Rosehill, Sutton

The southern tip of St Helier, although its early developers marketed it as a north-western extension of Carshalton

Rosehill Court and Mecca

There is much con­fu­sion about whether to spell this place’s name as one or two words; Hid­den Lon­don uses ‘Rose­hill’ for the local­i­ty and ‘Rose Hill’ for the road that con­nects Rose­hill with Angel Hill and Sut­ton High Street.

There is no doc­u­men­tary sup­port for the assump­tion that this was a hill where wild ros­es grew; the local­i­ty sim­ply takes its name from Rose­hill Farm (lat­er Rose­hill House), which stood here from at least the mid-18th cen­tu­ry. At that time the noto­ri­ous­ly marshy road to Lon­don was improved with the intro­duc­tion of a turn­pike – and a toll-house was built at Rose­hill, which marked the bound­ary point between the baili­wicks of the Croy­don and Reigate Turn­pike Trust and the Sur­rey and Sus­sex Trust. Around 1866, after the abo­li­tion of the turn­pike, the toll-house was tak­en down and moved to Wry­the Green, where it was rebuilt, enlarged and named Wood­cote House.

Fol­low­ing the Lon­don Coun­ty Council’s cre­ation of the St Heli­er estate and the open­ing of the sta­tion at Sut­ton Com­mon in 1930, devel­op­ers turned their atten­tion here, build­ing sub­ur­ban semi-detached hous­es and the impres­sive apart­ment block and shops of Rose­hill Court (shown in the pho­to­graph above), with an adjoin­ing Gau­mont cin­e­ma that pro­vid­ed the main leisure ameni­ty for St Heli­er.

A hun­dred acres of for­mer farm­land became Rose­hill Park, which is split into west and east parts by Rose Hill. The Gau­mont became a Mec­ca bin­go hall in 1961 and was grade II list­ed in 2000. The Rose pub­lic house has been replaced by a super­mar­ket.

In the ear­ly years of the 21st cen­tu­ry Bell­way Homes added an apart­ment com­plex at Rose­hill Tri­an­gle (where Rose Hill and Reigate Avenue con­verge), with some retail units and afford­able hous­ing. Rose­hill Park’s sport­ing facil­i­ties have been much enhanced, and rebrand­ed The Sports Vil­lage, which has a spe­cial empha­sis on ten­nis.

In 2015 the borough’s need for an addi­tion­al sec­ondary school prompt­ed con­sid­er­a­tion of Rose­hill Park West as a poten­tial site. How­ev­er, the coun­cil sub­se­quent­ly decid­ed against build­ing on the park­land here – which is des­ig­nat­ed ‘met­ro­pol­i­tan open land’ – and in favour of a brown­field site in Bel­mont.

The comedy scriptwriter Ray Galton was living in Rosehill when he and Alan Simpson came up with East Cheam (specifically 23 Railway Cuttings) as Tony Hancock’s address in the classic radio – and later television – series, Hancock’s Half Hour.

Postcode area: Sutton, SM1