WONERSH
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HISTORY SOCIETY

WONERSH MEMORIAL HALL

In the aftermath of the First and Second World Wars, memorials were erected across the country, often in the form of monuments or statues. In Wonersh in February 1919, a public meeting was held and a committee appointed to look into the options available for a First World War memorial. A second public meeting in June decided by a large majority to erect a Wonersh Memorial Hall, a site having already been offered by the Honourable Mrs Cooper of Chinthurst Hill. Baillie, Scott and Beresford were appointed architects and a bid was accepted from Guildford & District Guild of Builders who employed many former members of the armed services. John Sudbury hosted a garden fete at Wonersh Park on 4 August 1919 which opened an appeal to raise £2000 (the final cost was £1680) and the opening ceremony was finally held on St George’s Day, 23 April 1924, five years after the first public meeting. Various appeals to fund improvements were made over the years. In September 1936 electric lighting was installed using the balance of funds collected by the village to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V the previous year, but by the early 1970s there was an obvious need for the hall to be extended although this had to be on a self-build basis due to a lack of funds. The extension was opened on 30 June 1978, the day of the AGM of the Management Committee. In his opening remarks, the Chairman said: “It is, therefore with great pride that we shall be formally opening the extension on the day of our Annual General Meeting. To be able to say that we have done it ourselves is not only a source of pride but a tribute to all the cheerful and willing help which has been given. This help has taken so many forms, the generous gifts of money, of materials, of skills, or time, of knowledge all given selflessly in a great example of community spirit. Like so many enterprises in life, until you try you do not know how much you can do.” During WW2 the Memorial Hall was the venue for a wide variety of events including parties (some for evacuees); plays; meetings of village organisations such as the Women’s Institute and the Parish Council; fund raising events, entertainments for the military, and political meetings. The Memorial Hall continues to be an invaluable community asset which is used by various village organisations. It may also be booked for private functions and parties and anyone interested in booking the Hall should contact Mrs Marian Cozens on 01483 892579. The Hall maintenance costs continue to be largely covered by the generous annual subscriptions of residents.
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