AFTER being based in Kings Road, Reading, for over 61 years, Julians car showroom moved to a new £250,000 premises in Portman Road.

The family business was one of the last independent garages in Berkshire, and had outgrown their previous site, the new ‘one-off’, custom-built building had been designed with the help of British Leyland.

Over 120 piles had been driven into the soil, at a depth of 40 feet, to stabilise the two-storey structure on the Battle Farm Trading Estate.

Managing director, Peter Giles, told the Chronicle: “We decided that a site was required that could hold down our costs and following the national trend we moved out of town, but near enough to the centre to be accessible.”

Reading Corporation’s bus depot in Mill Lane (now part of the Oracle Shopping Centre), dealt with a potentially catastrophic fire in 1971, when a single-decker bus caught fire in the middle of the depot.

Despite prompt action from staff, the fire quickly took hold, threatening to spread to a fuel tank containing 300 gallons of fuel, which would have potentially torched 20 buses standing nearby.

During the rescue operation several people were overcome by smoke, with an emergency crew member being caught in the blast of an exploding tyre.

By the time the fire service arrived in four appliances, all the buses had been moved to a safer place, not before the blazing vehicle had severely damaged the roof of the depot.

Keen sea angler, Pamela Symonds from Sonning Common, set a new record when she hooked a bass in Poole Harbour in 1971.

The monster fish weighed in at an impressive six-and-a-half pounds and was almost a yard in length, providing Pamela with a chance of winning a competition organised by a well-known fishing publication.

“Congratulations, Elizabeth and Margaret”, was the message written across a large celebration cake in the Shinfield Community Centre, as the local guides group celebrated two of their members receiving Queen’s Guides certificates.

The Arborfield Divisional Commissioner, Anne Pitman, made the presentations to Elizabeth Hoyle, 13 and Margaret Lang, 14, and then helped to cut the cake into 24 pieces for the assembled company.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Stafford Burt, who lived in Whitley Wood, was the first visitor to call on Santa Claus in the Co-operative store in Reading, although the festive season was still nearly two months away.