NORTHAMPTON /nɔːrθˈæmptən/ ( listen ) is the county town of
Northamptonshire in the
East Midlands of England. It lies on the River
Nene , about 67 miles (108 km) north-west of
London and 50 miles (80
km) south-east of
Birmingham . One of the largest towns in the UK,
Northampton had a population of 212,100 in the 2011 census .
Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the
Bronze Age , Roman and
Anglo-Saxon periods. During the
Middle Ages ,
the town rose to national significance with the establishment of
Northampton Castle , which was an occasional royal residence and
regularly hosted the
Parliament of England . Medieval
many churches, monasteries and the
University of Northampton
University of Northampton , which
were all enclosed by the town walls. It was granted its first town
charter by King Richard I in 1189 and its first mayor was appointed by
King John in 1215. The town is also the site of two medieval battles;
Battle of Northampton (1264) and the second in 1460 .
Northampton's royal connection languished in the modern period ; the
town supported Parliament (the Roundheads ) in the
English Civil War ,
which culminated in King Charles II ordering the destruction of the
town walls and most of the castle. The town also suffered the Great
Northampton (1675) which destroyed most of the town. It was
soon rebuilt and grew rapidly with the industrial development of the
Northampton continued to grow following the creation of
Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railways in the 19th
century, becoming an industrial centre for footwear and leather
After the World Wars, Northampton's growth was limited until it was
designated as a New
Town in 1968, accelerating development in the
Northampton unsuccessfully applied for unitary status in 1996
and city status in 2000; the town continues to expand with many areas
undergoing urban renewal . According to
Centre for Cities data in
Northampton had a population growth of 11.3% between the years
2004 and 2013, one of the ten highest in the UK.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Etymology
* 1.2 Ancient
* 1.3 Medieval
* 1.4 Modern
* 1.5 Contemporary
* 2 Administration
* 2.1 Politics
* 2.2 Local government
* 2.3 Health services
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Areas and suburbs
* 3.2 Compass
* 3.3 Climate
* 4 Demography
* 5 Economy
* 6 Culture
* 6.1 Leisure
* 6.2 Entertainment
* 6.3 Libraries, museums and galleries
* 6.4 Sport
* 6.5 Media
* 7 Notable buildings
* 7.1 Memorials
* 8 Transport
* 9 Education
* 10 Notable residents
* 11 Twin towns
* 12 See also
* 13 References
* 14 External links
The earliest reference to
Northampton in writing occurred in 914
under the name _Ham tune_, literally meaning "home town". The prefix
"North" was added later to distinguish it from other towns called
Hampton, most prominently
Southampton . The _
Domesday Book _ (1086)
records the town as _Northantone_, which evolved into _Norhamptone_ by
the 13th century and later _Northampton_ by the 17th century.
Hunsbury Hill , which was a settlement during the
Northampton is the latest in a series of settlements that
began in the
Bronze Age . Remains found in the Briar Hill district
show evidence of a
Neolithic encampment within a large circular
earthwork where local farmers assembled for tribal ceremonies and
seasonal events from approximately 3500 BC to 2000 BC.
During the British
Iron Age , people typically lived in protected
hill forts . Present-day
Hunsbury Hill is an example of this
settlement; a circular ditch and a bank faced with a wall of timber
and enclosing an area of 160 acres (65 ha) which dates to around 400
BC. In the Roman period , a small rural settlement is thought to have
existed in the present-day district of
Duston ; remains of Roman
pottery were found there.
Following Danish invasion, the central area of the town was turned
into a stronghold called a _burh_ and became the base for one of the
Danish armies in 850. A ditch was dug around the settlement and it was
fortified with earth ramparts . Having conquered
Mercia , the Danes
turned the settlement into a centre for military and administrative
purposes, which was part of the
In the 9th century _Regenhere of Northampton_ an East Anglian Saint
with localised veneration was buried in Northampton. By 918,
Northampton had an earl and an army dependent upon it, whose territory
extended to the
River Welland .
The settlement was recovered by
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder the same year,
turning it into the centre of one of the new shires, which prospered
as a river port and trading centre. In 940, it successfully resisted
the invading forces of Danish opposition in
Northumbria , but was
burnt in 1010 by a Danish army, and again in 1065 by the rebellious
northern earls Edwin and
Morcar . Despite this, the _
Domesday Book _
records _Northantone_ as possessing 316 houses with a population of
2000 people, ranking between
Leicester in size.
Northampton Castle was a royal residence and held the Parliament
of England , but was eventually demolished for a railway station . A
postern , rebuilt into a wall by the station, is all that remains.
Norman conquest of England , the town rose to national
significance: its geographical location in the centre of England made
Northampton a valuable strategical point for government and as a
convenient meeting place for political, social, ecclesiastical and
Northampton Castle is thought to have been built by Simon de Senlis ,
who became the first
Northampton , circa 1084. It was
originally an earth and timber stockaded construction which was later
rebuilt in stone. The castle became an occasional royal residence
from the reign of King Henry I in 1130 until that of King Richard II .
