Redhill is first recorded in 1301 as 'Redehelde', which probably means 'the slope of the hill with red sand'. The first step in the establishment of modern Redhill came in 1818 with the opening of a new turnpike road from London to Brighton, which passed east of Reigate through a sparsely populated part of Surrey. The spur to the building of the turnpike was the Prince Regent's desire to reach Brighton as quickly as possible. Several houses were built in the 'Red Hill' area and also an inn to cater for thirsty travellers.
In 1841 the London and Brighton Railway Company opened the line from London to Brighton. The company provided a station at a sparsely populated location in the parish of Reigate some distance to the east of the town itself, but near to the turnpike road. The location was known as 'Red Hill' but, as it was intended that the station should serve Reigate, it was originally named 'Reigate'.
A second line from here was opened by the South Eastern Railway to Tonbridge in Kent in 1842 and, until 1844, there were two stations here. Both these stations were closed in that year and a new single station opened on a new site. In 1849 the SER line was extended west from Redhill to Reigate, Dorking and Guildford. The old Reigate Station was thus renamed 'Reigate Junction' but in 1858 this was changed to 'Redhill Junction' and finally to 'Redhill' in 1929.
It was to the west of this major junction that a settlement originally known as Warwick Town was developed. The name came from the Countess of Warwick, who owned the land and granted 99-year leases for the building. The new town grew rapidly but changed its name to 'Red Hill' in the early 1850s. It quickly usurped Reigate as the area's commercial centre and in 1870 a fortnightly stock and corn market was opened. 'Redhill' was soon provided with a fine array of municipal buildings and churches. A temporary church was built in 1855 and the present church of St Matthew was consecrated in 1866.
Unfortunately, in recent years much of 'old' Redhill has been demolished to be replaced shops and offices, which serve a large catchment area. But Redhill still retains some very old cottages dating from the pre-town days, especially in Linkfield Lane to the north west of the town centre.