House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood established in 1896 by Queen Victoria. It recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch of the Commonwealth realms, members of the monarch's family, or to any viceroy or senior representative of the monarch; the present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is the sovereign of the order, the order's motto is Victoria, its official day is 20 June. The order's chapel is the Savoy Chapel in London. There is no limit on the number of individuals honoured at any grade, admission remains at the sole discretion of the monarch, with each of the order's five grades and one medal with three levels representing different levels of service. While all those honoured may use the prescribed styles of the order—the top two grades grant titles of knighthood, all grades accord distinct post-nominal letters—the Royal Victorian Order's precedence amongst other honours differs from realm to realm and admission to some grades may be barred to citizens of those realms by government policy.
Prior to the close of the 19th century, most general honours within the British Empire were bestowed by the sovereign on the advice of her British ministers, who sometimes forwarded advice from ministers of the Crown in the Dominions and colonies. Queen Victoria thus established on 21 April 1896 the Royal Victorian Order as a junior and personal order of knighthood that allowed her to bestow directly to an empire-wide community honours for personal services; the organisation was founded a year preceding Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, so as to give the Queen time to complete a list of first inductees. The order's official day was made 20 June of each year, marking the anniversary of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne. In 1902, King Edward VII created the Royal Victorian Chain "as a personal decoration for royal personages and a few eminent British subjects" and it was the highest class of the Royal Victorian Order, it is today distinct from the order, though it is issued by the chancery of the Royal Victorian Order.
After 1931, when the Statute of Westminster came into being and the Dominions of the British Empire became independent states, equal in status to Britain, the Royal Victorian Order remained an honour open to all the King's realms. The order was open to foreigners from its inception, the Prefect of Alpes-Maritimes and the Mayor of Nice being the first to receive the honour in 1896; the reigning monarch is at the apex of the Royal Victorian Order as its Sovereign, followed by the Grand Master. Queen Elizabeth II appointed her daughter, Princess Royal, to the position in 2007. Below the Grand Master are five officials of the organisation: the Chancellor, held by the Lord Chamberlain. Thereafter follow those honoured with different grades of the order, divided into five levels: the highest two conferring accolades of knighthood and all having post-nominal letters and, the holders of the Royal Victorian Medal in either gold, silver or bronze. Foreigners may be admitted as honorary members, there are no limits to the number of any grade, promotion is possible.
The styles of knighthood are not used by princes, princesses, or peers in the uppermost ranks of the society, save for when their names are written in their fullest forms for the most official occasions. Retiring Deans of the Royal Peculiars of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey are customarily inducted as Knights Commander. Prior to 1984, the grades of Lieutenant and Member were classified as Members and Members but both with the post-nominals MVO. On 31 December of that year, Queen Elizabeth II declared that those in the grade of Member would henceforth be Lieutenants with the post-nominals LVO; the current officers of the Royal Victorian Order are as follows: Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II, since 1952 Grand Master: Anne, Princess Royal, since 2007 Chancellor: William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel, as Lord Chamberlain, since 2006 Secretary: Sir Alan Reid, as Keeper of the Privy Purse, since 2002 Registrar: Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon, as Secretary of the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood Chaplain: Peter Galloway, as Chaplain of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, since 2008 Upon admission into the Royal Victorian Order, members are given various insignia of the organisation, each grade being represented by different emblems and robes.
Common for all members is the badge, a Maltese cross with a central medallion depicting on a red background the Royal Cypher of Queen Victoria surrounded by a blue ring bearing the motto of the order—VICTORIA—and surmounted by a Tudor crown. However, there are variations on the badge for each grade of the order: Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear the badge on a sash passing from the right shoulder to the left hip.
Sir Leslie Matthew Ward was a British portrait artist and caricaturist who over four decades painted 1,325 portraits which were published by Vanity Fair, under the pseudonyms "Spy" and "Drawl". The portraits were produced as watercolours and turned into chromolithographs for publication in the magazine; these were usually reproduced on better paper and sold as prints. Such was his influence in the genre that all Vanity Fair caricatures are sometimes referred to as "Spy cartoons" regardless of who the artist was. Early portraits always full-length, had a stronger element of caricature and distorted the proportions of the body, with a large head and upper body supported on much smaller lower parts; as he became accepted in the society in which he moved to gain access to his subjects, not wishing to cause offence, his style developed into what he called "characteristic portraits", being less of a caricature and more of an actual portrait of the subject, using realistic body proportions. Ward was one of eight children of artists Edward Matthew Ward and Henrietta Ward, the great-grandson of the artist James Ward.