King John regularly stayed at the castle and moved The Treasury there
in 1205. Some 32 Parliaments , were held there. The last Parliament
Northampton was held in 1380. Significant events in the castle's
history include the trial of
Thomas Becket in 1164, the publication of
Assize of Northampton in 1176, the declaration of peace with
Scotland in the
Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton , the passage of the
Statute of Northampton in 1328 and the imposition of poll tax in 1380.
Royal tournaments and feasts were also held at the castle.
Simon de Senlis is also thought to have built the medieval town
walls, which enclosed about 245 acres (99 ha) and had four main gates
. Though demolished now, the circular pattern of the main roads
surrounding the town centre marks the original position of the walls.
de Senlis founded the
Cluniac Priory of St Andrew\'s —where St
Andrew\'s Hospital now stands—and built The Church of the Holy
Sepulchre —one of four remaining round churches in England—and All
Hallows Church on the current site of All Saint\'s Church . His son,
Simon II de Senlis , built St Peter\'s Church on a site between a
Anglo-Saxon palace and
Northampton Castle. Simon II de Senlis
Delapré Abbey —another
Cluniac priory—which still
stands today. Other priories in medieval
Northampton include St
James\' Abbey , Graye Friers, Blackfriars and Whitefriars. St. John's,
a medieval hospital, was situated east of Bridge Street. A network of
medieval tunnels remains under the centre of
Northampton around All
Saint's Church and the Market Square but their purpose,extent and
significance have been disputed.
The town was originally controlled by officials acting for the King
who collected taxes and upheld the law. This changed on 18 November
1189 when King Richard I granted the town its first charter in
exchange for money to fund his crusades. The charter allowed the
townspeople certain rights and independence in legal and
administrative matters. In 1215, King John authorised the appointment
of William Tilly as the town's first Mayor and ordered that "twelve of
the better and more discreet of your town" join him as a council to
assist him. The importance of
Northampton at this time is underlined
by the fact that only London,
York and King\'s Lynn had mayors by this
date. The mayor later ruled with 24 councillors and 48 freemen in a
closed body until 1835.
Markets and fairs were a key element in the town's economy in
medieval times. The Market Square came to prominence in 1235 when
Henry III ordered that the selling of goods in the churchyard of All
Saint's should be relocated to the Market Square. Street names in the
town give an indication of trades and market centres; Corn Hill, Malt
Hill, Mercer Row, Gold Street, Sheep Street and Horse Market. Cloth
and wool were very important but these industries declined. In the
Northampton had a large Jewish population centred on
Gold Street. In 1277—two years after Edward I passed the Statute of
the Jewry —some Jewish residents were executed while the remainder
were driven out of town. Archaeological sites include a medieval
Jewish cemetery and the
Northampton Medieval Synagogue .
The First Barons\' War caused significant destruction to Northampton.
The barons besieged
Northampton Castle in protest at King John's
oppression of his subjects. In retaliation, royalist forces destroyed
a large part of the town. When the forces of King Henry III overran
the supporters of Simon de Montfort , the Second Barons\' War broke
out. The first Battle of
Northampton —a battle in the second civil
war—took place in 1264 at the site of
Northampton Castle where King
Henry III and his son Prince Edward attacked with a large army,
pillaged the town and took prisoners.
In 1349, the
Black Death pandemic killed more than half the
population of Northampton. In 1377, the population was 2,200. The
town was rapidly losing its wealth and its importance as a national
centre. In 1460, the second Battle of
Northampton took place during
War of the Roses
War of the Roses in the meadows between the
River Nene and
Delapré Abbey. The Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians and King Henry
VI was taken prisoner. In 1484, the Mayor declared that Northampton
was "in great desolation and ruin". The dissolution of the monasteries
in 1538 led to further destruction of what remained of the medieval
Northampton was severely affected by Plague between March and
September 1638 when 533 people—a seventh of the population—died.
The royal connection to
Northampton Castle became less significant,
and by the time of the
English Civil War ,
Northampton was decidedly
pro-Parliament. Though Spencer Compton ,
Earl of Northampton, was a
Cavalier ) and backed King Charles I , the people of
Northampton supported Parliament and
Oliver Cromwell 's republican
Roundhead army. The town had a long history of religious dissent from
the Lollards and Puritanism gained a strong hold on the town. The
corporation of the town, having already refused to provide troops to
the King in 1632 or to pay the notorious ship money tax in 1636,
petitioned Parliament in 1642 against papists and bishops .
When war broke out in 1642, the town willingly became the main
Parliamentarian garrison for the south-east Midlands area with the
former royal castle as its headquarters. In 1643, Prince Rupert
Northampton with approximately 2,000 men, but was beaten back
at the North Gate of the town.
Oliver Cromwell visited in 1645 and
General Fairfax marched from the town to
Naseby , where Charles I's
Royalist army was decisively defeated. Over 4,000 pairs of leather
shoes and 600 pairs of cavalry jack-boots for the Parliamentary armies
were manufactured in
Northampton during the Civil War, and a further
2,000 for Cromwell's
New Model Army
New Model Army in 1648. Until well into the 19th
century, the shoe industry boomed in and around the town with small
manufacturing workshops set up in the surrounding areas.
