EnglefieldEnglefield may refer to: Geography In England: * Englefield, Berkshire, a village in the county of Berkshire, England * Englefield Green, a village in the county of Surrey, England In Wales: * Englefield, an alternative name for the Cantref of Teg ...
,
Ashdown
Ashdown
and
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography An ...
.
Newbury Newbury may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Newbury, Berkshire, a town * Newbury (district), Berkshire, a district formed in 1974 * Newbury (UK Parliament constituency) * Newbury, Kent, a hamlet United States * Newbury, Connecticut, former name ...
was the site of two English Civil Warfare and other international groups have been battles: the
First Battle of Newbury The First Battle of Newbury was a battle of the First English Civil War The First English Civil War was fought in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land b ...
(at
Wash Common Wash Common is a small suburb to the south of Newbury, Berkshire. It is built on the former Newbury Wash, which was flat open heathland overlooking Newbury, and until the 19th century there was just a small group of houses separated from Newbury by ...
) in 1643 and the Second Battle of Newbury (at Speen) in 1644. The nearby
Donnington Castle Donnington Castle is a ruined medieval castle, situated in the small village of Donnington, just north of the town of Newbury Newbury may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Newbury, Berkshire, a town * Newbury (district), Berkshire, a district fo ...

Donnington Castle
was reduced to a ruin in the aftermath of the second battle. Another Battle of Reading took place on 9 December 1688. It was the only substantial military action in England during the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
and ended in a decisive victory for forces loyal to
William of Orange
William of Orange
.
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelli ...
became the new county town in 1867, taking over from Abingdon, which remained in the county. Under the
Local Government Act 1888 The Local Government Act 1888 (51 & 52 Vict. c.41) was an Act of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation, are texts of law passed by the Legislature, legislative body of a jurisdiction (often a parliament or ...
, Berkshire County Council took over functions of the Berkshire
Quarter Sessions The courts of quarter sessions or quarter sessions were local courts traditionally held at four set times each year in the Kingdom of England from 1388 (extending also to Wales following the Act of Union, 1536). They were also established in Scotlan ...
, covering the administrative county of Berkshire, which excluded the
county borough County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiabl ...
of
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography An ...
. Boundary alterations in the early part of the 20th century were minor, with Caversham from
Oxfordshire Oxfordshire is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), ...

Oxfordshire
becoming part of the Reading county borough and cessions in the
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
area. On 1 April 1974, Berkshire's boundaries changed under the
Local Government Act 1972 The Local Government Act 1972 (c. 70) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and ...
. Berkshire took over administration of
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...

Slough
and Eton and part of the former
Eton Rural District Eton was a rural district in the administrative counties of England, administrative county of Buckinghamshire, England. It was named after but did not contain Eton, Berkshire, Eton, which was an Urban district (Great Britain and Ireland), urban ...
from Buckinghamshire. The northern part of the county became part of
Oxfordshire Oxfordshire is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), ...

Oxfordshire
, with
Faringdon Faringdon is a historic market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it f ...
,
Wantage Wantage () is a historic market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it fr ...

Wantage
and Abingdon and their hinterland becoming the
Vale of White Horse The Vale of White Horse is a local government district of Oxfordshire Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from ''Oxonium'', the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-Europe ...
district, and
Didcot Didcot ( ) is a railway town A railway town, or railroad town, is a settlement that originated or was greatly developed because of a railway station Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and ...
and
WallingfordWallingford may refer to: Places * Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom **Wallingford Castle the castle * Wallingford, Connecticut, United States * Wallingford, Iowa, United States * Wallingford, Kentucky, United States * Wallingford, ...
added to
South Oxfordshire South Oxfordshire is a local government district in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from ''Oxonium'', the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branc ...
district. 94 (Berkshire Yeomanry) Signal Squadron still keep the
Uffington White Horse The Uffington White Horse is a Prehistoric Britain, prehistoric hill figure, long, formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. The figure is situated on the upper slopes of Whitehorse Hill, White Horse Hill in the English civi ...
in their insignia, even though the White Horse is now in Oxfordshire. The original Local Government White Paper would have transferred
Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares ...
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 The Local Government Commission for England was the body responsible for reviewing the structure of Local government in England, local government in England from 1992 to 2002. It was established under the Local Government Act 1992, replacing the ...
, and the districts became
unitary authorities A unitary authority is a local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized gove ...
. Unlike similar reforms elsewhere at the same time, the non-metropolitan county was not abolished. Signs saying "Welcome to the Royal County of Berkshire" exist on borders of West Berkshire, on the east side of
Virginia Water Virginia Water is a commuter town or village in northern Surrey Surrey () is a county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, East Sussex to the southeast, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the nort ...
, on the
M4 motorway The M4, originally the London-South Wales Motorway, is a motorway network. A controlled-access highway is a type of highway A highway is any public or private road or other public way on land. It is used for major roads, but also ...
, on the south side of
Sonning Bridge Sonning Bridge is a road bridge across the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital city, capital and L ...

