The Railway Hotel

and East Hill House Estate, Station Road, Epsom

As recorded on the Railways page of this website,
"The first railway to open in the Epsom and Ewell area was the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway's (LBSCR) line from West Croydon via Sutton which opened in 1847 with trains from London Bridge and from 1860 Victoria. This line terminated at a station in what is today called Upper High Street, but was then called Station Road."
The arrival of the railway opened up an area east of Epsom town for further development, particularly Railway Terrace which is discussed in Epsom Heritage, Part 6. By 1852 Samuel Rutley had established a Livery Stable on land immediately opposite the railway terminus. The Railway Hotel also existed before September 1852, probably erected for Samuel Rutley, described as Inn Keeper and Job Master, who died on 24 July 1857 in his 40th year and was interred in St Martin's churchyard [Death reg. Lewisham 9/1857. Will proved 24 August 1857 - PROB 11/2256].

It is thought that he had been the Samuel Rutley whose marriage to Harriet Ann Goymer was registered at St George's Southwark for the September Quarter of 1849. A daughter, Harriet Maria, was born 28 June 1850 [reg. Epsom as 'Female' 9/1850] and baptised at St Martin's, 15 October 1850 - her father was then a Linen Stall Keeper in Epsom. Evidently, his relict found herself in reduced circumstances because during 1862 Mrs Harriet Rutley ran a lodging house in Providence Villas, East Street. Harriet Ann Rutley, widow of Samuel Rutley, was buried in Epsom Cemetery, aged 67, on 24 December 1889 from the Epsom Union Workhouse.

An announcement of the auction of a lease of the Railway Hotel, Tavern and Posting House, with 5 freehold building plots, by order of Rutley's Executors had appeared in The Times issued Wednesday, 2 December 1857 [IMPORT IMAGE _ pg. 16; Issue 22853.].

Particulars of a sale held on the premises are held by Bourne Hall Museum.

Particulars of a sale - Click image to enlarge
Particulars of a sale - Click image to enlarge
Particulars of a sale - Click image to enlarge

Lot 2 appears to comprise the separate house then used as the 'Tap to the Railway Hotel'. Lots 3, 4 & 5 were acquired by Laurence Langlands, Estate Agent and Auctioneer of Epsom, for £183. 15. 0.

After the event, presumably by private treaty, the undeveloped eastern part of Lot 2 became associated with the area covered by Lots 3, 4, & 5. The buildings on Lot 2 were combined with the Hotel and thereafter had a different history.

The Railway Hotel

In 1861 the Railway Hotel was built near the new station in Upper High Street. Local residents were concerned about the risk of drunkenness among race goers and railwaymen.
In 1861 the Railway Hotel was built near the new station in Upper High Street.
Local residents were concerned about the risk of drunkenness among race goers and railwaymen.

Link to our Public Houses page

As evidenced by the Sale Particulars above, these premises had already been leased out from 25 December 1857 apparently to James Thomas Rutley. His marriage, aged 24, to Emmeline Weller, 21, was registered at St Clement Dane's on 14 November 1853. Their first child, Augustus, born 16 June 1854, was baptised at St Martin's on 27 July 1854 when he had been described as Coachman.

In the 1861 Census, John Thomas Rutley's occupation is given as 'fly master and victualler'; a street directory for 1862 includes him at the Railway Tavern - 'omnibus and fly proprietor'. By 1875, he had become 'postmaster' at the Posting House on Railway Terrace.

James Thomas Rutley, publican, was buried in Epsom Cemetery, 25 February 1878, and the Railway Tavern sold at auction for £3,000 in 1879. A fly proprietor aged 27, Augustus' interment with his father took place on 26 April 1882. His widowed mother, Emmeline, aged 57 of Victoria Place, Epsom, followed them on 9 October 1891.

The Rutley family and others are listed at https://pubshistory.com/SurreyPubs/Epsom/RailwayHotel.shtml

From, at the latest, 1887, Charles Wiltshire operated livery stables at the premises being described as 'jobmaster & agent to L B & S C Railway, Station Road'. In an 1891 directory, however, the public house is mentioned as 'Railway Tavern, John Howell, Railway Terrace, Epsom'. The 1900 Rate Book shows Messrs Young & Co. to be the owners with Charles Wiltshire their tenant.

East Hill Estate

East Hill House c1910s
East Hill House c1910s
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

It appears that following the purchase of parcels of land fronting Station Road, to the east of The Railway Hotel, Laurence Langlands arranged for the erection of two pairs of semi-detached houses - the smaller on an augmented Plot 2 and more substantial villas on combined Plots 3, 4 & 5. Confusingly, they became known respectively as 1 & 2 East Hill Houses and East Hill House. On the first edition OS map they are noted simply as 'Easthill'.

