Estate Agents CavershamProperty for sale RG4


Kidmore End Primary School Christmas Fair!

Look out for Nicholas boards outside homes in Caversham, Sonning Common and Kidmore End promoting the Kidmore End Christmas Fair.

The primary school fete is on Saturday 25th November between 12pm and 3pm. 

For more information see Kidmore End School Association Facebook event 


Our drawing and colouring competition for children has begun following the fantastic response to our Easter competition which had hundreds of entries.

Design a Christmas bauble or colour in a Christmas tree. Prize categories are 0-7 years old, 8 years + and a special effort award voted by the public on facebook or twitter. The best ones will be displayed in our office.

To enter simply come into our office in Prospect Street, Caversham to pick up the entry form.

Please return entries to us by Friday 8th Dec 2017


Nicholas estate agents history continued - see part one for the life and death of our founder, William Richard Nicholas.

Following William Richard Nicholas’ death at the age of 36 on the 4th November 1901 his estate was left to his mother Araline, his sister Araline Emma Nicholas and his cousin Albert Frederick Gamlen.

A year later in November 1902 there is a notice in the Reading Mercury to all creditors to make themselves known by the 10th December 1902 after which time the estate will be distributed to the family:


Nicholas, Denyer & Co

From 1906 Nicholas estate agents is advertised as Messrs. Nicholas, Denyer & Co.


Mr Richard Watkin Denyer an auctioneer from Tunbridge Wells purchases Nicholas Estate Agents from the Nicholas family and trades under both names. He moves the Reading office from 1 Blagrave Street, Reading (opposite the town hall) to King Edward Buildings, 1 Station Road, Reading (on the corner of Friar Street) and fits the sign ‘Nicholas’ to the building. The ‘Nicholas’ signage can be seen in the following photograph of Friar Street dated 1937 (the first building on the right above the doorway):


Nicholas, Denyer & Co also operate from the London office 43 Pall Mall and at Tunbridge Wells and by 1909 in Newbury.

Messrs Nicholas, Denyer & Co advertise properties for sale and auction in many local and national newspapers including The Reading Mercury, The Bystander and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News –  you can see a full page advert in The Bystander dated Oct 13 1909 below. In this advertisement Nicholas, Denyer and Co have fifteen properties for sale and to let across the South, South East and South West in locations including Sussex, Dartmoor, Devon, Dorset, Chelmsford and the Cotswolds.

£4000 in 1909 would buy you an eleven bedroom manor house with four reception rooms, 2 cottages, stables for 5 horses, some farmland and 24 acres in South Berkshire. (The equivalent value in 2017 is £440,000).


Richard Watkin Denyer passes away in 1931 at the age of 64. His obituary reports he passed away in London after a long illness having retired five years previously. In addition to Nicholas, Denyer & Co he also ran businesses named Denyer and Collins, and Denyer and Rumble.

By 1955 Nicholas estate agents (established 1882) are still at 1 Station Road, Reading and we also have an office at 4 Albany Court Yard, Piccadilly West London. If you wanted to phone Nicholas Estate Agents in 1955 you would call Reading 54055 or Regent (London) 1184. We advertise for sale or by auction The Hook End estate (Hook End near Checkendon in Oxfordshire, 6 miles from Reading) the estate is a huge 833 acres which includes Hook End manor house with 144 acres, 350 acres of agricultural land and 14 cottages with 440 acres of woodlands.

Hook End manor has a prominent history in music recording – the world famous Hook End recording studios -  which we will expand on...

Hook End Recording Studios

From Red Shark News © Jim Edwards “A 16th Century Elizabethan house, Hook End Manor is set in a delightful rural location in Oxfordshire…It is surrounded by beautiful parkland and gardens, including Britain's oldest Monkey Puzzle tree.

The manor house was originally built for the Bishop of Reading in 1580. Later additions to the house include the oak panelled dining room, which probably dates from the 1920s. The Tudor heart of the house is the oak panelled reception hall and up a flight of stairs leads to the charmingly eccentric bedrooms, some designed by previous owner David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, others by another previous owner, financier Charles Clore.

