Epsom Common History Walk

On a beautiful Summer evening I joined David Brooks, from Bourne Hall Museum, on one of his fascinating  history walks across Epsom Common. Our starting point was beside the pond near The Cricketers, or as we were informed formally the Bat and Ball, From the beginning of the walk the group I was with , which was made up of family, couples, and groups of friends as well as individuals, were amazed to learn that at one point there were 4 pubs within a stone throw of each other in the 1800’s.

The area we were in was the village of Stamford how long people have lived in the area is unsure, Bronze and Iron age items have been found, but the first know resident was Alice Hyde in 1495 who was now days would be know as a squatter. Squatting became so bad that controls had to be put in place in the 1500’s to stop the spread of illegal homes. The history we learnt in this small area we knew we were in for a fascinating evening

 

From the Cricketers we took a short walk around the corner to an area know as Goose Green, by the junction of Stamford green Road and Bramble walk. Called Goose Green as the locals would let their geese and other livestock roam here. The group where amused to learn of the amount of pigs which households kept and what happened to them when disease struck. As well as keeping and selling  livestock residents were know for making Crabapple Jam which was very popular. David at this point showed as early photos of the type of buildings you would find in the area. As well as other interesting  facts including a Fish and Chip shop.

From here we moved to The Jolly Coopers, parts of the building are said to be from the 1700’s but the building you see now is a lot earlier. This is a great example of a Public House , Pub, The homeowner would use his front room to sell drink thus making his home a Public House. Here we learnt about the original road on to the common Summer Gate, called so as only really passable in the summer. We also learnt about police raids in WW2, the workers from the Brickworks and Laundries. A little pub with so much history. from here we walked down the original Wheelers Lane which is at the side of the pub.   

At the junction of Wheelers Lane and Lewins Road we were told stories of Witch who would force people to help her  and of the ghost of an old lady, this was not the only ghost we learnt about on the walk, which were know in the area. It was also here David explained about the major laundry businesses that were in the area and how washing would come from London in the morning and be washed , dried and ironed and returned on the evening trains back to London all in a day. Without the use of a washing line, David explains why,.

Moving up Lewins Road by the junction of Bramble Walk we are given the history of the Epsom Common Brickworks. The area had good clay deposits and huge pits were dug and the clay used to make bricks which were used in Epsom town centre as the town grew in popularity due to the Wells and taking the water. One such building is now the Assembly Rooms pub in the High Street. The bricks used to build it came from the common. But it was not just in the local area after the great fire of London in 1666 bricks were in short supply so bricks from the common were used to rebuild London.

Walking up Summer Gate path towards the Wells we come upon open grassland ,surrounded by trees and bushes, with a single goal post. David points out to us the trees and bushes mark the boundary of a formed clay pit which was filled in, like the majority of the pits, with soil from the building of the Longmead housing estate. At the same location by turning around and looking deep into the bushes we could see the remains of one pit not filled in but now overgrown with trees and bushes. From here we headed to the famous Epsom Wells.

After about 5min walk with David pointing out other interesting facts we came to the Wells Estate. On the corner of Spa drive and The Crescent with a fabulous view across to Headley Church way off in the distance. From this area the famous  landscape artist John Constable would sit and paint the view between 1806 – 1812 and you can see why. Now days it hard to get a clear view because of the houses but in its day the views would be as spectacular as Epsom Downs viewing area and Box Hill is today.

Once at the Well the amount of history and facts that David told us is too much to put in one small blog. We learnt about how a farmer discovered the well in 1618 and on tasting the water became the first person to know the effects of drinking Epsom Salts, We learnt about the royalty and famous people of the times like Samual Pepys who would visit, We learnt about  drunken bone setter Mrs Mapp who was offered 1,000 guineas NOT to leave Epsom but instead she chose love and ended up penniless. The list goes on. By now it was getting late and the light was fading slowly so we headed back across the common but not without a few more amazing facts Like the windmill on the corner of Wells Road which burnt down in 1873 and the racecourse, the first in Epsom, which is now lost on the common and why the Wells estate is built in a circular patten.

The walk back to the start was a pleasant walk despite being bitten alive by Midges/mosquitoes, I would advise walking across the common in the summer time wearing long trousers and spray some anit-mosquito spray on, more amazing stories kept coming from David. How the Canadian army learnt to blow up trees before D-Day, how the common was saved from being built on in 1869 by a local councillor, how if you dig down 2 feet you will find water, how in 1700’s plans to put a canal through the common to the south coast were stopped due to the high cost. Stories of police stalking out the woods to capture WW1 Canadian soldiers with local girls. The facts about the common just kept coming until we got back to the start point.

