Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Hidden Henley

Hidden Henley

IT may puzzle you why I am printing this picture of a security door chain, as fitted at many homes to allow the door to be slightly opened in order to identify a visitor.

Yet this device originated in the 18th century in Reading Road, Henley, just across the road from this newspaper’s offices.

Henley church pastor, engineer and inventor Humphrey Gainsborough is known for designing the pound locks on the River Thames and developed a condenser steam engine ahead of anyone else yet modestly failed to claim the credit.

What is less well known is that he also invented the security chain, as an information board at the Christ Church Centre reveals. Even better, the lock is still in use at the manse next door more than 250 years later.

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