Saturday, 28 November 2020

Turning Back the Pages

10 YEARS AGO: August 15, 2003: A BLAZE ripped through three-storey buildings in central Henley, destroying shops and homes and forcing roads to be closed.

10 YEARS AGO: August 15, 2003

A BLAZE ripped through three-storey buildings in central Henley, destroying shops and homes and forcing roads to be closed. The town centre was evacuated after the fire started at the Henley Sports shop. Flames burst through roofs and hundreds of people watched as the fire became a mini “towering inferno”. On one of the hottest days ever, firefighters struggled for three hours and were treated for heat exhaustion.

The owner of the new Loddon Brewery in Dunsden has hailed the first month of production a great success. Chris Hearn said he was already brewing the volume of beer he had projected for the end of year two. The three traditional beers, Ferryman’s Gold, Hoppit and Kite Mild, are being sold in a number of freehold pubs in and around Henley.

It was the hottest ever Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta as temperatures neared 100 degrees. Despite the heat, competitors and spectators turned out in force. There were 410 races crammed into the two-day event, with a race every three minutes and more than 1,000 competitors. Despite the usual sinkings and fallings-in, there were no disasters.

25 YEARS AGO: August 12, 1988

BUS drivers in Henley have complained about the public “taking the Mickey” out of the hail-and-ride system. Passengers are able to hail the minibuses, whose only official stop is at the Market Place, at any point along their route. It appears that pranksters have been stopping the buses with no intention of getting on, angering drivers and passengers and causing the buses to run late.

It’s not unusual for house-sellers to leave carpets, curtains and the like upon vacating but a Ewelme couple are making available their peacock for their buyers. Mike and Jenny Head think it in Percy’s best interests to stay behind when they move to Edinburgh. The sitting tenant of seven years is very at home on the house’s lawns and could find moving too distressing, say the couple.

The greasy pole event at the Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta was cancelled for the first time. The water was considered unfit to enter because of pollution from nearby sewage works. Although it is possible to fall in during any of the events, this is the only one where participants are almost guaranteed a ducking and the regatta organisers deemed the risk too great.

50 YEARS AGO: August 16, 1963

A LARGE number of Roman Catholics and non-Catholics gathered at Sacred Heart Parish Hall in Henley on Tuesday evening when a presentation of a Morris Minor was made to Father Patrick Davis, curate of the church from September 1958 until February this year, a mark of affection and appreciation for the work he did during his stay.

A fine of £1 was imposed on a window and office cleaning contractor who parked his van at the Henley Market Place car park in May and at the same time failed to set the handbrake, causing the vehicle to run off and collide with a stationary Rolls Royce. After the collision, residents pushed the van back. The offside wing of the Rolls Royce was damaged but the van was only slightly damaged.

The large entry to this year’s Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta is thought to be a record. There are 131 races — 15 more than last year — and these will be followed by the greasy pole event. A fireworks display will herald the close of a day of races.

100 YEARS AGO: August 15, 1913

THE coolest and most enjoyable place in Henley during the hot weather is the Henley Electric Theatre in Bell Street, where an excellent assortment of moving pictures is shown each evening. There is a change of programme three times weekly with a special feature film on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

On Sunday evening last, a hay rick in a field at the top of St Mark’s estate, Henley, was discovered to be in flames. Information was given to the fire brigade through the police telephone and the members promptly turned out with motor and steamer. The motor had no difficulty in hauling the heavy steamer to the scene and must be regarded as a most valuable addition to the brigade’s appliances.

Despite the rather dull weather, there was a capital attendance at the Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta, which took place on Saturday. An interesting programme of 36 races was successfully carried out and some keen racing was witnessed in many. In the meadows at the rear of the enclosure “all the fun of the fair” was provided and in the evening, after a procession of illuminated boats, a capital display of fireworks was given.

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