'Massive damage' at historic Ewell Court House, firefighters confirm

This Is Local London: Ewell Court House was damaged by fire overnight. Ewell Court House was damaged by fire overnight.

Firefighters are still damping down a huge blaze which devastated a historic, council owned, mansion last night.

Firefighters have confirmed that 70 per cent of the roof of Ewell Court House, a Grade II listed building in Ewell, has been destroyed.

Worst affected by the fire, which erupted shortly after 2.30am, is the part of the building that houses Ewell Court Library.

A council spokesman confirmed that Bambini children’s nursery; a NHS clinic Ewell Court Clinic next door to the house; and a plant nursery running alongside it were not damaged, nor were two flats next to it.

An Epsom firefighter said 50 crew members attended the incident which resulted in 20 per cent of the first floor of the house being destroyed by fire.

He said 80 per cent of the house was damaged by heat and smoke. 

He said all of the ground floor has been affected by water.

The fireman said an “investigation is currently in process” into the cause of the blaze.

No one was injured.

This Is Local London:

The roof was wrecked by the fire

The park adjacent to the building is sealed off this morning for health and safety reasons and there is no power into the site.

The building is also home to a number of businesses and is used for weddings and other events.

The council said it does not yet know how bad the damage is but is currently contacting all organisations that use the building.

It had been planning this summer to rent out the top room at the house for administrative use to help generate more money from it, although this was opposed by many residents.

Ewell Court House was built in 1879 but incorporated an earlier building, Avenue House, which dates back to the late 17th century.

It was commissioned by John Henry Bridges, who lived in Avenue House and whose family made their money running gunpowder mills on the nearby Hogsmill river.

The architect was J. Alick Thomas, an enthusiast for the Old English style, who incorporated Elizabethan features.

This Is Local London:

An investigation has been launched into how the fire started

It was sold to the council in 1935 when the owners could no longer afford the upkeep.

In 2003, Epsom Council wanted to turn it into a residential development but this was strongly opposed by residents who banded together to form Ewell Court House Organisation ECHO. 

They persuaded the council to retain the house for a mix of commercial and community use.

A Surrey County Council spokeswoman said it is too early to say for how long the library will be closed.

Did you see what happened? Contact the newsdesk on 020 8722 6391 or email hmatharu@london.newsquest.co.uk.


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Comments (3)

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11:11am Tue 10 Dec 13

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Once again, an overwhelming well done to Trumpton from Surrey & London brigades. Comments made make it very clear that the initial arrival by our Epsom crews helped prevent this being even worse than it turned out. What will happen when the Epsom station is reduced to one appliance? Lives may be put at risk, both public & fire crews, if they have to wait longer for back-up appliances. The Borough of Epsom & Ewell is growing, with more & more properties & people, & yet our emergency services are being reduced.
I just hope that Surrey County Council do not use this incident as another excuse to permanently close down the much needed facilities there.
Once again, an overwhelming well done to Trumpton from Surrey & London brigades. Comments made make it very clear that the initial arrival by our Epsom crews helped prevent this being even worse than it turned out. What will happen when the Epsom station is reduced to one appliance? Lives may be put at risk, both public & fire crews, if they have to wait longer for back-up appliances. The Borough of Epsom & Ewell is growing, with more & more properties & people, & yet our emergency services are being reduced. I just hope that Surrey County Council do not use this incident as another excuse to permanently close down the much needed facilities there. Hove Ex-Pat

5:52pm Tue 10 Dec 13

EwellMan says...

Hove Ex-Pat wrote:
Once again, an overwhelming well done to Trumpton from Surrey & London brigades. Comments made make it very clear that the initial arrival by our Epsom crews helped prevent this being even worse than it turned out. What will happen when the Epsom station is reduced to one appliance? Lives may be put at risk, both public & fire crews, if they have to wait longer for back-up appliances. The Borough of Epsom & Ewell is growing, with more & more properties & people, & yet our emergency services are being reduced.
I just hope that Surrey County Council do not use this incident as another excuse to permanently close down the much needed facilities there.
Just like the crime levels incresing and the lack of police on the streets, combine that with energy efficient street lights that dim at 11pm i think we hve serious issues brewing in the neighbourhood.

Makes you wonder where the 2% council tax increase goes every year? you would think that it would mean we are paying more to keep the level of services? Seems the council is spending it somewhere whilst benefitting from cost savings on services?
[quote][p][bold]Hove Ex-Pat[/bold] wrote: Once again, an overwhelming well done to Trumpton from Surrey & London brigades. Comments made make it very clear that the initial arrival by our Epsom crews helped prevent this being even worse than it turned out. What will happen when the Epsom station is reduced to one appliance? Lives may be put at risk, both public & fire crews, if they have to wait longer for back-up appliances. The Borough of Epsom & Ewell is growing, with more & more properties & people, & yet our emergency services are being reduced. I just hope that Surrey County Council do not use this incident as another excuse to permanently close down the much needed facilities there.[/p][/quote]Just like the crime levels incresing and the lack of police on the streets, combine that with energy efficient street lights that dim at 11pm i think we hve serious issues brewing in the neighbourhood. Makes you wonder where the 2% council tax increase goes every year? you would think that it would mean we are paying more to keep the level of services? Seems the council is spending it somewhere whilst benefitting from cost savings on services? EwellMan

10:17am Thu 12 Dec 13

niftynigel says...

Before anyone claims that it's spent on staffing costs, it's not!

Government grants are reducing to all local authorities, although Surrey is better placed than many as it's grants from central goverment are less than most, if not all similar local authorities.

Due to an ageing and growing population, there are greater demands on social services and education. Having extra service provision costs money and all spend has to be prioritised. If you hadn't noticed, we still have inflation of around 2.5% in the UK. As you obviously hadn't realised, the councils do have external suppliers and specialist service providers, many of whom have raised their costs, some more than inflation.

The council per se doesn't benefit from any cost savings, as the council acts on behalf of everyone.
Before anyone claims that it's spent on staffing costs, it's not! Government grants are reducing to all local authorities, although Surrey is better placed than many as it's grants from central goverment are less than most, if not all similar local authorities. Due to an ageing and growing population, there are greater demands on social services and education. Having extra service provision costs money and all spend has to be prioritised. If you hadn't noticed, we still have inflation of around 2.5% in the UK. As you obviously hadn't realised, the councils do have external suppliers and specialist service providers, many of whom have raised their costs, some more than inflation. The council per se doesn't benefit from any cost savings, as the council acts on behalf of everyone. niftynigel

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