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Henley NEWS On-line

Reporting On The Events In And Around
Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, England

Campaigning for a better Henley

Edition 211 - 8th January 2009
Warwickshire Village Ventures
Competition Winner 2007
on Thursdays

Happy New Year to all our Readers


Silhill Morris dances - Henley High Street on Boxing day.

Photo Margaret Twigg

Henley Forest FC - Report by Chairman

PhotoDuring the last couple of months the Pavilion on the Sports Ground, Stratford Road was broken into twice. Nothing was taken, we have nothing to steal, whoever did it just caused damage and more importantly expense. We know our famous Colditz- like pavilion is a bit of an eyesore and needs some care & attention but it’s paid for and used all the year round. I know many of you will sympathise & will know how frustrating this mindless minority of morons recognises that their selfishness is pointless.

So if anyone knows the vandals please pass on their names to the police or better still get the vandals to change their ways & get them to come and play cricket or football for Henley, as that is what the rest of us do: a real activity. So when you read about the highly paid dandies of the premiership remember there are some of us who struggle each week to put on sport in our communities. Our first team is top of the league and all our teams win more than they lose. Thanks to all the crew, you know who your are, come on Forest!

On a much brighter note a number of us old players turned out on Boxing Day for our traditional Charity Game. Thanks to Sammy Saunders, John Colby & Rich Butler (for suffering as referee) for organising the event. A back four whose total age is 220 plus years (well that’s what they owned up to!) A noble 12 goal thriller, 6 - 6 followed by a post match beer at the White Swan, the only down side is I still can't walk! Well done to all involved.

Pete Johnson, Chairman Henley Forest.F.C.

Make Henley Greener
Save Money - Help Save the Planet

Is Stratford District Council doing its bit to combat Climate Change?

This time last year I wrote about international progress on reducing CO2 emissions.

At the beginning of 2008 pretty much the whole industrialised world including the United States had recognised that action was needed. The USA had agreed to work towards signing the Kyoto agreement. The indications are that under president Obama, progress will accelerate and you may be surprised to know that the USA is already the world leader in wind power for electricity generation.

This year has seen the United Arab Emirates – the oil capital of the world – plan to build a carbon neutral city.

Nearer to home the British Government’s Climate Change bill passed into law in November. This is a world leading bill which makes the progressive reduction of British Greenhouse gasses a matter of Government policy. The target is an 80% reduction by 2050 with progress checks every few years to ensure that the target is being met.

To get an insight into how the decarbonisation might happen I can do no better than quote a few passages from an early 2008 speech by the leader of the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco:

‘I am determined that Tesco should be a leader in helping to create a low-carbon economy. ……We are going to have to re-think the way we live and work. ……

It demands that we transform our business model so that the reduction of our carbon footprint becomes a central business driver. ……

As a growing international business, we must set an example by measuring and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. By setting targets that stretch our business. And by committing to do this in a public way, so we are transparent and fully accountable for what we achieve……

We must also help to stimulate the development of low-carbon technology, and work with our suppliers and others to deliver significant CO2 reductions throughout our supply chain end to end………

We will set an example by measuring, publishing and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. We have a target that, by 2010, we will have halved the average energy use in our buildings compared to what it was in 2000. I am pleased to say tonight that we will not only meet this target. We will meet it two years early – in 2008. …….

New technology is also crucial. ………We have now built three energy-efficient stores in this country.………Our first such store in Diss reduced energy consumption by 29% compared to a standard Tesco store of its size. At Swansea we achieved a 36% reduction. Our most recent environmental store, which opened in Wick last November, has a carbon footprint 50% lower than our current standard stores of that size. Over the next five years we will spend more than £500m in reducing our energy use.

The above are just extracts from an extremely interesting the speech covering many more aspects of carbon footprint management. To read more go to

Whatever you may think about Tesco, the speech shows a major business taking climate change seriously, making plans to act, setting and more importantly, meeting targets for CO2 emissions reduction. This methodology is the essence of the Governments Climate Change bill.

Compare and contrast the Stratford District Council, Local Development Framework Core Strategy document currently published in draft for comment.

Page 60 - ’It expects …… energy efficiency measures to have been installed in all dwellings in the district’

Page 62 - ‘The Corporate Strategy aims to reduce the District Council’s carbon footprint in relation to its own buildings and vehicles.’

