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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°20′10″N 0°16′03″W / 51.3361°N 0.2674°W / 51.3361; -0.2674

Epsom is located in Surrey

 Epsom shown within Surrey
Population 27,065 
OS grid reference TQ205605
District Epsom and Ewell
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 town in the borough of Epsom and Ewell in Surrey, England. The town is located 18 miles (29 km) south-south-west of Charing Cross, within the Greater London Urban Area. The town lies on the chalk downland of Epsom Downs.



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

Epsom lay within the Copthorne hundred, an administrative division devised by the Saxons. The name of Epsom derives from Ebba's ham. Ebba was a Saxon landowner. There were a string of settlements, many ending in -ham, along the northern slopes of the Downs, including Effingham, Bookham, and Cheam. The only relic from this period is a 7th century brooch found in Epsom and now in the British Museum.

The early history of the area is bound up with the Abbey of Chertsey, whose ownership of Ebbisham was confirmed by King Athelstan in 933.

Epsom appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Evesham. It was 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. It rendered £17.[1] The town at the time of Domesday Book had 38 peasant households grouped near St. Martin's Church. Later, other small settlements grew up at the town pond (now the Market in the High Street), and at Epsom Court, Horton, Woodcote, and Langley Vale.

The Epsom Derby, the second leg of the English Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is run each June on nearby Epsom Downs Racecourse.

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 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, a public school located in Epsom.

Historically, Epsom was known as a spa town, although there is little to see nowadays apart from a water pump. There were entertainments at the Assembly Rooms (built c. 1690 and now a pub). A housing estate has now been built upon the wells.

Epsom was visited by Samuel Pepys in 1663 when the town was famous for its wells. The visit is noted in his diaries. Around the same time (5 and 10 June 1662) the Dutch artist Willem Schellinks visited Epsom, resulting in both a detailed description of the trips to the wells in his travel journal (the Dagh-register) and a number of drawings of Epsom.

Epsom salts are named after the town. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) was originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters at Epsom.


Owing partly to its position 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.[2][3]

The Epsom Playhouse was opened in 1984 and is run by Epsom and Ewell Borough council.[4]

Epsom Clock Tower was built in 1847, replacing the watchhouse which stood from the 1600s, 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.[5]

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, 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.


As well as Epsom's NHS General Hospital, Epsom was also known for having a large number of psychiatric hospitals, although only one remains (St. Ebba's Hospital). Before their closure in the 1980s and 1990s, there were five major such hospitals in the area, known as the Epsom Cluster

View of Epsom, John Constable, c. 1808.

These were (in order of date of build):

  • Manor Hospital[6] (1899)
  • St Ebba's Hospital[7] (1902)
  • Horton Hospital[8] (1903)
  • Long Grove Hospital[9] (1907, an exact duplicate of Horton Hospital to save construction time)
  • West Park Hospital[10] (construction started 1912, used as a military hospital from 1916, officially opened in 1921)

These were all built in very close proximity to each other on a 1,096-acre (4.44 km2) site on Epsom Common, which the London County Council bought to solve the overcrowding problems in its other hospitals. Some of these hospitals (Horton and Manor especially) were built quickly and on limited budgets, and were identical in layout to other asylums designed by the architects G.T.Hine and William Clifford-Smith who were employed by the LCC. The hospitals shared a central 'engineering works' next to Long Grove, which supplied all five establishments with water (hot and cold) and electricity. Of the asylums that have closed, three have been converted into housing (Horton, The Manor and Long Grove Hospital) and two have been run down, with only limited usage in West Park and St Ebba's, including day services and a cottage hospital.[11]. These were formerly served by the Horton Light Railway.

These days Horton Country Park is home to the Horton Park Children's Farm.



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 and Wimbledon where it connects with the London Underground. The town's other station, Epsom Town, was closed in 1929; some of the buildings remain, incorporated into modern developments on the Upper High Street, though more visible from the 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 services connect Epsom to Sutton, Kingston, Redhill 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[1].There is also a campus of the University for the Creative Arts.

Independent schools include Epsom College, Kingswood House School, St. Christopher's School and Ewell Castle School for Boys [2].

Emergency services

Epsom is served by these emergency services.

Famous people

See Famous people from Epsom

See also


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Epsom is a residential town in Surrey, just outside the boundary of Greater London.


Epsom and Ewell council[1] estimates the population of the borough, centred on Epsom, to be 69,600 (mid-2006).

