News and Events

Monday 26 February 2024

The Heritage Centre re-opens for the season on Saturday 30th March

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

The centre relies on our volunteers to stay open. We are holding coffee mornings for our volunteers and for anyone interested at the Heritage Centre on: 12th, 13th & 14th March at 10.30am.

New for 2024: A short video about the Centre and the history of Henley will be available for visitors to see. It will also help visitors who are unable to access the rooms upstairs.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Closing for the Winter

The Heritage Centre will be closing for the Winter on Sunday 29th October

The Centre will open again in April 2024. We will still be able to open for group bookings during our closed season.

Friday 31 March 2023

Heritage Centre re-opens on 4th April 2023

New for 2023

New items on display include a wedding dress made from a RAF parachute in 1947. It has gone on display next to a wedding gown dating to 1867 and is part of a larger display of clothing.

Also new for 2023 is a medical case belonging to a former doctor. Dr Farr’s surgery was at Greengates from the 1930’s until the 1960’s. His medical case is a time capsule of medical history.

Monday 9 January 2023

Joseph A Hardy III (1923 - 2023)

We have received the sad news that our founder Joseph Hardy died last weekend on his 100th birthday.

Joseph Hardy was only Lord of the Manor for a relatively short time but he left a lasting impression and legacy in Henley including the creation of the Heritage Centre.

Statements from the Hardy family, Nemacolin and 84 Lumber:

“Many knew Joe as a brilliant businessman and enthusiastic entrepreneur. Even with his vast success, Joe always remembered what matters most: people. He will be greatly missed.”

“From the beginning to the end of his life, Joseph A. Hardy III was truly a man who did it all. This embodied his favourite phrase and philosophy ‘nothing is impossible’."

"Mr. Hardy was a significant philanthropist for many universities and charitable organisations and has received numerous awards for his philanthropy.”

Wednesday 10 August 2022

BBC The Repair Shop

A Date for your Diary - See The Repair Shop at it's best with our Barrel Organ. On BBC1 Wednesday 17th August 8pm

The final item really strikes a chord with organ restorer David Burville. Norman Kench and his daughter Sarah have brought in the town of Henley-in-Arden’s barrel organ, which is in dire need of David’s expertise. The organ has played a major role in community celebrations and fundraising events for decades, but it is now scuffed, shabby and terribly tuneless. This project is a huge undertaking for David, but he rolls up his sleeves and cannot wait to start work.

Sunday 3 April 2022

The Heritage Centre opens this year on Tuesday 5th April

We are happy to announce that after a couple of difficult years the Centre will open as normal from April until the end of October.

This year we have had to change our opening times. We shall now be open 12 until 4pm on weekdays (Tuesday to Friday) and 2pm to 4pm on Weekends.

The Centre is closed on Mondays and we shall also be closed on Good Friday (15th April).

Saturday 5 February 2022

Rosemary Sharman

It is with sadness that we have learnt of the passing of Rosemary Sharman who with her husband Derek conceived and created the Heritage Centre.

Starting with an empty house after its acquisition by the Trust in 1995, Derek and his wife Rosemary conceived and created the museum very much as it now presents itself. After Derek’s death in 2014, Rosemary continued to be a volunteer and was a fountain of knowledge about Henley.

The Trustees would like to thank Rosemary Sharman's family and those who gave donations at the service of thanksgiving. Currently we have received over £2,500.

Tuesday 21 December 2021


The Heritage Centre is now closed for the winter.

The winter period is used for maintenance, development and restoration work at the Centre. We hope to re-open on 1st April 2022. Anyone interested in arranging a group visit during next year can contact us via the website at any time now. And anyone thinking of volunteering as a steward should get in touch now!

Friday 23 July 2021

We Re-Open on Sunday 1st August

Our opening times at the moment will be 2 – 4pm. We are open every day except Monday until the end of October.


We have introduced a number of temporary measures for our visitors.

Our opening times have been reduced for the rest of the year. Due to the centre having small rooms and narrow corridors, a limit of 20 people inside the building at any one time has been introduced. Hand sanitiser is available for use. Face coverings are no longer mandatory to wear. We respect every individual's personal choice on the wearing of masks including our own volunteers.

We hope everyone understands why we have introduced these changes and enjoy their visit.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

The Heritage Centre will be re-opening soon

Covid-19: Announcement on Re-Opening

The Heritage Centre is currently closed.

With yesterdays announcement by the Government to delay the final phase removing restrictions, the Trustees have decided to put back the re-opening of the Heritage Centre until after the 19th July. ++ we are now planning to re-open on Sat 31st July ++

Certain measures may be still in place when visiting including the limit on numbers, the wearing of masks and the provision of hand sanitiser.

The Centre is always looking for new volunteer stewards. It involves giving 2 hours a fortnight of your time to help keep the museum open. Use our 'contact us' details on the website if you wish to volunteer.

