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The original Orpington, the Black, was introduced in Orpington, Kent, by William Cook in 1886. It was developed from Langshan-Rock-Minorca crosses.

The father of William Cook was a hostler on the infamous London to Dover road, but young Bill, after serving his time soon forsook horses and coaches to keep chickens. In due course he rose to great prominence as an enterprising poultry developer, in those days when poultry keeping was very much in its infancy. He was a prolific journalist in poultry matters –lecturer, adviser and consultant- took in pupils- sold appliances, medicines, poultry foods, fattening powders and published the “Poultry Keepers Account Book”- the most complete of its kind for one shilling (5 pence).

William Cook though is immortalised for
his origination of the Orpington which put
his Kentish town on the poultry map and
gave countless pleasures to generations
of devoted followers.