Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Your letters

Can you remember the glasshouses?

Can you remember the glasshouses?

Sir, — I wonder if readers of the

Henley Standard
can offer assistance in relation to Thamesfield, the building now in use as a retirement complex, which stands resplendent on the banks of the Thames?

John Edwards Moss, who had held the estate since the early 1890s, died in June 1935, leaving an estate then worth £400,000. He was buried at Remenham churchyard on Friday, June 28.

He was a man of some character who was particularly fond of orchids and his first major task as owner of Thamesfield was to orchestrate the construction of glasshouses in which to keep his collection of 15,000 varieties.



He also commissioned the construction of fruit houses, so he could grow tropical varieties.

After Moss’s estate was cleared through probate, Thamesfield was auctioned and his widow Margaret relocated.

The sale was held at the Catherine Wheel in Hart Street, Henley, on Wednesday, November 4, 1936.

Among the lots were the glasshouses, many sold with plants in situ. There were four orchid houses, three measuring 40ft by 13ft and the other 40ft by 19ft. These were linked to the east side by an orchid house corridor some 97ft long. These buildings, said to be elegant in character, were heated by means of three stoke holes, one of which contained a saddle boiler, the other two having Robin Hood boilers.

Alongside the glasshouses stood a glass greenhouse, 100ft long and nearly 15ft wide, which hip-spanned.

There was also a peach glasshouse (50ft by 14ft) to grow early fruit, a hip-spanned vinery glasshouse (25ft by 14ft) and four span-roofed melon houses, measuring 40ft by 11ft used to grow cucumbers.

Does any reader remember seeing this collection of glasshouses alongside Thamesfield? Indeed, does anyone possess photographs of them?

There is one more request: rumours circulate that the glasshouses were destroyed when a lorry came off the Wargrave Road and crashed into them. Does any reader remember this event occurring?

Any information would be gratefully received. Please send an email to henleyheritagewalks@outlook.com — Yours faithfully,

Elizabeth Hazeldine

Henley Heritage Walks



Abuse of blue badge spaces

Sir, — Whatever personal opinions were, the Henley Standard’s “Lorraine Hillier loading bay” front page was one of the biggest talkers our town’s proud paper produced this autumn.

There was a related Henley parking issue which incensed and troubled me one busy afternoon in Greys Road car park last month: blue badge spaces being abused.

Blue badge bays are, of course, for drivers who really need them and who otherwise would find town inaccessible were they forced to park less conveniently.

To give that point more weight, earlier this year I worked with a great and very active man in his early twenties who uses a wheelchair and is a blue badge holder.He avoided using blue badge spaces because he knew, more than most of us, how valuable they were to other badge holders with greater impairments.

Fast forward to our busy Christmas afternoon in Greys Road car park and a woman, very probably also in her twenties and, at a glance, fit enough to run the Henley half marathon, abusing a blue badge space because there was nowhere else for her to quickly park. Outrageous and troubling, I would argue.

Outrageous because if you use a wheelchair that single space is your lifeline to access to town.

Troubling because, either consciously or unconsciously, this woman believes she is superior to genuine blue badge holders genuinely needing that space.I am confident general attitudes to people with physical and mental impairments have improved in the last 10 years — I have experienced it — but instances like this spotlight that ignorance still exists. — Yours faithfully,

Glenn Bryant

Wyfold Lane,

Peppard Common



Better air for our heirs

Sir, — I share the frustration of David Dickie at Henley Town Council’s transport strategy group (Standard, December 18).

It is heartbreaking to see babies, toddlers and children, who are particularly vulnerable, breathing in toxic fumes in the town centre, knowing that diesel fumes are likely to affect their future health and lifespan detrimentally, should they live for any length of time in Henley.

It is our responsibility and that of the authorities to do everything possible to protect children yet we see little evidence of any practical progress in improving the air quality in Henley.

Surely there are things that can be done at very low cost, such as a putting up a “polite” sign requesting the drivers of heavy goods vehicles to switch off their engines when stationary and instructing bus drivers to switch off their engines at bus stops, particularly the one in Bell Street.

Simple actions such as these would bring significant benefits. — Yours faithfully,

Roderick Whitlock

Reading Road,

Henley



Unwarranted criticism

Sir, — I am responding to Barry Wood’s unwarranted and misinformed letter attacking the Townlands Steering Group (Standard, December 25). He states that the group has signed up to the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s new Townlands Stakeholder Reference Group. This is totally incorrect and inaccurate, so let me deal with the “facts”.

The Mayor Lorraine Hillier and I attended the first meeting of the new group with a clear message from the steering group.Our message was that this group must meet in public, there must be public question and answer sessions and agendas and minutes should be made public. It was not acceptable that these meetings took place behind closed doors.The commissioning group refused and stated that the meetings would continue to be held in private.

I made the steering group’s position very clear that this was not acceptable. I certainly do not want to “ingratiate” myself with the commissioning group. I am only interested in the best healthcare for Henley and the surrounding parishes.

The steering group is not signed up to this “covert” group and Mr Wood should get the facts straight before sounding off.

The steering group has asked the commissioning group for an urgent meeting as soon as possible to discuss the many areas of concern which remain, including transition arrangements. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak

Henley Town Council,

Elizabeth Road,

Henley



Misplaced passion

Sir, — Barry Wood’s letter concerning Townlands Hospital was an unfair criticism of the Townlands Steering Group.The only reason the group supported sending representatives to sit on the new stakeholders reference group organised by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group was as a fact finding mission. It certainly was not because the steering group condones the actions of the commissioning group.

