Thursday 20 December 2018


I was pleasantly surprised today to learn that this local landmark – the Cock sign in the centre of Sutton – has been listed by English Heritage, along with various other charming vernacular structures, including a bus shelter and a cattle trough.
  The inn sign (cum lamp post and finger post) only dates to 1907, but the Cock Hotel had a longer history than that, and was at one time owned by the champion pugilist Gentleman John Jackson. Jackson managed his career unusually well, fighting only three professional bouts, the third of which made him Champion of All England when he disposed of the title holder Daniel Mendoza in a mere ten minutes – this at a time when fights might last five hours. After this he retired from the ring and, as well as becoming proprietor of the Cock, set up a very successful boxing academy for gentlemen on Bond Street, London. Among his pupils was Lord Byron, who called Jackson 'the Emperor of Pugilism', while Pierce Egan described him as the 'fixed star of the Pugilistic Hemisphere'.
 The original Cock Hotel was replaced by a heavily Victorian stone-build edifice, which was still standing and in use in my boyhood, but was demolished in 1961. Now all that remains is the sign – the listed sign.

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