Union Street, Reading

Coordinates: 51°27′22.58″N 0°58′24.04″W / 51.4562722°N 0.9733444°W / 51.4562722; -0.9733444
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Union Street
Smelly Alley
View north in 2007
LocationReading, Berkshire, UK
Postal codeRG1
Coordinates51°27′22.58″N 0°58′24.04″W / 51.4562722°N 0.9733444°W / 51.4562722; -0.9733444

Union Street, also known locally as Smelly Alley, is a pedestrian alley in the centre of the English town of Reading. It is lined with small shops and other retail outlets, and connects Broad Street and Friar Street. The name Smelly Alley came about in the 1940s, as there were many butchers and greengrocers, as well as two wet fish shops. In the 1970s there were four butchers, two greengrocers and two wet fish shops; also a baker's shop, two record shops, a hi-fi shop, a shop selling jeans, a cafe, a roast chicken shop, a chocolate shop and a hardware shop.

The name Smelly Alley comes from the presence of the long-established Frosts, a fishmongers.[1] 2019 saw the closure of Frosts, considered the last of the ‘smelly’ shops.[2] The Grumpy Goat, a cheese and beer shop, opened on the street in 2020. The owners were quoted in local media as looking to make ‘Smelly Alley smelly again’ [3]


  1. ^ "Could Reading be City Of Culture?". BBC News. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  2. ^ Markson, Tevye (11 July 2019). "'Daft' to rename iconic street Smelly Alley". BerkshireLive. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  3. ^ Canning-Lite, Tom (17 October 2020). "The Reading independent hoping to make Smelly Alley pong again". BerkshireLive. Retrieved 14 February 2022.

External links[edit]

Media related to Union Street, Reading at Wikimedia Commons