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Reading, Berkshire

Full nameReading
Settlement typeTown & Borough
MottoA Deo et Regina
With God and Queen
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Ceremonial countyBerkshire
Admin HQReading
Settled871 or earlier
Town Status1086 or earlier
TypeUnitary authorities
Governing bodiesReading Borough Council, but also including parts of Wokingham Borough and West Berkshire
Elevation200.1 ft (61 m)
Total Population232,662 (Ranked 21st in UK) ( )
Density (pop.)4203/km2 (10885.8/sq mi)
Borough  (Ranked  )
Ethnicity82.0% White (74.2% White British)
8.4% South Asian
4.3 % Black
2.7% Mixed Race
1.1% Chinese
1.5% Other
Other information
Time zoneGMT (UTC+0)
- Summer (DST)BST (UTC+1)
Postal CodeRG
Area code0118
Grid Ref. 
ONS code00MC
ISO 3166-2GB-RDG

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Reading (c-enaudio=en-uk-Reading is a large town and unitary authority area in England. It is located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway, some 40 mi (64.4 km) west of London.

The town's urban population was 232,662 at the 2001 Census; the Borough of Reading has a population of 145,700 (2008 estimate). The town is currently represented in the UK parliament by two members, and has been continuously represented there since 1295. For ceremonial purposes the town is in the county of Berkshire and has served as its county town since 1867, previously sharing this status with Abingdon.

The first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century. Reading was an important centre in the medieval period, as the site of Reading Abbey, a monastery with strong royal connections. The town was seriously impacted by the Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, and played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688, with that revolution's only significant military action fought on the streets of the town. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing, baking and seed growing businesses.

Today Reading is a commercial centre, with involvement in information technology and insurance, and, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow. The town is also a retail centre serving a large area of the Thames Valley, and is home to the University of Reading. Every year it hosts the Reading Festival, one of England's biggest music festivals. Sporting teams based in Reading include Reading Football Club and the London Irish rugby union team, and over 15,000 runners annually compete in the Reading Half Marathon.

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