Sheephouse Lane Trees

The Henley Society has a history of tree planting in the town and were responsible, jointly with Henley Town Council, for planting the avenue along the Fair Mile some years ago that enhances the northern entrance to town. That scheme, known as the Fair Mile Jubilee Scheme, was completed in the 1970s. We had wanted to do something similar to make the southern entrance to the town a little more attractive. In 2022 we finally got permission to plant eight trees on a triangle of land owned by Oxfordshire County Council at the junction of Reading Road and Sheephouse Lane.

Eight of our members generously sponsored a tree in memory of a loved one and plaques at the base of each tree signify such.

Victorian Terrace House Signage

After seeing a social media posting bemoaning the fact that the town’s Victorian terrace house signage had been allowed to deteriorate the Society felt that this was a project worth investigating.

Many of the properties had been built by two brothers – Thomas & William Hamilton – who named their terraces after American and Canadian places they had visited on a holiday tour.

Accordingly two Committee members toured the town listing all such signs and the task of raising funds to reinstate the signs, known as Project 2019,  began.

It was estimated that around £10,000 would be needed but the Society were fortunate in engaging a Master Sign Writer to undertake the task who was in fact not registered for VAT.

Generous members, local businesses and three District Councillors contributed to the fund and the work of renovating 19 signs was completed in 2020. However, three local residents refused to have their signs repainted!

One of the repainted signs, that of Gladstone Terrace, can be seen above.

Catherine Wheel Blue Plaque

The Henley Society was founded in 1961 when a group of local business men and residents objected to a proposal to demolish the Catherine Wheel hotel and replace it with a row of 1960s shops, flats and garages. This vocal group, assisted among others by John Betjeman, John Piper and the Fleet Street cartoonist Osbert Lancaster, managed to get the decision reversed and flushed with their success formed the Henley Society to monitor similar planning applications and generally oversee the maintenance of Henley, which the Society still does to this day.

On December 6th 2022, sixty years to the day after its founding, the Society commissioned a blue plaque to be affixed to the Catherine Wheel façade to commemorate the occasion. The plaque was  unveiled by the Mayor of Henley, Councillor Michelle Thomas and the Chairman of the Society, following a hearty Catherine Wheel champagne breakfast enjoyed by 60 members.