Sonning Bridge
, on the A404 southbound by Marlow, and northbound on the A33 past
Stratfield Saye Stratfield Saye is a village and civil parish in the Basingstoke and Deane, Borough of Basingstoke and Deane and the England, English county of Hampshire. The parish includes the hamlets of West End Green, Fair Oak Green and Fair Cross. Etymology ...
. A was registered with the
Flag Institute The Flag Institute is an educational charity headquartered in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in ...
in 2017.


Geography

All of the county is drained by the Thames. Berkshire divides into two topological (and associated geological) sections: east and west of
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelli ...
. North-east Berkshire has the low calciferous (limestone) m-shaped bends of the Thames south of which is a broader, clayey, gravelly former watery plain or belt from Earley to Windsor and beyond, south, are parcels and belts of uneroded higher sands, flints, shingles and lightly acid soil and in the north of the
Bagshot Formation In geology, the Bagshot Beds are a series of sands and clays of shallow-water origin, some being fresh-water, some marine. They belong to the upper Eocene formation of the London Basin, London and Hampshire Basin, Hampshire basins, in England and ...
, north of
Surrey Surrey () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and R ...

Surrey
and
Hampshire Hampshire (, ; abbreviated to Hants) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain mod ...

Hampshire
.
Swinley Forest 300px, Track through Swinley Forest Swinley Forest is a large expanse of Crown Estate woodland mainly within the civil parishes of Windlesham in Surrey and Winkfield and Crowthorne in Berkshire, England. Coverage Situated to the south-west of Wi ...
also known as Bracknell Forest,
Windsor Great Park Windsor Great Park is a Royal Park of , including a deer park, to the south of the town of Windsor Windsor may refer to: Places Australia *Windsor, New South Wales ** Municipality of Windsor, a former local government area *Windsor, Queensl ...

Windsor Great Park
, Crowthorne and Stratfield Saye Woods have many pine, silver birch, and other lightly acid-soil trees. East of the grassy and wooded bends a large minority of East Berkshire's land mirrors the clay belt being of low elevation and on the left ('north') bank of the
Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known as the South, is an area of England consisting of its southernm ...
: Slough, Eton, Eton Wick, Wraysbury, Horton, and Datchet. In the heart of the county Reading's northern suburb Caversham is also on that bank but rises steeply into the
Chiltern Hills The Chiltern Hills is a chalk Chalk is a soft, white, porous Porosity or void fraction is a measure of the (i.e. "empty") spaces in a , and is a of voids over the total volume, between 0 and 1, or as a between 0% and 100%. Strictly spea ...
. Two main tributaries skirt past Reading, the Loddon and its sub-tributary the
BlackwaterBlackwater or Black Water may refer to: Health and ecology * Blackwater (coal), liquid waste from coal preparation * Blackwater (waste), wastewater containing feces, urine, and flushwater from flush toilets * Blackwater fever, an acute kidney diseas ...
draining parts of two counties south and the Kennet draining part of upland Wiltshire in the west. Heading west the reduced, but equally large, part of county becomes ever further from the Thames which flows from the north-north-west before the
Goring Gap The Goring Gap is the narrow valley, occupied by the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also kno ...

Goring Gap
; West Berkshire hosts the varying-width plain of the
River Kennet The Kennet is a tributary of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in Englan ...

River Kennet
rising to high chalk hills by way of and lower clay slopes and rises. To the south, the land crests along the boundary with
Hampshire Hampshire (, ; abbreviated to Hants) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain mod ...

Hampshire
; the highest parts of South-East and Eastern England taken together are here. The highest is
Walbury Hill Walbury Hill is a summit of the North Wessex Downs The North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB; ; AHNE) is an area of countryside File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural lan ...
at 297 m (974 ft). To the north of the Kennet are the
Berkshire Downs The Berkshire Downs are a range of chalk Chalk is a soft, white, porous Porosity or void fraction is a measure of the (i.e. "empty") spaces in a , and is a of voids over the total volume, between 0 and 1, or as a between 0% and 100%. ...
. This is hilly country, with smaller and well-wooded valleys those of the
Lambourn Lambourn is a large village and civil parish in West Berkshire. It lies just north of the M4 Motorway between Swindon Swindon () is a large town in Wiltshire, England, between Bristol, to the west, and Reading, Berkshire, Reading, the ...
, Pang, and their Thames sub-tributaries. The open upland areas vie with
Newmarket, Suffolk Newmarket is a market town in the English county (England), county of Suffolk, approximately north of London. It is generally considered the birthplace and global centre of thoroughbred horse race, thoroughbred horse racing. It is a major local b ...
for
horse racing Horse racing is an equestrian The word equestrian is a reference to Equestrianism, horseback riding, derived from Latin ' and ', "horse". Horseback riding (or Riding in British English) Notable examples of this are: *List of equestrian spo ...

horse racing
training and breeding centres and have good fields of barley, wheat, and other cereal crops.


