Sally Thomas – Coley

HI John,

I live in Redcliffe, Queensland, but was born and raised in Rowville Victoria when Rowville was market gardens and dairy farms and the school had 26 pupils.

My brothers were born in the UK but I arrived after they got here. At one time I believed my dad was the first Biddle to leave Reading in the 400 odd years I have his tree back, but I have since found a few distant cousins transported in the 1850’s so he lost that title.

I’ve been doing the family trees for about 12 years and am now putting information together in a readable volume to leave for posterity which has led me to doing wide ranging internet searches about the history of the places with which we are associated such as Coley and Reading in general. That was how I stumbled across your site. I have also made two trips home to look for records and take my own photos, although I really haven’t spent a lot of time in Reading per se due to time constraints on both trips. I had visits to a few places planed last December but we had to cancel as my daughter (living in London) had organised a surprise trip to Wales.

It may be of interest to you that my great, great grandfather was one of the brickies who built the Huntley & Palmer’s iconic chimneys. He met a terrible end falling from a train at Goring in 1862 on his way to a job on a bridge there.

Most of dad’s mum’s side of the family were in Mapledurham where I was very fortunate to be allowed to photograph inside and out of one of the cottages that some great greats lived in for many years. I did, in fact, have a private meeting organised with Sir John Eyeston at Mapledurham House to look at some old records of his estate workers but he was taken ill and had to cancel.

My brothers were born in 1938 and 1941 but if they were up in Albert Road you wouldn’t have been at the same school. There is, though, a very good chance they had cousins down your way. I will have to look into it and get back to you. I will get around to buying credits for the 1939 register when I have time to look up all the records I need before the credit expires.


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