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Epsom is a town in the borough of Epsom and Ewellmarker in Surreymarker, Englandmarker. The town is located south-south-west of Charing Crossmarker, within the Greater London Urban Areamarker. The town lies on the chalk downland of Epsom Downs.


Epsom lay within the Copthornemarker 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 Effinghammarker, Bookham, and Cheammarker. The only relic from this period is a 7th century brooch found in Epsom and now in the British Museummarker.

The early history of the area is bound up with the Abbey of Chertseymarker, 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 Abbeymarker. Its domesday assets were: 11 hide; 2 churches, 2 mill worth 10 shillings, 18 ploughs, of meadow, woodland worth 20 hog. 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, Hortonmarker, Woodcote, and Langley Valemarker.

The Epsom Derby, the second leg of the English Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is run each June on nearby Epsom Downs Racecoursemarker.

Lord Rosebery

The British Prime Minister and first chairman of the London County Council, Lord Rosebery, was sent down (expelled) from the University of Oxfordmarker 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, commemorated in the names of Rosebery Park and Rosebery Schoolmarker. A house was also named after him at Epsom Collegemarker, a public school located in Epsom.

Historically, Epsom was known as a spa town, although there is little to see nowadays apart from a water pump. There were entertainments at the Assembly Rooms (built c. 1690 and now a 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. Around the same time (5 and 10 June 1662) the Dutch artist Willem Schellinks visited Epsom, resulting in both a detailed description of the trips to the wells in his travel journal (the Dagh-register) and a number of drawings of Epsom.

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


Owing partly 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 Playhousemarker was opened in 1984 and is run by Epsom and Ewell Borough council.

The Ashley Centremarker, a shopping mall, was built in the early 1980s and subsequently parts of the high street were pedestrianised as part of the construction of the town's 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 doctors' surgery, Epsom Library, a cafe and a health and fitness centre. The Derby Square expanded and includes a number of franchise chain pubs/bars.

The University for the Creative Artsmarker has one of its five campuses in Epsom. Laine Theatre Artsmarker, an independent performing arts college, is based in the town. Students have included Victoria Beckham. Leisure facilities in and around the town include a leisure centre (the Rainbow Centre) on East Street; Epsom Downs Racecoursemarker; the Odeon cinema; and the Horton Park Children's Farm.

Major employers in the town include Epsom and Ewellmarker Borough Council and WS Atkins.

As part of Epsom and Ewellmarker, the town is twinned with Chantillymarker in northern Francemarker.


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 major such hospitals in the area, known as the Epsom Clustermarker
These were (in order of date of build):

These were all built in very close proximity to each other on a site on Epsom Commonmarker, which the London County Council bought to 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 five establishments with water (hot and cold) and electricity. Of the asylums that have closed, three have been converted into housing (Horton, The Manor and Long Grove Hospital) and two have been run down, with only limited usage in West Park and St Ebba's, including day services and a cottage hospital.. These were formerly served by the Horton Light Railwaymarker.

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



Epsom railway stationmarker has frequent rail services to London (running to Waterloomarker, Victoriamarker and London Bridgemarker), and also to Leatherheadmarker, Dorkingmarker, Guildfordmarker, Horshammarker, West Croydonmarker and Wimbledonmarker where it connects with the London Underground. The town's other station, Epsom Town, was closed in 1929; some of the buildings remain, incorporated into modern developments on the Upper High Street, though more visible from the line from Ewell East railway stationmarker).

Two other railway lines were built to serve the Epsom Downs Racecoursemarker, with termini at Epsom Downsmarker and Tattenham Cornermarker.

The Horton Light Railwaymarker was built around 1905, as a branch from the main line near Ewell West Station, to deliver building materials to the mental hospitals (see above) being built on what is now Horton Country Park.


Bus services connect Epsom to Sutton, Kingston, Redhill and other neighbouring areas, and a regular service connects with the London Underground at Morden. Some bus services 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.


  • The A24 passes through the centre of the town.
  • The M25 motorwaymarker can be joined at Junction 9 Leatherheadmarker, via the A24 south.
  • The B280 runs from Epsom (West Hill) through Malden Rushett (A243) to Oxshottmarker.


State schools include Blenheim High Schoolmarker, Epsom and Ewell High School, Glyn Technology Schoolmarker, North East Surrey College of Technology marker and Rosebery School for Girlsmarker[26311].There is also a campus of the University for the Creative Artsmarker.

Independent schools include Epsom Collegemarker, Kingswood House Schoolmarker, St. Christopher's School and Ewell Castle School for Boys [26312].

Emergency services

Epsom is served by these emergency services.

Famous people

See Famous people from Epsom

See also


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