On Saturday, 5 November, 2011 The Reading Quiz Book and Bizarre Berkshire were launched at Waterstone’s in the Oracle (Reading, UK). For a chance to win free copies of the books, customers had the chance to participate in two short quizzes to test their knowledge of town and county. How well would you have done on those quizzes?
Here are the questions…..and the answers!
Q: The novelist Ian McEwan’s baby brother was given away for adoption on Reading station in 1942.
A: True: little David was advertised in the local press.
Q: Queen Victoria’s statue outside the Town Hall faces the station because she didn’t like Reading and wanted to get home to Windsor.
A: False: Reading’s most popular urban myth. She never came here, and the Council decided her orientation.
Q: When Caversham Bridge was rebuilt in 1869 the adjacent ferryman’s house was moved 25 feet with the family inside.
A: False: it did move, but only 8 feet, with no passengers on board.
Q: The Rolling Stones performed at the Concert Hall on 12 December 1963 for a £200 fee.
A: True: the contract required the Council to provide a piano and microphone equipment.
Q: The Forbury lion shows the animal in an impossible stance, and when the sculptor realised his error he committed suicide.
A: False: our second most popular myth. George Simonds spent weeks studying lions at London Zoo, and lived for another 40 years.
Q: At Caversham Court there is a garden wall with built-in heating flues to help delicate plants.
A: True: you can see the tops of the flues from The Warren.
Q: No. 19 Bridge Street was designed by John Soane for the brewer W B Simonds.
A: False: The 1790s Soane house, closer to the Kennet, was demolished along with his brewery in 1900.
Q: A chalybeate spring discovered in Surley Row led to the establishment of Caversham Spa.
A: True: it was behind the big white house called Springfield. The spa didn’t survive.
Q: After World War I residents of Blenheim Road and Liebenrood Road asked the Council to change the names of their streets.
A: True: one feared the names sounded too German. The Council refused the requests.
Q: Charles Dickens was briefly MP for Reading.
A: False: he did read from his works at what is now the Great Expectations hotel, and was invited to stand for election, but declined.
Q: What is the name of the stuffed creature that can be found on platform 5 at Slough station?
A: Station Jim the dog, who collected money for the Great Western Railway’s Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund.
Q: Which Berkshire church has an insect painted onto a window?
A: Bucklebury; it’s in the chancel.
Q: What famous document was signed under a great tree near Staines?
A: Magna Carta, under the Angkerwyke Yew.
Q: What was the name of the house at Bray used as a set for many horror films?
A: Oakley Court, for a while the home of Hammer Films.
Q: Where in Reading was blood spilt in a so-called ‘bloodless revolution’?
A: Market Place, in 1688.
Q: Which Berkshire agriculturalist wrote ‘The Horse-hoeing Husbandry’?
A: JethroTull, who farmed near Hungerford.
Q: What Berkshire village gives its name to a selection of weird crop-circles?
A: Froxfield: the ‘designs’ include the Brain, the Dolphin and the Bug.
Q: What type of holiday was invented by Dr Stokes of Twyford?
A: Caravanning: in 1885 he trundled 1300 horse-drawn miles to Inverness and back.
Q: What annual Thames tradition involves the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies?
A: Swan Upping, which happens every summer between Sunbury and Abingdon.
Q: Where would you encounter a bully, a shy, furrow, and Good and Bad Calx?
A: Eton, at the Wall Game. No goals have been scored for over a century.