Services for Leatherhead
General Information for Leatherhead
Borough: Mole Valley
Situated at the northern end of the River Mole valley, in the geographical middle of Surrey, Leatherhead was once a small market town. Excavations from the area, finding 6 - 7th century remains, establish Leatherhead as an early settlement site. When William the Conqueror invaded this area, all the lands adjoining Fetcham were spared from destruction as they were owned by Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor, and needed to substantiate William's claim that her family had promised him the throne after the death of Edward.
An important historical event for Leatherhead, was the visit of John Wesley in 1791. He was already 87 years old and the visit proved to fall in his last week of life. He delivered his final sermon from Kingston House on Bull Hill. The house was demolished in the 1930s and the house built in its place named to Wesley House, in his honour.
Today, Leatherhead has a one-way road system circumnavigating the town centre which consists of a pedestrianised High Street, housing many well-known stores and small businesses such as Cradler's House Jewellers, and a small precinct (the Swan Centre) of shops and restaurants, including a major supermarket, together with an assortment of businesses and shops in adjacent North Street, Church Street and Bridge Street. To find property in the area, contact Domus Residential in North Street and for worldwide holidays, go to Suncity Travel in Church Street. For any other business requirement, contact the Leatherhead Chamber of Commerce.
At the east end of the High Street is the Leatherhead Institute dated 1892.
If you look above the door on the Institute, you will see that it is named in the Victorian spelling of 'Letherhead'. It is thought that the newer spelling is derived from the fact that a tannery was sited near the river and people started to associate the town with leather. The Institute was founded by a Birmingham industrialist, Abraham Dixon, who retired to Leatherhead in 1871, for the education and leisure activities of the working people.
To the south of the town, the Parish church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas has a large late-medieval tower in the Perpendicular style. The interior has four-bay arcades and a carved chalk chancel arch dating from the latter part of the 12th century, although it was rebuilt in the 14th century. Adjacent to the churchyard there is an ornamental drinking fountain provided by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Horse Trough Association.
The 14-arched bridge, built in 1782, over the River Mole leads to the Mansion, an original building. From this bridge, one can see the railway viaduct, in red brick with four great arches.
There is a pleasant, signposted 4 mile walk along the banks of the river, on which you will pass the Manor of Thorncroft. Repaired about 1772, it was the home to Elizabeth 1st's Sergeant of the Wine Cellar. It is now incorporates a well-screened office block.
Between the parish church and the town is the Mansion, a manor house dating from approximately 1739 which incorporates the 17th century home of the 2nd Lord Howard of Effingham, now the Library, and the museum which is housed at Hampton Cottage, a 17th century black and white timbered building. Further down is the former Thorndike Theatre where many plays often started out before successful runs in the West End of London.
It is thought that Jane Austen modelled many of her characters on people from the Leatherhead area. Her godfather, the Reverend Samuel Cooke, was vicar of nearby Great Bookham whom she visited often.
A regular Farmer's market is held in Leatherhead.