The ‘Dorking’ was a chunky breed of cockerel bred by the Romans for its meat, and was favoured by royalty. In 1900 it was reported that something was amiss with Queen Victoria when even the white Dorking eggs served for her breakfast could not make her comfortable.
In 1880, the Dorking football club became known as the Chicks. In 1894, the bird appeared on the town seal, and in 1951 the Chamber of Commerce erected cockerel signs on the approaches to the town. Numerous local clubs and societies have adopted the bird as their emblem.
Putting the Dorking Cockerel sculpture on a prominent roundabout was the idea of Neil Maltby, who was Chairman of Mole Valley District Council at the time.
Neil Maltby commissioned the sculpture from Leatherhead’s Fire and Iron Gallery (Fire and Iron also made the Allen Court Arch in Dorking High Street).
It was modelled on a real-life Dorking cockerel called ‘Glen II’, owned by breeder Lana Gazder of nearby Headley.
According to the Fire and Iron website:
Initially somewhat controversial, local people have clearly grown very fond of the Cockerel. He has been an internet hit, wittily Photoshopped into famous images – crossing Abbey Road with the Beatles, chasing Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, first out at the Moon landing, watching from the crowd at Obama’s inauguration, etc. – and local knitters have adorned him with topical wool creations. He featured on a poster of the Olympic Cycling Road Races, and was even included in the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society’s 2012 calendar. He has won a prestigious award – the Tonypandy Cup – given by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths for an outstanding example of the skills of the blacksmith.
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