Prior to the coming of the railway this was a small hamlet within a district of Reigate parish called Linkfield, which also included three other hamlets, namely Linkfield Street, Wiggey and Meadvale.Earlswood is located approximately one mile south of Redhill along the A23 and is bounded by Nutfield in the east, Horley in the south and Reigate in the west. It is part of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Johns.

In 1844 the population of both Linkfield and Woodhatch Districts was about 1200 people. Hence Earlswood and its extensive common lands were sparsely populated at that time. St. John’s was called Little London due to the poor construction of some of its houses, some were built in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, including the Plough public house.. Reigate Union Workhouse was built on Earlswood common, close to St Johns in 1794. It closed in 1938, to be replaced by Redhill General Hospital, which later moved to a site off of Three Arch road and is now The East Surrey Hospital. The old site became a housing estate.

The London to Brighton railway Company was formed in 1837 and 5000 navies were employed to dig out cuttings and tunnels. The Company first opened the London to Brighton line in 1841. The railway had an immediate effect on the population which grew rapidly around Redhill and Earlswood.

St. John's Church, Earlswood, in about 1890. Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 5052

St. John’s Church, Earlswood, in about 1890
Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey no. 5052

The first District church in the borough of Reigate was St. John’s which was built in 1844 to accommodate the rapidly growing population. In 1849 The Philanthropic School for Juvenile Offenders moved from Southwalk, in London and relocated to a new site in Earlswood. St. John’s School was built close to the Church in 1846 and later expanded in 1861 and 1884.

The Royal Earlswood Asylum was built on part of Earlswood common in 1853 and a railway siding was laid from Earlswood Station to the Institute to provide the means of supplying Coal and other goods. The first inmates moved in on the 15th of April 1855 and later that year Prince Albert officially opened the Institute. One of the most notable inmates was James Henry Pullen who could not read or write when he first came to the site but developed as a genius at drawing, painting and mechanics. He built a number of complex and detailed models including a large model of The Great Eastern ship. Many of his exhibits are on display at the Belfrey shoping Centre, Redhill.

Local Buildings and Sites

Links to other sources

Redhill Centre for Local & Family History: www.surreycc.gov.uk/redhilllocalhistory

23 thoughts on “Earlswood”

  1. julie says:

    can anyone remember me at earlswood school (my name was julie clarke) and have photos between 1959 1965 would love to see myself as a child can anyone help i lived at knighton road number 50 and 60 at the above dates please help tp capture my childhood thank you

  2. Yvonne says:

    Hi Julie….I’m afraid I don’t remember your name but I lived at 60 Knighton Road for just a few years from 1970. What a coincidence ! Where did you go after you left there ? Like you, I am trying to find out about my childhood.

    1. Alan Jones says:

      Hi I’m Alan, I lived at 40 then 27 Knighton Rd Redhill from approximately 1966/67 til 1980, can I help at all? On that side of the road we had the Kebal family at the bottom and the Stevenson family a little closer to you. Cheers, Alan [email protected]

  3. julie says:

    Sorry its taken timeto answer l moved to somerset.l coming up to redhill in the next few weeks to habe a walka round….l going to stay for three days know any good band

    1. Yvonne Wood says:

      Hi.Julie .. I hope you had a good few days up in Redhill and Reigate .. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to reply to your last comment. I’ve just been trawling through some old emails and found the one saying you had replied to my message here back in January ! Did you find out anything that you were searching for ? Take care x

  4. Pearle Maddox says:

    I wafs told and have certain memories of being in children home in Earls wood from age baby to 3 / 4 years of age. 1942 – 1944 ? my name was Pearle White then!! If anybody remembers the home please contact me. Many thanks.

  5. Steve White says:

    Does anyone have photos of the shops or business premises in Victoria Road or surrounding roads please?

  6. Kerry Hudson says:

    Hi, I was born in Redhill in 1954. My parents lived in a caravan park that I can’t info on. I have a photo of me out-side the caravan & you can see the train line to London in the back-ground. I aso spent time in hospital after receiving burns to my back. Would any-one know wheat hospital it would likely to have been. My father worked for post office in Redhill. I live in Australia now but I went back to Redhill in 1999.

