© Wonersh History Society - www.wonershhistory.co.uk (WHS)


Some   people   will   probably   be   surprised   to   learn   that   Wonersh   used   to   have   a   pond   stretching   from   the   road   into   Lawnsmead    right   down   to Corner   House   opposite   the   Pepper   Pot.      Even   today,   when   there   has   been prolonged   and   heavy   rain,   the   low   ground   briefly   fills.      It’s   difficult   to   say with   any   degree   of   certainty   when   the   pond   ceased   to   exist   but   we   can take an educated guess based on old maps and other documents. A   map   dated   1871   shows   the   pond   virtually   opposite   Ashlands    which   is probably   when   it   was   at   its   fullest   extent.      By   1897   (see   map   below)   the pond    had    receded    from    Ashlands    to    roughly    opposite    Eskdale    on Wonersh Common Road. Anecdotal   evidence   suggests that   the   pond   disappeared   in   the   early   1900s   and   there is certainly a map from 1916 with no sign of it. In   1949   the   Wonersh   Women’s   Institute   produced   a   scrapbook   which   included   an article   ‘Reminiscences   of   an   Old   House’   which   recounted   the   development   of   the village   from   the   perspective   of   Ashlands,   situated   more   or   less   opposite   one   end   of the   pond.   The   article   included:   “This   was   before   1880,   and   in   the   following   30   years, Mr   Wheeler    gradually   bought   up   the   land   between   me   and   the   Forrest   Stores   and built   the   present   row   of   Houses   finishing   about   1906.   About   this   time   the   pond vanished   with   the   coming   of   the   main   drainage,   its   only   trace   being   a   damp   clayey patch where quoits were played until recently.” And   in   a   separate   article   in   the   scrapbook   ‘Recollections   of   a   Mother   and   Daughter   -   both   members   of   the   Institute’:      “Opposite   the   Working Men’s   Club,   there   used   to   be   a   pond:   in   my   mother’s   day   it   used   to   come   right   up   to   the   road   into   Lawnsmead   ,   but   I   can   remember   it   when it was smaller than that and have been sliding on it many times when it was frozen over.” According   to   William   Brown,   who   lived   in   The   Cottage    in   The   Street,   quoits   was   played   in   the   grassy   bed   of   the   old   pond   after   its   water   had been   drained   away   when   the   main   sewerage   pipes   were   brought   through   the   village.      His   father   was   captain   of   the   quoits   team   and   when William   was   interviewed   by   the   History   Society   in   November   1969   his   quoit   rings   were   still   hanging   in   the   Club   opposite.      Where   are   they now? We   know   from   the   photograph   on   this   page   that   the   pond   existed   in   1900.      An   article   in   the   WI   scrapbook   suggests   it   was   still   there   in   1906.     A   History   Society   bulletin   mentions   that   it   disappeared   in   1915.      There   is   certainly   a   1916   Ordnance   Survey   map   with   no   pond   shown.     Parish   Council   minutes   from   30   June   1920   make   reference   to   the   site   ‘previously’   occupied   by   the   pond.      So,   probably   the   safest   thing   to   say is that between 1906 and 1916 the pond disappeared.
The Pond c1900 with Ashlands in the distance