You’ve certainly had much more success from your Coley pages than anything coming into the St James pages! I remember the Spring Gardens band in Reading although I can’t recall in what context.
The mention of Symonds Brewery always reminds me that I was attending the nursery in Castle Street when I was two years old. The nursery backed onto the Symonds yard where they stored their barrels and beer crates and loaded up the horse-driven delivery carts. Being on a hill, the nursery was at a higher level that the brewery as the road ran down to a bridge that crossed the Kennett. I remember that the corner of the play yard at the rear of the nursery contained a sand pit which was walled with broken glass cemented on the top of the wall – I guess to keep out intruders. However, I climbed up to the top of the wall and looked below to see the dray men working in Symonds yard. The Symonds-side of the wall was stacked with beer crates and barrels. I noticed that the crates were formed against the wall to look like a staircase! So I climbed over the glass-topped wall and climbed down the beer crates into the yard. It was only when a huge dray man clothed with a leather apron found me wandering around the yard that I was discovered. When he asked me where I came from, I pointed to the top of the beer crates. After calling his mates to point to the height of the beer crates, he promptly picked me up and carried me into Castle Hill and back into the nursery. Meanwhile, the staff had reported me as missing and had summoned my Mother who was working at Lyons tea shop in Broad Street at the time. She was at the nursery tearing her hair out with worry when in walked the dray man carrying the happy wanderer! I’ve always liked Symonds beer, even when it was taken over by Courage! It’s not really a Coley story but like many links in the story of Reading, there are many connections and the mention of the Symonds brewery did it for me!