The history of The Retreat, Reading

Here is some of the history of The Retreat, Reading. Do let us know if you can help add to this.

The Retreat was one of the Reading pubs included in CAMRA’s first Good Beer Guide in 1974 with many subsequent re-entries. The Retreat continues to merit the description ‘a delightful back-street pub’. It became a pub in 1875. Early landlords included Thomas Law and George Uzzle and for many years it was owned by Wethered’s.

History of The Retreat in Reading: featured in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 1974

It is noted that in 1971 The Retreat was owned by Whitbread. The Retreat subsequently passed into the hands of Enterprise Inns before being sold to Admiral Taverns in 2006. Initially under Graham Mutton, and subsequently Peter Brookes, Bernie Whiten and Jane Marsden, it acquired a deserved reputation as a free house selling a good range of micro-brewed beers, as well as cider and foreign beer.

Past landlords/publicans

Click here for a list of past landlords of The Retreat, Reading.

Boulden’s Match Company, Southampton

History of The Retreat, Reading: The Retreat, Reading matchbox

At some time in the 1900s, The Retreat sourced matches for the smoking customers from Boulden’s Match Company in Southampton.

Can you tell us more?

If you know more details of the history of The Retreat, Reading or have any photos from yesteryear, please share them with us.

Contributions from locals and site visitors (that need to be tidied up on the site).


The pub has won CAMRA’s Regional Cider Pub of the Year award for
2007 and 2008.


The Retreat, one of the Reading pubs included in CAMRA’s first Good Beer Guide in 1974 with many subsequent re-entries, The Retreat in 8 St John’s Street continues to merit the description, ‘a delightful back-street pub’. It became a pub in the later 19th century, early landlords including Thomas Law and George Uzzle.

For many years it was owned by Wethered’s who also formerly owned the house next door and there were plans in the 70s, perhaps mercifully unrealised, to extend the pub into this property.

Notable 20th-century proprietors included P J Dunne, who had a brass ‘licence-plate’, the Lawrence family and George Scott, who with his late wife, Rose, moved to the Dove in 1992. The Retreat subsequently passed into the hands of Enterprise Inns, before being sold on to Admiral Taverns in 2006. Under Graham Mutton, followed by Peter Brooks and Bernie Whitton and Jane Marsdon, it acquired a deserved reputation as a free house selling a good range of microbrewed beers, as well as cider and foreign beer.

Hosts of eccentrics have peopled The Retreat including Moriarty, Military George, renowned fighter pilot and geologist Bobbie Langham, Barry the mouth-organ player and perhaps most memorable in recent years Frank Wicks (pictured in the Hobgoblin), who made a posthumous appearance on a CD by local group, Bidgie Reef and the Gas, set up by former landlord, Brooks, and customer, Roger Winslet.

SOURCE: https://reading.camra.org.uk/history