Redhill (//) is a town in the borough of Reigate and Banstead within the county of Surrey, England. The town, which adjoins the town of Reigate to the west, is due south of Croydon in Greater London, and is part of the London commuter belt. The town is also the post town, entertainment and commercial area of three adjoining communities: Merstham, Earlswood and Whitebushes, as well as of two small rural villages to the east in the Tandridge District, Bletchingley and Nutfield.
Station Road, Redhill
|Area||5.66 km2 (2.19 sq mi)|
|Population||18,163 (2011) or 34,498 as to Built-up Area which includes Merstham|
|• Density||3,209/km2 (8,310/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||19.5 miles (31.4 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
The town is situated on the junction of the north-south A23 (London to Brighton) road, and the east-west A25 road which runs from Guildford through to Sevenoaks. It is also on the railway junction, served by Redhill railway station, of the Brighton main line, North-Downs line, and Redhill-Tonbridge line.
Redhill is located within the Weald Basin, and the Weald-Artois Anticline. The town is situated in the east-west lying Vale of Holmesdale at a place where there is a natural water-cut gap in the Greensand Ridge, which connects the town with the low-lying land of the Low Weald to the south. Today the Redhill Brook runs through the gap in the Greensand Ridge on its way to join the Salfords Stream and the River Mole to the south. (The brook is now mainly culverted through the town centre: it enters a culvert behind Redhill station and briefly reappears in town at the Halford's car park, before emerging as a free-running stream again in Earlswood). The gap through the Greensand Ridge provides a way south for the London to Brighton railway and the A23 road. The housing of the town is built in the Vale of Holmesdale, and on the hillsides of the two ends of the Greensand Ridge (Redstone Hill and the hillside of Redhill Common), and on the flat of the water-cut gap in between.
To the north, the town joins with the village of Merstham, north of which there is a "wind gap" in the chalk hills of the North Downs, at an elevation of 120 metres (390 ft) above sea level, through which the A23 road heads in from London. Geologists have speculated that there may once have been a consequent-flowing river, flowing northwards from the centre of the Weald-Artois Anticline and towards the River Thames, which originally cut both the Redhill Gap in the Greensand Ridge and the Merstham Gap in the chalk hills of the North Downs, before its waters were caught by subsequent streams of the River Mole (which itself cuts gaps northwards through the ridge at Betchworth, and through the Downs at Dorking, on its way to the Thames). Today the whole Redhill area is part of the catchment area of the River Mole, and hence the Thames.
The east-west running road the A25, approaches Redhill from the east along the elevated Greensand Ridge from Nutfield, and proceeds westward from Redhill along the Vale of Holmesdale towards Reigate and Dorking.
To the immediate north-east of the town are The Moors nature reserve and the large 2010–2012 (mid and low-rise) Watercolour housing development, comprising 25 acres (10 ha) of lakes, paths and wildlife habitat managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust.
A settlement was formed here in part of the rural parishes of Reigate Foreign and Merstham when a turnpike road was built in 1818. The London-Brighton road passed through the Merstham Gap in the North Downs, and the Redhill Gap in the Greensand Ridge. The settlement was originally known as "Warwick Town" after Warwick Road, and became known as Redhill when the post office moved from Red Hill Common in the south-west of the town in 1856.
A major factor in the development of the town was the coming of the railways. The gap through the Greensand Ridge at Redhill was a major advantage for routing a railway from London to Brighton. A railway station opened in Redhill on 12 July 1841, after the London and Brighton Railway created a rail line by excavating the first of two rail tunnels under the North Downs at Merstham. Another railway station at Redhill followed on 26 May 1842, located on the South Eastern Railway's London to Dover to line, which branched off the original line south of the Merstham tunnel. Then on 15 April 1844 both these two stations were closed, as a new combined station was opened at the junction that same day, serving both railways, at the site of the present station. In 1849 a branch line to Reigate was added.
Richard Carrington, an amateur astronomer, moved to Redhill in 1852, and built a house and observatory. Dome Way, where one of Redhill's two tower block stands, is named after it. The site suited an isolated observatory, being on a spur of high ground surrounded by lower fields and marsh. Here in 1859 he made astronomical observations that first corroborated the existence of solar flares as well as their electrical influence upon the Earth and its aurorae. In 1863 he published records of sunspot observations that first demonstrated differential rotation in the Sun. In 1865 ill health prompted him to sell his house and move to Churt, Surrey.
