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New book - Old views of Epsom Town

1989/3 pp5–6


New book – Old Views of Epsom Town


Members may have noticed the recently published book Old Views of Epsom Town by G. Cockman and J. Marshall, available from the Epsom Stamp Shop, which, although the reproduction of the half tone illustrations is rather poor, and much detail has been lost, is a useful source of old views of Epsom, mainly taken from the collection of the stamp shop. Though many of the photographs are in the local history collection at Bourne Hall, quite a number are not, and it may be worthwhile to get good quality copies of the more important views for the collection. There are, however, also a number of errors in the text, and Dennis McCann has contributed the following notes which aim to correct these, and to expand on some of the comments made.


Page 4 Current belief appears to be that the Assembly Rooms (Waterloo House) was not the New Inn.


Page 23 Probably in the 1920s judging by the dress, vehicles and bicycles. I doubt whether it was ‘not long before… building of the Odeon’. I believe that by 1935 the electric lights in the High Street had a different type of fitting, although that shown was still in use in 1929 (fn 1).


Page 28 The upper inset was probably taken before 1890. The safety cycle was invented in 1885 (fn 2) and rapidly became popular. The Ordinary was out of fashion by 1900.


Page 34 The caption implies that there was a regular service between Epsom and Brighton or Shoreham, but I have not traced one. In 1912 there was a Mondays only excursion from London Bridge (7.42 am) to Brighton via Mitcham Junction, which departed from Epsom Town at 8.18; it ran from the 15th July until the 9th September. The return train departed from Brighton at 7.40 pm, Epsom Town 9.02, and arrived at London Bridge, via West Croydon, at 10.05 (fn 3).


Page 35 The wall of the turntable is extant. The signal box controlling the end-on junction of the Epsom and Leatherhead Railway (E&L) with the lines used separately by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSC) and the London and South Western Railway (LSW), until 1929, was Epsom West; it stood adjacent to the turntable. The junction was to the north of the bridge.


Pages 36 and 37 The van is standing (1927 or later) in the yard behind G and J. Furniss’s corn chandlers shop at 100 High Street. It is surprising that the make of the Trojan van – unique in preserving a chain drive and much beloved by Brooke Bond – is not mentioned. The Trojan works were at Croydon. The Furniss coal yard was on the north side of West Street behind Nos. 24–28. Waterloo Wharf served this yard; a photograph (fn 4) shows a coal wagon being unloaded by hand; none was discharged by tipping.


Page 50 The yards in the High Street went north only as far as the present Approach Road (fn 5).


Page 118 The caption to page 119 implies that the LBSC extension of 1859 connected the two stations. The single track was between two tracks used by the LSW and had no platform at the joint station.


Page 123 I believe that the Public Hall in Church Street was privately owned. It was used for many types of entertainment. It was the Palladium Picture Theatre, until the Capital Cinema opened; I saw the silent film ‘Ramona’ – with full piano accompaniment – there in 1930 or 1931.


Page 124 No. 15 became the butchers’ department and, until all three shops closed, provisions were at Nos. 21 and 23.


Page 128 The Southern Railway goods yard in Station Road dealt with all the town’s goods traffic from 1928. The engine shed closed in 1929. The station building (page 129) still stands.


Page 132 The only coal merchant in the joint station goods yard was Furniss. The lower inset purports to show an early view of the platform area of a LSW station.


The Epsom and Leatherhead Railway Act (14 July 1856) authorised, among other things, the establishment of a joint station at Epsom, on the principle of sharing with the LBSC who planned an extension westwards from its existing terminal station in order to reach Leatherhead (fn 6). The joint station was owned by the E&L and the Wimbledon & Dorking Railway Company (Wimbledon to Epsom) both of which were operated by the LSW. The LBSC was subsequently offered use of the joint station, except on race days, for interchange of traffic, but did not accept the offer (fn 7).


Trains to Leatherhead ran from the joint station on the 1st February 1859 and from Waterloo on the 4th April. LBSC trains from London Bridge, calling at Epsom Town, commenced on the 8th August.


An agreement (fn 8) formally ratified the operating arrangements which were already in force. It specified, among other things, that a space 22 feet wide should be provided for two lines, for LBSC use, between the Down and Up tracks used by the LSW and that, until either company requested that the E&L be doubled and that a second track had been laid, only one of the two lines should be used. The double track came into use on the 4th March 1867.


The joint station had, from the beginning of its existence, sufficient space between its two platforms for four tracks. The lower inset shows an early view; it might show a LSW station; it does not show Epsom.


The present station, on the site of the joint station, came into full operation on the 3rd March 1929, and the Town station was closed on the same day.


Page 134 Trains travelling beyond Dorking were steam hauled until 1938, and independence had been lost in 1923.


Page 138 The inset shows the present Down Waterloo and Up London Bridge and Victoria lines on the alignment of the two middle lines through the joint station. ‘1921’ in the text should read ‘1928’.




1) Frith Collection 80802, ‘Epsom 1929’.

2) Science Museum.

3) London Brighton and South Coast Railway Timetables, June to September 1912 (Ian Allan, London).

4) Mr. John Furniss.

5) ‘Waterloo Road’ on the first and second editions, 1871 and 1896, of the 25 inch Ordnance Survey Sheet XIX 5. Also in Kelly’s Directory of Epsom 1926. The name was probably altered when the present bridges replaced a tunnel under the embankment and the highway was extended to Chase Road in 1929. The earliest reference which I have found to the present ‘Station Approach’ is in Kelly’s 1938 Directory. The 1934 issue maintains previous references. The later issue also describes Waterloo Road as ‘from 66 High Street to 35 Chase Road and 1 Temple Road’.

6) J. Howard Turner, London Brighton and South Coast Railway (Batsford).

7) R. A. Williams, London and South Western Railway (David and Charles).

8) London and South Western Railway Company and London Brighton and South Coast Railway Company: Agreement with respect to the Epsom & Leatherhead Railway, 1st January 1862. Public Record Office: RAIL 411/331.


Denis McCann

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