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os map epsom

work in progress: Wells estate, Epsom, Surrey

Doing some map surfing and came across the Wells estate on Epsom Common, Surrey. It’s a 1930s housing estate in the middle of the eastern edge of the common.

epsom common








1871 OS Map shows the farm at the centre of the circle:

1871 os map epsom


epsom estate
google street view of The Crescent

Thanks to some asking around on Twitter by Municipal Dreams, and some basic information on local history websites, the site is based around the ancient Epsom Salt well but this had long gone. There was an 18th century farm there that made the rectangular encroachment, but I’m still looking for information on the rest of it. ( states, “The obvious feature is the circular area whose origin is the “Epsom Wells”. By the time of the late 18th century and early 19th century these days were long gone and the area was a farm with farm buildings and a windmill. The rectangular area to the south was removed from the Common to enlarge the area of Wells Farm and as such was never an encroachment, more of an eventual occupation but it seems that the farm struggled to survive and by the 1850s was no longer a complete working farm and became a residence for a wealthy tenant. The 1851 Census return shows John Richard (Landed proprietor) in residence at the Old Wells. It was probably during this time that occupancy of the rectangular area took place, with many small individual plots (the 19th century version of allotments) combining and overtime, the first cottages started to appear about 1858.” But notably the website doesn’t then say anything about the 1930s estate.

Here’s a picture of the well, apparently dressed by the church, on 8 July, taken by Simon Webster:

well at epsom

I’m hoping a trip to Surrey History Centre will provide more information on the landownership and development of the estate. As always, I’m interested in how the residents conceived of public space, especially in being in such an unusual position on the common.

Any information or further reading welcome before I go and find out. Comment below.

5 thoughts on “work in progress: Wells estate, Epsom, Surrey

  1. I’d been really interested if you find out anything further. As they are planning further development on the Wells site, currently where the community centre is. Which people believe was a gift to the community, but nobody can find the evidence.

    Thank you.

  2. I lived there from 1954 to 1977. Looking back, it was an idyllic environment. The Greenway backed on to then unforested common land. Me and the dog(Bob) enjoyed many a year exploring. Sunday Afternoons on the green playing football (near the old laundry). All us kids were around the same age and a fair few of us ended up reminiscing about it at the Cock and Bull in Bondi Jctn! I could not have wished for a better place to grow up.

  3. Hello Katrina –

    I was born in Epsom in 1944 and lived with my parents who came to the estate during the war. We lived in a house in the Greenway. I went to a pre-school based in Wells House, a mansion close to the site of the well in 1948. I stayed until 1970 and my family were still there until 2003.

    Therefore I have a good knowledge of the estate and still have connection with a family who lived in the house next ours and who still live in the Greenway. I understand the community centre building is on land originally as part of Wells House gardens.

    I donated various documents to Surrey History Centre related to the original purchase of our house and which could throw light on the ownership of the land. Our neighbours lived in a house called Millfield which was of greater age and not part of the estate development of the late 1930’s

    1. That’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing the info and your memories, Stewart!

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