North of the River Branch

Demography and history

The North of the River Branch comprises the four Reading wards located north of the River Thames – Caversham, Peppard, Thames and Mapledurham. In 2016 the population of the four wards totalled just over thirty-two thousand – approximately 20% of the population of Reading. The electorate at the last General Election numbered about 25,000.

For much of its existence, the area was in Oxfordshire but a large part was transferred to

Reading in 1911 with the remainder (commonly known as Caversham Park Village) transferred in 1977. The ward of Mapledurham was created in 2005 – this, along with other boundary changes, meant that the three larger wards had roughly equal electorates represented by three councillors and an electorate in Mapledurham of approximately one-third of their size and represented by just one councillor.

The area is generally thought to be one of affluence but there are significant areas of deprivation – especially in Caversham ward, e.g. higher percentage of children in danger of living in poverty and eligible for free school meals than the average for Reading.



The North of the River Labour Party

Up until 2010 the wards operated as separate entities but the decision was then made to amalgamate them into the North of the River branch so as to give a more cohesive approach to campaigning and winning for Labour.

The elected officers of the branch are:


Chair Richard Davies
Secretary Sue Kitchingham
Treasurer Darran Scully
Vice-Chair (Caversham) George Loughlin
Vice-Chair (Peppard) Mandy Champion
Vice-Chair (Thames & Mapledurham) Adele Barnett-Ward
Organiser Duncan Bruce and Oliver White /
Events & Fundraisingr Mandy Champion

Branch Activities

Meetings are usually held on the second Thursday of the month and start at 8pm. The aim of the meetings is for members to be kept abreast of, and get involved in, local issues and campaigning and for discussions to take place about national and international issues.

We wish to make our meetings as welcoming and interesting as possible. If you have any feedback (especially after coming to your first meeting) then please email the branch secretary on

We run canvassing sessions throughout the year. Currently, these are normally on Saturday mornings or Monday evenings and are advertised via email.


Individual Wards

Peppard Ward

Peppard Ward has a population of just over 9,500, an electorate of around 7,500 and 4,000 dwellings (most commonly semi-detached). It is currently represented by three Conservative councillors though in the past it has had Liberal Democrat representation. With the collapse in Liberal Democrat support it is a ward that with a strong campaign could be a Labour target seat.

Thames Ward

Thames Ward has a population of around 9,750, an electorate of around 7,300 and about 3,800 dwellings (most commonly detached). It has always been represented by Conservative councillors apart from a brief period with two Independent Conservatives. There are however a significant number of Labour voters.

The ward is mostly residential, but also contains Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre as well as the green spaces of Albert Road Park, Balmore Walk and Bugs Bottom.

Mapledurham Ward

Mapledurham Ward was created relatively recently and is unique in Reading in only having one councillor (who has always been Conservative). It has a population of just over 3,000, an electorate of around 2,300 and just over 1,200 dwellings (most commonly larger detached). As with Thames Ward though, there is significant support for the Labour Party.

Reading Borough Council is currently running a consultation on this and comments can be made online through their planning portal - the application number is 171023 and the address is Mapledurham Playing Fields, Upper Woodcote Road.


Caversham Ward

Caversham Ward covers the area in central Caversham, bordering the River Thames.  It includes the main Caversham shopping centre and the library
which is a grade II listed building dating from 1907 when Caversham was part of Oxfordshire.  There is a community centre, and three state primary schools - Caversham Primary School, Thameside Primary School and St Anne's Catholic school.  There is also a Children's Centre that houses part of a federated nursery with Newbridge.  About 9,700 people live in Caversham ward of whom 7,110 were eligible to vote in 2016.
 The ward has a range of household incomes and accomodation from the large Victorian villas on the Mount to the mainly housing association-owned estate off Amersham Road. As well as an extensive river front, Caversham has a number of parks including in Amersham Road, Westfield Road and Christchurch Meadows.
Best known is the historic Caversham Court Gardens which has achieved a national Green Flag award for 8 years in a row.
Caversham is a Labour-Conservative swing ward, which has been represented periodically by all Labour and all Conservative Councillors.  Currently, party representation is mixed with two Labour and one Conservative Councillor.
There is very active Labour membership in the ward and recent Labour campaigns have included supporting Chiltern Edge School which Oxfordshire County Council had threatened with closure; road safety and a 20 mph zone; supporting Caversham library and its Children's Centre and standing up for locals on issues like commuters parking and noise nuisance from open-air pop concerts.


Meet the Councillors

Please click on the photo of the councillor to view contact details.


07774 302448
07939 802833

Peppard, Thames and Mapledurham do not have any Labour Councillors at this time.