…covering the historical Manor of Dorking and its environs: north to Mickleham and Box Hill but excluding Leatherhead; south to Capel, Ockley and Charlwood; east to Betchworth, Brockham and Buckland; west to Abinger but excluding Gomshall and Shere.
Whether you are a local resident or a potential visitor, one of the first things you will appreciate is that we are comfortably nestled among the hills of south Surrey in what is a designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' (AONB)… to the north we have the famous Box Hill, to the south, Leith Hill with the highest tower in the south of England, and to the west, the extensive vineyards of Denbies, one of the country's premier sparkling wine producers. And we are here at the heart; an old-style small market town (pop 12,000), with houses in our West Street dating back to the 15th century – including one which was the home of a Pilgrim Father.
Though the town has history, we also have been subjected to the development whims of local government which, in the 1960s/70s, demolished old housing stock for the sake of modernity. But yet, we have managed to retain more than we have lost, and the role of this Society is to work with the community and the Mole Valley District Council to safeguard the present for the future, whilst enjoying the highlights of the past in our town Museum, and in the memorabilia safely tended by the Local History groups in the surrounding villages.
“I'm famous because I come from Dorking... well, not exactly, not from the start, because the experts say we came from Italy with those heavy-footed Romans. No-one seems to know how we ended up just here except that over the centuries most chickens were reared this sort of distance from London, and the breeds in Surrey and Sussex became renowned for their good size and taste. And of all of them, we, the 5-toed Dorkings were the most prized. In the 17th century, John Aubrey described our market here as 'the greatest for poultry in England' – and the famous Daniel Defoe wrote that 'the name of the Dorking capon being well-known in Leadenhall market'. Sadly, we are now but a few, and considered rare – but my cousins in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA are doing well – so I am still a happy bird!”