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Last updated 9 September 2013

Wonersh Pond

Heavy rain earlier this year caused the low ground between Lawnsmead Cottages and Wonersh Common Road, adjacent to the Corner House, to briefly fill with rain water. It gave us a glimpse back to a time of probably over 100 years ago, when the area from the path into Lawnsmead Hall down to Corner House was occupied by the village pond.  

We are often asked questions about the pond, particularly when it ceased to exist. This seemingly straightforward question is one which we have not been able to answer with any degree of certainty.  

In an attempt to prompt some thought on the subject and hopefully to elicit information that narrows down the timing of the pond’s disappearance, we give below some of our archives material relating to the pond. 

While the picture below may be a little out in terms of scale, it is evocative in suggesting the pond was a significant central point in the village at one time.

undated drawing

The 1871 map below shows the pond at what was probably its full extent.

By the time the map below was published in 1897, it seems the area occupied by the pond may have diminished somewhat

In 1949 the Wonersh Women’s Institute produced a scrapbook which included an article titled ‘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 the following reference “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.”

 In a separate article in the scrapbook entitled ‘Recollections of a Mother and Daughter, both members of the Institute’, the following appeared “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.”

The Pond circa 1900, with Ashlands in the distance

The plan below, dated 1905, attached to an Abstract of Title relating to “Glencoe” (belonging to Harry Wheeler who set up Wonersh Supply Stores) also suggests the pond was much reduced from its former size by that time.

A short note in an earlier WHS Bulletin suggested that the pond would virtually dry up in dry spells but would fill up again after heavy rain, but finally disappeared in 1915.  The 1916 OS Map below suggests the pond had indeed gone.

The Parish Council Minutes of 30 June 1920 make reference to the site previously occupied by the pond, so we know that it had definitely gone by that date. 

‘Application having been made to the Council for permission to have a quoit pitch in Wonersh Old Pond, Mr. Hamshere proposed and Mr. Dunford  seconded that the Council sanction same on condition that no expense attaches to the Council and that the Club and members concerned keep the ground in a fit and tidy condition. Carried’ 

If any member has information, old photographs or knowledge passed down within their families about the pond, particularly regarding the date it disappeared, we would be delighted to talk to you, so please contact a member of the Committee.  

I understand the area of the pond also filled up in the heavy rains of 1968, when Guildford suffered flooding. If anyone has any information or photographs relating to the pond please contact the Chairman.

Dennis Cruickshank  

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