Hope Springs Eternal

The Deepdene was the most impressive estate in Dorking in its day, so significant that it made mention in he Domesday Book.

The estate first came to prominence during the mid-seventeenth century when it was inherited by the Hon Charles Howard, who built a new house on the grounds and began creating one of the earliest true Italian gardens in the country. Despite having been in his family for generations, the estate gained a new notoriety when Charles Howard became 10th Duke of Norfolk in 1777 and he continued to spend his summers at Deepdene.

In 1809 the estate moved into the hands of Thomas Hope, one of the richest men in England at the time. For more than a century his family enjoyed Deepdene, adding orangeries, conservatories, a library and galleries, filling it with antiques, sculptures and works of art. Which set it up nicely for a later time when, towards the end of the century, prime minister-to- be Winston Churchill, often visited her there with his aunt.

In the 1920s the site was broken up and developed for housing, before a change in fortune that led to the estate briefly becoming a hotel, then a Southern Railway HQ during the war, before being demolished in 1967. The only complete structure that remains in the grounds now is the Hope family Mausoleum, built by Hope in 1818. This is the final resting place of Thomas Hope himself.

The estate that remains today is being returned to its former glory by a passionate group of organizations and volunteers. Mole Valley District Council is leading the Deepdene Trail landscape and heritage project to relink and repair the landscape around the magnificent estate, with the help of the Mausolea & Monuments Trust, Dorking Museum, Kuoni, Stonegate Homes, the Dorking Golf Club, Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Friends of Deepdene and Martin Higgins, owner of Betchworth Castle alongside many other national and local partners.

The Dorking Museum provides trail walks and tours, and it remains a free public resource managed by Mole Valley District Council.

Learn more about the Hope Springs Eternal project by the Dorking Museum.

YOU ARE HERE: Hertiage & History / Deepdene, the Dukes of Norfolk, and its trail