Monday, 13 September 2010

Dorking : Landmarks and Curiosities

Sunday afternoon and a chance to look around Dorking.

The statue of the Dorking cockerel on the Deepdene roundabout was created by sculptor Peter Parkinson of Leatherhead’s Fire & Iron Gallery and unleashed on the somewhat dubious townsfolk of Dorking in February 2007. (The Dorking Cockerel was introduced into England by the Romans. What distinguishes this species from others is the presence of a fifth claw at the back of the foot. it is the oldest surviving 5 toed variety.)

Thomas Cubitt, Master Builder (1788-1855). He was a Master Builder who died nearby at Denbies.

Ralph Vaughn Williams, composer (1872-1958) and a resident of Dorking from 1929 to 1953. The lark in his well known "The Lark Ascending" is known to have been heard in the Mole Valley to the north of the town.

Dorking Halls were designed by Percy W Meredith in 1931 and refurbished in 1997.

Between 1838 and 1869 a collection of large Italianate and Tudor style villas was built around a paddock in the grounds of Rose Hill house and the brick arch was built as an entranceway.

The pump at Pump corner was installed in 1790 to draw water from a well which had been the centre of the town in the middle ages. This is the end of the High Street; to the left is South street and to the right is East street. The sign above the pump still correctly points to Horsham, but thanks to the one way system you also need to head left to go to Guildford!

The 'Old King's Head' is a brick Jacobean building, standing at the west end of the High Street, on the north side. It used to be called the 'Chequers,' and received its later name in 1660. It is usually said to be the original of Dickens' 'Marquis of Granby,' but at the time when the Pickwick Papers were written it was not an inn at all. It is now occupied by a variety of small shops and offices including The Courtyard Cafe.

Dorking has the last remaining Pilgrim Father's house which stands in West Street. It belonged to William Mullins who sailed to New Foundland on 16 september 1620.It is now an antiques shop.

The spire of St Martins forms a landmark that can be seen from far and wide. The Foundation stone to the tower was laid in 1873 by Dr Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester who unfortunately died two months later when he fell from a horse. The tower and spire were built as the Wilberforce Memorial. The top stone was put in place on 25 April 1877. The height to the top of the weathervane (a Dorking cockerel) is 210 feet.

St Martins Church, Dorking. There is a church in the Manor of Dorking mentioned in the Domesday Book but the present church, St Martins was built between 1866 and 1874, designed by the Surrey architect Henry Woodyer.

And now the star turn in Dorking on a Sunday afternoon, Dorking Ladies Football Team (aka Horley Town) sporting their delightful new strip. Follow their progress in the South East Counties Women’s Football League, Division One (West) – where after two games they are top!

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