The War ended with a Parliamentary victory, resulting in England
Commonwealth , which lasted a decade. Following the
restoration of King Charles II in 1660, he took revenge on the town by
ordering the destruction of its walls and partial demolition of its
castle in 1662, since it did not support his father Charles I and his
cavaliers. From then on, the castle was used as a court and a gaol,
but its physical condition worsened. The new council of the town had
to pay £200 to have its charter renewed and also required all
officials to swear the oath of allegiance and some confirmed by the
Crown. Sessions House was one of the first buildings built after
Great Fire of Northampton (1675)
The town centre was further destroyed by the Great Fire of
Northampton in 1675, caused by sparks from an open fire in a thatched
cottage by the castle. The fire spread eastwards by strong westerly
winds and consumed three-quarters of the town centre in 24 hours.
Matters were worsened because most buildings were chiefly made of wood
and covered with thatch. An estimated 600 buildings were destroyed,
amounting to £150,000 lost. Very little survived the fire, apart
from buildings made of stone, like the Welsh House on Market Square,
built in 1595, and Hazelrigg House in Mare Fair, built in 1662.
The devastation led to an Act of Parliament for the rebuilding the
town. Local people and businesses helped to raise around £25,000
towards the rebuilding of the town centre based around the Market
Square. Streets were widened and buildings made of brick and stone
and tiled to prevent such devastation again. In an act of
reconciliation, King Charles II donated timber from the royal forests
of Salcey and Whittlebury to help with the rebuild. In 1678, the
Sessions House and what is now County Hall were amongst the first
buildings to be completed. A Georgian town with new houses, shops and
workshops eventually grew out of the old medieval town destroyed by
the fire. In 1741
Edward Cave opened Marvel\'s Mill , the world's
first cotton mill to be driven by a water wheel .
A permanent military presence was established in the town with the
completion of Gibraltar Barracks in 1797.
By the end of the 18th century,
Northampton had become a major centre
of footwear and leather manufacture. In 1801, the population was
7,020; it more than doubled to 15,351 in 1831, attributed to the fact
that there was great demand for footwear caused by the Napoleonic Wars
of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A third of the adult males
alone were shoemakers at the time.
Northampton grew beyond the old
town walls and industry grew rapidly with the mechanisation of
factories by the middle of the 19th century. A map of
Northampton in 1810
The Nene Navigation Company had previously made the River Nene
King's Lynn as far up as
Northampton in 1762, allowing
cheap transportation of coal and other goods to the town, but in 1815,
Grand Union Canal reached the town, joining the River Nene, giving
the town a direct link to the Midlands coalfields and to
Manchester and London.
The first railway to be built into
Northampton was a branch from the
Birmingham line at
Northampton which opened in 1845 alongside the town's first railway
station, Bridge Street station . This was followed by the opening of
Castle station in 1859 on the site of part of the historic Northampton
Castle, and later St. John\'s Street station in 1872. The
Northampton loop of the
West Coast Main Line was built in the late
1870s. Castle station was rebuilt and expanded over the site of
Northampton Castle, the remains of which were purchased and demolished
in 1880 to make way for the goods shed . Bridge Street Station closed
in 1964 and St John's Street closed in 1939, leaving only Castle
station serving the town. It is now known simply as Northampton
railway station .
Tram lines were also laid down in the town in 1881 and electrified in
1903. An early omnibus service ran to Wellingborough, and since 1919
motor omnibus services ran to villages around the town which brought
buyers and sellers to the market.
There were iron ore quarries in the countryside around the town
during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which have left their
mark on the landscape. Some of the quarries were in what is now the
town area in an arc from
Duston and Hunsbury round
Hardingstone beginning in about 1860. Some have now been built over
and not all lasted very long. The town area quarries that lasted the
longest and closed last were at Hunsbury which began working in 1877
and closed in 1920. There are remains of some of these quarries at
Hunsbury Hill. There was an iron works by the river to the west of the
town next to the railway that then operated between
Blisworth. This was called the Hunsbury Ironworks and operated between
about 1874 and January 1921 using ore from these quarries and
World War I
World War I , the shoe industry was increasingly in
decline, despite the town's factories supplying over 23 million pairs
of boots to the armed forces. A total of 1,700 men from the town were
lost of the 6,000 killed from the
Northamptonshire Regiment . The
town expanded further during the 1920s and saw the erection of
Northampton Power Station , which supplied electricity to areas as far
Wolverton , until its closure in 1975. Much council housing
was also built largely to the east, north and south of the town,
including Abington ,
Far Cotton , Kingsley,
Kingsthorpe and Dallington
– areas which had been incorporated within the borough's boundaries
in 1901. However, the population growth slowed down as people moved
beyond its boundaries. In 1901, the population had expanded to 90,923;
in 1931, the population was 92,341.
