Heritage Researchers From Our Diverse Communities

The Horton Chapel Project is seeking applications from people who would be interested in training as heritage researchers. This is a volunteer role but training costs and travel expenses will be covered by our Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

We will be providing skills training to 20 people, to help find out more about the history of the Epsom Hospitals Cluster and the people who lived and worked there. Thousands of people came from different countries around the world to work at the hospitals, and it is important that this group of researchers includes a diverse range of people.

A full-day of training will take place at Surrey History Centre in Woking. After that individuals will be able to decide where and when they want to carry out research. There will be some opportunities to research various archives in London too.

Training session for the first group will be held in November 2018, and for a second group in January 2019.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch via our contact form.


Photograph of staff training at West Park Hospital, published courtesy of Epsom & Ewell History Explorer.

Heritage Open Day at Horton Chapel

Horton Chapel, the grade II listed building in Epsom that is about to be transformed into an arts centre, is opening for a special one-day event as part of national Heritage Open Day on 8th September.

The building has been closed to the public for several decades, and trustees of the charity that planned and secured Heritage Lottery Funding for the renovation project, have organised short tours of the building throughout the day.

Visitors will be able to hear about the history of the building and view plans and artist’s impressions of Horton Chapel for the next phase of its life.

Tours are free of charge but have limited places that must be booked in advance. The event is expected to be very popular, and visitors are encouraged to book as soon as possible, as places will be given on a first-come first-served basis. If your first choice of time slot is showing as ‘sold out’ please select an alternative start time.

To get advance notice of other opportunities and events, please sign-up to our mailing list.

Saturday 8 September: 10am – 4pm

Booking link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/heritage-open-day-at-horton-chapel-tickets-49326840909

Booking closes: 7 September 2018 12:00

Please note:  There are no toilets or facilities of any kind on site. The building itself is partially wheelchair accessible but the ground around the site is currently very uneven with long grass and no path. There is no parking on-site. Children must be supervised at all times by an adult.

Fabulous funding news as Heritage Lottery Fund gives our project the green light

We are delighted to announce that our plan to rescue Horton Chapel and turn it into a thriving arts hub has become a reality thanks to a major capital grant made possible by National Lottery players.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded us a grant of £1.44 million, which means that work can now start on transforming the vacant historic building. Thanks to National Lottery players, the grant means that the empty Grade II listed building is scheduled to open as a not-for-profit arts and heritage centre at the end of 2019.

The award will help to pay for the structural work to bring the long-vacant building back to life, including a new slate roof, and the refurbishment works for which the project received planning permission earlier this year with the help of heritage architects Crane & Associates.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, which has owned the building since 2004, has also committed to release up to £1.45 million in ring-fenced funding towards the Horton Chapel Project. These funds will now be unlocked, and ownership of the building transferred to the charity, following the award from the HLF.

The building will be open to all with a year-round programme that will include creative learning, music, theatre and dance performance, and exhibitions. The centre will include a café and bar, as well as a permanent exhibition that underlines the significance to the borough’s history of the psychiatric hospital cluster of which Horton Chapel was a part. There will also be space to hire for community groups, and hospitality facilities for parties, wedding receptions and conferences.

This HLF funding follows development grants of £300,000 from the HLF and £25,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund, which were awarded last year to pay for building surveys, market research, business planning, architectural design, planning and listed building consents. The Horton Chapel team will still need to do further fundraising over the coming months.

Trustees from left to right: David Gulland, Julian Waters, Janice Heyes, Ian Reeves, Kirstie Arnould, Claire Harris, Rupert Salmon, Lionel Blackman and Maria Reeves

Ian Reeves, the charity’s chairman, said: “This is a massive moment for us because without this funding the project could not have gone ahead. To everyone who has ever bought a National Lottery ticket, thank you – your money will have a have an uplifting effect on the whole area. We’ve had fantastic support from the council, our funders, a host of volunteers and our professional suppliers. There is a lot of work still to do, but we can’t wait to get started.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “I am thrilled The Horton Chapel Project has been awarded more than £1.4million of National Lottery funding.  Heritage makes a huge difference to people and the places they live.  It will be exciting to see how this fantastic project progresses and the positive effect it has on the local community now that funding has been confirmed.”

Councillor Barry Nash, Chairman of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Community & Wellbeing Committee, said: “This is a huge step forward in creating a cultural hub within Epsom and Ewell and we congratulate the team involved for their efforts and dedicated hard work in making the scheme a reality. We wish the team all the very best with their plans.”

Planning and listed building consent approved for Horton Chapel

Councillors on Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s planning committee have voted unanimously to approve planning and listed building consent for the renovation and refurbishment of Horton Chapel.

Following a short address by Horton Chapel Project chairman Ian Reeves in the March meeting, many councillors spoke to express their excitement at the plans developed by Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society, after decades of the building standing vacant.  They felt that the chapel’s refurbishment would give a sense of pride in the borough’s heritage and offer opportunities for the wider community.

The recording of the official decision was followed by the extraordinary scene of a spontaneous round of applause from councillors.

