© 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 .