Sunday 24 January 2021

Henley Heritage Trail

The Joseph Hardy Charitable Trust has contributed to the Parish Council’s Heritage Trail ‘you-are-here’ boards that will be appearing in town to help visitors, once restrictions are lifted, navigate around the sites and attractions.

Covid-19 [Update on Re-Opening]

The Heritage Centre is currently closed for the Winter. The latest government announcement concerning the roadmap of easing restrictions indicate that the earliest that indoor museums may be able to open is 17th May 2021.

The trustees are currently planning how and when the Heritage Centre will open considering that certain social distancing measures will continue in the short term.

Monday 16 November 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The Heritage Centre is now closed for the Winter.

Because of Coronavirus and government social distancing measures the Heritage Centre was unable to open this year.

It is hoped that we will be able to open as normal on 1st April 2021.

The Trustees recognise that measures to reduce infection may continue on well into next year. In those circumstances there may well be changes to how the Centre normally operates as we have an obligation to look after our visitors and volunteers.

During the year we have been able to make some repairs and improvements to the property ready for when we are able to open.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Remembrance Day

"For the Fallen", Laurence Binyon

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Thanking the NHS and key workers.

Henley in Arden Heritage Centre, the Joseph Hardy Charitable Trust and all our volunteers wish to thank the NHS and key workers.

In accordance with the measures taken by the UK Government in response to Coronavirus Covid-19, the Heritage Centre is currently closed until further notice.

We will continue to review the situation and will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Friday 17 April 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

The Heritage Centre is closed at the moment.

In accordance with the measures taken by the UK Government to reduce the risk of infection, the Heritage Centre will remain closed until further notice.

The Trust has an obligation to look after our volunteers, the majority of whom are classified as vulnerable, as well as our visitors.

The Trustees are continuing to review the situation in light of current Government guidance whilst making preparations including Risk Assessments and will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Henley-in-Arden Museum & Heritage Centre re-opens to the public for the new season on 1st April 2020.

A re-branding of the Centre has taken place over the winter with new leaflets and a new look website.

The website has been re-developed from scratch to be responsive, accessible and clearly legible on all devices. At the same time the look and feel of the site has been redesigned to make it more contemporary, generally more appealing and easier to read and navigate.

A new feature to the site is a ‘this week in history’ section which has been introduced to communicate the rich history of the town.

Monday 9 September 2019

The Heritage Centre will be part of the National scheme: Heritage Open Days 2019

The Centre will have a display from Henley CoE School from Tuesday 17th to Sunday 22nd September. The Centre will also be open longer from 10:30 to 4:30 during this period.

The Guild Hall will also open as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme on Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd September from 12noon to 4pm. For more information go to:

Wednesday 3 April 2019

New for 2019

Heritage Open Days

We are planning to join the ‘Heritage Open Days’ scheme in September along with other venues in Henley. Further details to follow.

Wednesday 31 October 2018

The Heritage Centre is now closed until April 2019.

Can you identify what this recent acqusition is?

We now have a facebook page which can be accessed at

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Earthing Exhibition

The Hub & Henley Primary School have set up a Special Exhibition that will run in the Learning Room until 4th May

Express powers of your imagination.

Inspired by local artist and writer Julie de Bastion & Herbalist Laura Yarham

Be prepared for the unexpected

Wednesday 21 March 2018

The Heritage Centre will open on Tuesday 3rd April.

Commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War

A display commemorating the people of Henley who took part in the First World War will be installed for 2018.

Sunday 26 February 2017

Opening on Tuesday 4th April 2017

New for 2017 Mediaeval Room & Entrance Hall Makeovers

Work over the Winter has included improvements to the Entrance Hall and the Mediaeval Room.

The Entrance Hall has been given a different layout and a model showing the history of the building.

The Mediaeval Room has had a change of layout; new information boards; new lighting and a new castle model.

Sunday 26 February 2017

Henley-in-Arden: A Splodge in the Arden Forest by Ray Evans

Ray's book will be on offer at the Heritage Centre at a discounted price of £10.

Ray Evans is a local author, playwright and dramatist, and has recently published a local history book entitled ‘Henley in Arden – A Splodge in the Arden Forest’ which is a whimsical account of life in Henley in the past 700 years or so.

The Book Guild have taken the option to publish Ray’s latest tome – ‘Churchill’s Boomers’ an account of life in Birmingham in the fifties, available later this year.Further details about Ray’s work can be found at

Thursday 1 September 2016

New Update to the Website

Schools and Groups Page

We have added more information on our website for school visits including what we can offer.

For societies and groups we have a dedicated page on what kind of visits we can offer.

The Heritage Centre can also help you in your visit to Henley-in-Arden, the Guildhall, and other places in the town.

