READING Magistrates' Court was coping with over 300 poll tax protesters massing outside its doors as 150 defaulting cases were proceeding in 1990.

Protest organisers reduced the magistrate machinery to a crawl with legal arguments and massed protests inside and outside, with crowds holding banners and chanting anti-poll tax songs.

The prospects for more disruption in the coming weeks was also likely as 9,000 similar cases of deliberate non-payment were due to be heard.

The future of one of Reading’s most iconic landmarks, the former Huntley and Palmers building in the Kings Road, was causing concern 28 years ago.

The red-brick structure was gifted to the town by its former owners, Nabisco, but was now being earmarked as potential offices by Reading Borough Council.

A group of local artists called ‘Biscuit Base’ had briefly been taken over the building and wanted it to be turned into a community arts centre.

Council Leader Mike Orton told the Chronicle:” We want it to be used by voluntary groups with an element of commercial use, rather than letting it stand empty.”

A huge underground maze of tunnels 60 feet beneath Emmer Green was being surveyed by a team of specialists in 1990, but the working party had to admit the mystery caverns had thrown up more questions than answers.

The chalk mines had been left empty for the past century, after the last rock had been extracted, leaving gigantic caves, that in some places were as high as two double-decker buses.

Chief engineer Harry Walmsley told the Chronicle:” I have a theory that there is also a tunnel, which we have yet to find, that led all the way to Reading Abbey.”

The staff and parents at Rhanikhet School, Tilehurst, were scratching their heads with bewilderment at the results of a survey into the siting of a new zebra crossing nearby.

Hundreds of pupils were having to daily run the gauntlet of traffic whilst crossing Water Road and Dee Road, but the officials had only counted the adults in their survey.

School headmaster, Philip Aldridge told the Chronicle:” Sometime there’s going to be an accident there and I would certainly be in favour of some crossing away from the main junction.”

Children across the UK were in the grip of ‘Turtle fever’ in 1990 and supplies of toys were running low, so when a local store got a new delivery 700 eager youngsters arrived to snap them up.

The queue started at 7am before the shop opened, and many of the happy fans of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles posed happily for the Chronicle photographer.

When local television star, Felix Bowness, arrived to open an Autumn Fair in Southcote he promptly saddled up onto a shire horse, but there was a ‘small’ problem with getting on to ‘Prince’, but this was quickly solved by using a step-ladder.