In 1855, a large psychiatric hospital complete with well-trimmed grounds, was opened in Earlswood, south of Redhill. Prince Albert had laid the first stone in 1853.[dead link] One inmate James Henry Pullen (1835–1916) was an autistic savant. He was a brilliant craftsman and artist whose work was accepted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Some of Pullen's ship models, designs and artwork used to be on display at the town's Belfry Shopping Centre, but have now been moved to the Langdon Down Museum in Teddington. The asylum was renamed The Royal Earlswood Institution for Mental Defectives in June 1926, and more recently was simply named the Royal Earlswood Hospital. In 1941, the hospital became home to two of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's cousins, Katherine Bowes-Lyon and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, both of whom had learning difficulties. The hospital closed in March 1997 following the introduction of Care in the Community. The buildings were then converted to residential apartments and the site is now known as Royal Earlswood Park.
In 1884, a large residential school for children, called St Anne's School, was opened by the St Anne's Society (a city of London charity) to accommodate 400 boys and girls. Built on a rise to the east of the town, and overlooking the railway station and the countryside around, it had a swimming bath, a gymnasium, tennis courts (asphalted and grassed), an external recreation ground as well as covered playgrounds, 21 pianos, a clock turret, a chapel and a dining room both capable of seating 600, a bakery, a steam laundry, an infirmary, an isolation hospital, and extensive gardens and orchards, all in property of 17½ acres. The school closed in 1919 after funding difficulties. In 1926 the Foundling Hospital used the site to house its own school, until moving elsewhere in 1935. Later, Surrey County Council used St Anne's as a Home for the Aged. In 1973 it became a home for the homeless, but closed in 1975 after being damaged by fire, and was demolished in 1987, to be replaced by housing.
The construction, to the east of Redhill, of the M23 motorway between 1972 and 1975 reduced north-south traffic through the town.
Holmethorpe can refer to two neighbouring developments, one residential, the other commercial/industrial and separated by the west track of the Brighton Main Line directly north of Redhill. A Holmethorpe Industrial Estate member's organisation exists to provide security to and advertise recruitment among its 66 businesses and to work on traffic and local authority planning matters. Holmethorpe had at the 2001 census a population of 1,128.
Watercolour is a 2008–2012 built settlement and neighbourhood in Redhill towards the village of Merstham across lakes from the Greensand Ridge of the wooded village of Bletchingley and on the site of the former Holmethorpe Gravel Quarry.
Redstone Hill is above the Royal Mail sorting office and depot, centred around one of three Redhill conservation areas, across the station using the A25 or subway from most of the town. This neighbourhood includes a hotel-restaurant and unusually for a conservation area, no nationally listed buildings though some buildings are locally listed. Deep underneath the conservation area non-stopping services of the east branch of the Brighton Main Line run.
Redhill Common (north) and Linkfield StreetEdit
This area includes four nationally listed buildings: three at Grade II and one, Fengates House, at Grade II*. Fengates is a Georgian three-storey building built out of red brick with grey headers and a moulded band above the second floor. Its roof is high and extends over the walls creating eaves. Its six panel door has a moulded architrave and porch with dentil cornice.
Redhill Common (south) and St John'sEdit
St John's is a compact urban area on a narrow promontory of Redhill Common that is upland, with moderately sized gardens between Earlswood Common and Redhill Common, reached by a hillside access road from London Road. Five listed buildings are in this area including one at Grade II* that is the Church of St John the Evangelist. John Loughborough Pearson remodelled it following its 1842-3 construction by James T Knowles (senior), retaining only the aisles added in 1867 by Ford & Hesketh. Pearson was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1880 and is remembered for a series of exceptionally fine churches. These often display strong French influence: the spire at St John's has been likened to the spires of Abbey of Saint-Étienne in Caen (St Steven's Abbey). Other Pearson characteristics at St John's are the stone-vaulted chancel and the transverse arches across the nave. Pearson's most famous building is Truro Cathedral (1880) and the first English cathedral to be built on a new site since Salisbury in the early thirteenth century. This Gothic architecture is reflected by several nearby buildings.