Unlike Tesco, neither statement contains targets nor does the council say that it has or will develop plans with declared emissions reduction targets. I shall be contacting them about this and you can too. Go to:-

A Happy New Year to you all.

John Stott

LogoJPC Awards its Annual Grants



The Joint Parish Council has written to the various organisations in the town to advise them that the JPC will be making the following awards:

Applicant OrganisationPurpose of Grant
Amount Granted
Henley-in-Arden Evergreen Club Subsidising outings for those who cannot afford them
Henley-in-Arden Heritage and Visitor CentrePromotion of tourism, development of Centre as a museum of local history and a visitor attraction, providing facilities for educational visits from schools in the region, provision of office and meeting rooms for local Committees.
Henley-in-Arden Town Improvement CommitteeContribution to general and water rates for the Memorial Hall and playing fields, together with cost of rubbish collection and routine maintenance at playing fields.
Henley in BloomTo replace containers, purchase summer bedding plants, maintain watering machines, insurance for fire tender drivers and public liability insurance for volunteers.
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCHIncreased coverage of NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH signs and maintenance of mobile telephone purchased for Community police officer.
The Hub @ HenleyTo contribute towards staffing and running of holiday club in the School summer break.
Christmas LightsThe provision, maintenance and running of the lights.
The Tennis ClubContribution towards coaching costs
Flood Action Working PartyTo increase flood defences

100 Years on, & still a family firm

2009 will be a momentous year for local company Johnsons Coach & Bus.

The Henley-in-Arden based operator celebrates 100 years in business, and is today recognised as one of the leading independent family owned coach and bus companies in the business.


Johnson’s first motorised vehicle a Garner Bus Van, on weekdays the sides dropped down , seats came out and it became a lorry, at weekends in went the seats up went the sides and it was a bus, and Johnson’s as a coach and bus operator was born”

Three generations of the same family have been at the helm throughout all those years. Currently, the company is run by brothers Peter and John Johnson (third generation), and their Mother Joan (second generation) is still actively involved.

Joan is in the unique position of spanning all three generations. During her business career, she has seen some dramatic changes. She says “it was always very busy back in the early 1960’s, when I first joined the company, Grandma, who had started the business with her husband Jack, was still alive and still very much controlling the purse strings! She even still handed out the wages to my husband Roy and his brother Phil, even though they were in their 50’s! Sadly, in 1969 Phil first, and then Grandma (aged 93!), both died, and so Roy and I were really in at the deep end!

Johnsons continued to be extremely busy with 4 coaches, a removal lorry and a taxi. It was hard work with long hours and each day was a challenge to survive; In addition, all of our five children were into their teens, so we had to juggle with the demands of bringing up a family too! We were always short of drivers so I took my PSV licence and became one of the first lady coach drivers in the country… it really was all hands to the pump.


Pete Johnson, Joan Johnson (Mom) and John Johnson

In 1987, two of our children Peter and John, took over the reigns, and we’ve never looked back. We’ve now grown the company to what it is today, and I’m proud of what we have achieved and that we have remained a family firm based here in Henley-in-Arden. But we couldn’t have done it without the support of great staff, helpful suppliers, and most importantly, loyal and supportive customers from all over Warwickshire and the West Midlands”.

Charity Support
Throughout this special year, the company has planned several special events to mark the occasion including, charity dinners, an open day, firework display and all proceeds from these events will go to support Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, with an initial target of £10,000 being raised.

Modern fleet
From humble beginnings, using horse drawn transport Johnson’s currently operate a fleet of some 80 vehicles and employ 200 people all based at their Henley-in-Arden depot.


One of the companies latest touring coaches a state of the art Scania, two more of these vehicles have been ordered for delivery in the Spring

John Garner’s Credit Crunch Column

Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for £10 each. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at £10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He next announced that he would now buy monkeys at £20 each. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms.

The offer increased to £25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at £50 each!  However, since he had to go to town on business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers: "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has already collected. I will sell them to you at £35 and when the man returns you can sell them to him for £50 each."

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 150 billion pounds.

They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you have a better understanding of how the Government’s bailout plan will work!!!!

It doesn't get much clearer than this................

