The future of one of Reading’s old buildings was hanging in the balance in 1975, as Reading Borough Council’s planners wrestled with ‘improving’ its town centre or preserving one of its historic structures.

The Reading Dispensary, Chain Street, was standing in the way of plans to expand the Heelas department store increasing its shop floor space.

Although members of the Dispensary Trust were putting on a ‘brave face’, they were sounding out developers to keep the façade of the building intact.

A new kind of pelican crossing opened on the Kennet and Avon Canal 44 years ago, on a notorious stretch of the waterway, between High Bridge and County Lock.

The ‘traffic light’ system would, it was hoped, help boats navigate a narrow bend by a push-button request control, so that only one vessel would be navigating the area concerned.

The lights were formally opened by Capt. Lionel Munk, Chairman of the South East Region of the Inland Waterways Association, who had donated a major part of the money for the scheme in memory of his late wife.

After the unveiling of a plaque, vessels from the Burghfield Boat Club went on an inaugural trip through the section of the canal.

The grounds of Stratfield Saye House were the setting for celebrations to mark the 160th anniversary of the great battle of Waterloo in 1815.

A spectacular fight was re-enacted in the grounds of the Duke of Wellington’s former home, which was presented to the ‘Iron Duke’ by a grateful nation- two years after his famous victory.

As night fell a special firework display, witnessed by thousands of spectators, was set off in time with a musical concert entitled “The Battle of Waterloo”.

19-year-old Philippa Newman took her compassion for animal welfare all the way to 10 Downing Street in 1975, when she organised a petition of 1,550 signatures to be handed in to the government.

The groups Compassion of World Farming and the Animal Protection Trust joined with her and members of Winnersh Labour Party to form a new association to co-ordinate their efforts to stop live animal exports. Speaking to the Chronicle on her return from London, Philippa said: “We’ve got to stop the export of these live animals, the suffering they endure is beyond belief.”

Dozens of newly planted trees were vandalised on the Katesgrove Housing Estate in Whitley Street since they were planted, three months previously.

Over half of the 80 saplings originally planted remained in good condition whilst the others had been broken and bent, stripped of their leaves or pulled up by their roots.

Here at Bygones HQ we are always keeping an eye on our property portfolio and discovered an estate agent’s advert from 1975, advertising a five bedroom “mature family house” in Caversham Heights.

The price?... £18,500!