Dorking Museum Books

Books by Museum Friends

The Deepdene – A Landscape Rediscovered by Alexander Bagnall

Foreword by Phil Hewat-Jaboor

The Hope family motto of ‘Hope Not Broken’ was to prove to be most apt for Deepdene.

The once famed Deepdene estate was thought completely to be lost to the ravages of time, having suffered the fate of many of the great English country estates in the 20th Century. Its rediscovery and reopening has been one of the great heritage success stories.

In 2009 a plan for its rescue was begun, resulting in a huge effort to rescue what remained. The core, which can be seen today, extends to around 70 acres and includes the mausoleum, a medieval deer-park, the remains of an ancient fortified manor house, glimpses of Second War War fortifications and the garden where the story begins.

The author, Alexander Bagnall has worked on Deepdene for Mole Valley District Council since 2008 and has overseen the Council’s efforts to rescue the surviving remnants. He is also a trustee of The Mausolea and Monuments Trust.

Priced at £15.00.

Buy the book here.

A Holmwood Station Scrapbook by Julian Wormersley

It was on 1st May 1867 that Holmwood station first opened to the public. Since then many extraordinary people have trodden its platforms – ranging from a Royal Prince about to be proclaimed King to pauper children sent from a London workhouse. Others included a Crimean War hero; self-made millionaires; gallant officers returning from the Boer War and, during the Great War, wounded officers delivered by ambulance trains. Even the German Kaiser, His Imperial Highness, Emperor Wilhelm II, once alighted at Holmwood.

Special trains came and went – bringing London society people to glittering parties in the country; taking outings to the seaside and visitors to the Crystal Palace or transporting troops to military manoeuvres on Holmwood Common. Suffragettes frequently used the station, as did the Surrey Union Hunt, who unloaded hounds and horses directly onto the platform.

To commemorate this anniversary, local writer, Julian Womersley, has produced a profusely illustrated, 150 page book called ‘A Holmwood Station Scrapbook’. Like all good scrapbooks, this is a serendipitous collection of snippets from the past: photographs, press cuttings and other ephemera are brought together to tell the saga of Holmwood railway station and its role in the social history of a developing community in deepest rural Surrey.

Priced at £12.50 and aimed at the general reader, the fresh research and new material published for the first time will also appeal to those with more specialist railway or historical interests.

Buy the book here.

The Villages of Abinger Common and Wotton by Terence O’ Kelly

Abinger Common and Wotton are two small villages on the north slope of Leith Hill. Neither conforms to the text book picture of the English village. Until about 1900 both villages consisted of a few isolated cottages and farms, and hamlets of half-a-dozen cottages, along with a handful of ‘big houses’.

Terence O’Kelly’s book traces the geography and history of these two villages from Roman times to the present day.

Priced at £5.00

Buy the book here.

Capel – The Chapel by the Spring by Mary Day and Vivien Ettlinger

Dorking Museum supporters, Mary Day and Vivien Ettlinger, have produced this beautiful book, and are kindly donating most of the proceeds to Dorking Museum.

The origin of this book goes back to manuscripts collected by the Reverend O’Fflahertie in the 1880’s. He failed to finish his history of Capel and passed his papers on to H.E. Malden, Surrey historian, who published some articles in the Surrey Archaeological Collections but didn’t complete it either! 

Vivien and Mary took on the task over 15 years ago and did a lot more research, with the result that an illustrated book is now available. 

Priced at £8.00.

Buy the book here

Chart Park : Dorking by Doris and Ethel Mercer

Chart Park is one of Dorking’s great “Lost Estates”. It was created for Henry Talbot in the 1750s by Sanderson Miller and Henry Keene.

Doris and Edith Mercer have skilfully used surviving documents to create a vivid picture of a lost Gothik Revival mansion for which no contemporary record has been found. 

This book has 60 pages and black and white pictures and drawings.

Paperback. Published 1993. Priced at £6.50

Buy the book here.

The Deepdene Dorking by Doris Mercer and Alan A. Jackson

There has been a house in this location from 1400, but the period that most people know the name Deepdene from is the Hope era (1808 – 1912).

Thomas Hope bought the house in 1808 and furnished it to rival his already famous Duchess Street House. After his death in 1831, the house left to his son Henry Thomas Hope who added to the house and the land. From here the house passed to the 6th Duke of Newcastle who let the great house lapse into a steady decline.

Its subsequent reincarnations as hotel and headquarters of Southern Railways during the Second World War added to the houses demise and it was eventually demolished in 1969.