World War II
World War II ,
Northampton vastly changed. In 1959, the M1
motorway was opened to the south-west of the town; in 1968,
Northampton was designated a New
Town . Both these events and the rail
link helped Northampton's growth as a commuter town for London. The
Northampton Development Corporation (NDC) was set up in 1968 to
substantially redevelop the town in partnership with the local
council, spending £205 million to build new housing and industrial
estates, initially in Lumbertubs,
Moulton Park and
Round Spinney to
the east, followed by Briar Hill, Camp Hill and East and West Hunsbury
in the south of the town, mainly to accommodate the overflow
population of new residents from the
London area. In the town
centre, older buildings were demolished and replaced or redeveloped
for other buildings, including the former
Greyfriars bus station , the
Grosvenor Centre , Peacock Place (now Market Walk), shops, flats and
Although growth was slower than planned, the population grew from
105,421 in 1961 to 157,217 by 1981, with 15,655 new homes added to
the town between 1970 and 1985. The borough boundaries also changed
following a split of the
Northampton parliamentary constituency into
Northampton North and
Northampton South in 1974.
reconstituted as a non-metropolitan district which also covered areas
outside the former borough boundaries but inside the designated New
Town. The town tried for unitary status during the 1990s UK local
government reform , but failed and remains a non-metropolitan district
to this day, meaning it relies on a two-tier system of government.On
Good Friday 1998,
Northampton suffered severe flooding, particularly
in the areas of
Far Cotton and St James; two people were killed and
thousands of homes were affected.
Since the turn of the Millennium, the town has continued to expand.
Northampton applied for city status in 2000 and again in 2002, but
failed on both occasions and remains a town. In 2006, Northampton
became a government expansion zone with new growth promoted by West
Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC), an unelected quango ,
which has provoked a series of regeneration schemes across the town.
Some have been completed, including the opening of the Radlands Plaza
Skatepark and the development of Becket's Park Marina just south of
Northampton's town centre, as well as the improvement of the town's
Market Square, the building of the new North Gate bus station, the
redevelopment of the railway station and the creation of a Cultural
Quarter. Current projects include the improvement of Northampton's
waterside, the building of a new Council headquarters, the restoration
of Delapre Abbey, the expansion of
Northampton Museum, the merging of
the university into one new campus in town centre and the renovation
of both the Grosvenor Shopping Centre and
Weston Favell Centre. In
2015, St Giles Street in the town centre was named the "Best British
High Street" in a national competition run by the Department for
Communities and Local Government .
Statue of the
Charles Bradlaugh in the town.
For more details on politics in Northampton, see
Northampton North (UK
Parliament constituency) ,
Northampton South (UK Parliament
constituency) , and South
Northamptonshire (UK Parliament
Northampton constituency was established in 1295, which returned
two MPs to the House of Commons .
Spencer Perceval was the elected MP
for the constituency in 1796, and became Prime Minister of the United
Kingdom in 1809, the only Solicitor General or Attorney General to
have been Prime Minister, but also the only Prime Minister to have
John Bellingham shot him dead in the House of
Commons lobby in 1812. By the late 19th century,
acquired a reputation for political radicalism. In 1880, radical
Charles Bradlaugh was elected as second MP for the
constituency. During an election campaign involving Bradlaugh, a riot
broke out in the Market Square that required military to disperse the
action. For the 1918 general election , Northampton's representation
was reduced to one MP.
The original constituency was abolished for the February 1974 general
election and replaced by the new constituencies of
Northampton South , which elect one MP each. These boundaries
changed further for the 2010 general election when the South
Northamptonshire constituency was created, covering the most southern
areas of the borough. The borough of
Northampton continues makes up
all of the electoral wards in
Northampton North and
Northampton is currently represented by three Conservative MPs: David
Northampton South), Michael Ellis (
Northampton North) and
Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire).
Northampton is also included
East Midlands constituency for elections to the European
Parliament , electing five MEPs using the d\'Hondt method of
party-list proportional representation .
For more details on this topic, see
Local government in Northampton .
NORTHAMPTON\'S CURRENT TWO-TIER SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
NORTHAMPTON BOROUGH COUNCIL
LEADER: Jonathan Nunn
ELECTORAL WARDS: 33
Conservative Party (26)
Labour Party (17)
Liberal Democrats (2)
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
LEADER: Heather Smith
ELECTORAL WARDS IN BOROUGH: 17/57
SEATS IN BOROUGH: 17
POLITICAL STRUCTURE IN BOROUGH:
Conservative Party (9)
Labour Party (7)
Liberal Democrats (1)
The town existed as an ancient borough in the medieval period before
being one of the 178 boroughs to be reformed under the Municipal
Corporations Act in 1835, with a democratically elected council
replacing the Tory corporation before it.
Town government alternated
between the Liberals and Conservatives , and the town achieved
Northamptonshire in 1888 when it became a county
borough . It had 6 electoral wards from 1898, 9 wards from 1900 and
12 wards from 1911.
Northampton was granted modern borough status in 1974, when it was
reconstituted as a non-metropolitan district , a subdivision of its
non-metropolitan county (Northamptonshire). The town retains a
two-tier structure of local government: the non-metropolitan district
Northampton is administered by both
Borough Council and
Northamptonshire County Council , which are both controlled by the
Conservative Party. The borough failed to become an unitary authority
in the 1990s local government reform and again, in 2011, when the
motion was voted down by the council. However, in 2016, the borough
council and all seven
Northamptonshire MPs proposed to draw up plans
Northampton to become an unitary authority.