    1. Steve says:

      It could be on the borders of Merstham and Redhill off Battlebridge Lane at Subrosa Drive between two railway lines London to Brighton.
      Can you let me have your parent’s full names and I may be able to check against a local Directory for 1954/1959 when I am next at Redhill library.

      On behalf of Redhill Centre for Local and Family History

      1. Steve says:

        Found amongst Electoral Registers for 1955/56

        It was no 17 Subrosa Caravan Site off Battlebridge Lane/Frenches Road on the borders of Merstham and Redhill between the two railway lines.

  7. John Francis Moss says:

    So, if I was born in Redhill General Hosoital (which I was), would I have been born in Redhill or Earlswood? John 🙂

  8. Zoe Wickens says:

    My mum lived in Knighton road in redhill too. Her family name was cox.

  9. len thorne says:

    Does anyone know if there was a lodge called Earlswood Lodge in the area during WW2?

    I’m doing research as my Father who flew Spitfires with the RCAF apparently stayed at Earlswood Lodge, with Mr & Mrs W. Swiffen Earlswood Lodge, Dorridge, Warwickshire


    1. Steve White says:

      421 Squadron – Royal Canadian Air Force were stationed at Redhill and Kenley Aerodromes during 1943.

      A personal reply has already been forwarded

      Steve W
      On behalf of Redhill Centre for Local & Family History

  10. Joe Wolfe says:

    Wow my nan and grandad lived in Knighton road from the late 60’s/early 70’s until about the early 2000’s. I practically grew up round there. Anyone remember the railway club? Any photos? I can’t seem to find any.

    1. Steve White says:


      You might be interested to hear that the Gasometers are due to be demolished shortly. The Building in between has already gone.


      1. Stephen Bridewell says:

        I used to live on Hooley Lane opposite those.

    2. Robyn says:

      The railway club?! I remember going there with my family as a small child! My family still live on Knighton road, number 25!… It would be nice to see some photos!

  11. Rik says:

    if you are one of the following names it would be nice to make contact.
    the names for 1951 to 1966, paul dash, eileen smith, the twins of a family related to a carpenter in Reigate. and any one who lived in the house numbers up from house number 80 in st johns road Earlswood Redhill
    the youth club connected to the St Johns Church
    the Marquis of Granby or the flying Scud pubs
    My parents moved out mid sixtys. st johns primary school, the main st Johns School near st johns church and the Reigate priory. all in the time in Redhill.

    1. Leslie SMITH says:

      Just found this while looking at information about the gasometers being demolished. What is your surname ?
      We lived at number 90. Eileen Smith is my sister. I was friends with Paul Dash’s brother. Are you thinking of the Biggs twins, Helen and Patricia ? Other names were, Deadman, Sorrell, Mocsari, Robinson, Weeks, Claydon.

  12. Rob says:

    Do anyone rember a William E Nightingale and Doris L who lived in Common road in 1951. The house may have been called Rosemary Cottage. They were married in 1940 and her maiden aim was Anderson.

    1. John Apps says:

      Hi Rob
      Re your question July 29th.
      As young boy I remember Bill Nightingale who lived in common road, next door to Bashfords the grocers with his wife and 2 sons Ewart & John in the early 1950s.
      He worked for my farther as a painter and also did some electrical work.
      If I remember correctly his son john died very young.


  13. Barry Smith says:

    I lived at 63 Knighton road late 1940 – early 1950’s. Two things stick in my memories as a young child are two areas where the kids used to congregate.
    On the railway line side of Brambletye Road roughly between Althorne Road and Knighton Road behind some large black railings and double iron gates was a tall derelict building, its purpose i never knew, it might have been a water tower. We used to squeeze through the railings and play there.
    Where Emlyn Road joins Brambletye Road straight across to the left of Redhill brook in the field was some kind of water treatment plant again surrounded by large black railings, it seemed to be in disuse. Inside was a grid of brick built, deep water troughs probably about 15ft square with virtually no walls. The water was about 2ft lower than the tops of the troughs so it could be difficult to get out if you fell in. Again we used to squeeze through the railings. There were stories (unverified) that a child had drowned there so parents told children to keep away.
    Does anyone have memories of these sites?

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