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Last updated 9 September 2013

The Pepper Pot

 

Supported by the Parish Council and Wonersh History Society the Pepper Pot is being considered by Waverley Borough Council as a Building of Local Merit.  This iconic structure has adorned the centre of the Village for over 80 years and merits some recognition as an important historical structure. 

The following photographs show the village centre before and after the building of the Pepper Pot.

 

 

While all Wonersh residents will be aware of the Pepper Pot, some may not be aware of its history or of the politics of the time that nearly prevented it being built.  For an insight into events in the late 1920s we are grateful to the late Ron Hill for the following extracts from the Parish records: 

25 September 1928.  A letter was read from Mr Haslam offering to erect a bus shelter at Wonersh where the sign post now stands.  A Plan for the proposed shelter was submitted to the Council for approval.  Mr Sheppard proposed and Mr Gossard seconded that the thanks of the Council be conveyed to Mr Haslam for his kind offer and that the plan be forwarded to the Hambledon RDC asking for their sanction to erect the shelter on the site suggested. 

23 October 1928.  A letter was read from the RDC saying they could not sanction the erection of a bus shelter on the site suggested as it could be a serious danger to traffic.  After discussion it was unanimously resolved on the motion of Mr Gossage seconded by Mr Voller to inform the RDC that this Council did not agree that the shelter would be a danger to traffic and that the proposed site is the only suitable one for the shelter.  Further they are of the opinion that if the proposal was for a public convenience or a street refuge, this is the site which would have been chosen for either.  Also the RDC were to be informed that Mr Haslam had definitely decided to withdraw his offer failing the approval of the site suggested. 

16 April 1929.  A letter was received from the County Council asking that no further action be taken in erecting the shelter, as the proposal was to be reconsidered.  Mr Cox moved and Mr Gossage seconded that a letter be sent pointing out that the donor had now put the matter in hand, and that, if possible, representatives of the County Council should meet the Parish Council on site to discuss the question.  Also the Clerk was directed to write to draw the attention of Hambledon RDC to the material deposited around the signpost in Wonersh and ask them to remove same. 

27 June 1929.  A letter was read from the County Council stating that they are not prepared to recommend the alteration of their decision for permission to erect a bus shelter at Wonersh. 

10 October 1929.  Mr Cox proposed and Mr Sheppard seconded the expression of the Councilís thanks and gratification to Mr R. H. Haslam for his kindness in giving the new bus shelter erected in Wonersh and recently completed and this was carried unanimously. 

17 December 1929.  A letter was read from the County Council suggesting certain alterations to the bus shelter.  After discussion it was resolved on the proposition of Mr Gossage seconded by Mr Haslam that the letter lie on the table. Carried. 

Robert Haslam, an Architect from Gloucestershire, was the owner of Wonersh Park Mansion and estate, having bought it from the Sudbury family in 1914.  Mr. Haslam, however, chose to live in The Mill House which he significantly extended in 1922.  In the late 1920ís, the Mansion was in a state of disrepair and Mr. Haslam decided to demolish it.  There is local belief that the oak beams of the Pepper Pot may have come from the demolished Mansion and the tiles from the Ice House in the grounds of the Mansion.  Unfortunately, there is no documentary evidence to verify this.

        As to Hambledon RDCís suggestion that the Pepper Pot might be a serious danger to traffic, the following photograph indicates that the opposite might also have been the case.

Between 1973 and 1991 the Pepper Pot suffered no less than six vehicle collisions.  The original use as a bus shelter is long past, but the Pepper Pot remains an attractive focal point in the centre of Wonersh.

 

 

Dennis Cruickshank

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