A window into the past

A fascinating history

The Clavadel Centre first opened its doors to the public in 2014; but pull back the curtains of time and a fascinating history is revealed dating back to the Victorian era.

It is believed that the original building that stood on the site was established in 1894 by a Mark Smallpiece. Mr Smallpiece purchased the land at the top of Pit Farm Road from William Hillier, 4th Earl of Onslow, and set about erecting a Victorian villa named Clavadel House ─ no doubt as part of the ongoing development of Pit Farm Road undertaken in the 1890s.

Fast forward to post-World War Two Britain, and the dawn of the ‘swinging sixties’, when Clavadel House became the Clavadel Hotel. Stylistically, the hotel bore the hallmarks of Queen Anne Revival with a smattering of the Arts and Crafts movement thrown in for good measure, whilst reputedly still finding space for a contemporary piece of neon signage – a far cry from the artisanal, hand-forged metal sign that adorns the front of the current building.

Under the management of local entrepreneur Alan Peck, the hotel became a much-loved venue for weddings, special occasions, and highlights on the Guildford social calendar. Indeed, local residents will recall the friendly Italian restaurant La Pergola, run by husband and wife team Marissa and Rudi Villardo, which was attached to the premises and still welcoming discerning diners until the early 2000s.

Strength to Strength

The Clavadel Hotel enjoyed several successful decades at the heart of Guildford life until, following the eventual closure of La Pergola, the building was purchased by The Geoghegan Group in 2012 in order to radically redevelop the site and construct a modern, post-operative rehabilitation centre in its place – the first of its kind in the UK.

Since then, The Clavadel in its new incarnation has gone from strength to strength – rapidly finding its place in an ever-evolving timeline and looking forward to becoming part of local history for many years to come.