All the concerns raised by Mr Wood have been asked of the commissioning group and certainly we have made it clear we wish for more transparency and do not approve of meetings which exclude the public.

All members of the steering group have given up many hours of their time to try to get the very best new hospital we can for Henley and district. There is no “hood-winking” taking place.

The opening of the new hospital will be at the end of March or beginning of April.I appreciate Barry is passionate about the hospital and we all share that passion, but there is little gain in attacking the steering group when we are all doing our best to get the hospital and services we so desperately need. — Yours faithfully,

Lorraine Hillier

Mayor of Henley



MP supports fracking

Sir, — With reference to the recent correspondence concerning our MP John Howell, I wrote to him on December 15 to draw his attention to the deferred vote the next day on the Government’s draft Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2015.

These regulations will expose some of the UK’s finest and most environmentally sensitive landscapes to the impacts of shale gas and oil exploration and extraction.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd committed to an outright ban on fracking in protected areas last January but, according to documents uncovered via Greenpeace freedom of information requests, the shale gas and oil industry has been directly lobbying to prevent proper safeguards for protected areas. This is clear evidence that the loophole in the regulations, which allows firms to drill horizontally under protected zones, will be exploited, resulting in sensitive nature and wildlife sites being circled by fracking rigs trying to access gas or oil beneath.

The substantial risk of noise, air and light pollution to our national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest is further supported in the RSPB and National Trust report “

Are we fit to frack?” This research found that when fracking was permitted on the outskirts of a national park in America, the park was exposed to substantial noise pollution, damaging the tranquillity of the area and threatening local wildlife.Mr Howell replied that the Government was creating a regulatory regime that provided clear, strong protections for the environment and that with these in place, he thought it was right to explore and make use of shale gas and oil.“

The opportunity to extract this energy, as well as to secure jobs and investment, cannot be ignored,” he said.He said the regulations would offer protections for national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, the Broads and world heritage sites and that gas couldn’t be extracted at depths of less than 1,200m below these areas.

Mr Howell concluded: “The Government has the right protections in place to ensure that fracking can go ahead safely without risk to our most beautiful and important natural sites.“

People should have confidence in these protections and in this vital industry, which could create more than 60,000 jobs and be worth billions of pounds to our economy.” It is disturbing that despite the well publicised carnage that fracking has caused in America, our MP is clearly set on making it happen here. — Yours faithfully,

Mark Bauld

Harpsden Road,

Henley



No measure of quality

Sir, — After reading your report that John Howell MP was among the top 100 most frequent speakers in the House of Commons, I looked him up on the website mentioned, theyworkforyou.com

After reading a number of Mr Howell’s utterances on the state of our nation, I think this abbreviated contribution of his to a debate on December 16 deserves a wider audience: “As a member of the select committee... I was impressed with two things. “

The first was the need to refer to the attorney general. The link between the DSP [Disability Strategic Plan] and the attorney general is a good one. I have to say that I have forgotten what the second one was...” [Hansard] The aforementioned website’s numerology section states: “

Please note that numbers do not measure quality.” Indeed they do not! Just who was the source of your story about Mr Howell’s sterling work on behalf of his constituency? — Yours faithfully,

Robert Warner

Ramsbury,

Wiltshire



Why bother with tree?

Sir, — Well, Henley Town Council has really excelled itself this year with the Christmas tree in Market Place.What a mangy specimen. Did they find it already chopped down in the woods somewhere? I don’t know why they bother. — Yours faithfully,

Mrs J Hadley

Leaver Road,

Henley



Please resolve to give blood

Sir, — Many people in Oxfordshire will be considering giving things up for the New Year, like unhealthy food or alcohol.

But you can change your life by choosing to give.Giving blood is amazing — you can save or improve the lives of up to three people each time you donate.

We always need new donors to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups among our donors to meet patient needs in future and to replace those people who can no longer donate.We need more than 6,000 people to donate blood every day to meet the needs of desperately ill hospital patients.

Blood and platelets are not just used after accidents. They are used for patients with cancer, anaemia and childbirth complications as well as in life-saving procedures.Less than three per cent of people aged 17 to 70 donated blood last year. Thank you to everybody who donated and helped save lives — we look forward to seeing you again in 2016.

If you’ve never given blood before, register to donate blood and book an appointment to donate in Oxfordshire at www.blood.co.uk Donating only takes an hour of your time.

So please start this year by changing not just your life, but someone else’s life too, by giving blood. — Yours faithfully,

Jon Latham

Assistant director, marketing and donor contact service,

NHS Blood and Transplant,

Watford



Oversized taxi fares

Sir, — Has Uber come to Henley? Tigers Taxis thought it appropriate to charge double fare on Christmas Eve and then managed to convince my Danish family that a normal fare from Belle Vue Road to Market Place was £10 so the driver happily charged £20 for the three-minute trip! Tigers Taxis seems to have forgotten that the taxi was full of Vikings. We have taken note and will consider our next move. — Yours faithfully,

Soren Nielsen

Belle Vue Road,

Henley Saleem



Chaudhry, owner of Tigers Taxis, responds: “Normally the MPV is a six-person carrier and normally that’s a £10 job.“

It’s a double fare and we explain that to everyone before we send the car. When the jobs come to the office we quote the fare. The Christmas fares we quote before we send the driver and they have not complained to us.”



Traditional breadmaker

Sir, — What a wonderful article about Lawlor’s the bakers (Standard, December 11), who make bread in the time-honoured way whereas large stores and supermarkets make theirs in the modern, hasty and tasteless way. Long may they flourish. — Yours faithfully,

John Alton

Finchampstead



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