Conclusion: I have been on several of David’s history walks around Epsom & Ewell and every time I learn something new. I was born in the borough and have lived here all my life and I thought I had a great knowledge of where I live but I don’t. David walks are great way to find out more about where you live, the people that made it what it is and of course the ghost stories everyone loves.

This walk, like all the others cost £5 and is limited to just 25 people. It lasted just under 2 hours. Distance traveled? unsure but must have covered a couple of miles if not more but with all the interesting facts and stories I never noticed how far we had walked.

Advice? sensible footwear, anti-mosquito spray and listen. David has so much local knowledge and has written several books , available at Bourne Hall Museum, He is a priceless gem to the local community. 

David has several walks over the Summer up until the 1st September in Epsom and Ewell. For more details Click Here summer walks 2019

Council Agrees Climate Change Emergency Declaration

At a cross-party decision at the full council meeting on Tuesday 23rd July 2019 councillors agreed that Epsom & Ewell Borough Council had a role in helping address the serious and accelerating impact on the environment and people’s lives resulting from climate change.

Councillors agreed to establish an Epsom & Ewell Borough Council climate change action plan, with targets for the council to cut its environmental impact and steps to become carbon neutral. The action plan will be ratified within six months and reviewed annually.

The forthcoming local plan will also be a further opportunity to improve biodiversity and green spaces, to optimise the energy efficiency of future developments, encourage more sustainable transport options, including increases the opportunities to walk and cycle within the borough.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities committee, said: “This is a hugely significant moment and is probably the most important issue that this council has ever debated; I am pleased that there is cross-party agreement on this very important issue. “This will be an opportunity to bring together all the positive work that the council is already doing in this area, as well as initiate new policies and ideas that can make an even bigger contribution to protecting the environment and the climate. The target to become carbon neutral will not be easy but I know that there is the resolve to achieve this. “This isn’t something the council can deliver on our own. We will be engaging with the wider community, tapping into the knowledge and passion that already exists, working with and learning from our residents, businesses and others to reduce CO2 emissions across the borough in order to meet our targets”.

 

Epsom Common Day 2019

Epsom Common Day 2018 was washed out before it started with heavy rain and strong winds during one of the hottest and driest summers on record. The event was cancelled on the day for safety reasons. Epsom Common Day was to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the discovery of Epsom Wells on the common. We were away at the time and I am now glad it was cancelled as I would have hated to miss this great community, family and dog friendly event.

This year, 2019, Epsom Common Association celebrated the 401st Anniversary of Epsom Wells and the discovery of Epsom Salts which made Epsom a Spa Town as popular as Bath and led to the start of Horse Racing on the Downs

This year’s event had over 20 local organisations covering Art, History, Countryside, Refugee Network and local charities and businesses as well as Countryside crafts demos and general craft stalls.

Epsom Common Day was opened by the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell Cllr John Beckett. As well as opening the Epsom Common Day and highlighting the great work that local organisations do on the common he also raised the Green Flag Award, Which the common has been award once again. The Green Flag Award is awarded to recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Miss England 2019 Finalists Megan Largier, from Epsom, was on hand to help before heading to Newcastle next week for the Miss England 2019 Final. Megan has reached the last 50 with the grand final on the 1st August. Good Luck Megan..

Christ Church created a wonderful Art Trail through the woods leading to the church. Each piece of art work had a QR code which once scanned took you to the churches website and told you about the item in the painting. Once at the church there where history and bell tower tours. Rosemary Donovan (Vicar) got into the party mood by having her face painted or she was auditioning for Cats the Movie…

Two of the more popular  stands were Miller’s Ark with their brilliant petting zoo including goats, hens, ducks and donkeys and Hawk On The Wild Side who held flying demonstrations during the afternoon

Music for the afternoon was supplied by Epsom Hospital Radio and the beautiful sounding Epsom & Ewell Silver Band. 

Without the assistance of the Stamford Ward Residents Association then the day would not have taken place as they pushed hard for the crowdfunding last year, with newly formed crowdfunding company Copro-Co, achieve the target funding. Cllr. Steve Bridger (SWRA) & David King (ECA) worked tirelessly planning and co-ordinating for 6 months ensuring that all that was required in place for such a fantastic day for the local community.

Lets hope this will continues and becomes a regular fixture on the Epsom & Ewell events calendar 

Well Done to all the organisers…..

