Coley, Berkshire

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Wolseley Street, Reading.jpg
Wolseley Street and Coley Primary School
Coley is located in Berkshire
Location within Berkshire
OS grid referenceSU709728
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Historic countyBerkshire
PoliceThames Valley
FireRoyal Berkshire
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
51°26′58″N 0°58′43″W / 51.449423°N 0.978607°W / 51.449423; -0.978607Coordinates: 51°26′58″N 0°58′43″W / 51.449423°N 0.978607°W / 51.449423; -0.978607

Coley is an inner-town district near the centre of the town of Reading, in the English county of Berkshire. It is often referred to as Old Coley, to distinguish it from the adjacent, and much more recent, suburb of Coley Park.

The district has no formal boundaries, but the historically the name referred to the area roughly bounded by Castle Street, Castle Hill and the Bath Road to the north, Berkeley Avenue to the south and west, and the River Kennet and Bridge Street to the east. Coley is bordered to its south and west by Coley Park, to its north by West Reading, and to its east by Katesgrove and the Inner Distribution Road.

The district lies entirely within the borough of Reading, within Minster and Abbey wards. It is within the Reading West parliamentary constituency.[1]

Coley is split between the Church of England parishes of All Saints Church and St Giles' Church, although neither church is actually within the district.[2][3]

The Berkshire Record Office is located in Coley Avenue near to the junction with Bath Road.

Coley formerly had a railway goods yard, the Reading Central Goods station, which was connected to the main line at Southcote Junction by the Coley branch line. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Phoebe Cusden, a notable socialist, peace campaigner and Mayor of Reading, lived all her life in Coley. In 1977 she published Coley: Portrait of an Urban Village, a history of the suburb.[8]

Old Coley housed one of Reading's largest slum communities, built in the area between Wolseley St and Castle St. Centred around the Coley Steps, courts and back-to-back housing accommodated a population of about 1,500. The slums were eventually cleared in the 1930s, with residents rehoused in the new council estates of Whitley and Norcot. In 1989 the Coley Local History Group recorded the memories of its residents in two publications "Talking of Coley" (ISBN 0951593307, 1990) and "More Talking of Coley" (1991)


  1. ^ "RBC Wards 2004 A4" (PDF). Reading Borough Council. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  2. ^ "All Saints, Reading". Church of England - A Church Near You. Retrieved 14 February 2008.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "S Giles, Reading". Church of England - A Church Near You. Retrieved 14 February 2008.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Coley Park & Beyond - Rambling along the Coley branch line". Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  5. ^ "70K Coley Park". 12 June 2000. Retrieved 6 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ John Copsey; Chris Turner (Spring 2010). "Reading Central Goods Depot (Coley Branch)". Great Western Railway Journal. 10 (74): 84–117. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  7. ^ Matthews, Rupert (2006). Lost Railways of Berkshire. Newbury: Countryside Books. ISBN 1-85306-990-6.
  8. ^ Cusden, Pheobe (1977). Coley: Portrait of an Urban Village. Workers Educational Association, Reading branch. ISBN 0903810026.