The compact borough is mainly residential. Some office space and light industry form a corridor between Epsom town centre and the village of Ewell. East Street in Epsom runs through the heart of this commercial district. The town centre is dominated by the Ashley Centre shopping mall, which contains typical outlets such as Boots, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Monsoon, Next, Waitrose, Waterstones and WH Smith.

Epsom borders Reigate and Banstead at Epsom Downs. The Downs are an upland chalk ridge marked by steep slopes rising from the south. This rural enclave takes up a quarter of the borough's land area and is home to the famous Epsom Downs racecourse and grandstand, the venue of the annual Epsom Derby horseracing event in June.

Get in

By road

Epsom lies just to the southwest of the London Metropolitan Area, but inside the M25 orbital motorway.

The shortest arterial road between central London and Epsom is the A3, starting at London Bridge, switching to the A24 at Clapham Common, through to Epsom town centre. The A24 makes barely any diversion from the SSW compass point.

Between London and Epsom this Roman route (built c. 100AD) cannot be widened because of 19th and later 20th century urbanisation and it hasn't been bypassed except for two short sections around Merton High Street and Ewell village centre, so modern levels of vehicle use aren't accommodated for. The distance is only 15 miles, but during the daytime and the morning and evening rush hours can take an hour or more to drive.

A faster journey from central London follows the A3 after Clapham Common and turns off onto the A240 spur road at Tolworth junction, to approach Epsom from the northwest. This route follows a two- or three-lane dual carriageway most of the way. The A3 is easily accessible from the West End of London.

The M25 serves Epsom from all other parts of the UK. Leave the motorway at Junction 9 and road signs for Epsom direct you onto the A24 from the south. The distance from the motorway junction is only four miles.

By train

Trains from London to Epsom are slow but are still quicker than the road journey. The average journey time of 36 minutes is unimpressive for an 18 mile journey, but at least trains depart frequently. Two timetables combined provide eight trains an hour between London and Epsom from Monday to Saturday, and four an hour on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The fastest times are 33 minutes from London Victoria station (operated by Southern Railway[2]) and 35 minutes from London Waterloo station (operated by South West Trains [3]). An additional hourly service to Epsom, from London Victoria, takes passengers on a 51 minute circuitous route via West Croydon. Southern Railway also operates a handful of peak-hour commuter trains to London Bridge, which also take 50-55 minutes.

The direct lines from London Waterloo and London Victoria both pass through Clapham Junction, before diverging and meeting again at Epsom, so you can switch trains at Clapham if you want. The London Waterloo line goes through Wimbledon. From London Victoria the train takes a more easterly route via Mitcham Junction.

Epsom station is outside the London Travelcard area, but Travelcards are available from Epsom station.

Two rail routes approach Epsom from the south. There are two trains an hour from Guildford (for connections from Portsmouth and Reading) and four an hour from the picturesque town of Dorking. Further south there is a rail link to the West Sussex coast via Horsham operated by only one hourly train that continues beyond Dorking. The English Channel is 50 miles due south of Epsom.

Get around

Much of the town centre can easily be covered on foot. Public transport options from the centre up to Epsom Downs, or out to Ewell Village, consist of a reasonable bus network. Timetables can be found here [4]. You can also travel by bus to Leatherhead, Sutton, or Kingston-on-Thames.

  • Epsom Downs Racecourse [5] is the home of the Epsom Derby, a two-day festival of horse racing dating back to 1780, held each year in early June. The event attracts tens of thousands of racing fans, and although there are restricted areas in the Grandstand and Queen's Stand, many parts around the course, and in the centre of the horseshoe-shaped track, are open to the general public. When there is no racing, the downs are a great place to walk, ride or fly a kite.
  • Bourne Hall Museum [6] is a small local museum with some interesting exhibits. It is on the first floor of a 1960s building in the centre of Ewell Village. There are meeting rooms and a public library on the ground floor. The museum displays change regularly. Entrance is free. Opening hours: 9.00 - 18.00h. Closed Sunday.
  • Horton Park Childrens Farm, Horton Lane, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8PT (Between Epsom and Chessington near junction 9 of the M25), 01372 743984 (, fax: 01372 749069), [7]. Daily 10-5 (winter) 10-6 (summer). £5.95 per child, each child can bring an adult at £1.50, extra adults £5.95.  edit
  • Chessington World of Adventures, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NE (From the South, take M25 junction 9. From the North, take M25 junction 10), 0870 999 0045, [8]. 10-5 (winter), 10-8 (summer). Theme park, zoo and Sea-Life centre. £23 over-12, £16 under-12, discounts for families and groups.  edit
  • Catch a show at the Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL, 01372 742555/742227 (), [9].
  • Epsom Rotaract is a well established local social club aimed at 18 to 30 year olds, also attracting members who are new to the country or simply passing through. The club has a very varied calendar, including volunteering and fundraising opportunities alongside more conventional events such as cinema trips, paintballing and meals out.
  • Pullingers Art Shop[10] 18 High Street, Epsom, Surrey KT19 8AH.


