The history of the hall
The hall is a Victorian building dating from 1846 that until 1973 housed the village school, attended by children from Binfield Heath, Eye & Dunsden and what is now Caversham, part of Reading Borough.
When the school closed there was nowhere for the WI to meet. The Mission Hall on the Green had been pulled down in 1951 forcing the football group to use the Black Boy pub, as the Oxford Diocese were hoping to sell the Green for housing.
The School had been gifted by the Palmers to what had become the Oxford Diocese, but once it ceased to be a school, it reverted to the donors or their successors. The community was keen to retain the building and Parish Councillor Gilbert Craddock pursued the case with great diligence and when eventually contacted, the successors agreed to sell the School at half its market value. Eye & Dunsden Parish Council bought it for £8,000 in 1977 and refurbished the near derelict hall at a cost in excess of £30,000.
In 1980 Dunsden was proud to open its first Village Hall. in 1987 the daughters of Robert Phillimore gifted the land behind the Hall to the Parish Council.
In 2006 a request was made to Eye & Dunsden Parish Council proposing that half the land behind the hall be sold and the hall car park be extended with the proceeds. The Parish Council agreed to this and Councillor Phillimore declared an interest in the land which was eventually exchanged for £21,800 and 0.6 acre of land behind the Green, where a community orchard has been established. The hall’s car park was duly extended and the original car park tarmaced.
The Wilfred Owen trail
this trail consists of many local landmarks around Dunsden and the surrounding area. The landmarks recount the powerful yet tragic story of Owens life whilst exploring the landscape of his childhood. The hall itself is one of these such landmarks which makes the trail a perfect activity for upcoming visit to Dunsden.
Wilfred Owen in Dunsden is an organisation that manages the trail and provides further information to help you plan your day.