Saturday, 06 March 2021

Henley Ladies Probus Club

THE 252nd meeting was held at Badgemore Park Golf Club on Thursday, August 10.

Valerie Alasia, one of our members, was introduced and spoke on “The History of Townlands/workhouse in Henley from 1601 to 2017”.

The problems of the poor were recognised at the end of the reign of Elizabeth I and the old Poor Law was devised.

In 1652 land in Henley was acquired for the use and benefit of the poor and this was known as “Town Land”.

It was not built on for many years but eventually became the site for the “poor house” of Henley in 1790.

The regime of a workhouse was dire with the men, women and children being segregated.

The only time the inmates were able to escape was when there was seasonal work.

However, compared with other workhouses, Henley’s was deemed to be managed quite well by a benign master and eventually it had an infirmary.

In 1948 this became Townlands Hospital and was taken over by the newly established National Health Service.

The talk was illustrated with many photographs of the workhouse and old hospital buildings.

The final photo showed the new Townlands Memorial Hospital on this site.

This talk was followed by a drink and chat and a two-course lunch.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, September 14 (10.30am for 11am) when we will have a fun general knowledge quiz in teams.

New members are always welcome. For more information, please call speaker secretary Marion Whitaker on (01491) 628629 or email

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