Demography

According to 2003 estimates there were 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: the largest towns here are
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelli ...
,
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...

Slough
,
Bracknell Bracknell () is a large town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administr ...
,
Maidenhead Maidenhead is a market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collecti ...
, Woodley,
Wokingham Wokingham is a market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it from a vi ...
,
Windsor Windsor may refer to: Places Australia *Windsor, New South Wales ** Municipality of Windsor, a former local government area *Windsor, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland **Shire of Windsor, a former local government authority around Winds ...

Windsor
,
Earley Earley is a town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or the ...
, Sandhurst, and
Crowthorne Crowthorne is a large village and civil parish in the Bracknell Forest district of south-eastern Berkshire, England. It had a population of 6,711 at the United Kingdom Census 2001, 2001 census, which rose to 6,902 at the United Kingdom Census 2 ...
. West Berkshire is much more rural and sparsely populated, with far fewer towns: the largest are
Newbury Newbury may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Newbury, Berkshire, a town * Newbury (district), Berkshire, a district formed in 1974 * Newbury (UK Parliament constituency) * Newbury, Kent, a hamlet United States * Newbury, Connecticut, former name ...
,
Thatcham Thatcham is an historic market town in the county of Berkshire, England, centred 3 miles (5 km) east of Newbury, Berkshire, Newbury, 14 miles (24 km) west of Reading, Berkshire, Reading and 54 miles (87 km) west of London. Its popul ...
, and
Hungerford Hungerford is a historic market town and civil parishes in England, civil parish in Berkshire, England, west of Newbury, Berkshire, Newbury, east of Marlborough, Wiltshire, Marlborough, northeast of Salisbury and 60 miles (97 km) west of Londo ...
. In 1831, there were 146,234 people living in Berkshire; by 1901 the population had risen to 252,571 (of whom 122,807 were male and 129,764 were female). Below are the largest immigrant groups in 2011.


Governance

Berkshire, as a
ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of England to which lord-lieutenant, lord-lieutenants are appointed. Lega ...

ceremonial county
and
non-metropolitan county A non-metropolitan county, or colloquially, shire county, is a county-level entity in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the ...
, is one of four currently in England in that it has no council covering its entire area; rather it is divided into unitary authorities.
Berkshire County Council The Council of the Royal County of Berkshire, also known as the Berkshire County Council, was the top-tier local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. T ...
existed from 1889 to its 1998 abolition. Of the other English non-metropolitan counties, at present
Bedfordshire Bedfordshire (; abbreviated Beds) is a Counties of England, county in the East of England. It is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and a Historic counties of England, historic county, covered by three Unitary authorities of Engl ...

Bedfordshire
,
Cheshire Cheshire ( ;), archaically the County Palatine of Chester, is a historic and ceremonial county in northwest England North West England is one of nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office re ...

Cheshire
and
County Durham County Durham ( ) is a historic county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publishe ...
function in the same manner, although one of the unitary authorities within the latter has taken to itself the name Durham County Council, rather than the name "The Durham Council" that legislation also offered it. The ceremonial county has a
Lord Lieutenant A lord-lieutenant () is the British monarch's personal representative in each lieutenancy area Lieutenancy areas are the separate areas of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as ...
and a
High Sheriff A high sheriff is a ceremonial officer for each shrieval county of England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England an ...
. The
Lord Lieutenant of BerkshireThis is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant A lord-lieutenant ( ) is the British monarch's personal representative in each lieutenancy area of the United Kingdom. Historically, each lieutenant was responsible for organising the cou ...
is James Puxley, and the
High Sheriff of Berkshire The High Sheriff of Berkshire, in common with other counties, was originally the King's representative on taxation upholding the law in Saxon The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were ...
for 2018/19 is Graham Barker.


Local

As at 2015–2019 a
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
group of local councillors co-run the unitary authorities of
West Berkshire West Berkshire is a local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or local government districts to distinguish from unofficial city districts) are a level of subnational division of England used f ...
,
Windsor and Maidenhead The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is a Royal Borough The following list of place names with royal patronage in the United Kingdom includes both those granted a royal title or status by express wish of a specific monarch, and those with p ...
,
Wokingham Wokingham is a market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it from a vi ...
and
Bracknell Forest Bracknell Forest is one of six unitary authority areas within Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a Counties of England, county in South East England. One of the ho ...
with the employed executives. An equivalent group of
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
local councillors co-run
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelli ...
and
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...

