Whittaker’s Cottages are a pair of cottages from Ashtead in Surrey built in
the 1860s. They are named after Richard Whittaker, an agricultural labourer
who was the owner of the freehold land on which they were built. They faced
directly on to the Epsom to Leatherhead railway line which opened in 1859.
The cottages conform to a standard two-room plan. Each cottage is twelve
feet wide & twenty feet long, with two rooms (one heated, one unheated) on
each floor. One cottage (number 2, Whittaker’s Cottages) has been left
unfinished to show the timber framed structure. The other cottage (number 1,
Whittaker’s Cottages) is furnished with items from the Museum’s collections
as it may have been in the 1890s.
The coming of the railway to Ashtead completely transformed the social &
economic make up of the community. Its most visible effect was on the
population which went from 729 in 1861 to 2,921 in 1911. Much farm land
disappeared under new housing development. Between 1891 and 1915 the
occupants of number 1, Whittaker’s Cottages were Henry Filkins & his family.
By 1901 Henry & his wife, Harriet, had 8 children, 5 boys & 3 girls. Henry
Filkins worked for the railway company, first as a railway porter then as a
railway signalman. All the Filkins children would have benefited from at
least 7 years’ education, first in the co-educational infants’ department,
then in the separate girls’ & boys’ departments.
As well as enjoying Victorian Workshops here our visiting pupils are often
to be seen happily involved in period household chores.
Workshops Featuring this Building