The people of Wonersh have been employed in a variety of trades and professions. There have been weavers, writers, printers, stonemasons, tanners, shoemakers, judges, politicians, shopkeepers, gamekeepers, brickmakers and farmers.The writer and traveller Claudia Parsons became the first person to circumnavigate the world by car in 1938. In 1739 Judge Sir William Chappel passed sentence on the highwayman Dick Turpin.In Victorian Britain, Caroline Norton, a passionate campaigner for women’s rights, was instrumental in the passing of the Custody of Infants Act and Matrimonial Causes Act.During WW2 Constance Babbington Smith was awarded an MBE and the US Legion of Merit for her work in air photo intelligence.It all beganwhenin1966,ayearbeforehemovedtoWonersh,the lateAnthonyFanshawestartedhisresearchintothe village.Heinterviewedresidentsandpeoplewhohad movedawayandhevisitedPublicRecordOffices.Inall hespenttwenty-fouryearscollectingavastamountof material.OnAnthony’sdeath,John-PaulMarix-EvansofGreat TangleyandFraserScottofWoodyers(respectivelyour firstChairmanandSecretary)clearedhisstudyandboth leftwiththeircarsloadedwithbooks,pictures,maps anddocuments.It’sthiscollectionthatformedthebasis oftheWonershHistorySocietywhichwasfoundedin 1992 and since then the archive has continued to grow.
For just £10 a year (£15 for a family) you can join the History Society and have access to more photographs like this along with videos, Zoom presentations, bulletins and the first of a new series of books - ‘Women of Wonersh’.Claudia Parsons came to live in The Old House in Wonersh in the 1920s. She was one of the first three women to study engineering in the UK; in 1938 she was the first person to circumnavigate the world by car; she wrote a travel book, a novel, short stories, an autobiography and was co-author of a book on china restoration. In 1956 she also found time to carve the nativity scene which has shone a light in Wonersh every Christmas since then.Claudia is just one of a number of remarkable women whose stories are told in ‘Women of Wonersh’, the first in a series of publications being produced by the History Society.To read this book, and for free access to photographs, videos and Zoom presentations, you can join us by using the link above.