Slough
.


Parliament

Since the last general election in 2017, six of the elected candidates (
MPs A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) ...
) have been Conservative and two (
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...
and Reading East) have been Labour. The prime minister between July 2016 and July 2019,
Theresa May Theresa Mary, Lady May (; ' Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as and from 2016 to 2019. May served as from 2010 to 2016 in the and has been the (MP) for in since . Ideologically, she identifies herself as ...

Theresa May
represents
Maidenhead Maidenhead is a market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collecti ...
, the geographically larger seat west of Slough.


Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross
value added In business, total value added is calculated by tabulating the unit value added (measured by summing unit profit Profit may refer to: Business and law * Profit (accounting) Profit, in accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the meas ...
of Berkshire at current basic prices published by the ''Office for National Statistics'' with figures in millions of British
pounds sterling The pound sterling (symbol: £; ISO code: GBP), known in some contexts simply as the pound or sterling, is the official currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the ...
. ; Notes # Components may not sum to totals due to rounding # Includes hunting and forestry # Includes energy and construction # Includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


Industry

Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelli ...
has a historical involvement in the information technology industry, largely as a result of the early presence in the town of sites of
International Computers Limited International Computers Limited (ICL) was a British computer hardware Computer hardware includes the physical parts of a computer, such as the computer case, case, central processing unit (CPU), Computer monitor, monitor, Computer mouse, mou ...
and
Digital Digital usually refers to something using discrete digits, often binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electr ...
. These companies have been swallowed by other groups, but their descendants,
Fujitsu is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational information and communications technology equipment and services corporation, established in 1935 and headquartered in Tokyo. Fujitsu is the world's sixth-largest Information technology, I ...

Fujitsu
and
Hewlett-Packard The Hewlett-Packard Company, commonly shortened to Hewlett-Packard ( ) or HP, was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California Palo Alto (; Spanish language, Spanish for "tall stick" ...

Hewlett-Packard
respectively, still have local operations. More recently
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
and
Oracle An oracle is a person or agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which go ...
have established multi-building campuses on the outskirts of Reading. Other technology companies with a presence in the town include
Huawei Technologies Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. ( ; ) is a Chinese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * ...
,
Agilent Technologies Agilent Technologies, Inc. is an American analytical instrumentation development and manufacturing company that offers its products and services to markets worldwide. Its global headquarters is located in Santa Clara, California Santa Clara ...
, Audio & Design (Recording) Ltd,
Bang & Olufsen Bang & Olufsen (B&O) (stylized as BANG & OLUFSEN) is a Danish high end consumer electronics Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, ...
,
Cisco Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multin ...
, ,
Ericsson (lit. "Telephone Stock Company of LM Ericsson"), commonly known as Ericsson, is a Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken pri ...

Ericsson
,
Harris Corporation Harris Corporation was an American technology company, defense contractor The arms industry, also known as the arms trade, is a global industry classification, industry which manufacturing, manufactures and sells weapons and military technolog ...
,
Intel Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personalit ...
,
Nvidia Nvidia CorporationOfficially written as NVIDIA and stylized in its logo as nVIDIA with the lowercase "n" the same height as the uppercase "VIDIA"; formerly stylized as ''n''VIDIA with a large italicized lowercase "n" on products from the mid 19 ...
,
Rockwell Collins Rockwell Collins was a multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal ...
, Sage,
SGI SGI may refer to: Companies *Saskatchewan Government Insurance Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is a Canada, Canadian insurance company and a Crown corporations, Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Saskatchewan. SGI's opera ...
, Symantec,
Symbol Technologies Symbol Technologies is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the Unite ...
,
Verizon Business Verizon Business (formerly known as Verizon Enterprise Solutions) is a division of Verizon Communications Verizon Communications Inc., commonly known as Verizon, is an American multinational telecommunications conglomerate and a corporat ...
,
Virgin Media Virgin Media is a British telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a dis ...

Virgin Media
,
Websense Forcepoint, an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. ...

