The Cricket Pavilion
Originally From Holloway Hill
In the autumn of 1997, our founder Henry Jackson learned that the beautiful all wooden 1883 cricket pavilion, which stood on the Holloway Hill recreation ground at Godalming, was scheduled for demolition in order to be replaced with a modern lottery funded building. Henry, with museum trustee Alexa Barrow, discussed the fate of the building with Waverley Borough Council with a view to their transferring the old building to the Rural Life Centre.
Fortunately it was offered to the museum and we were able to ensure the survival of this unusual building. Volunteers at the RLC were largely responsible for the work you see today. A watercolour painting of the pavilion at Godalming was presented to Henry and the museum by architect Michael Blower, from the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, who helped greatly with feasibility studies and the planning application.
The pavilion is possibly the most visible of all buildings on the site, situated at the very end of the long drive from the entrance of the RLC. Most photographs show it from afar early in the year, when the delightful flowering cherry trees are in full bloom.
The move from the Holloway Hill recreation ground was rather hasty due to delays of nearly 6 months from planning issues with its replacement (the old pavilion was still in use up to 30th March 1998 and had to be completely removed by 1st May). The dismantled building arrived at the RLC during April, but work could not commence during the Summer, when the Museum is open to the public. Eventually the new foundations were laid and re-building commenced. It was the biggest and most costly venture undertaken by the Museum at that date.
An official re-opening occurred on Sunday, July 2nd 2000, with a junior cricket team in full Victorian dress playing a match organised by Ruth Ahmed on the open space in front of the Pavilion, under the watchful eye of 18th century cricketing hero, 'Silver' Billy Beldham (really our own Maurice Hewins).
The project to re-site the building was completed in August 2000, at a cost of over £27,000 and nearly 3,000 man-hours of Volunteer effort. At that date it could be visited, but still needed the finalisation of the electricity supply, lighting and heating.
The building is covered in split pine or larch cladding, like the chapel, in a style which is thought to be fairly localised to this area. The roof, originally thatched when first built, is now covered in cedar shingles. The whole ground floor, save the changing rooms at either end, was originally open to the verandah, but it was necessary to fit doors.
The square clock, positioned centrally above the entrance, was originally unveiled on 17th September 1949 to commemorate Lt Colonel T. R. Phillips for "the esteem and affection in which the Colonel was held by the Cricket Club". It still works and can be seen from a good distance.
Today the pavilion is recognised by all visitors to the museum.
One side room is now climate-controlled and is the home for our unique collection of vintage clothing. Some of the collection can be seen through a window, but access to this room is prohibited for obvious reasons. The other side room, near to the children's playground, is often empty apart from the cricketing and sporting memorabilia which has its home there; you can enter this room unless it is being used by us for preparing for events or exhibitions.