#136: Ewell East 08/03/2022

Ewell East Station

Its name suggests it’s not the only station serving this sleepy part of Surrey. Indeed, there’s an Ewell West station too, but that visit is for another day.

The station, which is a kilometre from the village, opened in 1847, and the up and down platforms are joined by one footbridge. Other than that, there’s very little to distinguish this open station from many others across the railway network. Of course, some modernisation has taken place since it opened, but nothing to speak about.

I did have a casual conversation with the station guard, who I caught in a few shots trying to evade being photographed. But he was a reluctant sort of chap once I’d explained I wasn’t from Southern Rail, the station’s Train Operating Company (ToC), doing a survey.

I’ve since researched that there are four trains per hour en route to Epsom, and in return, two per hour to London Victoria and two per hour to London Bridge.

There’s very little around the station, although on its west side, there is a separate entrance from a footpath linking Cheam Road with Reigate Road near the North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT). The footpath skirts around open playing fields, which provide sporting facilities for the College and Sutton & Epsom RFC. The nearby buildings, which I suspect are groundsman’s buildings, have become a haven for the local graffiti artists.

Ewell once sat directly on the A24 trunk road from London to Worthing. However, the construction of the by-pass has meant that traffic is predominantly local and in some way has helped to protect the village’s historic character.

On the subject of cars, I had to take this photo showing how fuel prices had rocketed in the early part of March 2022. But sadly, the cost of fuel captured here reflects only a momentary pause in its continuing rise.

Ewell

The area has a rich history, and it’s worth reading a couple of articles to get a sense of Ewell’s past. Thankfully, these two articles in ‘Exploring Surrey’s Past’ and ‘British History Online’ do a far better job than I can in plotting out Ewell’s historical journey.

Epsom Downs Racecourse is less than three miles away, and because of the area’s horse racing connection, Epsom & Ewell twinned with Chantilly, France,  in 1995. The aim of twinning was to ‘foster links between schools, groups and individuals’ with a stated purpose to help people across Europe understand each other better and bring harmony to Europe.

As I walked around the village, I confess I found the mix of architecture confusing. Evidently, some effort has been made to retain the older charm, but even that charm has been eroded by more modern and out of character buildings. This mish-mash approach to building conservation is well documented in the comprehensive 2009 Character Appraisal & Management Proposal report commissioned by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council. 

Nevertheless, I have no doubt Ewell is a desirable place to live. It has its own Residents’ Association website and informative Facebook Group. Here are a few of the buildings that captured my attention:

Butler’s Barber Shop at 5 Cheam Road – Doh! You have to smile. There was a petition in 2016 to Surrey Council officials to get Homer to stay as ‘… he brightens up this dull unhappy world…’. Six years on and it seems the council agreed.

Honey and Bamboo – 40 High Street – Some shops just stand out, as did this one on High Street promoting Zero Waste by bringing your containers to ‘reduce, reuse, refill, repeat’. Can you work out the store’s name opposite that’s reflected in the windows?

22-24 High Street – A plaque mounted in the middle of this building declares it a Building of Special Interest. But I’ve hunted high and low and not found any reference. So if you know, please drop me a line, or comment below.

The name Ewell derives from Old English æwell, which means river source or spring, and it’s in the village we find the source of the Hogsmill River. The river meanders seven miles before flowing into the Thames at Kingston.

The watercourse in this photo runs alongside London Road beside the Dog Gate entrance to Bourne Park and is close to the river’s source.

Directly outside the entrance is this shrine to 80 soldiers who fell in WW1, surrounded with railings commemorating the Peace in Waterloo. The Imperial War Memorial’s Register entry describes the shrine as a ‘Triangular headed white stone tablet mounted onto a brick surround set onto the supporting wall for the railings around the building. Names of fallen incised into stone in black lettering in three columns’.

I will spend more time exploring Bourne Park and other nearby parks when I return to Ewell West station. Residents will know the Dog Gate entrance to Bourne Park and its story, but do you? If not, watch out for my return trip later this year.

International Women’s Day 2022

I thought my day was done – but not quite! On my way home, I headed via Wimbledon and came across the Combination Dance Company performing outside the Centre Court Shopping Centre, celebrating International Women’s Day 2022.

I took many photo sequences as the dance company went through their routine, and I felt the best way to showcase their performance was to share this simple animation. I hope you enjoy it? 

Picture of the Day – Take a Seat

I was surprised I had several contenders for today’s Picture of the day. Despite it having been a relatively short walk of only 4 miles, there are several I felt I could have used. 

I’ve selected this shot for its photographic and somewhat playful nature. Yes, it’s the station guard I chatted to patrolling between the pillars, and his inclusion provides a human reference on an otherwise empty platform. 

I crouched down low to get this close up, a sun-drenched shot of the platform seats, and in post-production, I’ve accentuated the Black & White contrast effect.

It reminds me of a conversation I had early on in my endoftheline experience when I explained why I fell out of love with photography with the advent of digital photography over 30 years ago. I was reminded that even the early Black & White pioneers manipulated their photographs. The only difference now is that we do so with software rather than chemicals, shading and exposure.

  • Location: Ewell East Station
  • Date/Time: Tuesday 08/03/2022 
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ16; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 75mm; Film Speed – ISO 400

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