Epsom

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Coordinates: 51°20′10″N 0°16′01″W / 51.336°N 0.267°W / 51.336; -0.267

Epsom
Geograph-2361498-by-Hugh-Craddock.jpg
High Street, Epsom
Epsom is located in Surrey
Epsom
Epsom
 Epsom shown within Surrey
Area  18.04 km2 (6.97 sq mi)
Population 31,489 (2011 census)[1]
    - Density  1,746 /km2 (4,520 /sq mi)
OS grid reference TQ2060
Civil parish n/a
District Epsom and Ewell, Reigate and Banstead
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town EPSOM
Postcode district KT17, KT18, KT19
Dialling code 01372
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Epsom and Ewell
List of places
UK
England
Surrey

Epsom is a market town in the borough of Epsom and Ewell in Surrey, England. Small parts of Epsom are in the Borough of Reigate and Banstead and Mole Valley District. The town is 13.6 miles (21.9 km) south south-west of Charing Cross, within the contiguous urban area of London mapped by the Office for National Statistics. The town straddles chalk downland (topped by the Epsom Downs part of the North Downs) and the upper Thanet Beds. The eponymous racecourse at its edge holds The Derby at the start of summer which has become the name of a major annual competition across many sports in English-speaking countries. The town also gives it name to Epsom Salts which were identified from mineral waters there.

Epsom has the source of the Hogsmill stream or river and includes two semi-rural localities: Horton and Langley Vale.

History[edit]

Epsom is famous for the Epsom Downs Racecourse which hosts the Epsom Derby; painting by Théodore Géricault, 1821.
St Martin of Tours, Epsom

Epsom lies within the Copthorne hundred used for periodic, strategic meetings of the wealthy and powerful in Anglo Saxon England, and later having a Hundred Court. The name of Epsom is early recorded as forms of Ebba's ham (home or perhaps manor).[2] Ebba was a Saxon landowner. Many Spring line settlements by springs in Anglo-Saxon England were founded at the foot of dry valleys such as here and Effingham, Bookham, Cheam, Sutton, Carshalton, Croydon and Bromley. A relic from this period is a 7th-century brooch found in Epsom and now in the British Museum.

Chertsey Abbey, whose ownership of the main manor of Ebbisham was confirmed by King Athelstan in 933, asserted during its Middle Ages existence that Frithwald and Bishop Erkenwald granted it 20 mansas of land in Epsom in 727.[2] Epsom appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Evesham, held by Chertsey Abbey. Its domesday assets were: 11 hides; 2 churches, 2 mills worth 10 shillings, 18 ploughs, 24 acres (97,000 m2) of meadow, woodland worth 20 hogs; altogether it rendered £17 per year to its overlords.[3] The town at the time of Domesday Book had 38 households (and 6 serfs noteworthy enough to be recorded as assets), some of them in a nucleated village near the parish church of which there were two.[4] At various dates in the Middle Ages manors were founded by subinfeudation at Epsom Court, Horton, Woodcote, Brettgrave and Langley Vale.[2]

Under Henry VIII and Queen Mary the manor passed to the Carew then related Darcy families. It passed via the Mynne, Buckle and Parkhurst families to Sir Charles Kemys Tynte and after his death to Sir Joseph Mawbey.

Within the centuries-old boundaries is Epsom Downs Racecourse which features two of the five English Classic horse races; The Derby and The Oaks, which were first run in 1780 and 1779 respectively. On 4 June 1913, Emily Davison, a militant women's suffrage activist, stepped in front of King George V's horse running in the Derby, sustaining fatal injuries.

Lord Rosebery

The British Prime Minister and first chairman of the London County Council, Lord Rosebery, was sent down (expelled) from the University of Oxford in 1869 for buying a racehorse and entering it in the Derby − it finished last. Lord Rosebery remained closely associated with the town throughout his life, leaving land to the borough, commemorated in the names of Rosebery Park and Rosebery School. A house was also named after him at Epsom College, one of Britain's public schools in Epsom.

By the end of the Georgian period, Epsom was known as a spa town. Remnants of this are its water pump and multiple exhibits in the town's museum. There were entertainments at the Assembly Rooms (built c. 1690 and now a pub). A green-buffered housing estate has now been built upon the wells in the south-west of the town.

Epsom salts are named after the town. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) was originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters which sprung at Epsom. What was in the Middle Ages the town pond has become the town's market.