Shaw's Corner centres around the junction formed on the Reigate Road, in more precise terms named Hatchlands Road before becoming here Reigate Road close and includes homes on both sides of Reigate County Court, St Paul's Church and a chapel. At this junction, on the south side in the middle of the street Blackstone Hill, is Richard R Goulden's Shaw's Corner War Memorial, a Grade II listed grand base and statue: a bronze figure on a square-set tapering stone plinth, of a man, carrying a child in one arm, and holding a flaming torch aloft with the other. At the top of the plinth is the inscription:
In memory of the men of Reigate and Redhill who fought and gave their lives in the Great War 1914–1919
On its other sides are the capitalised words Courage; Honour; and Self-Sacrifice. A further inscription beneath is graphic and includes "Flames consume the flesh. The spirit is unconquerable." World War II dates have been added since the first unveiling by Earl Beatty. Halfway along Blackstone Hill is access downhill through Redhill Common to London Road Redhill where Common expands and adjoins the south of Redhill, also known as Earlswood.
Redhill railway station is at the junction of three lines: the main London to Brighton line, the North Downs Line from Redhill to Reading, and the Redhill to Tonbridge Line. Until 1845 there was a separate station from which one could travel to Ashford and Dover.
Numerous bus services are operated to the town, by Arriva, Metrobus and Southdown PSV. In May 2008, route 100 to Crawley became part of the Fastway bus rapid transport system, following redevelopment of Redhill bus station.
Air access is available at London Gatwick Airport, which lies about seven miles to the south, as well as the small Redhill Aerodrome (EGKR) south-east of Redhill town centre. Heathrow airport is thirty miles to the north-west and both Luton and London City airports are accessible by train.
Redhill has a pedestrianised High Street, which is adjoined by the Belfry Shopping Centre. More shops are available at the Warwick Quadrant. There is also a street market each Thursday, Friday and Saturday, sometimes including a French market.
Culture and communityEdit
Redhill is part of the Reigate and Banstead local government district. Not far from the town is Gatton Park, an estate once owned by the Colmans; the estate has a private chapel (now open to the public) and a Japanese garden.
The town has a distinctive red-brick complex called the Warwick Quadrant, which houses the Harlequin Theatre and Cinema, and the public library, as well as Sainsbury's and other shops.
The former Odeon cinema was built in 1938. It was converted into a nightclub in 1976, operating under various names until 2011 when it was closed down permanently to make way for new housing. Despite a plan to retain the listed Art Deco façade, delays in rebuilding and a reluctance to use the façade meant it "fell into decay" and was demolished in December 2017.
Redhill has in the past hosted an annual air display at its aerodrome, as well as a steam fair. The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run passes through the town each year.
SES Water, Santander Consumer Finance, AXA breakdown assistance, Travelers Insurance, and Aon plc Risk Services have their headquarters in the town. There are also three industrial and business estates: Holmethorpe Industrial Estate, Kingsfield Business Centre, and Reading Arch.
Whilst the town is a hub in commercial terms, with a shopping centre and several offices of large companies, a large proportion of the economically active population work in Greater London and other parts of Surrey.
For some central government statistical purposes, Redhill and Reigate are classified as a subdivision of the Crawley Urban Area. Redhill is 18 miles east of Guildford. The average commuting distance in 2001 for workers was 13.8 kilometres (8.6 mi) in Redhill East and 13.6 kilometres (8.5 mi) in Redhill West. Unemployment stood at 1.81% in the east and 2.13% in the west in 2001.
Population, type of home ownership and population density were provided by the 2011 census. The proportion of households in Redhill who owned their home outright was below the regional average of 32.5%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan in each ward was within 5.5% of the regional average, in Redhill East being 5.3% greater, or 0.9% greater than the average for the borough. The data in each ward and overall for these combined showed a proportion of rented residential property and of social housing close to the average in South East England and to that of the local authority, significantly greater in Redhill West than in Redhill East where 21.8% of property was rented from a registered social landlord or directly from the local authority.
|Ward||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2019)
- Dave Askew professional darts star who reached the semi-finals of the PDC World Championship on two occasions is from Redhill.
- Ronnie Biggs was living at Alpine Road, Redhill, when he was arrested for his part in the Great Train Robbery.
- Bernard Bresslaw, actor, best known for his part in the Carry On Films, used to live in Redhill.
- Liz May Brice, actress, best known for her role in Bad Girls was born here in 1975.