Power to Change grant success for Horton Chapel Project

Power to Change Horton Chapel ProjectHorton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society has been awarded a £15,000 community business grant by Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England, for the transformation of Epsom’s disused Horton Chapel.

The grant will pay for crucial expert reports, design services and technical specifications that will enable the historic listed building to be renovated and fit for purpose as a cultural hub, with high-quality creative facilities that serve the local population and attract visitors to the borough.

Supporting community business
Sara Buchanan, Programmes Manager at Power to Change said: “We are pleased to be investing in The Horton Chapel Project – with its ambition to turn an abandoned heritage building into a not-for-profit business that creates a vibrant place for local people. No-one understands a community better than the people who live there. This is why we fund and support local people coming together to solve local issues and create a better way of doing business.”

Ian Reeves, chair of Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society, said: “We are thrilled that Power to Change has awarded this grant. It is further recognition of the huge potential for Horton Chapel to become a sustainable business with a great long-term future, that benefits the whole community.”

Power to Change has also funded a series of Locality training workshops supporting the different aspects of the project being managed by the charity’s volunteer committee.

Planning application
Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society has now lodged a planning application with Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, and the project team will continue development work, business planning and further fundraising, whilst awaiting this decision.

Planning application submitted for Horton Chapel Project

Horton Chapel site plan Epsom

Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society has submitted a planning application to Epsom & Ewell Borough Council for the renovation and refurbishment of Horton Chapel.

Application number 17/01379/LBA describes the ‘refurbishment and conversion of existing Grade II Listed Chapel,’ including flexible spaces for: performance, creative learning, café, exhibition; a new glazed entrance canopy; a small mezzanine; new 57-space car parking on-site; cycle storage and landscaping.

Works listed include: external repairs to the building fabric, new utility services, internal secondary glazing, floor insulation and roof insulation.
All documents are available to view on the council’s online Planning Portal.

The project’s volunteer committee will continue development work, business planning and fundraising, whilst awaiting the planning committee’s decision.

We’ve secured a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund

Our plan to rescue Epsom’s Horton Chapel and turn it into a thriving arts hub has taken a huge stride forward thanks to a major grant made possible by National Lottery players.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded us development funding of £300,000 to progress our plans to transform the vacant historic building. Thanks to National Lottery players, the grant takes us significantly closer to restoring the empty Grade II listed building and running it as a not-for-profit arts and heritage centre.

The award is an acknowledgement of the HLF’s confidence in The Horton Chapel Project and an indication of its commitment to help make our vision a reality. It will pay for important structural and environmental surveys, architectural services to obtain planning and listed building consent, and pave the way for a final-round bid to unlock the significant capital investment that will be needed to refurbish the building, which has stood empty since the mid 1990s.

Ian Reeves, Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society chairman, said: “The announcement of this Heritage Lottery Fund grant takes our vision to a whole new level. We’re thrilled that the HLF has given us the green light, and these funds will allow us to start turning those plans into reality. We really believe that this is a project that can transform Epsom’s cultural life.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “We’re delighted that National Lottery players are able to support this fascinating project to breathe new life into this beautiful chapel. The project offers a great opportunity to combine restoration with a creative artistic vision, and we look forward to seeing the final, detailed proposals in due course”.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has owned the building since 2004, and has committed to release up to £1.45 million in ring-fenced funding towards the Horton Chapel Project. The council awarded charity Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society ‘preferred bidder’ status in September 2016, following a pitching process for community-based proposals. These funds will be unlocked following a successful second round application to the HLF.

Councillor Barry Nash, Chairman of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s Community & Wellbeing Committee, added: “This is a huge step forward for the Horton Chapel project and we congratulate the team involved for producing such an exciting and innovative scheme, but also for convincing the Heritage Lottery Fund to grant them financial backing.

“The £1.45million we have allocated to support the refurbishment of the Chapel comes from a range of sources, some of which is ring-fenced to the Chapel and some of which is part of the Council’s capital reserves. These reserves have been ear-marked for use on the Chapel in the hope that a valuable facility for the community can be created, managed by the community and financially independent from the Council.

“Council officers will be working with the Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage Society to take the project forward to the next stage. We wish the team all the very best with their plans.”

To stay up to date with Horton Chapel Project news, please subscribe to our email update.

Kirstie discusses mental health project – and Horton Chapel – on BBC Radio Surrey

Our committee member Kirstie Arnould appeared on BBC Radio Surrey’s breakfast show to discuss local oral history project Keeping Us In Mind.

Kirstie is managing the project, which is a joint venture between mental health charity Love Me Love My Mind, Bourne Hall Museum in Ewell, and Surrey History Centre.

You can listen below to her chat with presenters James Cannon and Suzanne Bamborough, which also includes a section about The Horton Chapel Project.

Take an interactive tour inside Horton Chapel

Very few members of the Epsom & Ewell community have had the opportunity to see inside Horton Chapel – as it has been locked up since the mid 1990s.
So we’ve put together this 360 degree interactive video in which local resident Mike Sherman talks to committee member and Sky Sports News presenter Julian Waters about the Horton Chapel Project.
You can use your mouse to look up, down and around as they walk through the chapel’s imposing spaces. (You’ll need to make sure you’re using an up-to-date version of your browser software.)