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Henley on Thames


Henley-on-Thames (Oxfordshire, UK), is a small town of 11,180 (1981) people. It is  located 35 miles west of London between the cities of Oxford (northwest) and Reading (south) (map - WARNING: MAYBE A SLOW  LINK). The town lies at the foot of the Chiltern Hills where the river Thames  (Virtual Tour  of the Thames) is crossed by a stone  bridge (1786).

The old town was incorporated in 1526, has a medieval church and a wide  market street flanked by Georgian buildings. The town serves as a shopping  centre for the modern riverside resort and residential town. Henley is probably  most famous for the Henley Royal Regatta, which dates from  1839 and is visited annually in July by international oarsmen, and Brakspears Beer.

The town now has two 'official' home pages, The Henley Network and Henley-on-Line. Further information  can also be found on another Henley  Page and yet another Henley Page!

Henley Royal Regatta

This is an annual five-day event of rowing races and social gatherings! The regatta is held in the first week in  July and was established in 1839. In 1851 Prince Albert became its patron and  gave the event its "royal" prefix. Regattas modelled after Henley Royal Regatta  (HRR) are also held in America, Canada and Australia. In connection with the regatta a museum of  rowing is currently being built in Henley.

Site: Construction of the 'tent village' of HRR starts in mid-April. The site is  situated over the bridge from the main centre of Henley and consists broadly of  five different areas; the boat tents (closest to the bridge), a Stewards Enclosure which is next to the boat tent area and at  the finish of the course, the General Enclosure just  downstream of the Stewards Enclosure, the start complex at Temple Island and the  Hospitality tents which are located across the river from the General  Enclosure.

Rowing: The races are held on  the longest naturally straight stretch of river in Britain and the regulation  course distance is 1 mile 550 yards (2,100 m; Henley Royal Regatta  Bye-Laws). The most significant of the traditional Henley races are the  Grand Challenge Cup, the oldest (established in 1839), which usually attracts  the world's finest eights (crews using eight oars), and the Diamond Challenge  Sculls (1844), one of the world's top single sculls events (one man, two oars).  There are several other events, for various types of crews, most of which are  open to entries from anywhere in the world. (Go to the Rowing  Page)

Social: Besides being a rowing  event the regatta is also a social gathering and this has its own particular  rules and customs. Of interest is the dress code associated with the Stewards  Enclosure (location). The Enclosure enforces a strict code  in which woman must wear dresses with hems below the knee and men must wear  jacket, collar and tie. The enclosure contains four bars, a luncheon and tea  tent, and two stands. To enter the enclosure, unless you are a Steward or  Steward's Enclosure Member, you will require a Steward's Enclosure Member Guest  Badge. These can be bought either from the Regatta or from members, in either  case they are usually difficult to obtain. The General Enclosure has a more  relaxed approach to dress, contains a bar and a small stand, and tickets can be  purchased at the gate.

Other 'Henley' Regattas: The  American Rowing Association, founded in 1902 to stimulate intercollegiate  competition in the U.S., ends its season each year with a regatta at the  regulation Henley distance, alternately at Philadelphia and Boston, that has  become known as the American Henley. A 'Henley' is also held in California and  called the California Henley at Redwood Shores. A similar event  called the Royal Canadian Henley  has been held annually at St. Catharines, Ont., since 1903 (at various sites  earlier to 1880). An Australian Henley at Melbourne was first  held in 1904.

In addition, Susan Smith has e-mailed to say that the Henley-on-Todd Regatta  is run (and I mean literally run!) the first Saturday in October in Australia.  Further information can be found at the Alice Springs web site  and have a look at the photos. Susan tells me  that "Rotary HENLEY-ON-TODD Regatta - 2 October 1999 1st Saturday in October  starting with a parade - races include Head of the River, Surf-Ski Rescue,  Admirals Cup, Australia's Cup (Australia vs USA) and the Channel Race (a new  event featuring the rescue from France to England of a "damsel" by a "gentleman"  and involving some cross-dressing mid-"tunnel"!) plus the finale Gunboat Battle.  Door prizes including air tickets from QANTAS are just a few reasons to come to  this entertaining Dry-River boat races event! Enquiries to Rotary Club of Alice  Springs (08-8952-2544). Reference was".

Further information about Henley Royal Regatta can be found at The Henley Royal Regatta Home Page.

After the five day regatta event the site is then used for The Henley Arts Festival.


The Brakspears Brewery was founded in 1779 by Robert Brakspear.

The main brewery is located in New  Street where the five ales (Mild [ABV 2.8%], Bitter or Pale  ale [ABV 3.4%], Old Ale [ABV 4.0%], Special [ABV 4.0%], OBJ [ABV 5.0%]) are produced by the company are brewed. In 1997 the head  brewer at Brakspears finally decoded the recipes left by Robert Brakspear. The  recipes were written in code to prevent 'industrial spying' by the other brewers  in the town. Although most of the recipes will never be brewed again, mainly  because the beer would not be to peoples taste today, that is too bitter or too  strong, Brakspears plan to release six as 'seasonal' beers in 1998.

1. Dark Rose - ABV 4.1% - A mysterious beer full of subtle secrets:  Dark but not black;... Red but not scarlet;... With tantalising hints of fresh  coffee and campfires to slip away those long winter evenings. Available January  1998.

2. Hop Demon - ABV 4.2% - Hop Demon is a light but intensely aromatic  beer 'Triple Hopped' to give a complexity and depth of character which will  appeal to the ale connoisseur. Available March 1998

3. BEE Sting - ABV 4.7% - The crispness of wheat  and succulence of honey combine to deliver a refreshing and lively flavour  perfectly matched to the approach of summer. "A pint of the countryside please".  Available May 1998. (I recently tried a pint of this at the Anchor, and I must admit that it was not  to my taste, particularly at 2.20 per pint! - Nick, June 1998)

4. Regatta Gold - ABV 3.8% - The pinnacle of refreshment - Regatta  Gold. We've brought Saaz hops halfway across a continent (from Zatec province of  the Czech Republic) to give a light, crisp, unique and refreshing beer for the  Summer of '98

5. Reaper's Reward - ABV 5% - A lush, flavoursome  pint full of the richness of autumn's harvest. Brewed using crystal Rye which  gives the Ale a deep reddish colour and amber malt, which has been reintroduced  by specialist malsters allowing us to produce this unique Ale. September  1998

6. 'O' Be Joyful - ABV 4.8% - Rich roast malts and dark brown sugars  are blended to provide rounded and warming body whilst the classic Brakspear  yeast yields its spicy citrus and dried fruit aromas to produce a real Christmas  pudding of a beer. Best served without custard. November 1998

The company owns some 17 public houses in the town  centre with an additional 110 pubs within an 18 mile radius of Henley. In a  recent move the managed house division will be split in to two "styles" pubs  called Robert Brakspear's Ale Houses and Robert Brakspear's Taverns.

(More beer related information at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA))

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