Dr Geoffrey Tyack of the University of Oxford gave a well-attended presentation on 3 January to the Henley Archaeological & Historical Group on the Buildings of Henley. He described the growth of the town over the period 1880 to the Great War, when the town’s population roughly doubled in size.
This development is epitomised by the erection in the late 19th century of the new Town Hall, designed by the architect Henry Hare. Other notable buildings from this time in central Henley include those that were to become Barclays and NatWest banks. These were built in what is described as the picturesque ‘neo-Tudor’ style, with gables, red brick and timbers.
Marketing Henley as a leisure destination resulted in an increase in visitors. To satisfy this demand the imposing Royal and Imperial hotels (pictured) were built to attract trade, as well as the Little White Hart and Brakspear brewery to satisfy their thirst.
Henley extended towards the south, with prestigious houses in Queen Street developed by William Hamilton. His brother Thomas concentrated on homes for people working in the service economy, along Reading and Harpsden roads.
Perhaps the most striking building from this period is Friar Park – which maybe could merit a talk in its own right.
The next talk will be given at the Kings Arms Barn, at 7.45, on Tuesday 7 February by Susanna Venn, a member of the Group, who will tell us of progress being made at the excavation of a long barrow near Cirencester – non-members welcome.