History of Redhill

Redhill was developed because of the railways. There was an earlier settlement called Warwick Town which was a short way west of the present town centre. There was another settlement near Redhill Common to the south-west.

The road through Redhill was opened in 1818 fro Gatton Point to Horley. The Redhill Common settlement (sometimes referred to as Little London) benefitted from the passing trade particularly from stagecoaches. The London and Brighton Railway opened in 1841 with the first station at Hooley Lane. With the South Eastern Railway opening their line through Tonbridge to Dover following year, there was another station just beyond the junction towards Nutfield. Passengers from Brighton wishing to travel to Dover either had a walk at Redhill or had to change at Merstham. The situation came to a head when the South Eastern Railway (temporarily) closed Merstham station forcing agreement to build a station at the junction on the present site. This station opened in 1844.

Redhill was not the most suitable site for a town as it was marshy, particularly at Redhill Brook which runs roughly north south on the east side of the railway. This area has long been prone to flooding and building along the line of the brook has been slow to develop.

The importance of Redhill has been diminished by the South Eastern Railway developing a shorter route to Dover and The London Brighton & South Coast Railway bypassing Redhill in 1899/1900 open the 'Quarry Line'. Note that the former London & Brighton Railway merged with the London and Croydon Railway in 1846 to for the London Brighton and South Coast Railway.

Redhill has developed as a town with various light industries and offices.

Redhill's most significant building was the Market Hall which was completed in 1862 and was laid on deep piles to counter the boggy land. It was on the south east corner of Station Road and High Street. It was demolished in 1982 as is was being decreasingly used. A fine landmark was lost.

To the south of Redhill is Earlswood, notable for the Royal Earlswood Hospital which was formerly known as Earlswood Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles, was founded in 1847. It closed in 1997 and has now been converted to residential use. The hospital was one of the first to treat rather than just house their patients and became world famous. One of the inmates, James Henry Pullen became famous for his model building abilities.

© Reigate and Redhill Society 1952 - 2024