Saturday, 06 March 2021

Henley Probus Club

AT the November meeting the subject of the talk was “Townlands, the story of Henley Union workhouse”, based on a book written by our speaker Valerie Alasia.

She completed a course on the architecture of incarceration and carried out research in the local area archives and as far afield as the National Archives at Kew.

We heard that in 1601 the Poor Law was enacted, requiring every parish to collect sums of money for the relief of their poor and aged.

In 1720 there was a poor house next door to the Kenton Theatre in New Street.

In 1790 the workhouse was erected, built by John Strange who took out a mortgage for £1,200 from the owner of the Red Lion.

The workhouse site was divided up into separate areas for children up to the age of 15 and the men and women who were separated and sub-divided by age into 15 to 65 years old and the over-65s.

Uniforms were worn and the emphasis was on industry, order, punctuality and cleanliness. It was not until after the Second World War and the arrival of the welfare state that the scheme was closed down.

Altogether an interesting insight into a part of the history of Henley.

Henley Probus Club is always ready to welcome guests and new members to our meetings.

For more information, call the membership secretary on (01491) 575137.

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