The musical history of Hook End Manor began in the 1960s with Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, who resided there for some time before selling it to Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Gilmour recorded parts of Pink Floyd's 1987 album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, in a studio at the house.

It was then bought by West Side Productions, producers of Madness and Morrissey. In the 1990s, the manor was purchased by (record producer) Trevor Horn, who spent a not inconsiderable fortune creating the studio and equipping it. It would run as a successful business operation under the Sarm flag for a good number of years, the celebrity guest book filling impressively over the period.”

Recording artists who resided at Hook End manor to record albums include The Manic Street Preachers, The Cure, Mariliion, David Sylvian (formerly of band Japan), The Spice Girls and Morrissey. Visitors to the studios include David Bowie.

Hook End recording studios still operate under the ownership of Mark White who purchased the estate from Trevor Horn in 2009 for £12m.

Reading obviously has a ‘noteworthy’ music history with the three day Reading festival held at Little John’s Farm, Richfield Avenue since 1971 featuring rock, blues, punk and new wave bands, heavy metal and more.

Nicholas Estate Agents continue to be the estate agent of choice in Reading with office expansion in the 1980’s. (more on this in the next article). To be continued...

(c) Wendy Thomson / Nicholas Estate Agents 2017

Our history page:

History blog part 1:

Sources / Useful Links: 

Red Shark News history of Hook End Recording studios

Wikipedia - Hook End Recording Studios

Wikipedia - Reading and Leeds festivals

The British Library newspaper archive


This is the first of a series of articles on the history of Nicholas Estate Agents 1882 and its founder William Richard Nicholas.

William Richard Nicholas

Nicholas Estate Agents was founded in Reading in 1882 by 17-year-old William Richard Nicholas an architect from Southampton. He was born in Hackney, London on the 5th March 1865. His father had the same name - William Richard Nicholas (1843 – 1874) who worked as a chemist and his mother was Araline Nicholas nee Gamlen (1835 – 1929). He had a younger sister Araline Emma Nicholas (1866 – 1928) and a brother Archie E Nicholas who died as an infant (1867). The family lived in Amherst Road, Hackney, London.

When William was 9 his father William Richard Nicholas senior died, he was only 31 years old. When William was 16 he was a lodger with his mother and sister in Southampton. William is named in the 1881 census as an architect (unemployed).

The following year, 1882 the family moved to Reading and he founded Nicholas Estate Agents. Why Reading? We know that William’s uncle, Will W John Gamlen lived in Caversham, Oxfordshire (Caversham was part of Oxfordshire until county boundary changes in November 1911).  It may have been the support of her brother that persuaded widow Araline Nicholas to move to Reading with her children.

Nicholas Estate Agents' first office was registered at 85 Broad Street, Reading – the earliest date we know of this office is 1885 and the business was run as an Auctioneers, Estate Agents and Valuers.

In 1888 the office was moved to 1 Blagrave Street, Reading – opposite the town hall - in a building since demolished in 1929 which is currently the site of O’Neill’s pub. William ran a very successful business. This enabled him to open a second office in West London at 60 Pall Mall, Kensington. The featured image for this article is an advertisement for Nicholas Estate Agents (Messrs. Wm. R. Nicholas & Co, Auctioneers, Estate Agents and Valuers) from 1899.

Edwin John Springbett Jesse and Elm Park

One of the best-known builders in Reading's Victorian history is Edwin John Springbett or EJS Jesse, a property developer and town councillor who transformed several plots of land including The Warren in Caversham, Whitley Rise, and parts of Emmer Green and central Reading. EJS Jesse is immortalised with the road name ‘Jesse Terrace’ off Castle Hill in central Reading, where he lived.