This book has 74 pages with black and white photos and drawings. Published in 1996. Priced at £5.00

Buy the book here.

Dorking. A brief history by Joyce Foster

This booklet aims to provide a quick reference to stages in the development of Dorking. 

From prehistoric times to the end of the 20th century this little booklet is a nice introduction to Dorking.

Priced at £1.00

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Dorking : A Surrey Market Town by Vivien Ettlinger, Alan A. Jackson and Brian Overell

There has been a settlement in this corner of the Mole Valley since Roman times. This very informative book traces the growth and expansion of this town all the way from the Romans right through to the end of the 20th Century.

All the authors of the book have spent many years living in Dorking and are all experts in their fields.

This book is 124 pages with black and white drawings and pictures. Paperback. Published 1991. Priced at £5.00

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Dorking in the Great War by Kathryn Atherton

Dorking in the Great War is a timely reminder of the hardship and sacrifice that faced the people of Dorking from the outbreak of the war in 1914, when the town band played troops off from the station, to the celebration of peace in July 1918.

Priced at £12.99.

Buy the book here.

Dorking in Wartime by David Knight

David Knight captures the grim reality of wartime Dorking with his diary of events carefully complied from official records, Dorking Advertiser archives and personal accounts.

He uses a vast amount of material to link events covering the period from 1938 to 1946 vividly illustrating Dorking through the hostilities.

Although the town entered calmly enough into war conditions without panic or alarm, the harsh reality of those times soon became apparent when the skies filled with aircraft and trainloads of soldiers snatched from the beaches of Dunkirk passed through the town in June, 1940.

This book is 136 pages with black and white photographs. Published in 1989. Priced at £5.00

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Early Medieval Dorking by Susannah Horne

Early Medieval Dorking is a new book covering the period between 600 and 1200AD, from the first Anglo-Saxon settlement in Dorking through the Norman Conquest and beyond.

Dorking Museum’s Susannah Horne has drawn on evidence from history, archaeology, art and literature to create a description of life as it was lived in Dorking in the early medieval period, illustrated with original drawings.

7th to 8th centuries: the initial settlement and Anglo-Saxon life in general

9th to 10thcenturies: the Danish attacks and Dorking as a royal estate

11th to 12th centuries: the Norman Conquest and Domesday Book

Priced at £8.00

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Early Victorian Dorking by Robert Humphrey

How did the residents of an English country town, with a population of around 4,000 in the mid nineteenth century, respond to a time of rapid national economic, scientific, social and political change? Much of the history contained in this book, taken from primary and secondary sources, is new and published for the first time. Focus has mainly been on Dorking, Surrey – a long established market, union and polling town situated just over 20 miles South West of the City of London. The changes brought by the industrial age changed facets of town life even in localities distant from the manufacturing centres. 

Priced at £5.00

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A History of St. Martin’s by Lady Alexandra Wedgwood

This book is an authoritative account of the church and parish from Saxon times to the present day. It is illustrated with many specially commissioned photographs and plans. There is a chapter on the important place that music has held in the life of the church. Since St Martin’s is now a Shared Church, the history of Methodism in Dorking is given in full. Also included are the other two other churches attached to the parish, St Barnabus, Ranmore and St Mary the Virgin, Pixham. 

Lady Alexandra Wedgwood is an architectural historian educated at the Courtauld Institute. For many years she was the Architectural Archivist in the House of Lords Record Office. She is the author of many books including studies of Pugin. She is the Painting Curator of Dorking Museum.

Priced at £5.00

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Peter Labilliere by James Lander

Major Peter Labilliere (1725-1800) is today remembered (if at all) for his eccentric burial; upside down; on Box Hill, near Dorking in Surrey.  

Recent research has uncovered the life of a man who, in a life filled with transformations, was both a wastrel and an exuberant Christian. A friend to aristocrats and an agitator for political reform. A career soldier who opposed his own king – possibly to the point of treason. 

In his own strange way Major Labilliere tried to set the world to rights, but finally declared it to be “topsy-turvy” and desired to be buried upside down “so that at the end of it – he might be right”.

This book is 68 pages with black and white photographs. Published in 2000. Priced at £4.95.

Buy the book here.

The Lost Villages. A history of the Holmwoods by Kathy Atherton

Holmwood Common: a place of ‘thieves, vagabonds and idlers’ or ‘a very paradise’?

From Stone-age hunter, medieval farmer, smuggler, horse-thief, rioting labourer and Victorian bar-fighter to modern porn queen: the Lost Villages tells the story of the villages of the Holmwood.