Extract from the 1866 OS Map - Click image to enlarge
Extract from the 1866 OS Map - Click image to enlarge

East Hill House

Dr Joseph Ward

From the London Hospital, Dr J Ward had joined in partnership with Thomas Leigh Blundell of Ewell from 16 May 1825 [SHCOL_278/4]. Another partnership with John Allen of Epsom, surgeons and apothecaries, was dissolved on 31 December 1830. He was still practising in Ewell during 1839 but also covered Epsom by 1845. About 1821, Samuel Knipe had re- built a house at the 'town end' of Clayhill, Epsom, on the south west side and a 21 year lease of that property was taken by Joseph Ward of Ewell from 23 April 1840 [Lehmann 1C3]. Consequently in 1855, the address of his surgery had become Clay Hill, Epsom, but (East) Hill House was shown additionally from 1859. It may be inferred that he had taken a lease on the latter from Mr Langlands.

C J Swete's A Handbook of Epsom mentions
'Mr. Ward one of the leading medical men at present in Epsom, brother to Mr. Ward whose simple but valuable invention of the closely glazed case, has not only called forth the gratitude of many a worn invalid as she revelled in the beauties of her bedroom- garden but also has added to the facilities of the transport of many a rare exotic from other climes, which else could never have appeared in our conservatories'.
Epsom's Dr Joseph Ward and Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, surgeon and promoter of the 'Wardian Case', were sons of Dr Stephen Smith Ward who had married Ann Hasty (otherwise Haisty) at Barking on 5 December 1782. Their surviving daughter, Elizabeth, had expired at Clay Hill on 9 November 1845.

In 1863, Langlands conveyed the East Hill real estate to Joseph Ward [SHCOL_6122/36A] but he died on 28 June 1867 (Buried in churchyard plot 253, St Mary's Ewell). In the transcription of the Memorial Inscription which follows, Emily should have been shown as born in 1840 (christened at Ewell, 20 October, and registered in Epsom for the December Quarter of that year) - in her obituary, she had been described as the 7th daughter of the late Joseph Ward and sister of Rev. Stephen Haisty Ward, St George's College, Harrogate. The widow Margarette may be found in the 1881 census enumerated in one half of East Hill House with Charles Thompson, a retired Silversmith, living in the other. She died in her 81st year and was buried at St Mary's, Ewell, 17 September 1884 [reg. Epsom 9/1884].

A transcription of the headstone in St Mary's, Ewell
A transcription of the headstone in St Mary's, Ewell

George (Lawyer) White and Mrs Jane White nee Dorling

During 1890, the Ward family appear to have sold the real estate to George White of Ashley House, Epsom. In the 1900 Rate Book, number 46 Station Road does not appear but Messrs Young & Co owned the House Yard and Stables occupied by Charles Wiltshire [Railway Hotel]. Numbers 50 & 52 were omitted but Mrs G. White held 54 & 56, the first empty and the latter occupied by Wm James Green [former East Hill House]. Mrs Jane White died 29 April 1929, aged 92, then living at Millwood, Links Road, Epsom (Buried Epsom Cemetery 3 May 1929). Her personal estate amounting to £59881 presumably included Badminton House, considered below.

Badminton House

On 8 May 1900, Joseph Skilbeck, a trainer, was reported in the London Gazette to have been adjudicated bankrupt -'lately residing and carrying on business at Badminton House, Epsom'.

The later name for East Hill House also appears in the 1901 Census as occupied by Catherine Beverton, widow of Joseph Henry Beverton (listed on Station road in Kelly's 1891 Street Directory), corn dealer. Mrs Beverton had a companion Martha Mallinson.

Ernest Grimwood Goby - Badminton House Stables

On 25 November 1911 Harriet Jane, aged 47, wife of Ernest Grimwood Goby was brought for interment at Epsom Cemetery from Badminton House, Station Road. He died in Gloucestershire but joined her, 19 September 1931, aged 65. Their daughter Margaret Goby did not follow until 6 February 1948 - from '56A Upper High Street, Epsom'.

Creation of the Upper High Street municipal car park

The premises, including parts of the back gardens to Nos. 50 & 52 Upper High Street, were acquired by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council for the old East Hill/Badminton House buildings to be demolished and a car park created on the land between 1961 and 1963. The Railway Hotel, 46 Upper High Street, became the site of the Bejam frozen food store, later Iceland, in Taylor Nelson House. No. 48 continued as Allam's, formerly Pearce's garage. The houses at 50/52 Upper High Street fell into dereliction but survived beyond 2006.

Sketch plan of the site in 2006 - showing the public car park off Upper High Street - Allam's Garage, No 48, coloured blue and houses 50/52 in red
Sketch plan of the site in 2006
showing the public car park off Upper High Street
Allam's Garage, No 48, coloured blue and houses 50/52 in red

Later Events

During 2005 developers, Helical Barr, had made an application for a supermarket complex and multi-story car park. Campaigners objected on the grounds of potential impact of the proposal on traffic, small businesses, and a neighbouring conservation area. A petition was mounted against the development. In October of that year, the developers withdrew their plans, submitting a new application, January 2006, reducing the size of the proposed store from 80,000 to 47,000 sq. ft. Opposition continued until May 2006 when Epsom and Ewell Borough Council rejected the plans, stating that "a supermarket of about half the size would have been more acceptable." In July 2009 Tesco revealed fresh plans for a 45,000 sq. ft. supermarket, space for smaller shops, 18 apartments and 396 car park spaces on 40 - 58 Upper High Street but this application was withdrawn on 5 February 2010.

Brian Bouchard © July 2012




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