9000 patients of Epsom’s cluster of now closed psychiatric hospitals were buried between 1899 and 1955 in a now abandoned Cemetery. The Friends of Horton Cemetery are writing their life stories and seeking to reclaim the five neglected acres from a property speculator.
The Horton Cemetery is located between Horton Lane and Hook Road, Epsom.
On 10th October 2023 from 1.00pm The Mayor Cllr Robert Geleit (Labour Court Ward) and Mayoress of Epsom and Ewell will lead councillors, Aldermen of the Borough and the public in commemorating the lives of the 9000.
Baroness Sheila Hollins, a Patron of the Friends of Horton Cemetery will be in attendance and Alderman Alan Carlson will address the gathering. St Josephs Primary School pupils will sing and others will recite poetry. A “committal prayer” will be spoken on behalf of faith leaders of Epsom and Ewell. The ceremony will end with a Scots Piper leading the gathering to the former Horton Chapel that is now the Horton Arts Centre in Haven Way.
This venue will be host to further performances and speeches and the opening of a Memorial Garden in tribute to the 9000.
900 ceramic flowers painted by many people across the Borough over the last year will be planted.
This is the culmination of a year long project of the Friends of Horton Cemetery known as “Out of Sight, Out of Mind“, led by the charity’s history consultant, Dr Alana Harris, local resident and Reader in Modern British Social, Cultural and Gender History at Kings College. The Project is supported by Historic England.
Lionel Blackman, founder and director of The Friends of Horton Cemetery, said “All are welcome to this significant event taking place on World Mental Health Day. Demonstrating widespread public support for the return of the Horton Cemetery for the public and relatives of the deceased, is essential in correcting an unconscionable decision of the NHS in 1983 to sell the land to a property speculator”.
If you intend to attend the event you are requested to complete this simple online RSVP form.
If you are attending you should read the advice of The Friends of Horton Cemetery on the ground conditions and lengths of walks involved. Click HERE.