© Wonersh History Society - www.wonershhistory.co.uk   (WHS)
INSIDE WONERSH PARK Margaret   Rice    was   84   and   living   in   Grasmere,   Wonersh   Common   Road   in   1970   when   she   talked   about   her   memories   of   Wonersh   Park   where   she had worked whenever Mrs Sudbury needed extra staff.     There   were   four   children:      John ,    the   elder   son;   Hugh ;   Evelyn    and   Katie.       The   family   didn’t   occupy   the   whole   of   the   mansion   and   a   number of rooms, particularly on the top floor, were shut up. The   visitor   to   Wonersh   Park,   arriving   by   carriage,   would   pass   through   the   ornamental   gateway   and   sweep around   the   curve   of   the   short   gravelled   drive   to   alight   at   the   front   door.      This   naturally   led   into   the   hall,   off which   various   doors   opened.      To   the   left   was   the   little   dining   room;   the   door   at   the   rear   led   to   Mrs Sudbury’s   private   rooms   which   faced   the   garden.      The   main   staircase   was   at   the   rear   on   the   righthand   side.     The   big   drawing   room   was   nearer   to   the   front   of   the   house   and   occupied   more   than   half   of   the   ground floor of the south-west wing, looking towards the church over the tennis court and shrubberies. Beyond   it   was   the   large   dining room,   another   fine   room,   and above    them    both,    the    billiard room.        A    large    conservatory was   found   to   the   left   of   this   dining   room,   extending   into   the garden    and    this    was    always    filled    with    a    mass    of    beautiful flowers and plants. There   was   only   one   bathroom,   hot   and   cold   water   being   carried   up   by   the   servants   from   the   kitchen   to   the   bedrooms   in   copper   cans where   they   filled   basins   and   hip   baths.      Mrs   Sudbury,   whose   needs   were   rather   spartan,   invariably   had   a   cold   bath   each   day.      The   house was   illuminated   by   candles   with   shades   and   by   oil   lamps.      In   the   days   when   Mrs   Rice   worked   at   the   house   neither   gas   nor   electricity   was available in Wonersh. Mrs   Sudbury’s   bedroom   was   on   the   first   floor,   at   the   front   of   the   house   behind   the   righthand   bay   window.      The   landing   ran   behind   the centre   windows   above   the   front   door;   there   were   also   three   first   floor   landing   windows   at   the   rear,   overlooking   the   lake   and   this   gave   the house the odd appearance of having two floors at the south-west end but three everywhere else. Hugh   Sudbury’s   bedroom   was   to   the   right   of   the   conservatory,   on   the   first   floor;   John’s   was   behind   the   left   first   floor   bay   window   at   the front.      The   two   girls   occupied   the   two   second   floor   bedrooms   with   bay   windows.      The   old   Grantley   crest   stood   centred   prominently   above the long front facade. Returning   to   the   hall,   the   visitor   would   find   the   housekeeper’s   room   beyond   the   little   dining room;   beyond   that   were   the   servants’   quarters.      If   entering   the   house   through   the   back   door, which   opened   onto   the   drive   from   the   street   down   to   the   coach   houses,   there   was   a   long   stone passage.      On   the   left   was   a   courtyard   off   which   were   two   large   stone-flagged   kitchens,   the butler’s pantry, pantry, larder etc. In   1914,   Mary   Sudbury   sold   Wonersh   Park   to   Robert   Haslam    on   condition   that   she   could   live   there   for   the   rest   of   her   life.      When she died in 1926 he tried unsuccessfully to sell the house and it was eventually demolished in 1929.
“The old Village Flower Show became a Garden Party and Flower Show in the Sudbury’s time and for the village it was a very special day to look forward to each year …  A military band often came to play earlier in the day and stayed on to provide music for dancing in the evening.”