Although they had the same surname before marriage, Ward's parents were not related. Both were well-known history painters, his mother coming from a line of painters and engravers, including her father, the engraver and miniature painter George Raphael Ward, her grandfather, the celebrated animal painter James Ward, she was niece and great-niece of the portrait painter John Jackson and the painter George Morland. Both parents had studios in their homes in Slough and Kensington in London, where they entertained the London artistic and literary elite. Ward's father was a gifted mimic who entertained other eminent guests. Although they never gave their son formal training and their artistic friends encouraged the young Ward to draw and sculpt. Ward had started caricaturing while still at school at Eton College, using his classmates and school masters as subjects. In 1867 his bust of his brother was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. At school Ward had been an unexceptional student, after he left Eton in 1869 his father encouraged him to train as an architect.
Ward was too afraid to tell his father that he wanted to be an artist and he spent an unhappy year in the office of the architect Sydney Smirke, a family friend. The artist W. P. Frith spoke to Ward's father on his behalf, after a great deal of arguing he agreed to support his son's training as an artist, Ward entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1871. In 1873 he sent some of his work to Thomas Gibson Bowles; this led to him being hired to replace "Ape", who had temporarily left the magazine after falling out with Bowles. As his nom de crayon, Ward suggested to Bowles that he use the name "Spy", meaning "to observe secretly, or to discover at a distance or in concealment". Ward's Spy signature was similar to Pellegrini's stylised Ape. Ward drew 1,325 cartoons for Vanity Fair between 1873 and 1911, many of which captured the personality of his subjects, his portraits of royalty and women, were over-sympathetic, if not sycophantic. As he became a member of Society himself, he became more of a complimentary portraitist, moving from caricature to what he termed "characteristic portraits", a charge he acknowledged in his autobiography Forty Years of "Spy", published in 1915.
Ward worked methodically from memory, after observing his'victims' at the racecourse, in the law courts, in church, in the university lecture theatre, or in the lobby of the Houses of Parliament. Sometimes they came to his studio to pose in their uniforms. A caricaturist, Ward believed, was born, not made, he observed, "A good memory, an eye for detail, a mind to appreciate and grasp the whole atmosphere and peculiarity of the'subject' are of course essentials." A caricature, he noted, should never depend on a physical defect, nor should it be forced. "If I could sum up the art in a sentence it would be that caricature should be a comic impression with a kindly touch, always devoid of vulgarity."In an 1897 interview given by Oliver Armstrong Fry to Frank Banfield of Cassell's Magazine, it was reported that Ward received a sum of between £300 and £400 for a portrait. Ward was the most famous Vanity Fair artist, he worked for Vanity Fair for over forty years, producing more than half of the 2,387 caricatures published.
Ward's clubs included the Arts, the Orleans, the Fielding, the Lotus, the Punch Bowl, the Beefsteak, where he was one of the original members. There he sketched many of his victims. In 1899, years after her father had refused him permission to marry her, Ward married the society hostess Judith Mary Topham-Watney, the only daughter of Major Richard Topham of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, they had Sidney. Ward's last cartoon for Vanity Fair appeared in June 1911 as he had begun to contribute his "characteristic portraits" to The World and Mayfair, he supplemented his income by painting portraits. In 1918 he was knighted. Ward prophesied that "when the history of the Victorian era comes to be written in true perspective, the most faithful mirror and record of representative men and spirit of their times will be sought and found in Vanity Fair". After a nervous breakdown Ward died of heart failure at 4 Dorset Square, London on 15 May 1922 and was buried on 18 May at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.
About 300 of his
Holborn is a district in the London boroughs of Camden and City of Westminster and a locality in the ward of Farringdon Without in the City of London. The area is sometimes described as part of the West End of London; the area's first mention is in a charter of Westminster Abbey, by King Edgar, dated to 959. This mentions "the old wooden church of St Andrew"; the name Holborn may be derived from the Middle English "hol" for hollow, bourne, a brook, referring to the River Fleet as it ran through a steep valley to the east. Historical cartographer William Shepherd in his Plan of London about 1300 labels the Fleet as "Hole Bourn" where it passes to the east of St Andrew's church. However, the 16th-century historian John Stow attributes the name to the Old Bourne, a small stream which he believed ran into the Fleet at Holborn Bridge, a structure lost when the river was culverted in 1732; the exact course of the stream is uncertain, but according to Stow it started in one of the many small springs near Holborn Bar, the old City toll gate on the summit of Holborn Hill.
