Berkshire Record Office

Snapshots of local communities

Berkshire Record Office holds the archives of the Royal County of Berkshire. Among our collections is a number of ‘Catalyst’ magazine issues, a local, non-profit magazine which was published in Reading between 1989 and 1991. Issues include what’s-on listings and reviews of entertainment and arts events, along with other local and political news.

Particularly interesting at this time are issues 28 and 29 (June-July 1990, catalogue reference D/EX2800/3/1-12), which include articles about Metelyk, a Reading-based Ukrainian dance group, led by Michael Buriak. Metelyk (‘butterfly’ in Ukrainian) was formed in 1979 to promote Ukrainian culture, song, and folk dance in Britain. In doing so, they choreographed dances which were both unique and traditional at the same time. Catalyst notes that the result of this combination ‘captures both the intensity and the humour of Ukrainian people’.

The success of the dance group led to performances in venues all over Europe. The Catalyst reviewer asserts, ‘I can assure you that the energetic dancing and wonderfully colourful costumes will keep you enthralled from beginning to end’. Their performance at the Llangollen Eisteddfod in 1985 can be viewed on YouTube.

Several black-and-white magazines, one featuring a man jumping and doing the splits

Image credit: Berkshire Record Office (catalogue reference: D/EX2800/3/1-12)

We also hold the records of The Reading Düsseldorf Association. This is a voluntary group that promotes the friendship between Reading, UK, and Düsseldorf, Germany – the two have been twinned since 1947. Within this collection there is a menu, presented in both German and English, for a 10-course meal of traditional German food served in honour of the Eurovision Song Contest held in Düsseldorf in 2011 (catalogue reference D/EX653/4/2/10/1-67). It is thought that some of the Association’s members were lucky enough to attend the final.

Find out more about collections held at the Berkshire Record Office and who to contact:

Visit the Berkshire Record Office website