Economy and amenities[edit]

Town Hall, The Parade

Owing partly to its position and transport infrastructure in the London commuter belt allowing easy access to the Greater London conurbation to the north and the rolling Surrey countryside to the south, the borough of Epsom and Ewell was named in August 2005 by Channel 4's Location, Location, Location as the "Best Place to Live" in the United Kingdom, and ranked at numbers 8 and 3 in subsequent years.[5][6]

The Epsom Playhouse was opened in 1984 and is run by Epsom and Ewell Borough council.[7]

Epsom Clock Tower was built in 1847, replacing the watchhouse which stood from the 17th century, and was built to 70 feet of red and suffolk brick, with heraldic lions of Caen Stone at the four corners of the tower base. A bell was added in 1867. By 1902 the lions had been replaced by lanterns, (which were replaced by the current globe lights in 1920) and the toilet buildings added either side of the tower.[8]

The Ashley Centre, a shopping mall, was built in the early 1980s and subsequently parts of the high street were pedestrianised as part of the construction of the town's one-way system. In the 1990s, a large multiplex Odeon cinema was built in Upper High Street.

Remains of Epsom Town station

The late 1990s saw the development of the Ebbisham Centre, a community service based development, including a doctors' surgery, Epsom Library, a cafe and a health and fitness centre. The Derby Square expanded and includes a number of franchise chain pubs/bars.

The University for the Creative Arts has one of its five campuses in Epsom. Laine Theatre Arts, an independent performing arts college, is based in the town. Students have included Victoria Beckham. Leisure facilities in and around the town include a leisure centre (the Rainbow Centre) on East Street; Epsom Downs Racecourse; the Odeon cinema; and the Horton Park Children's Farm.

Major employers in the town include Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and WS Atkins.

As part of Epsom and Ewell, the town is twinned with Chantilly in northern France. Epsom and Ewell was ranked in the top ten of the Halifax Quality of Life Survey 2011.[9]

Sport and leisure[edit]

Epsom has a Non-League football club Epsom & Ewell F.C. who currently share a ground with Merstham F.C., as they sold their original ground off West Street. They are currently looking to move back into the Epsom area[10]

Geography[edit]

Soil and elevation[edit]

The town is bisected in two in terms of soil: the north of the town is on gravel and sand deposited around the London Clay of most of London as the Thanet Beds whereas the south-east of the town is on uneroded chalk slopes: Epsom Downs refers to these slopes reaching up to wide plateau (on which sit the formerly water-scarce settlements: Box Hill, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth and Kingswood, Surrey) and covers 990 acres (400 ha) of what is in traditional terms and in technical terms, part of the area of the settlement, called Epsom Downs.[2] In terms of topsoil, the northern soil is free draining, slightly acid but base-rich soils, producing extremely fertile pastures and deciduous woodland. The southern soil is of two types:

  • shallow, lime-rich soil over chalk or limestone of the escarpment
  • slightly acid, loamy and clayey soils with impeded drainage soil[11]

The town's clustered bulk is at 35m to 70m (above Ordnance Datum, mean sea level) and slopes incrementally from south and all other directions (to a lesser extent) towards the centre-north. The racecourse and Langley Vale parts of Epsom rise to high points of 140m and form a drainage divide between tributaries of the Thames flowing north and towards the Mole Gap south-west.[12]

Nearest settlements[edit]

Demography and housing[edit]

2011 Census Homes
Ward Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats Shared between households[1]
College 1,040 425 144 622 0 17
Court 160 721 947 738 1 0
Stamford 707 995 300 346 0 0
Town 237 849 455 1,584 2 27
Woodcote 1,111 513 232 430 0 0
2011 Census Households
Ward Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
College 5,873 2248 41.1 35.9 316
Court 6,830 2,567 13.8 39.8 213
Stamford 6,088 2,348 38.5 43.7 436
Town 6,979 3,154 27 29.1 136
Woodcote 5,719 2,286 41.4 37.9 703

Hospitals[edit]

As well as Epsom's General Hospital, the town was well known as the location of a group of five large Edwardian psychiatric hospitals, commonly known as the Epsom Cluster. Most of the hospitals closed in the 1990s and early 2000s, although psychiatric services are still offered on parts of the Horton, West Park, St. Ebba's and Manor Hospital sites.

View of Epsom, John Constable, c. 1808.

The hospitals were (in order of date of opening):

The hospitals were built in close proximity to each other on a 1,096-acre (4.44 km2) estate on part of Epsom Common, which the London County Council bought to solve the overcrowding problems experienced in its other hospitals. The hospitals shared a central 'engineering works' next to Long Grove, which supplied all five institutions with water and electricity and were served by the private Horton Light Railway. Today, of the former hospitals, three have been largely redeveloped for housing (Horton, The Manor and Long Grove Hospital) and two are in the process of being redeveloped while retaining limited NHS services including day care and a cottage hospital.[18]

The surrounding land has now become the Horton Country Park and is also home to the Horton Park Children's Farm.[19]

Localities[edit]

Epsom is contiguous apart from the neighbourhoods or localities below.