This is supported by a map of London and Westminster created during the reign of Henry VIII that marks the street as'Oldbourne' and'High Oldbourne'. Other historians, find the theory implausible, in view of the slope of the land, it was outside the City's jurisdiction and a part of Ossulstone Hundred in Middlesex. In the 12th century St Andrew's was noted in local title deeds as lying on "Holburnestrate"—Holborn Street; the original Bars were the boundary of the City of London from 1223, when the City's jurisdiction was extended beyond the Walls, at Newgate, into the suburb here, as far as the point where the Bars were erected, until 1994 when the boundary moved to the junction of Chancery Lane. In 1394 the Ward of Farringdon Without was created, but only the south side of Holborn was under its jurisdiction with some minor properties, such as parts of Furnival's Inn, on the northern side, "above Bars"; the rest of the area "below Bars" was organised by the vestry board of the parish of St Andrew.
The St George the Martyr Queen Square area became a separate parish in 1723 and was combined with the part of St Andrew outside the City of London in 1767 to form St Andrew Holborn Above the Bars with St George the Martyr. The Holborn District was created in 1855, consisting of the civil parishes and extra-parochial places of Glasshouse Yard, Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, Ely Rents and Ely Place, St Andrew Holborn Above the Bars with St George the Martyr and St Sepulchre; the Metropolitan Borough of Holborn was created in 1900, consisting of the former area of the Holborn District and the St Giles District, excluding Glasshouse Yard and St Sepulchre, which went to the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury. The Metropolitan Borough of Holborn was abolished in 1965 and its area now forms part of the London Borough of Camden. Local politicians include: Keir Starmer MP, the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras, Mark Field Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, which includes the City of London portion of Holborn, three ward councillors for Holborn and Covent Garden: Cllr Julian Fulbrook, Cllr Sue Vincent and Cllr Awale Olad of the Labour Party.
Holborn is represented in the London Assembly as part of Barnet and Camden by Andrew Dismore, of the Labour Party. Henry VII paid for the road to be paved in 1494 because the thoroughfare "was so deep and miry that many perils and hazards were thereby occasioned, as well to the king's carriages passing that way, as to those of his subjects". Criminals from the Tower and Newgate passed up Holborn on their way to be hanged at Tyburn or St Giles. In the 18th century, Holborn was the location of the infamous Mother Clap's molly house. There were 22 taverns recorded in the 1860s; the Holborn Empire Weston's Music Hall, stood between 1857 and 1960, when it was pulled down after structural damage sustained in the Blitz. The theatre premièred one of the first full-length feature films in 1914, The World, the Flesh and the Devil, a 50-minute melodrama filmed in Kinemacolor. Charles Dickens took up residence in Furnival's Inn. Dickens put his character "Pip", in Great Expectations, in residence at Barnard's Inn opposite, now occupied by Gresham College.
Staple Inn, notable as the promotional image for Old Holborn tobacco, is nearby. The three of these were Inns of Chancery; the most northerly of the Inns of Court, Gray's Inn, is off Holborn, as is Lincoln's Inn: the area has been associated with the legal professions since mediaeval times, the name of the local militia still reflects that. Subsequently, the area diversified and become recognisable as the modern street. A plaque stands at number 120 commemorating Thomas Earnshaw's invention of the Marine chronometer, which facilitated long-distance travel. At the corner of Hatton Garden was the old family department store of Gamages; until 1992, the London Weather Centre was located in the street. The Prudential insurance company relocated in 2002; the Daily Mirror offices used to be directly opposite it, but the site is now occupied by Sainsbury's head office. Further east, in the gated avenue of Ely Place, is St Etheldreda's Church the chapel of the Bishop of Ely's London palace; this ecclesiastical connection allowed the street to remain part of the county of Cambridgeshire until the mid-1930s.
