The Beginner's Guide Special Edition: Ten Things To Know About Dorking

Funny story written by Nick Hobbs

Thursday, 20 October 2011

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Dorking...the facts!

Due to the popularity of our 'Beginner's Guide' series, we have decided to print a selection of periodicals covering more specific subjects.

Currently in the making is our 'Season's' selection, and we will also be publishing certain topical items, the first of which is our 'Halloween' special. Look out for these soon.

But the first of our Special Edition's is devoted to Dorking. That historic market town at the foot of the North Downs in Surrey, near London.

Dorking was already a town of much praise and worth, but the recent interest generated by 'The Dorking Review', a tome hand written by members of this very site that you peruse right now, has shot the unassuming town in to the stratosphere.

So what makes Dorking so special? What should you do if you find yourself there?

Let's take a look, shall we? Ten things you should know about Dorking..

1. Dorking started life as a bedsit by the banks of the Thames. Uncomfortable with life by the riverside, it moved further inland, and finally settled in the centre of Surrey, nestling in the relative comfort of the Mole Valley.

2. It was founded by Rev. Thomas Dork. A fearsome man, who was once described in the churches visitors book as 'a phat man, with ruddy complecshun, a drinker and fyter, rouster and cackle-snape'. Ruling the parish with a rod of iron, legend has it that Dork had aspirations to be king. Setting off for nearby London, Dork tripped on his cloak and fell in front of a hay-cart, crushing his skull. The name Dorking was derived from a combination of these incidents.

3. Dorking boasts the second tallest spire in England - St Martins Church - and is the tallest church spire - beaten only by Salisbury Cathedral! It is home to several bats, a family of field mice, and a Polish family on the run from immigration. It was built so high because the council had a surplus of building materials left over from the town hall re-roofing work, and Jewson's would not refund it!

4. Dorking uses an emblem on all official documentation, and it can be seen around the town on signs etc. The emblem is that of a five toed cockerel. It was designed by the Romans, when they stayed there, whilst touring in about 380 AD. Having lost 5-1 to the Dorking Wanderers, the Romans gave the cockerel 5 toes, one for each goal they conceded.

5. The White Horse public house in Dorking was once home to Charles Dickens. He wrote The Pickwick Papers whilst there, and consumed many fine ales. That is why the writing style is not in keeping with his other works, and the spelling was atrocious until proof-readers were employed to sort it out, the first time in history they were used!

6. Dorking has a population of 3200 people, four dogs, sixteen cats, a gerbil, three budgerigars and a community squirrel called Terry Nutkins. Nutkins can be seen performing tricks at the annual school fete and carnival on South Street in the summer.

7. Dorking was going to be bombed in WWII, but the Germans couldn't find it.

8. Nobody famous has ever been born in Dorking. Except Sybil Fawlty, or Prunella Scales as she now prefers to be known.

9. The Dorking Review was written in 2011 by a team of eleven writers. It aimed to highlight the trials and tribulations of a quintessentially English town. Not one of these writers ever actually visited the town during their research! But it was a bloody fine read!

10. Fact-flood!! Dorking is twinned with a small shack on the banks of the Seine in rural France! Visiting dignitaries, lost en route to London, stopped for directions in Dorking town centre in 1993. They have never been seen since! Comedian and travel writer Michael Palin has never been to Dorking! Dorking has the third funniest name in the UK, after Bell End in Birmingham and Sandy Balls in Hampshire!

Join us next time, as we celebrate Halloween...

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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