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  • Barney

Home to Roost

Over and over again I am asked about our mascot Nico and how that chicken in a race helmet came about. How Nico joined us is down to a few facts and at the time some unknown and very strange coincidences.

Shortly after we bought the farm that we converted into the Classic Heroes HQ, we were nattering in the office and it was decided that Classic Heroes should have a mascot. The bickering and squabbling started as to who or what this mascot should be.

After moving in and during the renovation works, I remember looking at a set of plans in the deeds and noting that the small brick building being converted in to our office had Broiler Shed written on it. I stupidly assumed this was a typo of boiler as the building looked like the sort of old structure that would have housed an old boiler.

Being new to Buxted, our lovely neighbour walked down the drive to introduce himself. He has always lived in Buxted and in his current cottage for over 30 years and knows the area and the farm like the back of his hand. He explained to me that this farm changed British diet almost overnight. Seemed like one hell of a claim to be made by a small farm in Buxted so asked him to explain. He told me that I was too young and that my parents would remember Buxted Chicken. I mentioned all this to my Dad and he explained that as a young lad growing up after the war, you only ate chicken on special occasions as it was an expensive, luxury meet. Buxted Chickens brought the Broiler chicken farming method to the UK and overnight chicken became affordable and part of our staple diet. Amazing to think that 50 years ago, the British public were presented with a tinned, whole, cooked chicken in jelly and we thought wow!

Buxted Chickens went from strength to strength and by 1964 the company was valued at a whopping £7 million and processing 500,000 birds a week from Buxted. When you mention Buxted Chickens to anybody within a 10-mile radius of here, it would appear that everybody either worked here, had a family member work here or a friend worked here. The local community are rather proud of this farming history.

It was then that we noticed an interesting detail. One of the owners of Buxted Chickens was a chap called John Ogier. Now, again the more senior amongst you may remember him and his success with his race team, Essex Racing Team during the late 50s and into the early 60s. He achieved regular success during this period with numerous Aston Martin BDR1, BD4 GT, DB4 GT Zagatos.

Armed with this historic information and with the help of our friend, motoring artist Guy Allen, Nico was born and is now our loved company mascot. It seemed only right to preserve a little bit of the history of Lower Totease Farm for the local community and with Classic Heroes clearly sharing the same love of cars as John Ogier, Nico seemed the right choice.

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