Notable Dorking People

Thank you to Hannah Foulsham for the following research.

Robert Barclay – Bury Hill

Robert Barclay (1751-1830) was a Southwark Brewer for many years before he moved to Bury Hill, as well as being part of a well-known Quaker family. He was born in America, in Philadelphia, being sent over to England at the age of 12 where he was educated at the Friends’ School in Wandsworth. He later went into the family business.

Read more about Robert Barclay here.

Robert Barclay (1751-1830) by John Duffield Harding. Acc. No. SP V560. 1. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Scotland

Thomas Cubitt – Denbies

Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855) was a notable builder and architect, most famed for his development of significant streets and squares in London. He even designed and built a residence for Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight. He was a kind and generous master, providing his workers with soup and cocoa and encouraged them to use the library he had created for them and the school he had built for their children. In Surrey he was particularly influential due to his work on the Denbies estate although he was also involved in the building of Polesden Lacey in 1827.

Read more about Thomas Cubitt here.

The Master Builder Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855) © Ranmore Archive

Charles Howard – Deepdene

The Hon. Charles Howard was the original builder of the Deepdene manor, after inheriting it in 1652. He built there the first Italianate gardens in England before dying in 1713. His grandson, also Charles (and Duke of Norfolk after 1777), rebuilt the house and spent his summers there.

Read more about Charles Howard here.

Charles Howard 11th Duke of Norfolk. Image courtesy of James Lonsdale

Lady Susi Hock – Westhumble

Susi Hock (1911-1993) had an eventful life before she met her future husband James Jeans, and moved to Westhumble. Born in Vienna she trained as a ballet dancer, but soon gravitated towards learning the piano, later on switching to the organ being her primary instrument. She was trained by those such as composer Franz Schmidt and the organist and composer Charles-Marie Widor.

Read more about Susi Hock here.

Sir James Hopwood Jeans and Susanne (‘Susi’) (née Hock), Lady Jeans with their son, Michael Jean by Bassano Ltd bromide print, 16 November 1936 Purchased, 1996 Photographs Collection NPG x85487

Sir James Jeans – Westhumble

James Jeans (1877-1946) bought Cleveland Lodge in Westhumble with his first wife, poet Charlotte Tiffany Mitchell, in 1918, and he lived there until his death. Before moving to Surrey, Jeans was an influential mathematician and physicist, both at Cambridge and Princeton University. He made important contributions regarding quantum theory, the theory of radiation and stellar evolution. Along with Arthur Eddington, Jeans also founded British cosmology, a branch of physics concerned with the origins of the universe.

Read more about Sir James Jeans here.

William Mullins Blue Plaque

William and Priscilla Mullins – 58-61 West Street, Dorking

William Mullins (1572-1621) was a successful shoemaker who migrated from Dorking to America on the Mayflower with his family. This included his daughter Priscilla (1602-1685) who later featured in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem The Courtship of Miles Standish and was a supposed ancestor of US president John Adams.

Read the full story of William and Priscilla Mullins in Dorking

The Pethick Lawrences – The Dutch House, South Holmwood

Emmeline (1867-1954) and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence (1871-1961) were both suffragettes before WW1, with Emmeline continuing to campaign in America throughout the war. Frederick had political objections to the war and campaigned as such. He later tried pursuing a political career with Labour, but failed due to his unpopular, anti-war sentiments.

Read more about the Pethick-Lawrences here.

Emmeline and Frederick William Pethick-Lawrence; Laura Knight by Photo Press, vintage bromide print, circa 1936. NPG x137321 © National Portrait Gallery

Sir John Stavridi (Ferndale on Mill Road)

John Stavridi (1867-1948) was raised between Holmwood and Blackbrook by his Greek parents. During WW1 he was invaluable on his secret mission to persuade Greece to abandon its neutral position in the war. Eventually, in 1917 the new Greek government became sympathetic to the allies and Stavridi was later knighted.

Read more about John Stavridi here.

John Stavridi © Gallica.bnf.fr Bibliotheque Nationale de France

Marie Stopes – Bury Hill

Marie Stopes (1880-1958) is most well known for being an advocate of birth control and sexual education, being fundamental in the beginning of the movement in Britain. It was only the last 20 years of her life that she spent at Norbury Park House near Dorking, moving there in 1838.

Read more about Marie Stopes here

Marie Stopes by Bassano Ltd whole-plate glass negative, 26 June 1924 NPG x127854 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Alfred Vanderbilt

Alfred Vanderbilt (1877-1915) was one of the world’s wealthiest men when he died on a torpedoed ship in 1915. He was an Anglophile with many connections in the Dorking/Holmwood area and was married in Reigate in 1912 to wealthy American Margaret Emerson McKim who was living in Betchworth.

Read more about Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt here.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt © Lusitania Resource

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was a much-celebrated composer with family in the area. He returned in 1928, playing a large part in the Dorking and District Refugee Committee and providing music for fundraising pageants. He worked hard to preserve folk traditions and themes from songs within his own compositions.

Read more about Vaughan Williams here.

Leopold George Heath- Anstie Grange

Leopold George Heath (1817-1907) had a long career in the Royal Navy, from 1830. He was involved in the capture of Borneo in 1846 and went on to be Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station. In 1877 he retired and lived at Anstie Grange in Holmwood, until his death.

Marian Hemar- Coldharbour

Marian Hemar (1901-1972) was a prominent Polish poet, endangered during the WW2 due to his anti-fascist views. He had previously mocked Hitler’s moustache through song and fled Poland upon Germany’s invasion, later being very active in the British war effort. Around 1959 he moved to Coldharbour where he later died.

Peter Labelliere

Peter Labelliere (1725-1800) was Major in the British army. After leaving the army he wrote political tracts and protested against the British fighting the American War of Independence. A highly devout man, later in life he became more eccentric and was (as requested) buried upside-down on Box Hill.

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”.

To read more about Peter Labelliere, buy James Landers book from our online shop

This book is 68 pages with black and white photographs. Published in 2000. Priced at £1.00 (reduced from £4.95).

Buy the book here.

Lily Dowage Duchess of Marlborough – Deepdene

Lillian Warren Price (1854-1909) was an American socialite who married her second husband, the Duke of Marlborough in 1888. After his death she remarried and towards the end of the century the Duke of Newcastle left her the Deepdene, and there she was often visited by her nephew, Winston Churchill.

David Moule-Evans – Rose Hill

David Moule-Evans (1905-1988) was a successful composer in his lifetime. He won many awards and in 1938 contributed to EM Forster’s Dorking pageant play. He lived with his wife at Rose Hill in Dorking, his career being cut short by illness from 1986, although he continued teaching until his death.

He wrote the music for several British Council films including 1945’s “Make Fruitful the Land”

Almeric Paget – Deepdene

Between 1911 and 1914 The Deepdene was leased by Almeric Paget (1861-1949). During the end of his lease, he founded the Military Massage Service, which he ran out of his London home, to treat wounded soldiers. He was also a Conservative politician, being an MP for Cambridge between 1910-1917.

Almeric Hugh Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough by Walter Stoneman bromide print, 1921 NPG x67495 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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