At the north end of the Mole Gap, formed by the river Mole cutting through the North Downs, Leatherhead occupies a central and accessible location within the historic county of Surrey.

The County Court was held here until Henry III (1216-72) removed it to Guildford and in 1588 the County Justices met here to consider what measures should be taken if the Spanish Armada were to land forces.

Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas; before restoration, 1888. Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 2759

Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas; before restoration, 1888
Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 2759

Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas; after restoration, 1904. Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 1359

Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas; after restoration, 1904
Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 1359

The parish church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas (click the link to see the Historic Environment Record for the church) has been much added to and restored, and gets its unusual dedication from 1345 when it became the property of a Priory of this name at Leeds, Kent. It sits at the southern edge of the historic centre in an open and prominent position.

Click here to see the catalogue of the St Mary and St Nicholas, Leatherhead, Parish Records (1706-1941) held at the Surrey History Centre.

The streets within the centre form a staggered road junction whose importance to the townscape is enhanced by the gradual rise up from the fine 18th century bridge over the river Mole. The older properties are tight against the footpaths to produce narrow, gently curving views.

Leatherhead, St Johns Schools, 1899. Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

Leatherhead, St Johns Schools, 1899
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

St John’s school was founded at St Johns Wood, London, in 1851, and transferred to Leatherhead in 1872; the main building was gutted by fire in 1913, and rebuilt in 1914.

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10 thoughts on “Leatherhead”

  1. Janine says:

    very user friendly, interesting and accessible

  2. lucy says:

    Did anyone go to St.Andrews in Leatherhead during the 1970s? If so do you any of you remember the air raid shelter that was hidden in the woods that was at the end of the school playing field? I used to sneak off there in my lunchtime, it was obviously out of bounds but very exciting! It was a pitch black long dark tunnel which you stepped down into about 20 meters long. What amazes me is that no one seemed to question such a building so near the school grounds.

    1. Sharon says:

      Remember it well, also remember the dip where we sometimes went to play sport before it became the M25.

    2. Fi says:

      Remember it well and the field in the dip
      We used the air raid shelter to change clothes when taking an unauthorised day off school – I was a Therfield pupil but lived near the field and the shelter

      1. Susan says:

        I remember the air raid shelter too. I used to go to St Andrew’s School (1974-1979). I remember the dip very well as I often used to walk to school via the bypass and the Pit Path (dip). As far as I know the air raid shelter was there presumably because of air raids during World War II and the local factory nearby which became the Goblin factory made ammunition.

  3. Robert says:

    Does anyone have any vintage photo of The Gate Lodge, between Ottways Lane and Grange Road?

  4. Barbara Powell says:

    Enquiry from Western Australia trying to find out what 5 Bennetts Cottages, Fairfield Road, Leatherhead was in 1919. My father Albert John Powell was born here on 11 February that year. His mother Florence Martha Powell (nee Vivian) records his birth as illegitimate and was living at 76 Beulah Road, Sutton at the time. What happened at 5 Bennetts Cottages then, did a midwife or doctor live there? Was it an operational unit for births or would my father’s birth have been a one off? It was rented by the owner of the local Price of Wales pub. What happened at 76 Beulah Road, Sutton? Was it privately owned, if so, who by? My grandmother Florence was a domestic housemaid at the time living here, working for who? I’d be grateful for any help anyone can offer. With deepest appreciation. Barbara Powell

    1. Emily says:

      Could it be then that she gave birth at a home as seemed pretty common in those times. Do you think the landlord or another employee was the father. There is a doctors surgery on Upper Fairfield Road which has been running since 1908. Ashlea Medical Practice.

      1. Barbara Powell says:

        Thank you Emily, I’m grateful for the information. I will try and find records relating to the Ashlea Medical Practice also.

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