The Cock sign on Sutton High Street


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Located at the junction of Sutton High Street and Carshalton Rd at the approximate NGR: TQ2597164007
Statutory Address:
Junction of Sutton High Street and Carshalton Road, Sutton, SM1 1DJ


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Statutory Address:
Junction of Sutton High Street and Carshalton Road, Sutton, SM1 1DJ

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Located at the junction of Sutton High Street and Carshalton Rd at the approximate NGR: TQ2597164007
Greater London Authority
Sutton (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


An early-C20 lamp post and pub sign, relocated and converted to road sign around 1915.

Reasons for Designation

The Cock sign, dated to around 1907, on Sutton High Street is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* The combined lamp-post, pub sign, and road-marker is an impressive example of decoration and craftsmanship;

* An increasingly rare example of a large-scale, early, and complete set of finger posts.

Historic interest:

* For its ability to help illustrate the late C19 and early C20 history of Sutton;

* Lamp-post designed by the eminent company of Hart, Son, Peard and Co;

* The sign originates from The Cock public house, which was owned by the famous pugilist Gentleman Jackson.


The Cock sign's history originates in a public house called The Cock, which was located at a junction known as The Cock Cross Roads, and owned by Gentleman Jackson (1769-1845). Jackson was a famous pugilist who was champion of England and taught Lord Byron and other aristocrats to box at his London academy. The Cock pub sported a sign which hung from a timber goal-post straddling Sutton High Street.

Historically, the manor of Sutton belonged to Chertsey Abbey from before the Norman conquest to the Dissolution, when it passed to a succession of mostly non-resident owners. In the C18 the village became a coaching stop on the route to the races in Epsom and then Brighton, and by 1800 it was a small village sprawling up the hill from the common (now the Green) to The Cock Cross Roads. The arrival of the Sutton to Epsom railway in 1847, the Epsom Downs line (1865), and the more direct line to London via Mitcham Junction (1868), led to rapid change. Middle class development took place at Benhill and in the area around the railway station, while Newtown, east of the High Street, was more working class. The High Street shops developed quite rapidly, probably largely in the 1870s and 1880s, and by 1900 Sutton was a small commuter town in the countryside beyond London. In the 1920s and 1930s the wider area was subject to more suburban development.

In 1898 The Cock pub was partially demolished in order to widen the street, and the back range was absorbed into a new purpose-built Cock Hotel. In 1902 electricity arrived in the High Street, and by 1907 a gold-painted cock figurine and square pub sign were located outside the hotel, atop a decorative gas-lit lamp post, with two large lanterns. By 1914, the original Cock pub had been completely demolished, and the sign and supporting structure were moved a few metres to the junction of the High Street with Carshalton Road. Some experimentation with electric lighting occurred, but by around 1915 the lanterns had been removed and replaced with a sign post, carrying multiple finger posts identifying local destinations. The Cock Hotel lettering on the sign was also replaced with an image of a cockerel. In the later C20 the road layout was altered but the sign remained in position.

The lamp post was manufactured and erected by Hart, Son, Peard and Co, who were architectural metal workers based in London and Birmingham, and mostly associated with ecclesiastical works. They were founded in 1842 in Wych Street, off The Strand, by ironmonger Joseph Hart, and later merged with the Birmingham-based business, Peard & Jackson, in 1866. The firm constructed designs by the architects John Seddon, Bruce Talbert and Alfred Waterhouse, and also silver-work for William Burges, and for William Butterfield. The company had an agent, Henri Collet, in Paris and was represented at all the major exhibitions, winning many medals, including London (1851, 1862), Paris (1855, 1867, 1878), Dublin (1855, 1865) and Philadelphia (1876). The firm was closed shortly before the First World War, in 1913.


An early-C20 lamp post and pub sign, relocated and converted to a road sign around 1915.

Materials: steel, cast and wrought iron.

Description: the structure stands just south of the intersection of the pedestrian Sutton High Street and the vehicular Carshalton Road. The supporting cast iron lamp post has a tall, square base which is around 5m high and has panelled sides and a moulded cornice. The makers mark 'Hart.Son.Peard & Company' is embossed on a plaque attached to the south face.

The base of the column is facetted, with chamfered corners, and has four bulls-eye circular mouldings facing north, east, south and west. It is surmounted by a decorative fluted column of around 3m in height, which rises to the supports for the four finger post road signs, identifying the destinations: Cheam, Worcester Park, Carshalton, Croydon, Banstead, Reigate, Mitcham, and London. The metal signs are rectangular with triangular ends indicating the direction of travel. They have embossed letters painted black on a white background. Above the roads signs a rectangular pub sign swings within a hinged metal frame, which has metal filigree to the sides, and scroll-work to the top. On both faces the pub sign has the image of a cockerel painted on a white background above which is painted the word 'The'. Above the scroll-work, there is a centrally-mounted black-painted figurine of a cockerel.


Books and journals
Smith, RP, A History of Sutton AD 675-1960, (1970)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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