THE HORTON EPSOM #REVIEW…
Posted by Juliet Wheater on 26 Jun 2023
What better on a balmy summer evening, to listen and dance the night away to some live Motown music. I didn’t need asking twice! Found however, in the most unlikely of places – The Horton Arts Centre, a heritage building boasting a fantastic café and bar to boot!
The Horton is an extraordinary arts and heritage destination that uses creativity and social activities to enrich the community and generate opportunities for everyone. After standing empty and at risk for three decades, Horton Chapel opened its doors again during 2022, as a most vibrant and inspiring cultural venue – The Horton.
A sympathetic architectural conversion enhances the stunning historic features of the building whilst delivering excellent contemporary facilities. Having played a part in the history of the hospital cluster from bygone years.
Epsom’s hospital cluster was the largest complex of its kind in Europe. Built for 10,000 patients from different areas of London, it almost doubled the town’s population. It became the largest employer in Epsom, pioneered psychiatric treatments and drew in staff from all over the world. Certainly a key part in Epsom’s historical identity and of national importance and something I’m ashamed to say, I knew nothing about!
From the fanfare of opening in 1901 to final closure in 1997, the chapel’s role was to provide solace for people experiencing mental distress; as a place of worship and from 1961 also as a music therapy centre. The Horton arts centre now has on permanent display an exhibition following the lives of those individuals who lived and worked on the site. A fantastically interesting history which now combines this modern and inspiring creative space, where people engage with the arts and local history at the heart of the community.
On checking in one Saturday evening to see the Blunter Brothers, we enjoyed a tipple within the seating area outside before making our way in to enjoy the Motown music this talented 10-piece band would produce.
The Horton Café-Bar is open every Tuesday to Saturday 9.15 to 4pm and Fridays 9.15am to 11pm.
The café-bar is open for food and drink from 6pm in the evening before an event and last orders at the bar are 10.30pm on weekdays and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Serving everything from prosecco to draught beer, great coffee and a wide selection of soft drinks. A full food menu is available early evening, with an emphasis on local suppliers, Professional Cookery students at NESCOT College and the in-house chef.
Visitors with dogs are welcome to take a seat at one of the café tables outside, as only registered assistance dogs are permitted in the building. The act we saw were second to none! What a wonderful night of dancing to classic funk, Motown and soul music, my husband and I enjoyed!
The Blunter Brothers (I did also spot two fabulous sisters in sequins!) have supported major international artists including Edwin Starr, Sister Sledge, Ruby Turner, Rufus Thomas, Geno Washington as well as collaborating with members of George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic and gigging with James Brown’s MD and tenor sax man Mr Pee Wee Ellis.
At The Horton there is always a dynamic programme of inspiring activities and workshops run by professional artists, artisans and experts, hosted throughout the year for all age groups. Audiences experience live performance and innovative cross-genre work.
Do sign up to their newsletter to be kept up to date with forthcoming events.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY:
Life Painting and Life Drawing Studio – full day workshops
Sat 1st July – Sat 12th August
Spanish Season 2023
18th & 19th July | A series of classical music and dance concerts pay tribute to the tragic Spanish dance prodigy Felix Garcia who was secretly banished to Horton Asylum in 1919, following a clash with the Russian Ballet.
Short Stories Tall Tales – The Hare and The Tortoise
Fri 7th July
Gong Sound Bath
Fri 7th July
Summer Dressmaking Workshop
Thurs 13th July
Portrait Drawing Workshop with artist Georgia Kitty Harris
Sat 15th July
Thursday morning Yoga Course
Thurs 20th July – Thurs 17th August
ADDRESS: The Horton Arts Centre, Haven Way, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8NP