Welcome to The Henley Society
Protecting our heritage and the environment in Henley-on-Thames
What We Do
The guiding principles of the Society are the conservation and enhancement of the town, its fabulous waterfront, historic centre and fine tree lined approaches. These combine to make Henley a unique and attractive town to both residents and thousands of visitors a year and are the essential lifeline to a thriving and prosperous town.
As a forward thinking Society our aim is to enhance Henley’s rich heritage, not lose it. With a membership in excess of 600, the Society is an influential voice in Henley and contributes to major planning issues and consultations and sponsors many projects . We also arrange lectures and events in the town as well as visits to places of interest throughout the year.
Our monthly News Briefing to members detail the many initiatives we undertake.
Currently, we are focussing on:
- improving street cleaning
- reducing the number of HGV’s using Henley
- repairing our road and street surfaces
- lobbying for increased car parking
- eliminating graffiti and
- pursuing the re-instatement of the Marsh Lock Horsebridge (a part of the Thames Path). We are lobbying the Environment Agency robustly on this last issue.
If you have matters of concern regarding Henley, please do not hesitate to contact us by email or telephone, and tell us the issues.
Some Upcoming Events
Our full programme for 2024 is currently being developed and will follow a familiar pattern of visits and talks. If members have a topic on which they would like a talk, or have a special place they would like to visit, then please let a Committee member know and we will try to incorporate it into our programme.
Our next talk in March will be about the Air Ambulance, given by Angus Ross, a volunteer speaker from the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and a member of the Henley Society. Later in the year we have a horse-drawn trip on the Kennet and our ‘ever popular’ Picnic on the Lawn is back for its 3rd year at an exciting new venue. Keep your eye on the Events page for our full calendar.
Temple Island, pictured, is situated in the River Thames a mile and a half downstream of Henley-on-Thames.
The History of The Henley Society
The Henley Society was formed in 1961 after a major planning application was approved by Henley Borough Council. This involved the demolition of the Catherine Wheel Hotel in Hart Street and replacing this historic building with a parade of 1960s style shops.
Residents, businesses and visitors were outraged at the loss of such a significant landmark which formed an intrinsic part of Henley’s history. That the town’s elected Council should approve a scheme which would have such immense impact on the historic street scene of the town, without public consultation, was unacceptable. Hart Street without the Catherine Wheel façade was unthinkable and vocal opposition to this decision resulted in the formation of the Society and the saving of the Hotel.
Since then the Society has flourished and has established a sub-committee planning team with considerable experience and expertise in planning matters. We regularly bring influence to bear on difficult and controversial issues.
60 years on, the Catherine Wheel Hotel façade still stands proud in Henley Town Centre now with a Blue Plaque, sponsored by us, to mark the founding of the Henley Society. With an increasing and vibrant membership, the Henley Society’s work is every bit as pertinent today as it was in 1961.