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Grandstand, Marlow Road, Henley-on-Thames

A Grade II Listed Building in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.5407 / 51°32'26"N

Longitude: -0.9006 / 0°54'2"W

OS Eastings: 476339

OS Northings: 182993

OS Grid: SU763829

Mapcode National: GBR C4S.746

Mapcode Global: VHDWG.BJQR

Entry Name: Grandstand, Marlow Road, Henley-on-Thames

Listing Date: 28 October 1974

Last Amended: 18 April 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1291579

English Heritage Legacy ID: 246242

Location: Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9

County: Oxfordshire

District: South Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Henley-on-Thames

Built-Up Area: Henley-on-Thames

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Henley-on-Thames

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Henley on Thames

Listing Text

5355 (East Side)

SU 7582 1/324
SU 7683 8/324


C19. Riverside grandstand for viewing Henley Royal Regatta. Iron construction,
flat topped with main viewing area of 6 bays, raised above river.

Listing NGR: SU7634582991

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.


Grandstand of 1913.


Grandstand for Henley Royal Regatta on the E bank of the River Thames at the point of the finishing line, designed by Frederick G Sainsbury in 1911, constructed in 1913. Refurbished and altered in the 1990s and early C21.

The W (landward) elevation is late-C20, with alterations of the early C21 including a rear extension and modifications to the post-war single-storey kitchen and facilities wing. The W balcony is late-C20, and an additional balcony was added to this elevation in the early C21. The W elevation is thus much renewed and is not part of the special interest of the building.

MATERIALS: cast-iron structure on a concrete base, with modern steel reinforcement and materials, including glazing, used in the refurbishment.

PLAN: a linear plan intentionally taking the form of a boat; the grandstand is raised above the retaining wall to the E river bank, providing a first-floor deck from which to view the races.

EXTERIOR: six bays, the lower deck has recessed glazed panels (renewed in the early C21) and entrances on the E (river) elevation above which is a projecting upper deck, enclosed in the early C21, with a lattice iron balcony to the S, E and N. The earliest structure of the grandstand is evident on the E elevation and comprises cast-iron columns supporting steel beams that are cantilevered past the columns to support the timber joists of the balconies; there are curved braces between the columns and beams.

The roof is an early C21 glassfibre structure designed to imitate the form of the original canvas roof.

INTERIOR: not inspected. The interior fixtures, fittings and finishes are believed to be modern replacements.


Henley Regatta was established in 1839, initially by the Mayor and people of Henley-on-Thames, but received royal patronage from 1851, becoming known as the Royal Regatta thereafter. The grandstand was constructed at the river frontage of the SE corner of the estate of Phyllis Court, a building of 1895 on the site of a manor first recorded in the C14. Presentation plans for the grandstand dated to 1911 record the architect as Frederick G Sainsbury, a Reading architect. It is believed that the grandstand was constructed in 1913 following a visit to the Henley Regatta by King George V and Queen Mary in 1912. Maintenance of the grandstand was neglected during the post-war period; the upper canopy and some iron bracing were lost and the single storey block to the rear, which houses the kitchens and toilets, was added. It is understood that the grandstand was strengthened before the Olympic regatta in 1948.

The grandstand was refurbished in the 1990s when a new structure of steel stanchions was constructed; the cast-iron stanchions were retained as a decorative feature, but were no longer structural. Listed building consent and planning permission were granted in 2012 to replace the roof, add a two storey extension to the W, partially demolish the rear service wing, replace glazing to the ground floor of the grandstand and provide external lifts at the W elevation. The historic elements of the grandstand are retained at the main river frontage.

The grandstand abuts the Manor House boathouse, but this structure is not included in the listing.

Reasons for Listing

Henley Royal Regatta’s grandstand of 1913, designed by Frederick G Sainsbury, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the principal riverside front displays architectural prowess in the elegant arrangement of cast-iron columns, double-decked viewing points and plan;
* Historic interest: the grandstand was designed and constructed for the Royal regatta, an important sporting event in the country’s history endowed with Royal patronage;
* Rarity: a rare example of an early grandstand in the national context.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Boathouse the Moorings
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9
  • II Waters Edge
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9
  • II Mariners
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9
  • II Old Ship House
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9
  • II 5, Wharfe Lane
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9
  • II Temple Reach
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9
  • II Gateways
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9
  • II 2, 3 and 3a, Wharfe Lane
    Henley-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, RG9

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