THEALE Since getting into Reading is a nightmare, many people prefer to use Theale station instead. It marks the beginning of the Berkshire farming belt beyond Reading, yet is more accessible and gets the fast trains. The council has spent a large amount of money on restoring the town’s Victorian image, reinstating cobbles and period lamp posts. Most of the main street, which has a baker, greengrocer and a few offices, is included within a conservation area.
Theale has accumulated large modern housing estates and an industrial area to the south. A huge business park employs 10,000 people and accommodates major companies such as Vodafone, Thorn EMI and Walkers Crisps. Another is planned, together with a new hotel. A new two-bedroom house is likely to cost around £175,000; three bedrooms £190,000. A four-bedroom house (they are in short supply) could command £350,000. Consent has been given for a 350-home ‘Lakeside’ development, despite objections from the local council and environmentalists. Some say Theale’s name came from its brewery, which made ‘the ale’.