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Epsom town guide 2015

PUBLISHED: 13:29 24 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:57 24 August 2015

The Clock Tower at the heart of Epsom's town centre (Photo: Matthew Williams)

The Clock Tower at the heart of Epsom's town centre (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Archant

Mineral-rich springs led to this area becoming a spa resort for the rich and well-to-do in the 17th century, while the Derby festival continues to draw royal patronage and huge crowds to the racecourse at Epsom Downs

Epsom Downs racecourse during the Derby festival (Photo: RacingFotos)Epsom Downs racecourse during the Derby festival (Photo: RacingFotos)

Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life

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Did you know?

1 Found alongside bathtubs around the world, Epsom Salts are said to have originally been discovered by a local villager on the hunt for water for his cattle during a dry summer. The discovery led to the area becoming a spa town of sorts.

2 Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary of 1667; “We got to Epsom by 8 a-clock to the Well, where much company; and there we light and I drank the water.”

3 Folklore tells us that the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury (the “perpetual president” of the Jockey Club), who was a guest at Lord Derby’s house, The Oaks, spun a coin as to whether the race should be called the Derby Stakes or the Bunbury Stakes. With the result in, the first Derby Stakes ran on Thursday May 4, 1780.

4 The Queen’s Stand was opened by Her Majesty in 1992 and she continues to attend the event every year with the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals in tow.

5 The luxury design gurus behind the super-rich interiors of One Hyde Park, among other projects, the Candy brothers were educated at Epsom College. There must be something in the water, as brothers Tim and Jeremy Vine also studied there.

6 Some 200,000 broadleaf trees have been planted over 640 acres of countryside around Langley Vale as a permanent tribute to those who lost their lives during World War One. This is one of four such ‘centenary woods’ planted by the Woodland Trust, the other three being in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

7 World-renowned architect Lord Rogers revisited his past last year as he officially opened new buildings at his former school, Kingswood House prep, in Epsom’s West Hill.

8 Housewives’ favourite Isabella Beeton spent part of her childhood living at Epsom Downs, before going on to write her seminal text, Mrs Beeton’s Guide to Household Management, in 1861.

9 Founded in 1897 with the aim of encouraging the development of motoring in Britain, today the Royal Automobile Club is one of London’s finest private members’ clubs. Its Woodcote Park clubhouse is set in 350 acres of Epsom parkland, complete with two 18-hole golf courses.

10 Once an impressive Victorian residence in Ewell (although Langton Avenue now runs straight through what was the property), Seleng House was owned by Rolls-Royce between 1925 and 1930. They ran a school “for imparting to men already employed as drivers for Rolls-Royce cars, the requisite knowledge of their care and adjustment.” Chauffeur training...

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A pocket guide:

Drink at: Head for the racecourse where The Rubbing House is found literally just inside the track.

Eat at: Located next to Epsom Clocktower, 143 The Canopy is well worth a visit.

Stay at: Nestled away in a leafy corner of old Epsom is the historic Chalk Lane Hotel.

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