There are many chain restaurants in the centre of town, but on Epsom Downs, by the racecourse, there are two pubs which provide good food at reasonable prices. Both can get very busy, particularly at weekends.

  • Derby Arms, Epsom Downs, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5LE, 01372 722330.  edit
  • Rubbing House, Langley Vale, Epsom Downs, Surrey, KT18 5LG, 01372 745050.  edit


Epsom is not overwhelmed with charming places to drink, particularly in the centre. However, there are a few pubs of interest within 10-15 minutes walk of the station.

  • Ye Olde Kings Head, 26, Church St, Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4QB, 01372 729125.  edit
  • The Amato Inn, 18, Chalk Lane, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7AS, 01372 721642.  edit
  • The Cricketers Inn, Stamford Green Rd, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7SR, 01372 729384.  edit
  • The Rising Sun, 14, Heathcote Rd, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5DX, 01372 740809.  edit
  • The Albion, 134, High St, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8BT, 01372 744240.  edit
  • The Barley Mow, 12, Pikes Hill, Epsom, Surrey, KT17 4EA, 01372 721044.  edit
  • The Ladas, 13, Woodcote Rd, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7QS, 01372 723780.  edit
  • Chalk Lane Hotel, Chalk Lane, Woodcote End, Epsom, Surrey KT18 7BB, 01372 721179 (, fax: 01372 727878), [11].  edit
  • Premier Inn, 2-4 St. Margarets Drive, Off Dorking Road, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7LB, 08701 977 096 (fax: 01372 739761), [12].  edit
  • Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, nr Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6BD (about 30 minutes drive south of Epsom, 5 miles northwest of Dorking, 2 miles south of Great Bookham, off the A246 Leatherhead–Guildford road), 01372 452048 (, fax: 01372 452023), [13]. 11AM-5PM (summer), 11AM-4PM (winter). A Regency country house with Edwardian interiors and gardens, set in beautiful downland countryside. Gardens only: £5.90, child £3.10; House & gardens: £9.50, child £5.  edit
  • Box Hill, The Old Fort, Box Hill Road, Box Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7LB (1 mile north of Dorking, 2 miles south of Leatherhead on the A24), 01306 885502 (, fax: 01306 875030), [14]. 11AM-5PM (summer), 11AM-4PM (winter). Great views across downland towards the south coast. Parking £3, countryside free.  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EPSOM, a market town in the Epsom parliamentary division of Surrey, England, 14 m. S.W. by S. of London Bridge. Pop. of urban district (1901), 10,915. It is served by the London & South-Western and the London, Brighton & South Coast railways, and on the racecourse on the neighbouring Downs there is a station (Tattenham Corner) of the South-Eastern & Chatham railway. The principal building is the parish church of St Martin, a good example of modern Gothic, the interior of which contains some fine sculptures by Flaxman and Chantrey. Epsom (a contraction of Ebbisham, still the name of the manor) first came into notice when mineral springs were discovered there about 1618. For some time after their discovery the town enjoyed a wonderful degree of prosperity. After the Restoration it was often visited by Charles II., and when Queen Anne came to the throne, her husband, Prince George of Denmark, made it his frequent resort. Epsom gradually lost its celebrity as a spa, but the annual races held on its downs arrested the decay of the town. Races appear to have been established here as early as James I's residence at Nonsuch, but they did not assume a permanent character until 1730. The principal races - the Derby and Oaks - are named after one of the earls of Derby and his seat, the Oaks, which is in the neighbourhood. The latter race was established in 177 9, and the former in the following year. The spring races are held on a Thursday and Friday towards the close of April; and the great Epsom meeting takes place on the Tuesday and three following days immediately before Whitsuntide, - the Derby on the Wednesday, and the Oaks on the Friday (see Horse-Racing). The grand stand was erected in 1829, and subsequently enlarged; and there are numerous training stables in the vicinity. Close to the town are the extensive buildings of the Royal Medical Benevolent College, commonly called Epsom College, founded in 1855. Scholars on the foundation must be the sons of medical men, but in other respects the school is open. In the neighbourhood is the Durdans, a seat of the earl of Rosebery.

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