West Ewell Primary School “Pick and Mix”

We were invited to West Ewell Primary School on Friday 19th July to see their “Pick and Mix session”

Here is Julie Larter, one of the teachers, explaining more about it.

All pupils, from Reception upwards choose coloured card which is linked to an activity and mix with children of different ages in another classroom, to enjoy an hour of enrichment. This term their pick and mix theme is celebrating their links with international schools. They are currently partnered with schools in South America, Uganda and across France with whom we communicate regularly. Next year they will have some exciting new collaborations planned, with other schools across Europe. Their pick and mix extravaganza brings a fun element to learning a little bit more about another country, through creative activities such as art, drama, music and dance.

In the hall children from all years mixed together to learn a Irish Ceili Dance from Irish Dancers Shannon Brawn and Sarah Mills. The children and the odd teacher were shown the 4 stages of a Ceili. Once there had been several practices Shannon and Sarah got on the stage to lead the Ceili. The children were wonderful and picked it up very quickly.

Unfortunately due to the school policy, which we fully understand, we are unable to show you the children dancing but here Shannon and Sarah leading the dance to give you an idea. 

Well Done West Ewell Primary School we think this is a great way to end a school year having fun and learning at the same time and Thank You for inviting us.

Epsom man sentenced to life for the murder of his ex-partner.

A 41-year-old man has today (Thursday, 18 July) been sentenced at Guildford Crown Court to life, and will serve a minimum of 27 years following the killing of his ex-partner in Epsom earlier this year.

Aliny Mendes, 39, died at the roadside shortly after police were called following reports that a woman had been stabbed at the Sparrow Farm Road junction of London Road in Ewell on Friday, 8 February.

Ricardo Godinho, of Kingston Road, Epsom, was found guilty of the murder of Aliny Mendes, and the possession of a bladed article yesterday (Wednesday, 17 July), following a 2 and a half week trial.

Aliny Mendes, 39, died at the roadside shortly after police were called following reports that a woman had been stabbed at the Sparrow Farm Road junction of London Road in Ewell on Friday, 8 February.

A manhunt was launched to find Ricardo Godinho after one of his colleagues called 999 to inform police he had confessed to Aliny’s murder. He was arrested on suspicion of murder an hour and a half later by officers after they stopped him in Malden Road, Cheam.

Two eye witnesses were able to positively identify Ricardo Godinho as the attacker, and the clothing he was arrested in matched the description that was provided by witnesses at the scene. Godinho was charged with murder on Sunday, 10 February.

A forensic post-mortem examination showed Aliny Mendes died after sustaining multiple stab wounds.

A knife found at the scene was shown to have caused the injuries Aliny had sustained. Forensic examinations linked Godinho to the knife and he was charged with murder on Sunday, 10 February.

During the trial the court heard how the pair were married but had separated in late December 2018. Throughout this time Ricardo’s behaviour towards Aliny had become increasingly intimidating.

The court also heard how on Friday, 8 February Aliny had caught the bus with their 3-year-old daughter to London Road. Godinho had been waiting in his vehicle for the bus to go past so he could follow it. As Aliny left the bus, Godinho got out of his car before confronting her and stabbing her multiple times. He dropped the weapon and fled the scene.

In a statement, Aliny’s family said: Aliny was a beautiful, intelligent, happy, caring woman who was loved by so many people, both in the UK, and in her home country of Brazil. The events of Friday 8 February 2019 took away not only a sister, daughter, grandchild and friend, but more importantly, took a loving mother away from her four small children.

“The impact that Aliny’s death has left on her children is almost impossible to put into words. All four children are under the age of 12 years old and are now left with no mother which is so hard for them to process at such a young age. It’s the small things that will have an impact on their lives growing up. 

“When the children are ill their mother will not there to sooth them, when they get good results at school, their mother will not be there to praise them, when they perform in a school play, their mother will not be there to applaud them, and on birthdays, graduations, wedding days and other momentous events, their mother will not be able to share in the celebration and the joy of the occasion.

“The family cannot express enough how our lives have changed and that it’s a daily struggle to not only come to terms with what has happened but to adapt to a new way of life. We are thankful for all the efforts by the criminal justice system but no sentence will ever replace or bring back our beautiful Aliny.”

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Chapman, from the Specialist Crime Command said: “This deeply tragic incident has left Aliny’s family and friends devastated and our thoughts and sympathies are with them today.

