‘The Henley Society …. The First 60 Years’ – a new book written by the current Chairman, Geoff Luckett, celebrates the Society’s 60th Anniversary this year and traces through the decades from the founding of the Society in 1961 to the present day.
The Henley Society was founded in 1961 when a major planning application was approved by Henley Borough Council which would have involved the demolition of the historic Catherine Wheel hotel and its replacement with a row of 1960’s style shops! The book charts the many projects that the Society have got involved in over the years including the Waitrose development and saving the Regal cinema, pedestrianisation of Market Place through to the latest projects including Project 2019 which saw the Society raise money to repaint the terrace house signs around the town. We loved the entry in Chapter 2 (1961-70) which says “There was talk of the Henley Royal Regatta Stewards wishing to widen the course to four lanes from two. It seemed that the Stewards were concerned that, unless the course was widened, the days of the Regatta were numbered.”
Henley has boasted many interesting and talented residents over the years and the book also highlights some of the well-known personalities, from the first President, the Fleet Street cartoonist Osbert Lancaster, and the long-time Vice President John Piper the acclaimed artist and stain-glass window designer, plus a host of those who have
supported the work of the Society in so many ways.
With membership at an all-time high, new initiatives and challenges facing the residents of Henley on an ongoing basis – not least of all in matters related to planning, traffic and parking and the need for affordable and social housing – the Society is in a position to bring opinion and a voice to the notice of the powers that be in local government. Geoff said, “It is interesting to note that the book demonstrates clearly how little has changed – many of the debates of the past continue today, but are now exacerbated by the growing population.”
The book is 72 pages, A4 and printed in full colour. Priced at £8, it can be obtained from the Society by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07860
145982. (Deliveries in Henley by hand, free-of-charge).