Henley Focus Celebrates First Successful Year




The Henley Focus would like to wish all its readers, advertisers and contributors a very happy New Year, and also say thanks for the many positive comments and feedback that it has received during its first year of publication.

This monthly community magazine could be helping you to promote your business to local people at an affordable price.

We are also very happy to promote community and charity events free of charge.

If you have any ideas or comments for future issues The Henley Focus would love to hear from you.

Please email or call 01564 774748 for more information.

Kind regards,

Karen Topham-Steele - Editor

Henley Memorial Hall Centenary - Part 2

PhotoThe first productions at what is now the Memorial Hall took place on the afternoon of Monday, 4 January 1909. The honour of first appearing on Henley’s new stage belonged to a group of local amateurs, who gave a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury. This was followed by a scene from The Taming of the Shrew, by the cast which had performed it at the Adelphi Theatre in 1908. The afternoon concluded with a performance of Compromising Martha, a comedy which had been presented almost 250 times at the Haymarket Theatre.

A full report of the matinee performances appeared in the Stratford Herald of 8 January 1909. Writing of Trial by Jury, the Herald’s reporter declared that “it was a bold undertaking for amateurs in so small a town as Henley to attempt to give a public representation of the opera, but their success justified their temerity”.

As the descendents of at least some of the cast of Trial by Jury are still living in the town and many of Henley’s older inhabitants may remember some of the players, a full cast list follows:

The Learned Judge Mr Leonard Cox
The Plaintiff Miss Gladys Matthews (matinee)
Miss Ruth Bell (evening performance)
The Defendant Mr Arthur Sale
Counsel for the Plaintiff Mr Clement Baker
Usher Mr Harold Alexander
Foreman of the Jury Mr Oliver James
Associate Mr Willoughby Agar
First Bridesmaid Miss Dorothy Moore
Bridesmaids Miss Queenie Beck
Miss Dot Chandler
Miss Maggie Fletcher
Miss Elsie Gearey
Miss Madge Washburn
The Jury Messrs W Findon, W G Hemming, F W Hemming, E P Hemming, H Hodges, H H Munro, R Newcombe and A Simco
Policemen Mr Fred Harris, Mr J C Morris
Spectators Mrs F Harris, Miss Polly Findon, Miss Louie Bastock, Miss Gladys Spencer, Miss Gertrude Hemming and Miss Carrie Evans

The direction was by Leonard Cox and Francis Morton and the orchestra (conducted by Francis Morton) came for the most part from Stratford.

The appearance of Oscar Asche and his wife Lily Brayton in a scene from The Taming of the Shrew represented a personal triumph for Dr Ernest Nelson, one of the directors of the Public Hall. Asche was the most famous Australian actor of his generation. The son of a Norwegian father and an Australian mother, he was born in Geelong in 1871 and made his London stage debut in 1893 at the Opera Comique. He then spent 8 years with the Benson Repertory Company during which time he married Lily Brayton, also a member of the company. They subsequently worked with Beerbohn Tree before they took over the management of His Majesty’s Theatre in 1907. Shortly after their appearance in Henley, they toured Australia in 1909 and 1910 with their own company. Asche was not only a famous actor, he went on to write the book and lyrics for Chu Chin Chow, in which he and his wife starred and which ran at His Majesty’s Theatre from 31 August 1916 to 22 July 1921, breaking all records.


Oscar Asche as Petruchio


Lily Brayton as Katherine

The Herald reporter was suitably impressed, writing of their performance as “the piece de resistance, which all had come to Henley to see – a delightful and exhilarating quarter of an hour spent in watching the splendid acting of two of the finest exponents of the legitimate drama on the English stage. Mr and Mrs Asche have achieved renown in The Taming of the Shrew, and perhaps as Petruchio and Katherine they have no equals…..Mr Asche’s Petruchio was one of much merit, the delineation was clever and well under control, and it was a performance which satisfied Shakespearean scholars, and will long live in the memory. Miss Lily Brayton’s Katherine deserves the highest praise, and she enacted the scene with the requisite forcefulness.”

