Woodley, Berkshire


Woodley Shopping Centre
 Woodley shown within Berkshire
Population 35,470 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSU7673
    London 35 mi (56 km)  E
Civil parishWoodley
Unitary authorityWokingham
Ceremonial countyBerkshire
RegionSouth East
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town Reading
Postcode district RG5
Dialling code 0118
Police Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK ParliamentReading East
List of places

Coordinates: 51°27′11″N 0°54′07″W / 51.453°N 0.902°W / 51.453; -0.902

Woodley is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England. It is a suburb of Reading, situated 4 miles (6.4 km) east of the town centre and is joined to the neighbouring suburb of Earley,(2 miles (3.2 km) to the west, and 4 miles (6.4 km) from the market town of Wokingham. Nearby are the villages of Sonning, Twyford, Winnersh, Hurst, and Charvil.


The toponym Woodley is derived from Old English words meaning "a clearing in the wood". Anciently, Woodley was part of the ecclesiastical parish of Sonning.

In the west of Woodley, Old Bulmershe Manor was the home of the Blagrave family and probable birthplace of the 17th-century mathematician, John Blagrave. The adjoining house of Bulmershe Court, otherwise Woodley Lodge, was built in 1777 by James Wheble. The house was subsequently bought by Henry Addington, at that time Speaker of the House of Commons and later Prime Minister. He lived there when not in London and was visited by prominent figures of the age, including William Pitt the Younger and, it is said, King George III. In the Second World War the house was used by the US Army. In the 1960s it was demolished and replaced by a teacher training college that subsequently become part of the University of Reading. The area was sold in 2013/2014 and is now a new housing estate of houses, flats and a care home.[1]

Until the 1930s Woodley was a village of little significance. In that decade, Woodley Aerodrome was opened in a 100-acre (40 ha) field belonging to Sandford Farm. In 1932 F.G. Miles came to Woodley and joined with Philips and Powis in the production of the Miles Hawk aeroplane, leading to the formation of Miles Aircraft Ltd which continued producing aircraft in Woodley until after the Second World War. In the years before the war numerous aviators visited Woodley, including Charles Lindbergh and Amy Johnson; Douglas Bader lost his legs in a flying accident on the airfield in 1931. From 1935 a civilian flying school was operated by the Philips and Powis company, where trainees were prepared for service in the RAF.[2]

Just under 6,000 civil and military aircraft were built and first flown here from 1933–62 and, in 1939, the Phillips & Powis factory installed Britain's first moving track assembly line for aircraft production, to build the Miles Master advanced training aeroplane. Today, Woodley's aviation heritage is commemorated by the Museum of Berkshire Aviation on the southern edge of the former airfield.

After the Second World War, Woodley continued to grow, with industry relocating from Reading, and new housing. In the 1960s the airfield was closed together with its last aircraft factory and a new town centre was created replacing old village shops. The former airfield was redeveloped for housing by Adwest Properties Ltd in the 1980s and Woodley is now largely indistinguishable from Reading.


The Office for National Statistics places Woodley within the Reading Urban Area, but for purposes of local government it is in the area of the unitary authority of Wokingham, and outside the area of Reading Borough Council.

Woodley is a civil parish with town status (adopted in 1974) and an elected town council. The town council and unitary authority are responsible for different aspects of local government.

Woodley is divided between the Reading East and Maidenhead parliamentary constituencies.


Woodley Congregational church is a Gothic Revival building completed in 1834.[3] It is now a United Reformed Church.

The Church of St John the Evangelist was designed by Henry Woodyer,[3] paid for by Robert Palmer of Holme Park and built in 1873. Woodley was made separate ecclesiastical parish in 1881.

The Museum of Berkshire Aviation is located in Woodley on the southern boundary of the former Woodley Aerodrome. The Museum is run by volunteers and is largely reliant on admission charges and donations.


Woodley has two secondary comprehensive schools that have achieved specialist school status, Waingels College (Mathematics and Computing), and The Bulmershe School (Sports). Primary schools include ones at Highwood, Beechwood, St Dominic's Roman Catholic, Rivermead, Woodley Church of England, Southlake and Willowbank.


Woodley football team is Woodley Town F.C. The club was formed in 1904, and it is thought that a team existed in Woodley in the nineteenth century. In 2009 Woodley Town ran three teams in the Reading Football League. The 1st team won the Senior Division in 2008–09 (Step 7 of the FA National League System) and the BTC Senior Cup to complete the League and Cup double and is a FA Charter Standard Development Club. The club runs a youth section, Woodley Town Kestrels, with boys and girls teams from under-7 to under-17 age groups.

Southlake Angling Society[4] runs the Southlake fishery near Woodley town centre. It was established in the early 1960s on the former estate lake with which it shares its name. The Society has added Redlands, a local lake in Hurst, and a stretch of the River Loddon that flows close to the east of Woodley and Earley.

Notable people


Woodley is a location mentioned in the short ghost story The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance by M.R. James first published in A thin ghost and Others in 1919

See also


  1. "Plans lodged for 300 homes at Reading university's Bulmershe campus". geatreading.co.uk. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  2. "Expansion Unlimited - A visit to Phillips and Powis' Civil Training School at Woodley". Flight magazine. 8 October 1936. pp. 366–368. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  3. 1 2 Pevsner 1966, p. 311.
  4. Southlake Angling Society
  5. "Interview: The Hoosiers". BBC. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2008.

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/31/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.