What: Georgian mansion, later nursing home
Where: Epsom, Surrey
Built: c. 1760
Last Known Condition: Derelict and badly fire
damaged. All windows and doors were bricked
up in Summer 2011.
Page Updated: February 2014
Standing near to the Christchurch Road, west of Epsom is Hollywood Lodge. This ruined mansion of sandy-hued imitation stone and rendered brick was originally called Horton Lodge and stood in landscaped grounds which included a walled garden, stables, ornamental ponds and an icehouse. It was
built in c.1760 on land from Horton Manor bequeathed by Charles Calvert, 5th Lord Baltimore to John Browning Esq. and the Hon. Louisa Browning (the latter being his daughter).
The Hon. Louisa was widowed in c.1792 and lived here until 15 November 1821 when she died intestate, having been declared insane. The estate was subsequently sold and was owned for a time by a Jacob Henry Franks of Sloane Street, London.
The last resident was Mr Henry Willis, a prominent Epsom businessman, benefactor and county cricketer who inherited it from his father Henry Willis Sr in c. 1878. Willis died here in 1926 and the house was purchased by the Epsom Hospitals Authority to became an annexe both to the Manor and West Park Hospitals. The house was re-named Hollywood Lodge to avoid confusion with nearby Horton Mental Hospital.
Hollywood Lodge's last use was as a care home for the Elderly Mentally Ill, which closed in 2003. It was devastated by a deliberate fire in February 2005 while standing empty.
The fire destroyed the eastern half of the building's interior and unroofed the upper storey, halting plans for conversion and making the building unstable.
Surprisingly the building is not listed, and it is understood that it will now be gutted and new housing built in the shell. The latest planning brief recommends as a minimum that the south and east façades be retained.
In late Summer 2011, Hollywood Lodge had all of its windows and doors bricked up with breeze blocks and the external fire escape removed. This coincided with the demolition works at neighbouring West Park. It is not clear what this means for redevelopment plans, if they still exist, but the move is hardly surprising given the dangerous condition of the house in recent months.