- Eric Brown, British Royal Navy officer and test pilot died here in 2016.
- Richard Christopher Carrington, a self-taught astronomer, lived in Redhill from 1852 to 1865. It was at his observatory in Redhill that he made his famous solar flare observations.
- Max Chilton, racing driver and former Formula 1 driver for Marussia F1 was born in Redhill.
- Mike Christie, singer and composer, was born and raised in Redhill.
- Aleister Crowley, occultist. He and his family lived at The Grange, Redhill between 1881 and 1884.
- Edwina Currie, the former Conservative MP and junior health minister, lived in Redhill until 2007.
- Nick Falkner, cricketer.
- Michael Greco, past EastEnders actor who played Beppe DiMarco, went to school at St Bede's in Carlton Road, Redhill.
- Gareth Hunt, actor. Remembered for playing the footman Frederick Norton in Upstairs, Downstairs and Mike Gambit in The New Avengers.
- Carole Hersee, notable for appearing as an eight-year-old child in the central image of the television Test Card F, was born in Redhill in 1958.
- David Hewlett, actor, writer, director and voice actor best known for playing Dr. Rodney McKay in Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1, was born here in 1968 before he and his family later emigrated to Canada.
- Bevis Hillier, biographer of Sir John Betjeman, was born here in 1940.
- Kevin Kenner, American-born concert pianist, lives in Redhill.
- Jessie Mei Li, actress was raised in Redhill.
- John Linnell, painter, rival to John Constable, lived in Redhill.
- Diana Liverman, well known geographer, lived and went to school in Redhill
- Ian McKay (formerly Laidlaw), art critic and writer, lived here between 1976 and 1980.
- Robert Milsom, Aberdeen F.C. midfielder, was born here.
- Nick Hornby, author, was born in Redhill on 17 April 1957.
- Samuel Palmer, landscape painter, etcher, and printmaker, lived in Redhill from 1862 until his death in 1881.
- Derek Paravicini, the celebrated blind savant prodigy, lives at the RNIB College in Redhill
- Henry Thomas Pringuer, organist and composer, was organist at St. Matthew's Redhill c. 1870–1880.
- Sophie Raworth, journalist and newsreader, was born here in 1968.
- Alec Harley Reeves, electronics engineer, inventor of pulse-code modulation, was born here in 1902.
- Chris Robshaw, current San Diego Legion and Former England Rugby captain, was born in Redhill in 1986.
- Anna Smith, tennis player, was born in Redhill in 1988.
- George Smith, England footballer and league manager, coached Redhill F.C. 1951–52.
- David Wiffen, singer-songwriter, born in Redhill, 1942.
Surrey County Council has one representative from Redhill, elected every four years :
- Dr Lynne Hack, Conservative, returned again by the electorate in 2009, on the Adult Social Care Select Committee, Health Scrutiny Committee and the relevant Local Committee. Formerly Dr Hack was Surrey's Cabinet Member for the Environment.
The second party, forming the main local opposition, was the Green Party gaining 1,591 votes versus the winning candidate's 1,761.
6 councillors sit on Reigate and Banstead borough council, who are:
|2012||Bryn Truscott||Redhill East|
|2010||Jonathan Essex||Redhill East|
|2011||Sarah Finch||Redhill East|
|2012||Natalie Bramhall||Redhill West|
|2010||David Pay||Redhill West|
|2011||Julian Ellacott||Redhill West|
Sport and recreationEdit
The town features:
- Redhill Bowling Club, a lawn Bowling club based in Redhill.
- Redhill Football Club, a Non-League football club who play at Kiln Brow.
- Donyngs sports centre, which includes an indoor swimming pool.[dead link]
- Sailing, canoeing and windsurfing is available at nearby large Mercers Country Park, where a company provides moorings, boat storage, instruction and accessories, Aqua Sports Company a Royal Yachting Association (RYA), British Canoe Union (BCU)[dead link] and Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) recognised centre.
- St. Bede's School, a secondary school specialising in Music and IT.
- East Surrey College is based in Redhill.
- The Warwick School, a state secondary school is in Noke Drive.
- Dunottar School, close by Redhill Common. Founded in 1926, this independent girls' school moved here in 1933, into "High Trees", built by Walter Blanford Waterlow in 1867.
- Earlswood Nursery, Infant and Junior School
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