At the conclusion of the scene, “the curtain fell amidst thunders of applause. Again and again it had to be raised, and the audience were clearly bent on extracting a speech from Mr Asche. Sir William Jaffray, however, first made his appearance and thanked their two distinguished visitors for having honoured Henley by appearing upon their little stage, and giving a representation which those present would never forget. They had come amongst them entirely at their own expense, and this kindness and generosity they could all appreciate. Mr and Mrs Asche belonged to that class of people, perhaps not numerous, who received pleasure from giving pleasure to others. A little demonstration followed, and Mr Asche, to calm the storm, spoke a few words. He said he was glad to come to Henley at the invitation of his friend, Dr Nelson, and to assist at the inauguration of their new institute. It was not his first appearance in Warwickshire. He had frequently been to dear old Stratford and taken part in its representations, and he hoped to so do again. Mrs Asche and himself had an especial pleasure in coming there, and they both hoped that the greatest success would attend their undertakings. The curtain then fell amidst a tumult of applause.”

The last item in the programme was Compromising Martha, a one act play by Henley’s own playwright, Keble Howard.

PhotoKeble Howard (photo right) was the pen name of John Keble Bell (1875-1928) one of the four sons of the Reverend George Edward Bell, then Vicar of Henley. He was then a well-known playwright and author at the national level.

The Herald reporter described Compromising Martha as “A bright little comedy, the merits of which it is impossible to exaggerate………..[it] has proved its popularity by being presented on the boards of the Haymarket Theatre nearly 250 times, and so true and natural are the characters that it will be enjoyed wherever it is presented. It is a little love idyll, in a rather rough setting…….The author, we believe for the first time, played the character of the Curate. It was a very clever embodiment, and unmistakably showed that Mr Bell possesses both literary and dramatic ability. It was a fervent, polished, dignified, natural piece of work” The other members of the cast were Mrs Charles Dixon as Martha, Miss Lydia Rachel (who had appeared in her part of “a neighbour” throughout the play’s run at the Haymarket) and Miss Gertrude Robins of Wyndham’s Theatre as Monica. “At the fall of the curtain there was rapturous applause. The author bowed his acknowledgments, and then Dr Nelson proposed a vote of thanks to all who had taken part in the afternoon’s performances and said their Institute could not have had a better send-off. Thus concluded Monday’s matinee, an event that will long be held in remembrance by the people of Henley.”

The evening performances on Tuesday and Wednesday, 5th and 6th January were also enthusiastically received. For these performances, “The programme was altered by the substitution of Mr R C Carton’s one-act comedy The Ninth Waltz in place of the previous day’s Shakespearean scene. This little piece, in a dialogue form, was very prettily staged and was mainly concerned with the casual meeting in an ante-room at a Mayfair ball of two long-parted lovers and their subsequent reconciliation, all depicted with telling effect by Miss Margaret Chatwin and Mr Barry Jackson.” The latter, later Sir Barry Jackson, went on to become a towering figure in the theatre in the Midlands. He founded the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1913 and was appointed Artistic Director at Stratford in 1946.

It can be seen that the Public Hall was given a magnificent launch, the entertainment provided being of a standard which can never have been excelled there since.

Douglas Bridgewater

The Manor of Henley-in-Arden Court Leet and Court Baron


Court Circular

Published by Authority of the High Bailiff

2009 Events

Tuesday, 24th FebruaryGarden Supper in the Sans Restaurant
Thursday, 26th FebruaryTable Top Sports Evening in the Guild Hall
Tuesday, 7th April Court Leet Dinner and Consorts’ Evening
Wednesday, 13th May Garden Supper in the Guild Hall
Sunday, 24th May Civic Service in St John’s and the Guild Hall
Saturday, 6th June


Court Leet Day is the day when the Court conducts its formal re-enactments of ancient duties: ale-tasting; butter and bread weighting; brook-looking and beating of the bounds
Monday, 22nd June Court Leet/Rotary Evening at Henley Golf Club
Tuesday, 7th July High Bailiff’s Par 3 Golf Evening at Henley Golf Club
Sunday, 2nd August High Bailiff’s Garden Party Guild Hall Garden
Saturday, 26th September Town Dinner in Henley Memorial Hall
Friday, 9th October Opening of Henley Mop Fair
Sunday, 8th November Remembrance Service in St John’s Church
Wednesday, 11th November Annual Court Leet Meeting in the Guild Hall

Roger Sutton - High Bailiff

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including a light supper is being arranged in the church hall on Friday 16th January in aid of Church Funds. Come along to what promises to be a very enjoyable event. Further details from Nevenka Miles on 794259.

