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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers

Welcome to UK RED, the Reading Experience Database...

What did United Kingdom residents and British subjects living or travelling abroad read between the invention of the printing press in 1450 and the end of the Second World War in 1945? How, and in what circumstances did they read? Search or browse our database to find out…

UK RED captures the reading tastes and habits of the famous and the ordinary, the young and the old, men and women. The texts range from books and newspapers to ephemera such as playbills and tickets, and from illuminated manuscripts, novels and poetry to tombstone inscriptions and graffiti.

Entries in UK RED illustrate the diversity of reading experience and practice as well as patterns within particular periods and across time. The evidence of reading is drawn from a multitude of sources, including diaries, memoirs, commonplace books, marginalia, sociological surveys, and criminal court and prison records.

Reading, however, is not confined by national borders. In recognition of this, RED has become an international project. To visit other national REDs, or to search for readers, authors or texts across all the linked databases, click on the logos on the right.

copyright and citation guide

1400-1499 image

Reading through the centuries:

1400-1499 - In 1477 William Caxton presented his "History of Jason" to the 6-year-old future Edward V. Edward IV, the little prince's father, had instructed the child's governor that during dinner he should listen to "such noble stories as behoveth a prince to understand and know". [more..]

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