THE world record for smashing pianos, held by American firefighters, was nearly broken by teams from the Reading area in 1966.

The eventual winners, “The Mortimer Mashers”, had to break each piano into nine-inch sized pieces using only hand tools, axes and sledgehammers.

The spectacle of old pianos being broken into little bits, attracted a crowd of over 1,500 to Whiteknights Park fete.

Reading FC began their League Cup campaign in 1966 with a bruising match against Watford, during which the Royals conceded a controversial goal.

Goalkeeper Mike Dixon, was knocked unconscious after a mid-air collision with Watford player Terry Melling, leaving an open goal for the Hornets striker Dennis Bond.

Despite furious protests to the referee, Mr. Clarke, the goal stood and Reading eventually equalised in the second half, to take the tie back to Elm Park for a replay.

The prospect of having the same referee for the return fixture did not please either club’s managers, branding his poor decisions as “confusing.”

Aldermaston Court, built in 1851, was to get a new lease of life as an education college 54 years ago, after the sites previous owners shut down “Merlin”, Britain’s first privately-owned atomic research reactor.

The 138 acres of grounds had previously been occupied by two historic mansions, dating back to 1066, with the first Royal visitor being William the Conqueror.

In the following centuries Henry I, (founder of Reading Abbey), Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, were all lavishly entertained at Aldermaston when they visited.

Despite dull and showery weather, more than 8,000 people flocked to Hatch Gate Farm for the Hurst Horticultural Society’s 54th annual show.

A big programme of entertainment included a spectacular display of trick riding on motorcycles by the Mercury Riders, a tug-of-war tournament and a parade of steam engines.

Interestingly, the Reading Mercury (soon to be renamed as the Chronicle) printed an extremely long list of the winners in the flower show, which today would be posted online.

Two replica aircraft, that had previously starred in the iconic 1960’s movie “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” were dusted off and used by the BBC to stage a two lap “race” at Booker airfield.

The filming, which starred Billy “Wakey, Wakey” Cotton and his famous radio show “chucker-out”, Reggie Johnson, involved hoisting the two aircraft up on a 50-foot crane to simulate the air race.

A real-life drama took place on the River Thames, near Bisham, when five-year-old Ian Bond, fell from side of a pleasure launch called Gay Philanderer II.

But his quick-thinking au pair, Waltraud Schone, managed to drag the drowning youngster to the riverbank and give him artificial respiration, Ian was then rushed to Maidenhead Hospital where he made a full recovery.