Policing in the town remains the responsibility of Northamptonshire
Police ; and firefighting , the responsibility of Northamptonshire
Fire and Rescue Service . The
Royal Anglian Regiment serves as the
county regiment for Northamptonshire.
Northampton guides primary care services (general practitioners,
dentists, opticians and pharmacists) in the town, directly provides
adult social care and services in the community such as health
visiting and physiotherapy and also funds hospital care and other
Northampton General Hospital is an NHS trust
hospital which founded in 1744 and moved to its present site in 1793,
and has continued to provide healthcare to the local community for
more than 200 years. The
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust is
responsible for the provision of statutory emergency medical services
St Andrew\'s Hospital , the flagship mental health facility of the
private company St Andrew's Healthcare, is also based in Northampton.
Originally opened in 1838 to serve Northampton, St Andrew's became a
charity and private healthcare provider when the Berrywood Asylum
Northampton County Lunatic Asylum, then St Crispin Hospital
in 1948, and since 2010 Berrywood Hospital) opened in 1876.
AREAS AND SUBURBS
Map of the town suburbs Extracts from OS Maps SP75 and
SP76 (1956 -webkit-column-count: 2; column-count: 2;">
* Delapre and Briar Hill
* East Hunsbury
* Kings Heath
* Nene Valley
* New Duston
* Old Duston
* Rectory Farm
* Spring Park
* St David's
* St James
* West Hunsbury
The most northern wards make up the
Northampton North parliamentary
constituency; the most southern make up the
parliamentary constituency. However, East Hunsbury,
West Hunsbury and
Nene Valley are included in the South
Nine registered parish councils also lie within the borough of
Northampton. These are Billing, Collingtree, Duston, Great Houghton,
Hardingstone, Hunsbury Meadow, Upton,
West Hunsbury and Wooton
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DESTINATIONS FROM NORTHAMPTON
Market Harborough ,
Long Buckby ,
Earls Barton ,
Milton Keynes ,
As with the rest of the British Isles,
Northampton experiences a
maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The official Met
Office weather station for
Northampton is the
Moulton Park Weather
Station at the
University of Northampton
University of Northampton . Situated at an elevation of
around 130 m (427 ft) above sea level compared to
centre at 50 to 60 m (164 to 197 ft), it is one of the highest points
in the Borough, and so may not be a perfect representation of other
parts of the town. Its hilltop location means less pooling of cold air
on calm clear nights, and lower maxima during summer. The absolute
maximum recorded is 34.7 °C (94.5 °F) on 3 August 1990. A high of
34.4 °C (93.9 °F) was recorded on 19 July 2006. The absolute
minimum is −16.8 °C (1.8 °F), recorded during February 1986. It
is likely the absolute maximum in the town centre is a degree or so
higher owing to the lower elevation, and absolute minimum on the
eastern and western edges of the
Borough around the Nene valley a
couple of degrees colder due to katabatic drainage of cold air
allowing a frost hollow effect. Most recently, the temperature fell to
−9.6 °C (14.7 °F) on 20 December 2010.
Rainfall, at around 650 mm (26 in) per year is not high, though is
often unpredictable, giving rise to flooding events such as 1998, but
also short term droughts.
Desborough Weather Station also supplies the
public with a local weather service.
CLIMATE DATA FOR NORTHAMPTON MOULTON PARK, ELEVATION 127M,
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
CLIMATE DATA FOR NORTHAMPTON MOULTON PARK, ELEVATION 127M,
1971–2000. RAINFALL DATA ALTHORP, ELEVATION 122M, 1841–1987
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
Source #1: YR.NO
Source #2: WorldClimate
Northampton had an estimated population of 212,069 at the 2011
census. The town's population recorded at each census since 1801 was
NORTHAMPTON ETHNICITY DEMOGRAPHICS FROM THE 2011 CENSUS
_(British, Irish, Other)_ 179,238
_(Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other)_ 13,751
_(African, Caribbean, Other)_ 10,741
_(White & Asian, White & Black African, White "> The Barratt Boot
and Shoe factory operational since 1911.
Northampton was a major centre of shoemaking and other leather
industries, although only specialist shoemaking companies such as
Wildsmith Shoes ,
Edward Green Shoes , Crockett "> The Market
Square at night
Northampton's market square is one of Britain's largest and most
historic which dates back to 1235. The market square is linked to
Abington Street, a major shopping area of Northampton. The western
part of the street was pedestrianised in 1984. The eastern part was
pedestrianised in 1995 and de-pedestrianised in 2014. There are also
two shopping centres in the town centre: the
Grosvenor Centre , which
was built in the 1970s, and Market Walk (previously Peacock Place),
which was constructed in 1988. St James Retail Park is also a large
shopping precinct just south of the town centre. Many out-of-town
retail parks exist like
Weston Favell Shopping Centre, built in the
1970s, and Riverside Retail Park in the east of the town, as well as
Sixfields in the west. Each precinct has a range of high street shops,
department stores and many smaller individual speciality shops.
