Reading Chronicle: Famous Faces
Famous faces cropped up frequently in the pages of the Berkshire Chronicle between 1938 and 1964. Reading’s close proximity to London and its local amenities were highly attractive to those seeking to expand their public profile, support charity events or promote projects they were involved with.
Reading’s theatres and cinemas such as The Everyman on London Street, the Progress Theatre on The Mount and the Odeon Cinema on Cheapside attracted well-known film and television actors and actresses to the town, including Alec Baldwin, Margaret Rutherford, Richard Todd, Donald Sinden, Valerie Hobson, Jack Warner, Barbara Kelly and Wilfred Pickles. Meanwhile the Olympia Ballroom on London Street, the Majestic Ballroom on Caversham Road and the Town Hall on Blagrave Street attracted performances by the likes of Screaming Lord Sutch and his band, The Savages, and Jimmy Shand’s traditional Scottish band, as well as more local and amateur groups.
Sporting stars of the day, such as cricketers Peter May, Stuart Surridge, Jim Laker and Ken Barrington, also made appearances in the popular Berkshire town, whilst boxer Joe Louis boxed a three round exhibition contest with Corporal Elzez ‘Tommy’ Thompson at Elm Park (the old ground of Reading FC).
Reading also attracted authors including Enid Blyton, Richard Gordon and Monica Dickens (the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens) who promoted their new books and characters and signed autographs at events held at W.H. Smith on Broad Street and William Smith’s on London Street.
Look out for more famous faces outside the Reading Chronicle Collection too!