The history of the hall
The hall consists of two Victorian buildings dating from 1846 and 1869. Until 1973 it housed the village school, attended by children from Binfield Heath, Eye & Dunsden and part of what is now Caversham.
When the school closed there was nowhere for the local community to meet. A Mission Hall on the village green had been pulled down in 1951 as the Oxford Diocese were hoping to sell the green for housing.
The School had been gifted by the Palmer family of Sonning to what became the Oxford Diocese, but once it ceased to be a school, it reverted to the original donors’ 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 opened its first Village Hall after a campaign by the parish council to save the buildings from demolition. The nearby field was later gifted to the Parish Council by the daughters of Robert Phillimore.
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 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. Using these funds the hall’s car park was re-surfaced and extended.
Find out more about the fascinating history of the hall in this Booklet, produced for its 150th anniversary.
Wilfred Owen (1893–1918)
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.