This meant that Ye Olde Mitre, a pub located in a court hidden behind the buildings of the Place and the Garden, was licensed by the Cambridgeshire Magistrates. St Etheldreda's is the oldest
1885 United Kingdom general election
The 1885 United Kingdom general election was held from 24 November to 18 December 1885. This was the first general election after an extension of the redistribution of seats. For the first time a majority of adult males could vote and most constituencies by law returned a single member to Parliament fulfilling one of the ideals of Chartism to provide direct single-member, single-electorate accountability, it saw the Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, win the most seats, but not an overall majority. As the Irish Nationalists held the balance of power between them and the Conservatives who sat with an increasing number of allied Unionist MPs, this exacerbated divisions within the Liberals over Irish Home Rule and led to a Liberal split and another general election the following year; the 1885 election saw the first socialist party participate, with the Social Democratic Federation led by H. M. Hyndman running three candidates. List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1885 Parliamentary franchise in the United Kingdom 1885–1918 Representation of the People Act 1884 Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 Craig, F. W. S.
British Electoral Facts: 1832–1987, Dartmouth: Gower, ISBN 0900178302 Rallings, Colin. British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, Ashgate Publishing Ltd Walker, Brian, "The 1885 and 1886 General Elections in Ireland", History Ireland, 13: 36–40, JSTOR 27725365 Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results United Kingdom election results—summary results 1885–1979
Portland Place is a street in the Marylebone district of central London. Named for the Third Duke of Portland, the unusually wide street is home to the BBC Broadcasting House and Polish embassies, the Royal Institute of British Architects; the street was laid out by the brothers Robert and James Adam for the Duke of Portland in the 1770s and ran north from the gardens of a detached mansion called Foley House. It was said that the exceptional width of the street was conditioned by the Duke's obligation to his tenant, Lord Foley, that his views to the north would not be obscured. In the early 19th century, Portland Place was incorporated into the royal route from Carlton House to Regent's Park via Langham Place, developed for the Prince Regent by John Nash; the street is unusually wide for central London. The ambitious plans included a third circus to complement Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus known as Regent's Circus. Portland Place still contains many of the spacious Georgian terraced houses built by the Adams, as well as some early 20th century buildings and a few post World War II bombing In administrative terms, Portland Place lies within the City of Westminster's Marylebone High Street Ward as well as the Harley Street Conservation Area.
Many of the houses are now occupied by company headquarters, professional bodies and charities. The landmark headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects sits at 66 Portland Place directly opposite the Chinese embassy. Other foreign diplomatic institutions include the Polish Embassy, a Portuguese consulate, the High Commission of Kenya, the Swedish Ambassador's Residence and the Colombian Consulate. In addition, Portland Place remains a fashionable address with some exclusive blocks of mansion flats. Number 1 houses the Institution of Chemical Engineers, number 41 the Academy of Medical Sciences, number 23 houses the Nursing and Midwifery Council, number 67 the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and number 76 the Institute of Physics; the Institute of Physics building replaced two earlier Georgian terrace houses, one of which – number 76 – was the home of John Buchan, the author and politician who lived there from 1912 until 1919, which resulted in Portland Place being the London home of Richard Hannay, the hero of Buchan's most famous novel "The Thirty-Nine Steps".
Its northern end opens into Nash's elegant stucco semicircular Park Crescent, which in turn leads on to Park Square and Regent's Park. There are two landmark buildings at the south end of the street, although both are technically in Langham Place: the grand late Victorian Langham Hotel, Broadcasting House. Langham Place is a short road which connects Portland Place to Upper Regent Street, although on the ground they all appear to be one street. A Grade II listed memorial to Quintin and Alice Hogg erected in 1906 stands opposite Broadcasting House at the south end of Portland Place. There are a number of international independent schools on Portland Place, including Abercorn Upper School, Queens College and the Southbank International School. Portland Place was the home of Jane Gamble, the character on whom Henry James based his novel The Portrait of a Lady. Jane Gamble was the real-life subject of My Courtship and its Consequences by Henry Wikoff. Portland Place was the London address of Adam Verver and his wife, the former Charlotte Stant, in the last complete major novel by Henry James, The Golden Bowl.