Billing Aquadrome leisure park is on the eastern outskirts with a
caravan site, marina, funfair, bar, riverside restaurant and converted
water mill with original workings. The
Northampton Leisure Trust has
four leisure centres across Northampton: Danes Camp, Lings Forum,
Mounts Baths and
Duston Sports Centre. There are also the action
centres Benham Sports Arena and King's Park Tennis Centre as well as
the Delapre Public Golf Course. Radlands Plaza is a new skatepark that
opened in 2012.
According to the website of the
Borough Council, there
are a total of 170 parks and open spaces around Northampton, which
altogether span around 1,880 acres (761 ha). Popular parks include
Abington Park , which is the town's oldest, and the Racecourse, which
was used for horseracing (until 1904) and as a cricket ground (between
1844–1885) in addition to being the original home of Northampton
Balloon Festival . Other parks include Becket's Park (which is named
Thomas Becket as are nearby Becket's Well and Thomas á Becket
pub), Bradlaugh Fields (named after the
Northampton MP Charles
Bradlaugh), Dallington Park, Delapré Park , Eastfield Park, Hunsbury
Hill (which is built around an
Iron Age fort),
Kingsthorpe Park and
Popular annual events include
Northampton Carnival , the Delapre Beer
Festival, the Dragonboat Race, the Umbrella Fair, Diwali celebrations
and St Crispins Fair .
Northampton Balloon Festival used to be a major
event in Northampton, but since being scaled down, it has been poorly
Northampton Music Festival has been celebrated every year
since 2007 in the town centre. A smaller music festival A Walk in the
Park has been put on since 2008 in Wootton. A new music festival,
Alive at Delpare, debuted in the summer of 2013 and has since
attracted artists like
Alfie Boe ,
Jessie J , James Morrison
Paul Weller and
The Wanted .
Royal & Derngate , one of the main venues for arts and
The Beatles appeared there twice on stage in 1963: firstly
as unknowns as part of the
Tommy Roe /
Chris Montez tour; secondly as
part of their own tour in their own right. Smaller theatres include
Northampton Playhouse and the Cripps Theatre, which is part of
Northampton School for Boys.
The two commercial cinemas in
Northampton are Vue at Sol Central in
the centre and
Sixfields . There is also the subsidised
Forum Cinema at
Lings Forum , whose film programme is widely varied
and includes art-house and non-mainstream films. The Errol Flynn
Filmhouse, an independent cinema joined to the side of the Royal &
Derngate theatre complex, opened in June 2013.
There are also many local entertainment venues which provide events.
The Roadmender , which used to be run and funded by the council and
later bought by The Purplehaus group, hosts mainstream touring bands
and one off-gigs. Other popular entertainment venues include the
Legendary Labour Club, Mollys, O'Malley's, O'Neill's, The Old White
Hart, The Penny Whistle and The Wig ">
Library in Abington Street
Northamptonshire Central Library in town centre is a Grade II
listed building which was erected in 1910. There are seven other
public libraries that are dotted across Northampton—in Abington,
Duston, Far Cotton, Hunsbury, Kingsthorpe, St James, Wootton—all run
Northamptonshire County Council.
Northampton Museum and Art
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery on Guildhall Road in the Cultural
Quarter has a collection of historical footwear (one of the world's
largest at 13,000), Italian art, glass and ceramics, plus visiting
exhibitions and local history. There is also a smaller Grade I listed
historical museum in the former
Abington Park house which mainly has
history on domestic life in the town and the Northamptonshire
Regiment. In 2014, the two museums were stripped of accreditation by
the Arts Council, following the
Borough Council's decision to auction
off the ancient Egyptian Sekhema statue which had been gifted to the
Borough in the nineteenth century.
78 Derngate , the only house in
England designed by
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Charles Rennie Mackintosh , includes a museum
celebrating Mackintosh, an art gallery and a restaurant.
Northampton Arts Collective is homed on a four-storey building
entitled NN in the Cultural Quarter, opposite the
and next to the Royal "> Franklin\'s Gardens is home to Northampton
Saints , a successful Premiership rugby club.
The town is home to Premiership rugby union team
Northampton Saints ,
who play at Franklin\'s Gardens in the St James area. "The Saints" had
their greatest moment when they won the
Heineken Cup in 2000 at
Twickenham , beating Munster 9–8. There are also a number of
"Junior" rugby clubs in the area, the most successful of these at
producing young players is
Northampton Old Scouts RFC who have
produced Ben Cohen and Steve Thompson amongst others.
also home to
Northampton Outlaws, the first inclusive rugby team and
the 9th gay-friendly team in the United Kingdom.
League One football club
Town , known as "The Cobblers"
from the town's shoemaking background, are based at
. Established in 1897, in their centenary season of 1997 they reached
Wembley through the play-offs and beat Swansea City 1–0 with an
injury time winning free kick from John Frain. It was the first club
to set up a trust for supporters to work with the club as many have
done. There is an athletics track adjacent to the ground. There are
also three non-league clubs in the
United Counties Football League :
Northampton Spencer ;
Northampton Sileby Rangers ; and
Northamptonian Chenecks .
