History and Heritage - Not A Lot Of People Know That
This section is composed of little-known facts about the area and is inspired by one of Leatherhead's most famous residents. Not a lot of people know that the actor Sir Michael Caine is a resident of Leatherhead. The phrase ‘not a lot of people know that’ is one that is associated with him, but was in fact used by Peter Sellers when he did an impression of Michael Caine on the Parkinson show. It has stuck ever since.
Leatherhead, Highbury and Emma
Not a lot of people know that Highbury, a place that features in Jane Austen's ‘Emma’, is very likely to be none other than Leatherhead. It is described in the novel as ‘the large and populous village, almost amounting to a town’. Jane visited relatives in Great Bookham during the writing of the novel and would have known Leatherhead. Its placing relative to other places named in the novel, would suggest the location is Leatherhead, namely London, Kingston and Box Hill, is right, and it has a river and ‘Randalls’, as did Highbury.
Wesley's last sermon
Not a lot of people know that the great reforming preacher and founder of ‘Methodism’, John Wesley, preached his last sermon in Leatherhead at the age of 88. He preached literally thousands and thousands of sermons throughout Britain and Ireland throughout his long life, the last one being in Leatherhead on the 23rd February 1791 delivered at the top of Bull Hill.
Leatherhead’s First Inventor
Not a lot of people know that the first recorded patent application by a resident of Leatherhead was Jeremiah Johnson in 1854. He invented a braking system for railway carriages causing ‘every wheel (to) be firmly stopped in one moment’. His failure to suggest how passengers could be prevented from being shot across the compartments may have explained why it did not catch on.