“Aliny was on her way to pick up her children from school when she was confronted and killed by Ricardo. Throughout the investigation we have spoken with many of Aliny’s family and friends and have heard about what a caring person she was with a ‘wonderful heart’. It is clear that Aliny’s priority was her children, whom she had so much love for. We will provide ongoing support to the family. 

“The attack took place in broad daylight and continues to have a traumatic effect on those who witnessed it. I would like to thank those who witnessed what happened for their actions in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, and the wider community for the way they pulled together at such an extremely difficult time. A number of those people have been in court giving evidence, and it is thanks to those brave individuals we have managed to get this verdict today.”

Claire Gallagher from the CPS said: “Ricardo Godinho intended to kill his wife, despite his claims that he had lost control following a row with her. “That account of events was not supported by the evidence in the case, with eyewitnesses describing him as cold, calm and collected during the attack.

“In addition to this, he had a large knife with him, which was too large to just be left in his pocket, as the defendant had claimed. This clearly showed he had planned to kill the murder, rather than losing control at something she said to him. “This was further corroborated by material on both his phone and computer, which showed his anger and resentment that his wife was seeking a new life for her and her children. One downloaded page referred to a wife being killed by her husband.”

Godinho pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to murder and the possession of a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place at a pre-trial hearing at Central Criminal Court in London on 29 March.

Surrey Police will not tolerate any form of domestic abuse and has specially trained officers who deal with domestic abuse survivors in a sensitive and supportive way. All reports of domestic abuse offences are taken extremely seriously and it is important that anyone currently suffering at the hands of an abusive partner realises there is confidential help out there. Officers work in partnership with a number of agencies and voluntary organisations who provide vital support to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Please call 101 to report any domestic abuse, in an emergency always dial 999. For more information about the support available if you are experiencing abuse, please visit https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/support-helplines/

Ewell Village Fair

This years fair was very special. It was the 40th Anniversary of the the Ewell St Marys Morris Men. The event started as normal outside the Green Man, where Ewell St Marys were joined by 1st Sedgley Morris Men, Phoniex Clog, Pilgrim Morris Men, Rampant Rooster, Spring Grove Morris Men, Thames Vally Morris Men and the Mayor and Mayoress of Epsom Ewell

After several dances and some ale the group marched down Ewell High St towards the Watch House in Church St. The Watch House was built in 1700’s and as well as being a lock up for the local trouble makers and drunks it also housed the village fire engine until the 1860’s.

It was now the time for “Refreshing the Wastrels” this tradition is linked to the story of a young man who after to much drink was put in the watch house. His friends feeling he needed a drink passed a clay pipe through the bar window and poured ale down the pipe to the young wastrel.

Now days its down with a hose pipe and a funnel.

 

Once refreshed the group moved onto Ewell Village Fair at St Mary’s. For more dancing and grinning through a horse collar. Then on mass all the Morris Men, as one, danced  together in a wonderful spectacular of colour and the sound of bells ringing and sticks banging.

As usual the fair was a wonderful community event with pony rides, face painting, flower stall and loads more.

D-Day and Operation Epsom Commemoration

On Saturday 13th July Bourne Hall Museum commemorated the 75th Anniversary  of D-Day and Operation Epsom, also know as the battle of Odon, with WW2 re-enactors, displays of weapons, uniform, vehicles, music and dance from Surrey Jive

D Day

Codenamed Operation Overlord the Allied invasion of France happened on 6 June 1944 after five years of war with Germany. It was a seaborne invasion, the biggest one in history.

By dawn, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already on the ground behind enemy lines, securing bridges and exit roads. The amphibious invasions began at 6.30am.

Thousands of ships set out from the south coast of England, in all over 6,000 vessels joined the attack. They were supported by over 11,000 planes. Throughout the day, some 156,000, British, American and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of Normandy.

The ‘D’ in D-Day does not stand for anything, it was just the initial the military used when planning the attack. Planning of the invasion was underway before the date it would take place was known. In order to organise things like when the troop ships should leave England the planners referred to it as D-Day.

Operation Epsom


Operation Epsom (also known as the battle of the Odon), took place at the end of June and was the first major British offensive to be launched after the D-Day landings.

The offensive was intended to outflank and seize the German-occupied city of Caen, an important Allied objective, in the early stages of Operation Overlord.

It was a successful attempt to force the Germans to concentrate their armoured units at the eastern end of the Normandy beachhead and to prevent Rommel from moving any of his panzer divisions west towards the American front, where preparations were underway for Operation Cobra, the main breakout from the beachhead.