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


When it opened on 26 January 1887, Wonersh Liberal Club as it was then, looked across Wonersh Pond to Lawnsmead which had been built only fifteen years earlier. There were no buildings between the present village shop and the United Reformed Church apart from Ashlands, standing alone but with the footpath running up alongside over to Wonersh Hollow. The present Common was tree covered with open country extending across and over Barnett Hill. Architect William Seth-Smith had envisaged a considerably larger building but due to lack of funds only a portion of his plans were used. At the foundation laying ceremony, the treasurer Edwin Ellis (owner of the tannery and builder of Lawnsmead) reported that £614.16s of the £672.10s building costs had been raised. The foundation stones were laid by Countess Russell, widow of the Liberal Prime Minister Earl Russell, and Mrs J C Ramsden whose husband played a significant part in Wonersh village affairs. The formal opening on 26 January 1887 was by Mrs Arbuthnot, wife of the President of the Liberal Association. The plans provided for a coffee bar, a hall for meetings, committee room and general offices. The main supporters of the new club were non-conformists with a strong temperance preference and so it was after some discussion that it was agreed that beer could be sold. Oddly, at the stone laying ceremony the crowds were entertained by the Guildford Temperance Band. The Liberal Club thrived through the next forty years providing both social and sporting facilities and there was an annual garden and flower show. It continued until late 1928/early 1929 when, with the decline in the fortunes of the Liberal Party the club became the Wonersh & District Working Men’s Club and then more recently the Wonersh Village Club .