In 1888 Nicholas Estate Agents worked with EJS Jesse on the sale of a property called Elm Lodge which was turned into a housing development known as Elm Park which runs from Western Elms Avenue off the Oxford Road up to Tilehurst Road and across to Wilson Road - this site included the original Reading football ground, Elm Park stadium (the home of Reading FC from 1896 to 1998) and was the site of Huntley and Palmer biscuit factory which gave Reading football team the nickname ‘Biscuit Men’. It also included Berkshire County Cricket ground – see boundary marked in red on the below map:

Elm Lodge originally comprised of Elm and Chestnut trees and there are accounts in Berkshire Records Office of William Richard Nicholas’ commission on the sale of trees, timber, turf and gravel and advertisements for the purchase of these in The Reading Observer, The Berkshire Chronicle and the Reading Standard. William Richard Nicholas also received commission on the sale of land including at Elm Park Road, Kensington Road, Prince of Wales Avenue, Oxford Road, Tilehurst Road, Belmont Road, Norfolk Road and Grovelands Road.

We know that William Richard Nicholas’s commission for his work on Elm Park was “two guineas as a lump sum or two pounds ten shillings, whichever sum may be greater on all sales made on the estate. Such commission to be exclusive of all disbursements for printing, advertising or travelling incurred on behalf of the said estate”.


Expansion and Death

In 1901 William Richard Nicholas moved the London office of Nicholas Estate Agents to 43 Pall Mall, Kensington. If you wanted to call Nicholas Estate Agents in 1901 you would phone ‘London 5293’ or ‘Reading 221’.

In 1891 William Richard Nicholas lived at Norbiton House in Maitland Road, Reading. By 1901 William and his family (his mother and sister) were living at 20 Phillimore Gardens in Kensington, West London with two servants both called Mary (a domestic cook and a housemaid). William’s occupation is recorded in the 1901 census as ‘Auctioneer, Valuer & Land Agent’. We also know from the census that he was an employer.

Did you know - Nicholas Estate Agents still auction properties! See

William Richard Nicholas passed away on the 4th November 1901 and sadly, like his father before him was only in his thirties. There were several notices of his death in newspapers. From the Reading Mercury: “Mr Nicholas, who was only 36 years of age, was the founder of a very large and successful business, and was known to and respected by a very wide circle, combining as he did rare business talents with most upright and genial personal characteristics.”

Another newspaper reported “Deceased was articled at Southampton, and at the age of 20 he commenced business at Reading. He was entrusted with the sale of many important country estates and had occasionally held sales at Swindon of some large estates. It was only a few weeks ago that he was in Swindon conducting one of these large sales.”

All this hard work had made William Richard Nicholas a small fortune.  His estate was worth £10,180 and 8 shillings and 9 pence which in today’s money (2017) is approximately £1.1 million. William was a bachelor and left the bulk of his fortune in his probate dated 3rd December 1901 to his mother Araline, and to his sister Araline Emma Nicholas and his cousin Albert Frederick Gamlen.

Notice of William Richard Nicholas probate (above) and announcement of death in the Reading Mercury, published 9th November 1901 (below)

William Richard Nicholas was buried in the family vault in Southampton (more on this in the next article). To be continued...

(c) Wendy Thomson / Nicholas Estate Agents 2017

Useful Links:

History of EJS Jesse from 'Old Reading' group on facebook

Berkshire Records Office

Nicholas History page

'The Reading Area - Memories of Another Day' facebook group

'Memories of Old Reading' facebook group


Full time sales vacancy in our busy, friendly, family run, independent estate agency in Caversham, Reading

The person must be an experienced face to face sales person, not necessarily in the property industry. As our Sales Negotiator you will be expected to focus on selling the properties we have on for sale and helping to get more properties on for sale. The role will include welcoming clients into the office, booking and attending appointments and liaising with sellers.

Hours are 8.30am - 6pm Monday to Friday and 2 Saturdays per month 9.30am - 4pm. Salary dependent on experience.

Please call Mark on 0118 948 4040 or email for more details.