The New Year’s programme starts with “Swan Rescue” presented by Mrs. Jan Harrington MBE at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 6th January from 7.30 p.m. Visitors are always welcome especially if they are new to Henley and would like to make new friends and learn new skills. The monthly walking group will meet on Tuesday 13th January near the Medical Centre at 9.35 a.m. We walk about 5 miles. The Patchwork Group for beginners and improvers meets fortnightly on Wednesdays at 2.00 p.m. from 14th January in the Baptist Church Hall. The groups are open to non-members – please telephone 792488 for details.

Henley Flower Club hold heir first meeting in 2009 with a Workshop ‘Leaf Manipulation’ and wine and nibbles will be served. 7.30 Tuesday January 13th at The Memorial Hall, Station Road.

Thursday 15th January, Baptist Church Hall at 8.00 p.m. when will be hearing about The History of Johnsons Coaches.

Tuesday 20th January, Tony Hamblin will be showing his slides featuring “Birds of the Wetlands”. If you enjoy learning about natural history, then this is the group for you. Visitors (£2) are welcome to join us at the Baptist Church Hall from 7.45 p.m.

Tuesday 27th January 7.45 p.m. at Ullenhall Village Hall. Please note change of speaker: Linda Smith will talk to us about “Bog Gardens for Moisture Loving Plants”. Visitors (£2) and new members always welcome.

Open to members (juniors and adults) of any standard. Full time coach. 7 courts open throughout the year mean that there is always a court available. No need to book. Club and American Tournaments held during summer months. League matches summer and winter. For details of membership please contact Judith Mathias 01564 792378
Evergreen ClubMeetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Parish Hall, Beaudesert Lane at 2.15 p.m. The Club has around 80 members and organises a varied programme together with various outings. If you are interested in joining, please contact Gordon Trinder.

Arc you interested in gardening and flowers or just spending a pleasant evening watching a demonstrator arrange foliage and flowers? We meet on the second Tuesday each month at 7.30pm in The Memorial Hal, Station Road, Henley-in-Arden so why not come along and see for yourself. Visitors are always welcome £3.00. You do not have to be an active flower arranger to enjoy watching our demonstrators but if you do feel you would like to 'have a go' we hold occasional workshops. For further information, Contact Secretary - Annette Walker - 01564 792837

Welcomes players who may be interested in joining the club. Club nights are Friday and Sunday from 8.00 p.m. in the Memorial Hall. Further details: Chairman 793320. Visitors welcome (£2).
Henley Cricket Club fields two teams in the Cotswold Hills League on a Saturday, and two teams in friendly fixtures on Sundays, from mid-April to mid-September. We are always on the lookout for new players, irrespective of age or ability. Anyone interested in joining our club should contact Kevin O'Brien on 01564-794903.
meets on Monday evenings from April to September at 6.30pm and plays until it is dark. The club is situated next to the Tennis Courts at the Sports and Social club ground on the A34 just outside Henley. The Club welcome new members, whether beginners or established players. For further information contact John Townson 01564 792407.

Jollytots meet every Tuesday morning during term time between 10am and 11.45am in the Church Hall on Beaudesert Lane, Henley. It is open for all under 4 year olds and costs only £1.50 which includes a drink and a biscuit. There are toys, games, arts and crafts and singing. Any questions please ring Rachel on 01564 794470.

There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Coordinators. If you are aware that  you are not covered in your area or are willing to be a coordinator. Please contact Annette Walker on 792837
Holds its monthly lunchtime meeting on third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to 2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session followed by a quality lunch and an informative speaker on a business topic. Full details at

Meets the last Sunday of the month at Wootton Wawen village hall at 2.15pm for a conducted walk of about 5 miles over the local and surrounding area footpaths. The Group welcomes all walkers. There is no subscription. More details from Denis Keyte on 01564 792872.

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month. Membership consists of retired professional and business men residing in the vicinity of Henley. Visitors are most welcome and for further details please contact the secretary Andrew Yarwood on 794079.
Plays Duplicate Bridge of intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel and usually find time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our play!!. Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8 tables and the club does not issue master points.
For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.

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Air Ambulance

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