Websense
,
Xansa Xansa plc, trading as Xansa, was a United Kingdom, British outsourcing and technology company, and was quoted on the London Stock Exchange until 17 October 2007 when the purchase of Xansa by Steria was completed and the company was delisted. Its ...
(now
Sopra Steria Sopra Steria is a Paris, France, Paris-based consulting, digital services, and software development company. In 2020, it had 46,000 employees in 25 countries, and generated €4.3 billion in revenue. History Timeline * 1968 – Creation of So ...
), and
Xerox Xerox Holdings Corporation (; also known simply as Xerox) is an American corporation that sells print and digital document An electronic document is any electronic media content (other than computer program A computer program is a collectio ...
. The financial company
ING Direct The ING Group ( nl, ING Groep) is a Dutch multinational corporation, multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Amsterdam. The three letters (ING) stand for "Internationale Nederlanden Groep". Its primary business ...
has its headquarters in Reading, as does the directories company
Yell Group Hibu (styled hibü), formerly Yell Group plc, is a Multinational corporation, multinational directories and internet services company headquartered in Reading, Berkshire, Reading, Berkshire, UK. It has operations in the United Kingdom (known as Ye ...
. The insurance company Prudential has an administration centre in the town.
PepsiCo PepsiCo, Inc. (commonly known as the Pepsi Company) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from mul ...

PepsiCo
and
Holiday Inn Holiday Inn is an American hospitality of hotel A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Facilities provided inside a hotel room may range from a modest-quality mattress in a small room to large sui ...
have offices. As with most major cities, Reading also has offices of the Big Four accounting firms
Deloitte Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (), commonly referred to as Deloitte, is a multinational corporation, multinational professional services network with offices in over 150 countries and territories around the world. Deloitte is one of the Big ...
,
KPMG KPMG International Limited (or simply KPMG) is a British-Dutch multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple ...

KPMG
,
Ernst & Young Ernst & Young Global Limited, doing business as EY, is a multinational corporation, multinational professional services Professional services network, network with headquarters in London, England. EY is one of the largest professional services ...
, and
PricewaterhouseCoopers PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...

PricewaterhouseCoopers
. The 110-year old charity
Berkshire Vision
is also located within Reading city centre. The global headquarters of
Reckitt Benckiser Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, trading as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular p ...

Reckitt Benckiser
and the UK headquarters of
Mars, Incorporated Mars, Incorporated is an American multinational manufacturer of confectionery Confectionery is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread ...
are based in
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...

Slough
. The European head offices of major IT companies
BlackBerry The blackberry is an edible fruit produced by many species in the genus ''Rubus'' in the family (biology), family Rosaceae, hybrids among these species within the subgenus ''Rubus'', and hybrids between the subgenera ''Rubus'' and ''Idaeobatus'' ...
,
CA Technologies CA Technologies, formerly known as CA, Inc. and Computer Associates International, Inc., is an American multinational corporation headquartered in San Jose, California. It is primarily known for its business-to-business (B2B) software with a pro ...
, are in the town. O2 has headquarters in four buildings. The town is home to the
National Foundation for Educational Research The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is an educational research Educational research refers to the systematic collection and analysis of data related to the field of education. Research may involve a variety of methods and ...
, which is housed in The Mere. Other major brands with offices in the town include
Nintendo is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. The company was founded in 1889 as by craftsman Fusajiro Yamauchi and originally produced handmade playing ca ...

Nintendo
,
Black & Decker Black+Decker Inc. is an American manufacturer of power tools, accessories, hardware, home improvement products, home appliances and fastening systems headquartered in Towson, Maryland, north of Baltimore, where the company was originally establish ...
,
Amazon Amazon usually refers to: * Amazons In Greek mythology, the Amazons (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαζόνες ''Amazónes'', singular Ἀμαζών ''Amazōn'') are portrayed in a number of ancient Greek, ancient epic poems and legends, such as the ...
,
HTC HTC Corporation ( zh, t=宏達國際電子股份有限公司, s=宏达国际电子股份有限公司, p=Hóngdá Guójì Diànzǐ Gǔfèn Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī, first=t) (High Tech Computer Corporation, literally ''Hongda International Electronics ...

HTC
,
SSE plc SSE plc (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy plc) is a multinational energy company headquartered in Perth, Scotland. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. SSE operates in the United Kingdom and ...
and
Abbey Business Centres Irvine Alan Stewart Laidlaw, Baron Laidlaw (born 22 December 1942 in Keith, Banffshire, Scotland) is a British businessman, and a former member of the House of Lords The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United King ...
. Dulux paints are still manufactured in Slough by
AkzoNobel Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch ...
, which bought
Imperial Chemical Industries Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was a British chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday obje ...
in 2008.
Bracknell Bracknell () is a large town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administr ...
is a base for high-tech industries, with the presence of companies such as
Panasonic formerly is a major Japanese multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate company, headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, Osaka. It was founded by Kōnosuke Matsushita in 1918 as a lightbulb ...

Panasonic
,
Fujitsu is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational information and communications technology equipment and services corporation, established in 1935 and headquartered in Tokyo. Fujitsu is the world's sixth-largest Information technology, I ...

Fujitsu
(formerly ICL) and Fujitsu-Siemens Computers,
Dell Dell is an American company A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, ...