Cricket Club , known in limited overs cricket
as "The Steelbacks" (a reference to the
which was formed in 1881), is one of the 18 major county clubs which
make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure. The club was
promoted from Division 2 of the
County Championship in 2013, and play
in Group C of the
Clydesdale Bank 40 League and the
Midlands/Wales/West group of the revamped
Friends Provident T20 . They
are based at the County Ground , in the Abington area.
Silverstone Circuit , current home of the
British Grand Prix
British Grand Prix , is
a few miles south of Northampton.
Rockingham Motor Speedway and Santa
Pod Raceway are a few miles north and east of Northampton
respectively, offering a range of drag racing events.
Northampton is also home to
Collingtree Park Golf Club , who hosted
British Masters in 1995. There are also many equestrian and
country activities, and several water sports centres, like the Nene
Whitewater Centre, which provides an artificial whitewater course for
canoes , kayaks and rafts . The
Northampton Swimming Club also trained
the young Olympic swimmer
Caitlin McClatchey .
Northampton is also home to British Military Fitness in Abington Park
where members can train up to 7 times a week with serving or
ex-military fitness instructors.
Northampton Chronicle & Echo _ (established 1931) is the town's
newspaper, published on Thursdays (before 2012, it was published
Monday to Saturday) with jobs, property, motors and entertainment
supplements. There are other free newspapers circulated within the
town. These include _The Mercury_ (on Thursdays) and _Northants on
Sunday_, both from the publishers of the _Chronicle & Echo_, and the
Northampton Herald max-width:552px"> The Holy Sepulchre , the
oldest building in
Northampton All Saints\' Church in the centre
Northampton Guildhall , built in the 1860s, is a
Grade II* listed building
Northampton's oldest standing building, The Holy Sepulchre , is one
of the largest and best-preserved round churches in England. It was
built in 1100 on the orders of the first
Northampton , Simon
de Senlis and based on a plan of the original Church of the Holy
Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Simon de Senlis also built
Northampton Castle c. 1084, which was for
many years one of the country's most important castles. It was a royal
residence, held The
Parliament of England many times, and was the site
of royal tournaments and feasts.
Thomas Becket was imprisoned there
until he escaped. The castle suffered many fates and was eventually
demolished for the railway station. A postern , dismantled from its
original position and rebuilt into a wall by the station, and a part
of the keep mound are all that remains.
The current All Saints\' Church was built on the site of a great
Norman church, All Hallows, which was almost completely destroyed by
Great Fire of Northampton in 1675. All that remained was the
medieval tower and the fine vaulted crypt, but by 1680 All Saints had
been rebuilt, with the help of donations from all over England,
including 1,000 tons of timber from King Charles II , whose statue can
be seen above the portico . Famously, the poet
John Clare liked to sit
beneath the portico of the church. It is home to a choral foundation,
with choral services sung three times a week by one of its choirs, who
also record commercially and tour throughout the world. The
Express Lift Tower is a prominent feature of the town's skyline
Other notable church buildings include
Northampton Cathedral , the
mother church of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Northampton and seat of
Northampton ; St Peters (mostly built in Norman times);
St Giles Church; St Matthew's in Phippsville, which was built between
1891-4, has a
Henry Moore sculpture of the Madonna . St Edmunds Church
(built in 1850) closed in 1978 and was demolished in 2007 (its bells
are now in ;aint Paul\'s Cathedral, Wellington );
Just south of the town centre
Delapré Abbey , a former Cluniac
nunnery, the County Records Office and site of the second Battle of
Northampton , which was founded by Simon II de Senlis , the son of
Earl of Northampton, in 1145. At the edge of the Abbey, one of
the three standing Eleanor crosses still remains, in memory of Eleanor
of Castile , whose body rested here on its way to London. The original
top of the monument has been knocked off and replaced several times
from as early as 1460.
St Andrew's Hospital, which opened 1838, and its new building William
Wake House, is one of the largest neo-classical structures in England.
Northampton the cellars are medieval.
Northampton Guildhall , which is
Grade II* listed, was constructed mostly in the 1860s in Victorian
Gothic architecture designed by
Edward William Godwin , and extended
in 1889-92 and in the 1990s.
78 Derngate is a Grade II* listed Georgian
Town House remodelled by
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Charles Rennie Mackintosh for
Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke in
1916–17. It contains notable Mackintosh interiors (which have been
restored) and is his only major domestic commission outside Scotland.
It is open to the public.
The 127.45 m (418 ft 2 in) tall Express Lift Tower is a dominant
feature and visible from most of the town. A
Terry Wogan radio
phone-in during the 1980s came up with the name "Northampton
Northampton is one of the furthest places from the sea.
It is also known as the "Cobblers' Needle". It was built for testing
new lifts at the Express Lifts factory, now closed. Though now
redundant, it is a listed building .
