Leatherhead Museum is based at Hampton Cottage, a 17th century dwelling at the top of Church Street. Entirely self-funding as a museum, the cottage was bought by the Leatherhead & District Local History Society in 1978 and extensively restored before opening to the public in 1980. Since 2010 the museum trust and the local history society have been a single charity.
The site was once owned by the church and Hampton Cottage itself is known to date back before 1682 when it was home to the widow of a local falconer. It has been privately owned since 1875 and was occupied by members of a single family from 1909 until 1975. The last survivor and resident was Mrs Hilda Hollis who had spent most of her life there, accompanied from the 1930s to the 70s by her husband Frank. Their lives at the cottage during the Second World War are recalled by a special exhibition containing a fascinating collection of memorabilia.
This tiny building is remarkable for the scale of items on show, with reminders of the district's ancient origins, right through to the agricultural, light industrial and modern residential characteristics of the last two centuries. Transport looms large with everything from the carriage and later car building features to the coming of the railways and even the Titanic disaster of 1912. Hilda Hollis's work as a dressmaker at the cottage is featured, with examples of the designs she created.
Entry to the Museum is free and it is run entirely by volunteers on behalf of the Local History Society. It is open to the public every year from April to December, operating on Thursdays and Fridays from 1pm to 4pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. During the annual Heritage Open Days each September it is also open on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
64 Church Street, Leatherhead KT22 8DP
Telephone (during opening hours): 01372 386348