Dell
,
Hewlett-Packard The Hewlett-Packard Company, commonly shortened to Hewlett-Packard ( ) or HP, was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California Palo Alto (; Spanish language, Spanish for "tall stick" ...

Hewlett-Packard
,
Siemens Siemens AG ( ) is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...

Siemens
(originally Nixdorf),
Honeywell Honeywell International Inc. is an American public company, publicly traded, multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It primarily operates in four are ...

Honeywell
, Cable & Wireless, Avnet Technology Solutions and
Novell Novell, Inc. was an American software and services company headquartered in Provo, Utah Provo is the third-largest city in Utah, United States. It is south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Provo is the largest city and county se ...

Novell
. Firms subsequently spread into the surrounding
Thames Valley The Thames Valley is an informally-defined sub-region of South East England South East England is one of the nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub- ...

Thames Valley
or
M4 corridor The M4 corridor is an area in the United Kingdom adjacent to the M4 motorway, which runs from London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city ...
, attracting IT firms such as Cable and Wireless, DEC (subsequently
Hewlett-Packard The Hewlett-Packard Company, commonly shortened to Hewlett-Packard ( ) or HP, was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California Palo Alto (; Spanish language, Spanish for "tall stick" ...

Hewlett-Packard
),
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
, Sharp Telecommunications,
Oracle Corporation Oracle Corporation is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...
,
Sun Microsystems Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Sun for short) was an American technology company that sold computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. M ...
and
Cognos Cognos (Cognos Incorporated) was an Ottawa, Ontario-based company (law), company making business intelligence (BI) and performance management (PM) software. Founded in 1969, at its peak Cognos employed almost 3,500 people and served more than 23, ...
. Bracknell is also home to the central
Waitrose Waitrose & Partners (formally Waitrose Limited) is a brand of British supermarkets, founded in 1904 as Waite, Rose & Taylor, later shortened to Waitrose. It was acquired in 1937 by employee-owned retailer John Lewis Partnership The John Lewis ...

Waitrose
distribution centre and head office, which is on a site on the Southern Industrial Estate. Waitrose has operated from the town since the 1970s. The town is also home to the UK headquarters of Honda Motors Europe and
BMW Group Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, commonly referred to as BMW (), is a German multinational corporation which produces luxury vehicle A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality, performance, a ...

BMW Group
.
Newbury Newbury may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Newbury, Berkshire, a town * Newbury (district), Berkshire, a district formed in 1974 * Newbury (UK Parliament constituency) * Newbury, Kent, a hamlet United States * Newbury, Connecticut, former name ...
is home to the world headquarters of the
mobile network operator A mobile network operator (MNO), also known as a wireless service provider, wireless carrier, cellular company, or mobile network carrier, is a provider of wireless communications Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context all ...
Vodafone Vodafone Group Plc () is a British Multinational corporation, multinational telecommunications company. Its registered office and global headquarters are in Newbury, Berkshire, England. It predominantly operates services in Asia, Africa, Europe ...
, which is the town's largest employer with over 6,000 people. Before moving to their £129 million headquarters in the outskirts of the town in 2002, Vodafone used 64 buildings spread across the town centre. As well as Vodafone, Newbury is also home to
National Instruments NI, formerly National Instruments Corporation, is an American multinational company with international operation. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it is a producer of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software. Common appl ...
,
Micro Focus Micro Focus International plc is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multin ...
, EValue, NTS Express Road Haulage, Jokers' Masquerade and Quantel. It also is home to the Newbury Building Society, which operates in the region. In Compton, Berkshire, Compton, a small village, roughly 10 miles from Newbury, a chemical manufacturing company called Carbosynth was founded, in 2006. Since 2019, it has merged with a Swiss company called Biosynth AG to form a key global organisation within the fine chemical industry and operates under name Biosynth Carbosynth®. Heathrow Airport, London Heathrow Airport, in the neighbouring London Borough of Hillingdon, is a major contributor to the economy of
Slough Slough () is a large town in Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other pu ...

Slough
in east Berkshire.


Agricultural produce

Abingdon Abbey Abingdon Abbey was a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Catholic ...
once had dairy-based monastic grange, granges in the south-east of the county, Red Windsor (Cheese), Red Windsor cheese was developed with red marbling. Some Berkshire cheeses are Wigmore, Waterloo Cheese, Waterloo and Spenwood (named after Spencers Wood) in Riseley, Berkshire, Riseley; and Barkham Blue, Barkham Chase and Loddon Blewe at Barkham.


Sport


Horse racing

Berkshire hosts more Conditions races, Group 1 flat horse races than any other county. Ascot Racecourse is used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 13 of the UK's 35 annual Group 1 races. The course is closely associated with the British Royal Family, being approximately from
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a at in the English county of . It is strongly associated with the and succeeding , and embodies almost a millennium of . The original castle was built in the 11th century after the by . Since the time of (who re ...

