High Street, Epsom
Epsom shown within Surrey
|Area||18.04 km2 (6.97 sq mi)|
|Population||31,489 (2011 census)|
|– density||1,746 /km2 (4,520 /sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|District||Epsom and Ewell, Reigate and Banstead, Mole Valley|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||KT17 KT18 KT19|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Epsom and Ewell|
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 generic name for 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Economy and amenities
- 3 Sport and leisure
- 4 Geography
- 5 Demography and housing
- 6 Hospitals
- 7 Localities
- 8 Langley Vale
- 9 Transport
- 10 Education
- 11 Emergency services
- 12 Notable people
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
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). 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. 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. 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. At various dates in the Middle Ages manors were founded by subinfeudation at Epsom Court, Horton, Woodcote, Brettgrave and Langley Vale.
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.
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.
The New Student's Reference Work of 1914 describes Epsom:
|“||Ep′som, a small town market of Surrey, England, fifteen miles southwest of London. The springs which made Epsom so fashionable a resort in the latter half of the 17th century, gave name to the Epsom salt, formerly made from them. The church, rebuilt in 1824, contains monuments by Flaxman and Chantrey. On Banstead Downs, one and a half miles south of the town, the most famous horse-races of the world are held yearly on Derby day. The grand stand was built in 1829–30 at a cost of $100,000, and seats 7,500 spectators. Population, 10,915.||”|
Economy and amenities
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.
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.
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.
The late 1990s saw the development of the Ebbisham Centre (not to be confused with the nearby early 18th century Ebbisham House), 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.
Sport and leisure
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
Soil and elevation
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. 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
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.
West Ewell, Ewell
|Ashtead||Walton on the Hill||Tattenham Corner|
Demography and housing
|Ward||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats||Shared between households|
|Ward||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
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.
The hospitals were (in order of date of opening):
- Manor Hospital (1899)
- St Ebba's Hospital (1902)
- Horton Hospital (1903)
- Long Grove Hospital (1907, an exact duplicate of Horton Hospital to save construction time)
- West Park Hospital (construction started 1912, used as a military hospital from 1916 and officially opened in 1921)
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.
Epsom is contiguous apart from the neighbourhoods or localities below.
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'. 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
This locality is a sloped, developed network of streets, surrounded by steep farmland and the racecourse.
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.
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 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.
- 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.
State schools include Blenheim High School, Epsom and Ewell High School, Glyn Technology School, North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT) and Rosebery School for Girls and also The Beacon School Banstead. 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
Epsom is served by these emergency services.
- Surrey Police
- South East Coast Ambulance Service as of 1 July 2006. The Surrey Ambulance Service, Sussex, and Kent Ambulance services have all merged, and have now ceased to exist.
- Surrey Fire & Rescue Service
- Epsom General Hospital, which has an Accident and Emergency facility.
Notable people who were born in Epsom include:
- singer Petula Clark,
- artist Simon Starling,
- photographer Martin Parr,
- actors Tom Felton, Warwick Davis, Alex Kingston, Catherine McCormack
- current Ambassador of the European Union to the United Nations, Thomas Mayr-Harting.
- record producer, sound engineer Andy Johns
- Andy Ward, the drummer of the progressive rock band Camel was born here.
- Emmy Award winning actress Julia Ormond
People who have lived in Epsom at some time include:
- actor Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Social Network)
- writer Isabella Beeton,
- comedian Norman Wisdom,
- comedienne Mel Giedroyc,
- author and charity-founder David Charles Manners,
- snooker player Jimmy White
- football commentators Kenneth Wolstenholme and David Vine.
- Legendary guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame is a famous son of Epsom, and his father owned the Page Motors garage.
and others include:
- adult film actor Nici Sterling,
- the Bristol City footballer Jody Morris,
- the Southend United footballer Freddy Eastwood,
- Group one winning jockey Ian Mongan who is an Epsom based rider,
- Louis Cole famous YouTuber
- television presenters Tyger Drew-Honey and Michaela Strachan (born in Ewell).
- Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 20 December 2013
- H.E. Malden (editor) (1911). "Parishes: Epsom". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Surrey Domesday Book
- Domesday Map Retrieved 31 October 2013
- The New Student's Reference Work
- Hull 'worst place to live in'
- Location, Location, Location: Best and Worst Live
- "Epsom Playhouse". Retrieved 16 November 2007.
- "Epsom Clock Tower". Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "History - From 1990s to the Present Day - Epsom & Ewell Football Club". Pitchero.com. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013.[unreliable source?]
- Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute
- Grid square map Ordnance survey website
- "Manor Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "St. Ebba's Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Horton Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Long Grove Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "West Park Hospital". Thetimechamber.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Urbex". Simoncornwell.com. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Horton Park Childrens Farm". Hortonpark.co.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- 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.
- "Epsom and Ewell High School". Epsom and Ewell High School. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Rosebery School". Rosebery.surrey.sch.uk. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "ewell castle school". Ewellcastle.co.uk. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Epsom.|
- Epsom - 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
- Town of Epsom
- Epsom & Ewell Borough Council
- Exploring St.Ebbas Hospital
- Exploring West Park Asylum
- Detailed History of the Spa, Salts and Springs of Epsom and Ewell