Victoria Court, Royal Earlswood Park
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Earlswood is a suburb of Redhill in Surrey, England. Earlswood lies on the A23 between Redhill (in the direction of London) and Horley (next to Gatwick Airport), from which the neighbouring community, Whitebushes is separated by a wide rural buffer zone. The two main southern communities of Redhill are in local administration grouped together to form a ward, Earlswood and Whitebushes. Earlswood Common is a Local Nature Reserve that separates the suburb from the southern suburbs of Reigate, and has two lakes known as Earlswood Lakes and picnic areas. Earlswood is contiguous with Whitebushes but is also to the west. East of its station and the Brighton Main Line are three unconnected estates: east Earlswood; Royal Earlswood Park and East Surrey Hospital with Whitebushes.
When the straight turnpike from London to Brighton between Earlswood Common and the London to Brighton railway was cut there was a claim that traces of a Roman villa were discovered. No evidence has since been located. The area south of the common loosely known as Whitebushes was formally a wilderness; it contained many clay pits that may be linked to the reputed Roman remains. Most trees of the Weald that covered Earlswood Common were cut down in the 17th century by order of local noble, Lord Monson and the land was inclosed in 1886. Brickworks were a considerable employer in the Victorian period and in 1911.
In 1863 Earlswood joined Meadvale, Redhill and Reigate to become part of the newly formed municipal borough of Reigate when it was granted this status by royal charter.
Earlswood was home to the Royal Earlswood psychiatric hospital, founded as a 'national home' and opened by Albert, Prince Consort functioned until 1997. Equally here was the Royal Philanthropic Society's reform school from 1849 until 1988. This has been redeveloped into Royal Earlswood Park, chiefly into apartments but also into houses.
The suburb is served by railway station with trains running from London Bridge/London Victoria to Horsham, which previously had a third platform which gave access to the Royal Earlswood Hospital.
Earlswood common was from late Victorian times no longer used as open pasture and for foraging and was a pleasure ground until World War II. Its lower lake has a concrete bottom and was used in World War I to test the ability of primitive tanks to cross flooded landscapes, having previously had a diving platform, a paddling pool and was used for summer swimming. Members of the Christian Science Church used the lake for all year swimming and broke the ice in winter. Its upper lake had a kiosk and boats for rent.
In 2001 census area Earlswood and Whitebushes had a population of 8,234 however Earlswood is identifiable as Reigate and Banstead 14A, 14D and 14E (Lower Layer Super Output Areas) with a population of 5,049.
Earlswood Common is a Local Nature Reserve. It contains two artificial landscaped lakes, which are used for recreational purposes. The upper lake has ducks and wildfowl. Until 2019, for 130 years, much of Earlswood Common had formed Earlswood Common golf course. The golf course was forced to close in March 2019 due to the closure of the Redhill & Reigate Golf Club, which maintained it.
To the north of this common is part of Reigate and the St John's compact conservation area or Old Town of which has to its north a smaller but steep and triangular common, Redhill Common. St John's is included in the article on Redhill.
This is the area of predominantly Victorian housing, much of it terraced and semi-detached, immediately south of Redhill town centre bordered to the north by Hooley lane, to the west by the A23 Brighton Road, to the south by the Royal Earlswood Park housing development and to the east by fields. Redhill Brook runs north-south through the middle of Earlswood but is not visible in most of it. Two train lines run through Earlswood. The Redhill and Quarry Lines, both part of the Brighton Line, merge just north of Earlswood and run through Earlswood Station although there is no Quarry Line Platform. The Redhill to Tonbridge line passes through north Earlswood in between Redhill and Nutfield stations.
There are a nursery, primary and junior school over two sites in north Earlswood combined under the umbrella of the Earlswood Schools Federation. The schools are very popular and, along with the plentiful green space and good transport links, have attracted many young families to the area.
One sub-area of Earlswood, South Earlswood is a separate neighbourhood containing approximately half of the housing, which constitutes the main land use in Earlswood. Separating it from the north are Earlswood Common and the Greensand Way, which follows the Greensand Ridge from Haslemere to Kent. Immediately adjoining South Earlswood is the village or neighbourhood of Whitebushes, which is contiguous therefore, apart from councillors, is difficult to separate artificially.
A mixed housing estate surrounded by pre-existing farmland, South Earlswood and a railway line was built in the 1970s and early 1980s. East Surrey Hospital adjacent opened in 1979 to its north. A small portion of farmland remains common land where (traditionally) gypsy horses used for riding lessons and transport have grazed since the 1950s.
The area has been occupied since medieval times and probably before that, as evidenced by archaeological finds nearby of an axe  and flint flakes. The surrounding farms date back to the 13th and 14th centuries, notably Hazelhurst Farm from 1203 and Dean Farm from 1316. There is evidence of a Medieval Farmstead in Woodlands Field, off Green Lane. This consists mainly of soil marks in a square of about 350m and an adjoining L-shaped mark. The pottery has been dated to 1250-1350.
In the 19th century a number of brick works sprung up in the area. The Reigate Isolation Hospital was established in 1884 and later renamed to the Reigate Rural District Infectious Diseases Hospital. In 1900 a second establishment, the Reigate Borough Isolation Hospital, was opened. Around 1927 the two establishments were combined into a single Isolation Hospital run by the Reigate Joint Hospital Board as part of the Redhill County Hospital. In 1960 the site was acquired by University College Hospital and renamed Jordan's Hospital for the treatment of Tropical Diseases, especially Leprosy. The site was sold for development in 1970 and the estate between Green Lane and the railway, including Jordans Close, was built.
The Brighton Main Line passes the west of Whitebushes and was opened in 1841. An ancient trackway along what is now Green Lane, The Brow and the western leg of Bushfield Drive, links Whitebushes to Earlswood to the north and Salfords railway station to the south. Salfords is also a short bus journey but offers less frequent services than Redhill. Somewhat circuitous links under the railway line also link to the parking areas by these stations for those unwilling to walk.
Surrey County Council Following boundary changes in response to the new communities built at The Watercolour and Park 25 developments East of Redhill, Earlswood is now split between two divisions at Surrey County Council level. Earlswood North falls with the Redhill East division and Earlswood South falls within the Earlswood and Reigate South division. This does cause some confusion as there is also a Redhill East ward at borough council level which Earlswood is not part of. Both are elected every four years. They are currently represented by:
Redhill East: Mr Jonathan Essex of the Green Party (UK) who, in being elected, became the first member of his party to sit on Surrey County Council.
Earlswood and Reigate South: *Ms Barbara Thomson (Con), returned by the electorate in 2013, on the Adult Social Care Select Committee, Communities Select Committee and the relevant Local Committee. The second party was UKIP gaining 899 votes versus the winning candidate's 955.
Reigate and Banstead At Borough council Earlswood North and South are combined to form one division, simply Earlswood. Three Earlswood councillors sit on Reigate and Banstead borough council, who are:
|2012||James Durrant||Earlswood and Whitebushes|
|2011||Barbara Thomson||Earlswood and Whitebushes|
|2014||Rita Renson||Earlswood and Whitebushes|
Media related to Earlswood at Wikimedia Commons