Windsor Castle
, and owned by the Crown Estate. Ascot today stages twenty-five days of racing over the course of the year, comprising sixteen Flat racing, flat meetings held between May and October. The Royal Meeting, held in June, remains a major draw; the highlight is the Ascot Gold Cup. The most prestigious race is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes run in July. Newbury Racecourse is in the civil parishes in England, civil parish of Greenham, adjoining the town of Newbury. It has courses for flat races and over jumps. It hosts one of Great Britain's 32 Group 1 races, the Lockinge Stakes. It also hosts the Ladbrokes Trophy, which is said to be the biggest handicap race of the National Hunt season apart from the Grand National. Windsor Racecourse, also known as Royal Windsor Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in
Windsor Windsor may refer to: Places Australia *Windsor, New South Wales ** Municipality of Windsor, a former local government area *Windsor, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland **Shire of Windsor, a former local government authority around Winds ...

Windsor
. It is one of only two figure-of-eight courses in the United Kingdom. (The other is at Fontwell Park Racecourse, Fontwell Park). It abandoned National Hunt jump racing in December 1998, switching entirely to flat racing. Lambourn also has a rich history in horse racing, the well drained, spongy grass, open downs and long flats make the Lambourn Downs ideal for training racehorses. This area of West Berkshire is the largest centre of racehorse training in the UK after Newmarket, Suffolk, Newmarket, and is known as the 'Valley of the Racecourse'.


Football

Reading F.C. is the only Berkshire football club to play professional association football, football. Despite being founded in 1871, the club did not join the Football League until 1920, and first played in the top tier of English football in the 2006–07 in English football, 2006–07 season. Newbury was home to A.F.C. Newbury, which was for a period one of only two football clubs to be sponsored by Vodafone (the other being Manchester United F.C., Manchester United). In May 2006 Vodafone ended its sponsorship of the club, following which the club collapsed. A local pub team from the Old London Apprentice took over the ground temporarily and now compete in the Hellenic Football League as Newbury F.C. There are several amateur and semi-professional football clubs in the county. These include Maidenhead United, Slough Town F.C., Slough Town, Thatcham Town F.C., Thatcham Town, Ascot United F.C., Ascot United, A.F.C. Aldermaston, Sandhurst Town F.C., Sandhurst Town, Windsor F.C., Wokingham & Emmbrook F.C., Bracknell Town F.C. and Reading City F.C., Reading City.


Rugby

Reading is a centre for rugby union, rugby union football, with the Aviva Premiership team London Irish as tenants at the Madejski Stadium. Newbury's rugby union club, Newbury R.F.C. (the Newbury 'Blues'), is based in the town. In the 2004–05 season, the club finished second in the National Two division earning promotion to National One. Newbury had previously won National Four South (now renamed as National Three South) in 1996–97 with a 100% win record. In 2010–11 the club finished bottom of National League 2S, with a single win and twenty-nine defeats. The club was founded in 1928 and in 1996 moved to a new purpose-built ground at Monks Lane, which has since hosted England U21 fixtures.


Ice hockey

The Bracknell Bees, Bracknell Bees Ice Hockey Club are former national champions, who play in the English Premier Ice Hockey League, English Premier League. Slough Jets also play in the English Premier Ice Hockey League, English Premier League winning the title in 2007. Slough Jets also won the play-offs in 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10 & 2011–12. they have finished in the top 4 in the last 9 seasons. They also won the EPIH Cup in 2010–11. Slough Jets have been in the EPIHL since 1999.


Hockey

Slough Hockey Club is home to the Slough Ladies 1XI who play in the Women's Premier League. Slough Hockey club has 5 adult teams; the Ladies 1XI play in the top tier of English Hockey, the Ladies 2XI play in the TrySports League, the Men's 1XI play in MBBO Regional 1, the Men's 2XI play in MBBO Division 3 & the Men's Swifts (3XI) in MBBO Division 6. There are other hockey teams in the county: Reading Hockey Club, Sonning Hockey Club, Wokingham Hockey Club, Maidenhead Hockey Club, Bracknell Hockey Club, Windsor Hockey Club, Newbury & Thatcham Hockey Club and Reading University Hockey Club.


Education

Berkshire is home to the following universities: the University of Reading (which includes the Henley Business School), Imperial College (Silwood Park Campus), and the University of West London. It is also home to The Chartered Institute of Marketing, prestigious independent schools Ludgrove School, Eton College and Wellington College, Berkshire, Wellington College, and several grammar schools including Reading School, Kendrick School and Herschel Grammar School.