Meet the victims of runaway wagons and out-of-control horse-buses, the mystery skeleton and the Great Train Robbers. Encounter the coach-driving millionaire, the Prince Regent’s divorce lawyer and Queen Victoria’s favourite sculptor. And discover the ‘Holmwood Campaign’ of 1912 when Holmwood hit the headlines and businesses feared for their windows on an invasion of suffragettes.

 Kathy Atherton is in charge of Exhibitions for Dorking Museum – and lives in North Holmwood.

This book has 112 pages with black and white and coloured pictures and drawings. Published in 2008. Book is priced at £10.00

Buy the book here.

The Museum Guide to Dorking by Kathy Atherton

Discover the familiar: Box Hill, Deepdene, the Dorking Cockerel, EM Forster and Vaughan Williams.

Be surprised by the unexpected: rioters, suffragettes, innovators, campaigners and radical thinkers.

The Museum Guide to Dorking combines text from the panels of Dorking Museum’s permanent exhibition with reproductions of paintings, posters, photographs and artefacts from its collection, many not on display and most never published before.

This quirky-thought provoking and beautifully illustrated book provides the reader with a unique insight into the history of Dorking, its people, and the surrounding countryside and villages.

The author, Kathy Atherton, is a well-known local historian and runs the Exhibitions Team at Dorking Museum.

88 pages with full colour photographs.

The book is priced at £10.00

Buy the book here.

of the North Kent Marshes by Ian Jackson and Keith Robinson

The North Kent Marshes can be a cold, damp, lonely place or a bright, warm refuge from the urban hurly-burly.

Their savage beauty inspired many writers and artists including Dickens and Turner.

In times past few would venture into their disease ridden swamps.

Haunted by smugglers, the saltings and seaways played host to preventative men and coastguards.

When war threatened, the army and navy mounted guard on their rivers, creeks and foreshores.

The marsh folk have grown the crops and raised the cattle and sheep to feed the London market.

The marshland nature reserves are internationally important for the future well-being and survival of breeding and migratory birds.

In these days of industrial and environmental peril this wilderness on London’s doorstep is threatened as never before.

The history of the marshes and their people has been rarely told.

The book is priced at £20.00 and signed by the authors.

Buy the book here.

Pippbrook House A Local Treasure by Jim Docking

This is the story of Pippbrook Estate and House in Dorking, from the 14th century to the end of 2015.

It is a tale of wealthy owners who benefitted the local and national communities in various ways and of the uses to which the house was put during the period of municipal ownership from 1930. 

The author was able to draw upon a wide range of both primary and secondary sources and to introduce much material that hasn’t been included in any previous publication.

The book is priced at £5.00

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The Rob Walker Racing Team by Tom Loftus

New 72 page book by Tom Loftus tells the story of Rob Walker and his ground-breaking private Grand Prix winning team from a Dorking perspective – the small town where the cars where the cars were developed, built and tested: the successes, the challenges, the people.

Many previously unseen photographs and with a foreword by Rob’s son, Robbie Walker.

The book is priced at £7.00

Buy the book here.

The Rob Walker Centenary Festival by Tom Loftus

This book features images from a unique event which took place in Dorking, Surrey on 21st October 2018; the Rob Walker Centenary Festival.

Over 2 1/2 years of careful planning, and more than a little bit of luck, culminated in a parade of historic Rob Walker racing cars around the town centre a display of beautiful classic cars.

Rob Walker’s privately owned racing team competed in Formula One between 1953 and 1970. His cars were developed, built and tested at his racing shop in London Road, Dorking.

The book is priced at £4.00

Buy the book here.

A Scent of Violets by Patricia Bennett

A short account of life in Pixham, Dorking… The 12 page booklet is made up of a series of letters written by a governess living in the house called “Purbrook.”

The book is priced at £1.40

Buy the book here.

A Place of Planning and Plotting by Kathy Atherton

What Dorking’s suffragettes did next

In 1918 the vote was won and so was the war. So what did those who had plotted their campaigns from Dorking and Holmwood do with the rest of their lives? By 1919 Emmeline Pethick Lawrence was marching on Parliament once again, accompanied by a guard of ex-servicemen. Her husband was fighting Winston Churchill for a seat in Parliament, assisted by the model for Kind Hearts and Coronets’ Agatha D’Ascoyne. The book examines their campaigning lives – from atrocities in Ireland, to Gandhi in Peaslake and the Emperor Haile Selassie in the Isle of Wight.

152pp; fully illustrated.

The book is priced at £12.99

Buy the book here.