Thursday 25 August 2016

New Beaudesert Castle Model

Progress Report on the New Model

In order to improve our presentation about Beaudesert Castle, a new model is currently being designed and built. It will be smaller than our existing model but will be more accurate in terms of the shape of the hill and in how it looked in the 14th century. Mike Quinney and Ray Holding have been doing all the hard work shaping the earthworks. Hopefully we will have the new model on display next year.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

New for 2016

New Display on Local Historical Documents

A display focusing on documents concerning Henley has been installed in the Learning Room. It includes copies of the four market charters for Henley & Beaudesert along with an example of a Court Roll. There is also an entry from the Warwickshire Eyre, and indentures from the Centre's own collection.

Monday 6 April 2015

We're open again!

The Centre reopened to the public on 1st April, after its winter "rest".

Our 2014 display commemorating the outbreak of the Great War a hundred years ago has been enhanced by the addition of a remarkable model of a WW1 battlefield trench. This splendid model was made by ten-tear old Oscar Hook Evans, as part of a school project about the War. The detail is impressive, down to individually - made sandbags and wall supports. Well done Oscar - a fine piece of work, and thank you for letting us display it!

Sunday 2 November 2014


The Heritage Centre has now closed at the end of its 2014 season. Here the last stewards on duty on 31st October, Anna Best and Maggie Riley, turn the key for the last time in 2014.

The winter period is used for maintenance, development and restoration work at the Centre. We reopen on 1st April 2015 but anyone interested in arranging a group visit during next year can contact us via the website at any time now. And anyone thinking of volunteering as a steward should get in touch now!

Wednesday 22 October 2014

100 years on

From August,,marking the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, we have had a display in the Reading Room showing a small part of Henley's own story.

With the enthusiastic help of pupils of St Mary's School, Henley, a collection of documents and other memorabilia from the war years was put together. This will remain in place at least until the early part of the 2015 open season. It includes some brightly imagined newspapers of the nations and a colourful display of national flags and statements. Also included are a handful of extracts from the new book by Dr R D Bridgewater and the story of Henley's voluntary auxiliary hospital.

Saturday 6 September 2014

Derek Sharman: a founder trustee

The trustees of the Joseph Hardy Trust, which owns and runs the Heritage Centre, said a sad goodbye to one of the creators of the Centre, Derek Sharman, who passed away on 18th August.

Starting with an empty house after its acquisition by the Trust in 1995, Derek and his wife Rosemary conceived and created the museum very much as it now presents itself. Derek himself ran it as curator for its first sixe years. This was but one of Derek's numerous contributions to Henley's community life, its societies and its well-being. He was one of those irreplaceable people whose word and deed were consistent, dependable and non-judgemental.

Monday 28 July 2014

100 years on ....

On Monday 4th August between 10.00am and noon, Dr Douglas Bridgewater will be on hand at the Heritage Centre to sign copies of his new book.

The book, entitled "A Small Town and the Great War" is launched on the occasion of the centenary of the outbreak of war on 4th August 1914. It presents a meticulously researched account of the lives of two hundred men of Henley-in-Arden who were on active service during the hostilities. It follows their fortunes after the war and records how Henley now commemorates her war dead.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Renewing an old "friendship"?

The German 500lb bomb displayed in our Wartime section was re-united with an earlier acquaintance

Mrs Veronica Butler, who visited us recently, lived here as a baby during the war and was rudely awakened by a falling bomb.... which happily didn't detonate, or we wouldn't have this story!.

We don't know for sure but it may well have been this same weapon. It was retrieved after the war by Sappers, who rendered it harmless.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Endless sifting and sorting!

There's a steady stream of "new" documents and other artefacts, kindly offered by interested people.

Needless to say, it sometimes overtakes us and there's a backlog to sort out. Keiran Mallinson, on a work experience placement from Henley School and shown here working with curator Ray Holding has been helping us "bottom" the latest pile, adding to our collection of artefacts and displays. It's vital work.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

We're open!

The Heritage Centre re-opened for the 2014 season on 1st April 2014. We're now open until the end of October and look forward to welcoming you!

School and adult groups are particularly welcome, by prior arrangement. Just phone or e-mail us to book a date for a guided tour of the Centre. Refreshments are provided for adult groups. It makes a great day out.

The Reading Room, shown here, is a mine of information and you can browse through all the records in comfort. People come looking for information about their ancestors!

And - new this year - young folk (of all ages!) can enjoy our short film show and test their knowledge on the touchscreen quizzes.

Saturday 4 January 2014

How was it for you??

We're closed for the winter but we'd like to hear from you if you visited during 2013!

If your visit was between 1st April and the end of October 2013,do please tell us what you thought about the Heritage Centre, its displays, archives and stories and the help you received from our stewards. We'd really like to know what you found most interesting.

You can use the CONTACT US page on this website for your reply. Please state the area you live in and how you first heard about us!

And of course, come again. Some really cool stuff installed for 2014!

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