Horton[edit]

Horton covers the slightly elevated westernmost part of the borough. Suburban and rural, it is centred on Horton Lane, a wide road with gentle bends, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in length with a 40 mph speed limit one of two routes between Chessington (including Hook) and the West Ewell-Epsom conurbation as an alternative route to Hook Road (the B284). It was a manor of the parish and remains a hamlet of the town as well as not qualifying for post town status. The place-name Horton is a common one in England. It derives from Old English horu 'dirt' and tūn 'settlement, farm, estate', presumably meaning 'farm on muddy soil'.[20] Formerly around it were a group of psychiatric hospitals which served London and Surrey, forming a socially distanced community and pre-dated the United Kingdom's shift to care in the community mental health treatments which commenced in the early 20th century.

Horton's amenities include:

  • Horton Park Golf Club
  • David Lloyd Leisure Centre
  • Horton Country Park
  • Hobbledown children's adventure park and farm
  • Epsom Polo Club

Langley Vale[edit]

This locality is a sloped, developed network of streets, surrounded by steep farmland and the racecourse.

Transport[edit]

Rail[edit]

Epsom railway station has frequent rail services to London (running to Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge), and also to Leatherhead, Dorking, Guildford, Horsham, West Croydon where it connects with London Overground and Wimbledon where it connects with the London Underground and Croydon Tramlink. The entrance to the station is currently being rebuilt and incorporated into a new block of flats. There was originally a siding at the side of the station and the buffers of this siding survived (but no track) until the new construction at the station.

The town's other station, Epsom Town, was closed in 1929; and although most of the listed buildings remain they have apparently been left to decay, and incorporated into fast food and shop storage areas on the Upper High Street. The station is of historic interest being the arrival point for Queen Victoria and her entourage prior to taking a carriage up to Epsom Downs. The dereliction is even more evident from the train line from Ewell East railway station.

Two other railway lines were built to serve the Epsom Downs Racecourse, with termini at Epsom Downs and Tattenham Corner.

The Horton Light Railway was built around 1905, as a branch from the main line near Ewell West Station, to deliver building materials to the mental hospitals (see above) being built on what is now Horton Country Park.

Bus[edit]

Bus services connect Epsom to Sutton, Kingston, Redhill, Leatherhead, Guildford, Crawley, London Gatwick Airport and other neighbouring areas, and a regular service connects with the London Underground at Morden. Some bus services are commercial, some run with the support of Surrey County Council, and others under contract to London Buses (part of TfL). Coach company Epsom Coaches and their bus division Quality Line are based in the town.

Road[edit]

  • The A24 passes through the centre of the town.
  • The M25 motorway can be joined at Junction 9 Leatherhead, via the A24 south.
  • The B280 runs from Epsom (West Hill) through Malden Rushett (A243) to Oxshott.

Education[edit]

Epsom College

State schools include Blenheim High School, Epsom and Ewell High School,[21] Glyn Technology School, North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT) and Rosebery School for Girls and also The Beacon School Banstead.[22] There is also a campus of the University for the Creative Arts.

Primary schools include Southfield Park Primary School,St Martins C of E Junior and Infant School, Wallace Fields Infant & Junior school Epsom Primary School and Children Centre, Stamford Green Primary School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School and Danetree Junior School

Independent schools include Epsom College, Kingswood House School, St. Christopher's School and Ewell Castle School.[23]

Emergency services[edit]

Epsom is served by these emergency services.

Notable people[edit]

Notable people who were born in Epsom include:

People who have lived in Epsom at some time include

and others include

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 20 December 2013
  2. ^ a b c d H.E. Malden (editor) (1911). "Parishes: Epsom". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Surrey Domesday Book
  4. ^ Domesday Map Retrieved 2013-10-31
  5. ^ Hull 'worst place to live in'
  6. ^ Location, Location, Location: Best and Worst Live
  7. ^ "Epsom Playhouse". Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  8. ^ "Epsom Clock Tower". Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "History - From 1990s to the Present Day - Epsom & Ewell Football Club". Pitchero.com. 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2013-04-07. [unreliable source?]
  11. ^ Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute
  12. ^ Grid square map Ordnance survey website
  13. ^ "Manor Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  14. ^ "St. Ebba's Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  15. ^ "Horton Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  16. ^ "Long Grove Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  17. ^ "West Park Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  18. ^ "Urbex". Simoncornwell.com. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  19. ^ "Horton Park Childrens Farm". Hortonpark.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  20. ^ Victor Watts (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), s.v. HORTON.
  21. ^ "Epsom and Ewell High School". Epsom and Ewell High School. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  22. ^ "Rosebery School". Rosebery.surrey.sch.uk. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  23. ^ "ewell castle school". Ewellcastle.co.uk. 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 

External links[edit]