Towns and villages

''See the List of places in Berkshire, List of settlements in Berkshire by population and the List of civil parishes in Berkshire''


Notable people

Berkshire has many notable people associated with it. * Henry I of England, King Henry I of England (1068/1069–1135; founded and buried at Reading Abbey) * Edward III of England, King Edward III of England (b. 1312–1377; one of the most successful List of the monarchs of the Kingdom of England, English monarchs of the Britain in the Middle Ages, Middle Ages) * Henry VI of England, King Henry VI of England (1421–1471; King of England, born at Windsor Castle, Windsor) * Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Prince Albert Victor (1864–1892; eldest son of Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII) * Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (b. 1982; spouse of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge) * Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth (1757–1844; former prime minister; donor of land for Royal Berkshire Hospital) * George Alexander (actor), George Alexander (1858–1918; actor and theatre manager) * Jane Austen (1775–1817; author) * Francis Baily (1774–1844; astronomer) * Lucy Benjamin (1970; actress) * Michael Bond (1926–2017; author, creator of Paddington Bear) * Kenneth Branagh (b. 1960; actor & film director) * Charlie Brooker (b. 1971; journalist) * Richard Burns (1971–2005; rally driver) * David Cameron (b. 1966; former prime minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
from December 2005 to July 2016) * Jimmy Carr (b. 1972; comedian) * Emilia Clarke (b. 1986; actress) * Emma Crosby (1977; television presenter) * Natalie Dormer (b. 1982; actress, screenwriter, producer) * Polly Elwes (1928 – 1987; television reporter and announcer) * Uri Geller (b. 1946; mentalist) * Ricky Gervais (b. 1961; comedian) * Dani Harmer (b. 1989; actress) * Chesney Hawkes (b. 1971; pop singer) * Lenny Henry (b. 1958; comedian) * Dan Howell (b. 1991; professional video blog, vlogger and BBC Radio 1 presenter) * Nicholas Hoult (b. 1989; actor) * Kate Humble (b. 1968; television presenter) * Joseph Huntley (b. 1775; innovative biscuit maker; founder of Huntley & Palmers) * Elton John (b. 1947; lives in
Old Windsor Old Windsor is a large village and civil parishes in England, civil parish, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It is bounded by the River Thames to the east and the Windsor Great Park to the west. Etymology T ...
) * Peter Jones (entrepreneur), Peter Jones (b. 1966; entrepreneur) * John Kendrick (cloth merchant), John Kendrick (1573–1624; merchant and mayor) * William Laud (1573–1645; former archbishop of Canterbury) * Suzanna Leigh (b. 1945; actress) * Jeremy Kyle (b. 1965; British radio and television presenter, best known for hosting his own daytime show ''The Jeremy Kyle Show'') * Lesley Langley (Miss United Kingdom 1965 and Miss World 1965) * Camilla Luddington (1983; actress) * John Madejski (b. 1941; entrepreneur and philanthropist) * Sam Mendes (b. 1965; director) * Tony McCoy, A. P. McCoy (b. 1974; jockey and winner of the 2010 Grand National and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year) * William Penn (1644–1718; founder of Pennsylvania) * Alexander Pope (1688–1744; poet) * Alexander Prior (b. 1992; composer and conductor) * Lawrie Sanchez (b. 1959; former footballer and manager) * Ayrton Senna (1960–1994; racing driver, Formula One champion) * Mark Stephens (solicitor), Mark Stephens (b.
Old Windsor Old Windsor is a large village and civil parishes in England, civil parish, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It is bounded by the River Thames to the east and the Windsor Great Park to the west. Etymology T ...
1957), solicitor and broadcaster, mediator, writer, educator and patron of the arts * Jethro Tull (agriculturist), Jethro Tull (1674–1741; agriculturist) * Chris Tarrant (b. 1946; radio broadcaster and host of ''Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (UK game show), Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'') * Theo Walcott (b. 1989; footballer, originally for A.F.C. Newbury) * Neil Webb (b. 1963; professional footballer) * Oscar Wilde (1854–1900; poet and playwright, author of ''The Ballad of Reading Gaol'', and prisoner in Reading (HM Prison), Reading Gaol) * Kate Winslet (b. 1975; actress) * Will Young (b. 1979; singer-songwriter)


Places of interest


See also

* Berkshire (UK Parliament constituency) * Berkshire Record Office * Custos Rotulorum of Berkshire


References

*


External links

*
BBC Berkshire website

Photographs of Berkshire

Berkshire Enclosure Maps
Digital copies of Berkshire enclosure maps and awards 1738–1883 *
Images of Berkshire
at the English Heritage Archive {{Authority control Berkshire, Non-metropolitan counties South East England Places with royal patronage in England Ceremonial counties of England Home counties Counties of England established in antiquity