After the London to Brighton railway was completed in 1841 the line to Dover was built in 1844.

The Government would not allow a new line to be made from London so Redhill was chosen as the site for the new line to branch eastwards.

After the initial curve the long straight stretch from the Philanthropic was sighted by the construction engineer from a pillar built for the purpose on Redhill Common.

Once its job was complete the pillar, a brick structure with a fixing point on its top for the surveyor's instrument, remained, with a wooden seat around it for the restful enjoyment of the common users.

Although no doubt taken for granted by local people it was quite an important monument, for it was through the railway that Redhill had come into being.

The pillar was not built as a historic monument, however, and the decision was eventually taken to convert it into a memorial to commemorate the jubilee of King George V, 1910-1935.

It was ordered by Frank Lemon who, apart from being mayor from 1911 to 1913 was chairman of the Common Conservators for many years.

The monument still stands on Redhill Common and has a top plate which gives directions and distances to important places near and far.

This plate has been deliberately removed on two occasions, once during World War Two so that its direction indications might not aid an invader, and once in the 60s when it had been the subject of vandalism.

It was replaced and now still points the way to distant places, one of which is appropriately Dover, the destination of that 1844 railway line.

l Article by Alan Moore, author of A History of Redhill volumes 1 and 2. History website