Esher, Reginald Baliol Brett, 2d Viscount, 1852-1930, English historian and government official. After sitting in Parliament (1880-85) as a Liberal, he thereafter preferred to exercise his influence from behind the scenes and withdrew from active politics. He succeeded to the peerage in 1899. As deputy governor (later governor) of Windsor Castle (1901-30), he was close to the royal family for 30 years. He was given access to Queen Victoria's papers, from which he edited, with A. C. Benson, The Correspondence of Queen Victoria (1907). He was offered many public offices, among them the viceroyalty of India and the secretaryship for war, but refused them all. His most important service was in the furtherance of army reforms before World War I. He wrote works on King Edward VII (1914) and Lord Kitchener (1921).

See his journals and letters (ed. by his sons, M. V. Brett and Oliver Brett, Viscount Esher, 4 vol., 1934-38).

Esher (not /ɛʃə/; ) is a town in the Surrey borough of Elmbridge in South East England near the River Mole. It is a suburban development situated 14.1 miles (22.7 km) south west of Charing Cross.

Larger towns nearby are Hersham and Walton-on-Thames; while smaller settlements are Claygate, Cobham, Hinchley Wood, Long Ditton, Oxshott and Thames Ditton.

Esher has a railway station which connects the town, via railway, to London Waterloo. The town lies on the A307, Portsmouth Road.


Esher lay within the Saxon administrative district of Elmbridge hundred.

Esher appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Aissela and Aissele. It was held partly by the Abbey of the Cross in Normandy; partly by William de Waterville; partly by Reginald; partly by Hugh do Port; partly by Odard balistarius (probably a crossbowman). Its domesday assets were: 14 hides 6 ploughs, of meadow. It rendered £6 2s 0d.

It grew as a stagecoach stop on the London–Portsmouth road that was later designated as the A3 road, although it was bypassed in the mid-1970s.

In the sixteenth century, Henry VIII of England commandeered the area as a royal hunting ground, and the town remained wealthy. Clive of India built the Claremont mansion, and this later became a royal residence used by Queen Victoria. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg lived there until he became King of the Belgians. Queen Victoria lent the house to the exiled French King Louis-Philippe and his consort Queen Marie-Amelie after the revolution of 1848.

George Harrison of the Beatles had a house (called Kinfauns) in Esher, during the 1960s. The other Beatles were regular visitors to the house, and Harrison's primitive home recording studio.

Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees also owned a house called The Firs in Esher, during 1970's-2004 and sold after his death. This is where the hit Single 'Juliet' was written and recorded by Maurice & Robin for brother Robin's solo album project in the 1980s. Many unknown recording have taken place with members of the Beatles popping over for late night recording sessions.

Sandown Park Racecourse lies in the town near to its station (served by the Waterloo via Weybridge service). The town itself is now primarily a dormitory town for commuters to London.

The local newspaper is the Esher News and Mail

Status in the media

Esher has been presented in some parts of the media as a particularly ordinary part of suburbia. Monty Python referred to Esher at least three times. In Episode 9 of Monty Python's Flying Circus, a troupe member dressed as an 'African Native' said: 'Full frontal nudity? Not in this part of Esher.'

Then in Episode 31, a tourist played by Eric Idle complaining about package holidays ranted about 'middle-class stockbrokers' wives busily buying identical holiday villas in suburban development plots just like Esher, in case the Labour government gets in again…'

Furthermore in Episode 36, a character played by Michael Palin was complaining about a rare disease that affected his use of language and stated: 'It's so embarrassing when my wife and I go to an orgy.' John Cleese's character responded: 'A party?!' To which Palin responded: 'No, an orgy. We live in Esher.'

The theme was taken up again in Only Fools and Horses. In the episode 'Yuppy Love', Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Del Boy (David Jason) are arguing over the morality of Del's decision to buy, and then hopefully sell, their Peckham council flat. Rodney says: 'Del, council properties were built so the poorer classes would have somewhere to live! If they start selling them to Hooray Henrys where are they gonna go?' To which Del casually replies: 'Esher, Orpington - somewhere like that.'

Esher was often referred to in The Good Life by Margo Leadbetter as both a place to aspire to after Surbiton and somewhere where behaviour was more lax.

The sitcom On the Up starring Dennis Waterman was set in Esher.

In the Doctor Who episode 'Black Orchid', several characters believe Nyssa's home planet of Traken to be near Esher. One character states that Nyssa's lack of knowledge of Esher shows good taste.

Moore Place, on the outskirts of Esher, featured as the restaurant in the fourth episode of the first series of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

See also


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