Portland Place is the home of Richard Hannay in John Buchan's novel. Portland Place is the home of Stephen Jones in H. P. Lovecraft's short story "The Horror in the Museum". Portland Place is featured in Daphne du Maurier's novel Julius. Portland Place is the location of the private hotel where Valeria and Eustace stay after their truncated honeymoon in The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins. Portland Place is a metaphor for Septimus Warren Smith's view of the world as a strange but wonderful place in Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs Dalloway. List of eponymous roads in London August 1967 British Pathe Newsreel covering the "Battle on Portland Place" Georgian London by Sir John Summerson ISBN 0-7126-2095-8 Media related to Portland Place at Wikimedia Commons
Berkshire is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council; the county town is Reading. The River Thames formed the historic northern boundary, from Buscot in the west to Old Windsor in the east; the historic county therefore includes territory, now administered by the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire in Oxfordshire, but excludes Caversham and five less populous settlements in the east of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. All the changes mentioned, apart from the change to Caversham, took place in 1974; the towns of Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage were transferred to Oxfordshire, the six places joining came from Buckinghamshire. Berkshire County Council was the main local government of most areas from 1889 to 1998 and was based in Reading, the county town which had its own County Borough administration.
Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Slough, West Berkshire and Maidenhead and Wokingham. The ceremonial county borders Oxfordshire, Greater London, Surrey and Hampshire. No part of the county is more than 8.5 miles from the M4 motorway. According to Asser's biography of King Alfred, written in 893 AD, its old name Bearrocscir takes its name from a wood of box trees, called Bearroc; this wood no longer extant, was west of Frilsham, near Abingdon. Berkshire has been the scene of some notable battles through its history. Alfred the Great's campaign against the Danes included the Battles of Englefield and Reading. Newbury was the site of two English Civil War battles: the First Battle of Newbury in 1643 and the Second Battle of Newbury in 1644; the nearby Donnington Castle was reduced to a ruin in the aftermath of the second battle. Another Battle of Reading took place on 9 December 1688, it was the only substantial military action in England during the Glorious Revolution and ended in a decisive victory for forces loyal to William of Orange.
Reading became the new county town in 1867. Under the Local Government Act 1888, Berkshire County Council took over functions of the Berkshire Quarter Sessions, covering the administrative county of Berkshire, which excluded the county borough of Reading. Boundary alterations in the early part of the 20th century were minor, with Caversham from Oxfordshire becoming part of the Reading county borough, cessions in the Oxford area. On 1 April 1974, Berkshire's boundaries changed under the Local Government Act 1972. Berkshire took over administration of Slough and Eton and part of the former Eton Rural District from Buckinghamshire; the northern part of the county became part of Oxfordshire, with Faringdon and Abingdon and their hinterland becoming the Vale of White Horse district, Didcot and Wallingford added to South Oxfordshire district. 94 Signal Squadron still keep the Uffington White Horse in their insignia though the White Horse is now in Oxfordshire. The original Local Government White Paper would have transferred Henley-on-Thames from Oxfordshire to Berkshire: this proposal did not make it into the Bill as introduced.
On 1 April 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, the districts became unitary authorities. Unlike similar reforms elsewhere at the same time, the non-metropolitan county was not abolished. Signs saying "Welcome to the Royal County of Berkshire" exist on borders of West Berkshire, on the east side of Virginia Water, on the M4 motorway, on the south side of Sonning Bridge, on the A404 southbound by Marlow, northbound on the A33 past Stratfield Saye. A flag for the historic county of Berkshire was registered with the Flag Institute in 2017. All of the county is drained by the Thames. Berkshire divides into two topological sections: west of Reading. North-east Berkshire has the low calciferous m-shaped bends of the Thames south of, a broader, gravelly former watery plain or belt from Earley to Windsor and beyond, are parcels and belts of uneroded higher sands, flints and acid soil and in north of the Bagshot Formation, north of Surrey and Hampshire.
Swinley Forest known as Bracknell Forest, Windsor Great Park and Stratfield Saye Woods have many pine, silver birch and other acid-soil trees. East of the grassy and wooded bends a large minority of East Berkshire's land mirrors the clay belt being of low elevation and on the left bank of the Thames: Slough, Eton Wick, Wraysbury and Datchet. In the heart of the county Reading's northern suburb Caversham is on that bank but rises steeply into the Chiltern Hills. Two main tributaries skirt past Reading, the Loddon and its sub-tributary the Blackwater draining parts of two counties south and the Kennet draining part of upland Wiltshire in the west. Heading west the reduced, but large, part of county becomes further from the Thames which flows from the north-north-west before the Goring Gap. To the south, the land crests along the bo