26 Wathen Road. Photograph: Kathy Atherton

26 Wathen Road
Photograph: Kathy Atherton

The actor Laurence Olivier was born at 26 Wathen Road in 1907. His father, Gerard, who with his mother, Agnes, had previously run a school at Tower Hill in Dorking, was working as a curate at St Martins at the time.

The young Olivier did not spend much time in Dorking. In 1910 his father moved on and away from the town. Olivier senior was well respected in Dorking, however, and as a keen member of the local (river) swimming club, he arranged for a platform to be built for diving into the Mole at Castle Mill.

2 Responses to Dorking: 26 Wathen Road and Laurence Olivier

  1. John Edward Nowell Walker, late Curator of the Dorking Museum, who lived with his family as a child at
    No.14 Wathen Road Dorking, later at No.28 with his own family, scandalised that Laurence Oliver was allowed to play in the front garden on Sundays.

  2. Carole Heath says:

    I have been to see the house where Laurence Olivier was born in Dorking as I was and still am a great fan of his. I was introduced To Shakespeare in the 1960’s when I was at school through Olivier’s film OF Richard 111. I then became interested in the theatre and history especially the time in which Richard 111 lived. His film of Richard 111 I felt was brilliant acting by Laurence Olivier I could not take my eyes of off him it was such a powerful performance on his part. And Olivier really brought Shakespeare to the masses when he filmed Shakespeare’s Henry V during WW2. I then brought a book called the Olivier’s which was about his career and his then marriage to Vivien Leigh another good actress in my opinion. I wrote to Laurence Olivier at his offices in Park Lane I think it was asking him to send me two photos of himself one of him as Richard 111 and one of him out of character this he kindly did with two charming letters. I still have the letters but sadly the photos were lost during a house move sometime later. I would have loved to have met him as I really admired him as an actor and I am so grateful to him for kick starting my interest in Shakespeare and the arts. I was very saddened when he died in 1989 as I felt it was the ending of an era and his like would not be seen again.

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