Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Epsom Downs

Bunbury Way
Housing Estate. Built by Charles Church on the site of Epsom Downs Station and its marshalling yards. Windey lane, oldey looking houses all built in the 1980s. Amazing.
Epsom Downs Station. This opened in 1865 and was the terminus of the Southern Rail Line from Banstead. This station was built by the Banstead and Epsom Downs Railway Company to service race goers to Epsom Race Course via Sutton and was  opened by London Brighton and South Coast Railway designed by David J Field,.  The address was Longdown Lane South. Originally it was half a mile from Epsom racecourse and, for 36 years until Tattenham Corner station was opened it was the station for race traffic but no road was built from the station to the Grandstand until 1892. They also handed school treat days.   It had nine platforms, with no shelters, which were in in use for only six days a year. The platforms were reduced to two in 1972, and later reduced to single track operation in 1982.
Station masters office and house on a small covered concourse at the front.
Signal box. This was built by Saxby & Farmer in 1879. It was burnt down in 1981.
A turntable lay on the east side of the approach line. To the north of the turntable the road divided into two with one road terminating at a brick water tower.
Goods. A full range of goods was handled including livestock. There were two private sidings for Gadson and Kerr.
Epsom Downs Station.  The current station opened in a new building and booking office were opened in 1989. It lies at the north end of Bunbury Way.

Burgh Heath Road
South Hatch Stables. This includes timber-framed boxes built when Scobie Breasley and Reg Akehurst trained here. The yard dates from 1900 and includes a staff cottage and hostel by the road here. It has planning consent for demolition and housing on site
46 South Hatch House. This was separated from the stables and sold.  It has operated as a pub and restaurant as the Downs Bar but is now closed.  People who have lived there include Reg Akehurst (horse trainer), Arthur Breasley (jockey), Arthur Nightingall (jockey), Bessie Nightingall (motor racing driver), John Nightingall (horse trainer), Walter Nightingall (horse trainer), and William Nightingall (horse trainer).  It appears to have included the Racing Club Museum
Beech Cottage. This was used as the Epsom Golf Club clubhouse
Shifnal Cottage. This was the head lad's cottage for South Hatch and was and named after the 1878 Grand National winner who was trained by John Nightingall.
Wendover stables. Roger Ingram Stables since 1993. Over 300 winners have been trained here
Epsom Urban District Council Reservoir No 1, This was t a height of 360 feet above sea level, had a capacity of 150,000 gallons It is now filled in.

College Road (in the square to the north)
Epsom College. This was the Royal Medical Benevolent Institution in 1853, now it is a boys’ public school. Only the southern section is in this square which mainly comprises the college sports grounds.
Sports centre. This has two large halls and smaller ones for fencing and other specialist sports. It also has a climbing wall. It has provision for cricket nets, providing indoor cricket practice

Longdown Lane
Epsom Golf Club. Only the northern section of the course is in this square. The area had been used for golf before the club was set up. In 1888 residents started to take up the game and a preliminary meeting was held. As a result a club was formed and a course laid out. They used Beech Cottage as the clubhouse and then built a new one in 1893 helped by Lord Rosebery and designed by J Hatchard-Smith.  Later a snooker extension was built and this remains with its 19th fittings
Air raid shelter. This was built for the Second World War opposite the station. In 1940 Surrey County Council proposed five deep level air-raid shelters. They were to be near stations but in open country, The Epsom shelter was built in 1941 fronted the road for 1,500 people. The Longdown Lane shelter was below road level entered via a sloping path in a cutting. A bomb was exploded over the shelter to observe the effects detonated by Ministry of Home Security Research Department staff with no reported effects on the animals or birds arranged nearby. The shelter probably came into use in early in 1942.


Sources
Disused Stations. Web site
Chelsea Speleological Newsletter
Epsom College. Web site
Epsom Golf Club. Web site
Industrial Archaeology in Reigate and Banstead
Notable Abodes. Web site
Penguin. Surrey
Pevsner. Surrey
Racing Post. Web site

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