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The Shrubbery, South Street, Epsom: I


Following fires on Saturday 20th November and Friday 26th November, permission was obtained from the owners to record this building before there was any further deterioration. It is on a proposed alignment of the access road to the new Ashley Avenue development but, in spite of being unoccupied for many years, was in a very good condition only a few weeks ago.


The original house was built in English Bond (a row of headers and a row of stretchers) with flat gouged heads over the windows. The present render is contemporary with the Victorian addition. It had two main floors plus basement and attics, and is of a type often referred to as a double pile house: that is, one two rooms deep with an M-shaped roof over. The hall and stairs beyond divide the property in two, and there was one room front and one back on each side. There are remains of many fine period features such as the stairs, panelled rooms, doors and archways, all of which have suffered more from vandals than the two fires. The main domestic offices were in the basement, which originally would have had five rooms. There is a rear garden door off the half landing to the basement and this has a doorcase of very good quality. On the first floor there were four main rooms and a similar number in the attics, although these have been rebuilt at the rear.


There was much remodelling of the interior when the wing was added to provide an extra two rooms on each floor, excluding the attics, and there is a small two-storey addition to the right of the main block.


In concept, The Shrubbery of c.1710 is very similar to 6 and 8 West Street, Epsom, except that here the attics do not appear to have been utilised. The West Street properties were formerly an inn, and a planning application has been made for their extension and ‘restoration’ which, if allowed, would destroy the only other stair comparable to The Shrubbery known in Epsom.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Ian J. West












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