Welcome to Henley-in-Arden Heritage Centre

The Centre

Joseph Hardy House, home of the Heritage Centre, is in itself a rare architectural gem.

The oldest parts of the house have been dated, using dendrochronological technology, to 1345. Features of interest include a "Crown Post", an unusual construction in a Warwickshire house. Displays and documents include an account of the development of the building over six centuries.

The Heritage Centre maintains a stock of leaflets and guides covering visitor attractions, accommodation in the town and its surrounding area.

New this season is our fantastic interactive quiz and video display room.

The Joseph Hardy Trust which owns and runs the Centre is an educational charity and works extensively with schools and adult groups.

During 2013 working with Henley School we have undertaken a Lottery funded project to create a great new experience for visitors of all ages. A twenty minute video show portrays a thousand years of the town’s history, incorporating four short plays written and performed by year 10 students of the school. Also, three quizzes on a new touchscreen station provide a lively and entertaining way of testing your knowledge.

There’s also a timeline matching Henley’s events to the country and the world at large.

  • Celebrating 17th century trade.

  • The Battle of Evesham 1265: Prince Edward states his aims.

  • The Great War: Action on the battlefield.

  • The Domesday Census 1086:
    an exasperated native.

Ground Floor in the Heritage Centre

  • A replica of the 15th century Market Cross.

  • 19th Century local wine merchant’s bottle found in a barn.

  • “Antiquities of Warwickshire” by William Dugdale, 1656.

  • Handle with care! Acetylene-powered iron.

  • O Yea! The Town Crier’s bell.

  • The Town Crier’s regalia.

  • Browse though the Reading Room records.

  • Officer’s whistle from the Great War.

  • Postwar air raid siren.

  • Pots and pans on the old cooking range.

  • Mason marks on a stone from the 12th Century castle.

  • Dress uniform of a local submariner.

  • 19th Century wooden kitchen tools.

  • Labour saving devices for the cook!

The Mediaeval Room tells the story of the original settlement of Beaudesert after the Conquest and the subsequent development of Henley-in-Arden. The Time Team’s 2001 exploration of the Beaudesert Castle site is portrayed and the Norman origins of the early Lords of the Manor is explained, including a profile of Peter de Montfort, slain at Evesham in 1265.

There’s a half-size model of the old Market Cross and a splendid model of a Norman castle. Here also is the original 1449 charter awarded by Henry VI to the Lord of Henley.

The Reading Room contains the Heritage Centre’s document and pictorial records, available for serious research and just for browsing.

The Entrance Hall offers souvenirs and tourism guidance information.

A wartime display in the Outhouse contains memorabilia and stories for the two world wars.

First Floor in the Heritage Centre

  • Milk delivery measures from the old dairy.

  • 1940’s pram modelled on the Silver Cross

  • Edwardian opera glasses

  • An early laptop computer?

  • Roof beams felled in 1345.

  • Weights and measures: an assortment of scales.

  • Handmade buttons on 18th Century gentleman’s waistcoat.

  • The constable’s torch and handcuffs.

  • Milk cart from the old dairy, forerunner of Henley Ice Cream.

  • 1940’s Mobo horse.

  • A tribute to WIlliam James, local railway visionary.

  • A fine pair of Edwardian spectacles.

  • Electrical machine for treating nervous disorders!

  • Boy’s cap from the former Arden House school.

The Victorian Schoolroom fascinates children and gives an experience of school in another age.

Our Trade and Transport room has artefacts reflecting the early growth of trade under royal charters, the coming of coach and railway transport, the post office, mills and fire brigade and local businesses including Henley’s famous ice cream.

The Home Life room contains a spectacular collection of clothing from Victorian and Edwardian times, children’s toys and household devices.

On the Landings are the stories of Henley’s inns and pubs, local societies and sports, trophy collections and an account of the 1908 Public Hall, now Henley’s Memorial Hall.