Thames Lodge – incorporating Henley Masonic Centre on the Reading Road is opening to the public for the first time since its establishment in 1881 on 17-18 September as part of Heritage UK.
This remarkable building was built on the Reading Road in 1890 on a site given by prominent Freemason, W. D. Mackenzie, over 140 years ago, and stands today, where all new and existing members own the building.
Membership in the late 19th and early 20th century included several of Henley’s leading townsmen and town councillors. Freemasonry was a significant factor in the town into the 20th century, with public and municipal ceremonies such as the laying of the foundation stone for the new town hall in 1899, and the opening of the War Memorial Hospital in 1922.
A prominent member of Thames Lodge was British World War One hero Major Valentine Fleming, the father of authors Peter Fleming and Ian Fleming, the latter of whom created the James Bond character. On the 20th May 1917, Major Fleming was killed in action in France. It is now over 100 years since his death.
In 2022, we have gone from strength to strength, and Henley now boasts not just Thames Lodge, but seven other Craft lodges too, also three lodges representing additional orders.
The centre will be open from 10am to 5pm on each day. All are welcome and there will be a display of teddy bears for the charity Teddies for Loving Care which they support Townlands Hospital in maintaining supplies of for sick children in distress.