Greyfriars bus station served the town from 1976 until
2014. In the 2000s, it was featured on
Channel 4 's _Demolition _
programme as the ugliest transport station in the United Kingdom and
worthy of demolition. Demolition work began in March 2014, following
the move of bus services to
North Gate bus station . The Greyfriars
was completely destroyed on 15 March 2015 by way of a controlled
Town and County War Memorial
Northampton contains several significant war memorials. The
County War Memorial , unveiled in 1926, commemorates casualties of the
First World War from all of Northamptonshire; it replaced a temporary
cenotaph which stood in Abington Square from 1919. Designed by Sir
Edwin Lutyens , it consists of two large obelisks and an altar-like
stone sited in a small garden behind All Saints' Church. The
County memorial is a grade I listed building and part of a national
collection of Lutyens' war memorials. As the
Town and County memorial
does not contain a list of names of the fallen, the Royal British
Legion launched a campaign which resulted in the construction of a
second memorial, dedicated solely to the town; this memorial, in
Abington Square, takes the form of a garden of remembrance with the
names of the dead inscribed on the garden walls. A bust of Edgar Mobbs
was later moved into the garden; Mobbs was a rugby player for
Northampton Saints who was killed while serving in the First World
North Gate bus station
Northampton railway station
Northampton is near junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the
M1 motorway which
London at its most southern point and Leeds
at its most northern. Both the A45 and A43 link
Northampton with the
other major towns in Northamptonshire, and can be accessed by a
partially completed ring road . The A14 is close by to the north of
Northampton, providing links east and west of the town.
Northampton railway station is on the
Northampton Loop of the West
Coast Main Line , and has services southbound to
London and northbound
Crewe provided by
London Midland . Virgin Trains
also provide two daily services to London.
Sywell Aerodrome is the nearest airfield which has recently been
upgraded with a 1,000-metre-long (3,300 ft) concrete runway, however
it only caters for private flying, flight training and corporate
flights. For international links, the
East Midlands Airport and Luton
Airport are quickly accessible by the M1;
Birmingham Airport is also
just north of the town via the M1 and M6 motorways and also by train.
In the town, buses are mainly operated by Stagecoach from the North
Gate bus station with some services from Uno . Stagecoach serves areas
within the town and also provides travel to outlying villages and
towns within the county, making links to
Daventry , Kettering
Wellingborough . They also go as far afield as
Market Harborough ,
Milton Keynes ,
Peterborough and Rugby
. National Express also operates in Northampton, covering routes
between major towns and cities in the United Kingdom.
Northampton is the terminus of an arm of the
Grand Union Canal . The
arm connects to the
River Nene and from that to the River Great Ouse
North Sea . No longer used for freight, the waterway is now
popular with anglers and narrowboaters . Principal outlying villages
on the canal include Gayton ,
Braunston and Stoke Bruerne
Northampton once had a horse-drawn tramway which opened in 1881. The
system was extended in stages and taken over by the council in 1897
Northampton Corporation Tramways . It was electrified in
1904, but closed in 1934 mainly as a result of competition from motor
buses which were introduced in 1929. Two of the original tram shelters
are preserved: one at the Racecourse park and another in Kingsthorpe
opposite the Cock Hotel.
University of Northampton
University of Northampton is spread across two campuses;
Avenue Campus entrance opposite the Racecourse
University of Northampton
University of Northampton was established by royal charter
by King Henry III in 1261, and started to rival the universities in
Oxford , with their students migrating to the
Northampton establishment. This university was dissolved by King
Henry III in 1265, in revenge of its students siding with the
rebellious barons in the Battle of
Northampton (1264). Henry III was
also advised by bishops and magnates that it posed a threat to Oxford,
and signed a Royal Decree which banned the establishment of a
university in Northampton.
This was eventually repealed and the university's name was revived in
2005 when the unconnected University College Northampton, which was
founded in 1924, was upgraded to full university status and renamed
University of Northampton
University of Northampton . This is the only higher education
(HE) establishment in the town and offers courses from foundation and
undergraduate levels to postgraduate, professional and doctoral
qualifications. The university is made of up six schools: Business,
Education, Health, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and The
Arts. The university is currently spread over two campuses across the
town, but a new £330 million development will see the university move
to one new waterside campus by the
River Nene in the town centre by
Northampton's only further education (FE) college is Northampton
College , one of the largest FE colleges in the South Midlands, which
has two campuses across the town, offering vocational courses, GCSEs
and A Levels .
Moulton College is another FE college just north of
Northampton which provides many vocational courses, specialising in
land-based subjects, sports and construction. In collaboration with
the University of Northampton, both colleges also offer some HE
There are 50 primary schools and 8 secondary schools in the town.
Northamptonshire operated a three-tier system in education
of lower, middle and upper schools. In 2001, the move to a two-tier
system to primary and secondary schools began, aimed at improving
educational standards. Some of its successful secondary schools
Northampton School for Boys , which became the top performing
comprehensive school in the country in 2007, and
for Girls , the first school in England to gain Specialist Music
College status. An average of 55% of students in
five A*-C grades at
GCSE in 2015, above the government's benchmark of
40%. There are also 5 special schools in the town and many
independent schools including
Bosworth Independent College ,
Northampton High School and
Quinton House School . Overstone Park
Pitsford School and
Spratton Hall School are just north of
List of people from Northampton
Northampton is twinned with:
Hessen , Germany
Vienne , France
* Districts of
* Flooding in Weedon Road, St James and
Far Cotton around Easter
* Grade I listed buildings in
Grade II* listed buildings in Northampton
* HMS Laforey_
Northampton Corporation Tramways
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