A town like Dorking surrounded by the Surrey Hillls, with its historical traditions and long noted for its beauty, is bound to attract poets and novelists searching for inspiration. It is no surprise, therefore, that some of England’s foremost writers have lived here, wrote about the area and used the town, villages and countryside as a setting for their works.
Jane Austen was a regular visitor to relatives in the area and had a special affection for the countryside. In her novel ‘Emma’ she wrote:
Emma had never been to Box Hill. She wished to see what everybody found so well worth seeing. Seven miles were travelled in expectation of enjoyment and everybody had a burst of admiration on arriving.
The celebrated author Fanny Burney married in Mickleham church in 1793 and settled in the area.
Charles Dickens set part of ‘The Pickwick Papers’ in Dorking and modelled the character of Tony Weller on the coach proprietor of the Bulls Head in South Street.
E. M. Forster, John Keats, George Meredith, John Aubrey John Evelyn Richard Sheridan and others lived or made extended visits to Dorking and wrote in glowing terms of the attractions of this wonderful corner of England.