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epsom salt

Epsom

[ep-suhm]
See also Epsom, New Hampshire, and Epsom, New Zealand. For the chemical compound see Epsom salts. For the British attempt of the capture of Caen see Operation Epsom.

Epsom is a town in the borough of Epsom and Ewell in Surrey, England, to the south of Greater London. The town is located south-south-west of Charing Cross, and forms part of the suburbia that surrounds London. The town lies on the chalk downland of Epsom Downs.

History

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 10s, 18 ploughs, 24 acres of meadow, woodland worth 20 hogs. It rendered £17. 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.

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, memorialised 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. There were entertainments at the Assembly Rooms (built c. 1690) and is now a Wetherspoons 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.

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

Town

Due partially 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.

The Epsom Playhouse was opened in 1984 and is run by the local council.

The Ashley Shopping Centre (still locally known as such despite the owners wanting everyone to refer to it as The Mall Ashley) was built in the early 1980s and subsequently parts of the high street were pedestrianised as part of the construction of the town's large 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 doctor's surgery, Epsom Library, a cafe and a health and fitness centre. The Derby Square expanded and includes of a number of franchise chain pubs/bars including a Slug and Lettuce, Jimmy Spices, Wetherspoons, and Nandos. More recently, the Stir cocktail bar, Boogie Lounge nightclub, Lime restaurant & bar and The Native Toungue live music bar have been established.

The University for the Creative Arts, has one of five outposts in Epsom. Laine Theatre Arts School is based in the town. Students have included Victoria Beckham. Leisure activities in the town include: the Rainbow Centre Leisure Centre; Epsom Downs Racecourse; the Odeon Cinema and the Horton Park Children's Farm.

Hospitals

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 such hospitals in the area, known as the 'Epsom Cluster'.

These were (in order of date of build):

These were all built in very close proximity to each other on a site on the Epsom Downs, which the London County Council bought to rapidly 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 5 establishments with water (hot and cold) and electrcity. Of the asylums that have closed, 3 have been converted into housing (Horton, The Manor and Long Grove Hospital) and 2 have been run down with only limited usage in West Park & St Ebbas, Including day services & a cottage hospital. These were formerly served by the Horton Light Railway.

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

Transport

Rail

Epsom railway station has frequent rail services to London (running to Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge), and also to Leatherhead, Dorking, Guildford, Horsham, Croydon and Wimbledon where it connects with the London Underground and had two stations. The present Epsom Station and the now defunct Epsom Town Station. Epsom Town was closed in 1929, (some of the building remain in an abandoned, bricked up form, located behind 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.

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

It is also part of the South West Trains service.

Bus

There are many bus service running in Epsom. Some 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

  • 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

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 There is also the University College for the Creative Arts.

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

Emergency services

Epsom is served by these emergency services.

Famous people

See Famous people from Epsom

References

External links

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