1898, Bridge Street upstream on the Kennet.
The Brewery of H&G Simonds top left, the weir, County Lock, then Lock Island with the Corporation scarlet fever and smallpox hospitals and mortuary, with the water tower behind. St Giles mill stream and bridge off to the right.

The next 11 stunning images were taken by Reading Photographers Dann & Lewis from the top of that tower between 1895 and 1900. Despite one frame being missing, they form an early 360° Panorama of Reading and include excellent details of the Brewery buildings as they then appeared, with glimpses into the domestic lives of the locals. The original glass plate slides are now in the MERL collection and featured in an exhibition called ‘A Circle and a Century’. Click for more information.

The 1st 3 images show:  The stables and maltings on the far side of the Kennet canal.  A great picture of the Simonds family home, shortly before it was demolished to make more space for brewing. The main brewery buildings:Reading-Panorama-1895












The Water Tower

Across the river Kennet from the brewery site, close to the current location of the Brewery Information Board, stood a concrete water tower until 1902. [see story below]

reading st giles water tower 1900

It belonged to The Reading Waterworks who leased the land in 1820 from John & William May of Castle Sreet [distant Simonds relations] who had a Mill on the site.  Despite installing a steam engine in 1836 to pump water for the town, the water quality & pressure remained so bad that in 1868 Reading Corporation bought them out, eventually building a new tower in Calcot before demolition of this tower in 1902.