The Pither Room at the Christchurch Centre was filled with Henley Society members and their guests for the Society’s first talk of 2024.
The guest speaker was local resident Charles Whittaker whose subject was the renowned English architect Augustus Pugin and his work, together with information on the parish of Sacred Heart Henley in whose church some of Pugin’s work is displayed.
Pugin was the most influential English ecclesiastical architect of his day and the principal theoretician of the Gothic revival. He designed many churches in England, and some in Ireland and Australia, and he was responsible for a huge number of buildings and also for respected designs of tiles, metalwork, furniture, wallpaper, stained glass and ceramics.
His work included designing the interior of the Palace of Westminster in London, and its renowned clock tower, the Elizabeth Tower (formerly St Stephen’s Tower), which houses the bell which we know as Big Ben.
More locally Pugin designed a chapel at Danesfield House for the then owner Charles Robert Scott -Murray and after Scott -Murray’s death in 1882 the chapel was demolished and the reredos and stained glass windows were put into storage where they remained until Sacred Heart Church was built in and those items now form a significant part of that building. Pugin also designed St. Peter’s Roman Catholic church in Marlow.
The fascinating talk was followed by questions, and the members and guests then enjoyed wine and nibbles sponsored by the Society’s Executive Committee.