Private Club, Right bank at Henley Royal Regatta finish
Phyllis Court Grandstand during Henley Royal Regatta
1616: Phyllis Court was bought by Sir James Whitelock
Fashionable Henley before the Regatta
The Story of the Thames, J E Vincent -
Henley, long before the days of the Regatta ... was a real centre of fashion.
The Henley Balls, five or six of them to a season, were events of social importance.
Then in December 1776 there was a gala week at Phyllis Court, tenanted by Lady Grandison,
whose son Lord Villiers, with Lady Villiers, was staying with her and had organised a play.
Three nights the play was performed, the 'famous Monsieur Tessier' playing Pygmalion.
After two of the performances Lord Villiers was to give supper and a ball at Henley;
after the third there was to be a ball at the Freemans', Fawley Court.
[ Mrs Powys at Fawley Rectory wrote - ]
"I'll set down those I knew to be there ... though there were numbers of fine men behind, whose faces I was not acquainted with. The Duke of Argyll, Lord Frederick Cavendish, Count Brule, the Lords Tyrconnel, Beauchamp, Harrowby, Sefton, Rivers, Camden, Macclesfield, Barrymore, Parker, General Conway (of Park Place), etc. ... Ladies Grandison, Aylesbury, Egremont, Hertford, Macclesfield, Villiers, Dowager Tyrconnell, Sefton, Powis, Harrowby ...".
1826: The Henley Guide Full text and prints -
Phyllis Court, the old manor house, stood near the Thames, to the north of the town. About forty years ago [c.1786], it was pulled down, with the exception of a small portion which still remains. A fine terrace walk by the margin of the stream, the bowling green, fish pond, &c. attest its former magnificence; and, though in the formal style of antique gardening, are very picturesque. The situation is beautiful, and the view of the Thames is such as can seldom be equalled, commanding one of the noblest reaches in the whole extent of the river.
1837: The present house was built
1881: George Leslie, "Our River"
The lawn in front of Phillis Court is
generally filled with plenty of spectators;
this is especially the place for
local fashion. Here ladies and gentlemen promenade up and down, or sit beneath
the shade of the noble chestnut trees; they do not as a rule, care or know much
about the racing itself and even if they did, the situation is a little too
much in the rear to see the contending boats well, as they go by.
The attractions of the place are its exclusive character, and the freedom there is of moving about in the shade, and meeting ones friends. This pretty river terrace, with its trees, and the stately ladies and gentlemen, forms an agreeable contrast to the general omnium gatherum, giving a tone and dignity to the gay surroundings. Several picnic parties, to which permission has been granted, may be seen under the elm trees by the fishpond.
George Leslie is a little dismissive of Phyllis Court as a spectator viewpoint for the regatta! It was rather better than he suggested - the old finish at the bridge meant that it was well placed to see the last part of races -
Henley Regatta: A View from the Grounds of Phyllis Court Club
[ Looking upstream towards the old Regatta Finish at the Bridge ]
And today this is its view -
Phyllis Court view of Regatta