Northampton: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about Northampton in England; for other places of the same name see Northampton (disambiguation)
Northampton Guildhall01.JPG
Northampton Guildhall, built 1861-4, by E.W. Godwin
Northampton is located in the United Kingdom
Status: Borough
Region: East Midlands
Admin. County: Northamptonshire
Ranked 237th
80.76 km²
Admin. HQ: Northampton
ONS code: 34UF
  Total (2008 est.):
Ranked 76th
2541 / km2
Ethnicity: 88.7% White
4.5% S.Asian
2.9% Black British
2.1% Mixed Race
1.8% Chinese or other[1]
Northampton Borough Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Liberal Democrat
MPs: Brian Binley,
Sally Keeble

Northampton (About this sound pronunciation ) is a large market town and local government district in the East Midlands region of England. It is about 67 miles (108 km) north-west of London and around 50 miles (80 km) south-east of Birmingham, and lies on the River Nene. It is the county town of Northamptonshire.

The district's population is 200,100 and the town population is 189,474, making Northampton the 21st-largest settlement in England, and the UK's 3rd-largest town without official city status, after Reading and Dudley. Northampton is the most populous district in England that is not a unitary authority, a status it failed to obtain in the 1990s local government reform.[2] Northampton's population has increased greatly since the 1960s, largely due to planned expansion under the New Towns Commission in the early 1960s.



Northampton was a major centre of shoemaking and other leather industries, although only specialist shoemaking companies such as Church's[3] and Trickers,[4] formerly located in nearby Earls Barton, survive. A large number of old shoe factories remain, mostly now converted to offices or accommodation, some of which are surrounded by terraced houses built for factory workers. Northampton's main private-sector employers are now in distribution and finance rather than manufacturing, and include Avon Products,[5][6] Barclaycard, Blacks Leisure Group, Nationwide Building Society, Panasonic, Travis Perkins, Coca Cola, Schweppes, National Grid, Texas Instruments and Carlsberg.[7] The University of Northampton is also a major employer.

Anglia Building Society was formed by amalgamation of Northampton Town and County Building Society with Leicestershire Building Society in 1966 and subsequently merged with Nationwide Building Society in 1987.[8]


Early history

Remains found here date from the Iron Age. Farming settlement probably began around the 7th century. In the 8th century it was an administrative centre for the kingdom of Mercia. The pre-Norman town was known as Hamtun and was only ca.60 acres.


The town became significant in the 11th century, when the Normans built town walls and a large castle under the stewardship of the Norman earl, Simon de Senlis.[9] The original defence line of the walls is preserved in today's street pattern (Bridge St, The Drapery, Bearward St and Scarletwell Street). The town grew rapidly after the Normans arrived, and beyond the early defences. By the time of the Domesday Book, the town had a population of about 1500 residents, living in 300 houses.

The town and its castle were important in the early 12th century and the King often held Court in the town. During his famous fall out with Henry II, Thomas Becket at one time escaped from Northampton Castle through the unguarded Northern gate to flee the country,

Northampton had a large Jewish population in the 13th century, centred around Gold Street. In 1277 300 Jews were executed,[citation needed] allegedly for clipping the King's coin, and the Jews of Northampton were driven out of the town.

The town was originally controlled by officials acting for the King who collected taxes and upheld the law. In 1189 King Richard I gave the town its first charter. 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 residents of the town join him as a council to assist him' . In 1176 the Assize of Northampton laid down new powers for dealing with law breakers.

A university was established in 1261 by scholars from Cambridge. It briefly flourished, but was dissolved by Henry III in 1265 apparently as it posed a threat to Oxford.

The first Battle of Northampton took place at the site of Northampton Castle in 1264 - when the forces of Henry III overran the supporters of Simon de Montfort. In 1460, a second Battle of Northampton took place in the grounds of Delapré Abbey - and was a decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, and King Henry VI was captured in the town by the Yorkists.

In May 1328 the Treaty of Northampton was signed - being a peace treaty between the English and the Scots in which Edward III recognised the authority of Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland and betrothed Bruce's still infant son to the king's sister Joanna.

A large network of medieval tunnels[citation needed] remains under the centre around All Saints church.

Civil War to 1900

Northampton supported the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. For this reason the town walls and castle were later torn down on the orders of King Charles II as punishment. The railway station in Northampton stands on the site of the former castle, and used to be called "Northampton Castle Station".

The town was destroyed by fire in both 1516 and 1675 (for the latter see Great Fire of Northampton), and was rebuilt as a spacious and well-planned town. In the 18th century Northampton became a major centre of footwear and leather manufacture. The prosperity of the town was greatly aided by demand for footwear caused by the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In his 18th century "Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain", Daniel Defoe described Northampton as, "...the handsomest town in all this part of England."

Northampton's growth was accelerated in the 19th century, first by the Grand Union Canal, which reached the town in 1815 and later the coming of the railways. The first railway to be built into Northampton was a branch from the main London-Birmingham line at Blisworth to Peterborough through Northampton which opened in 1845. This was followed by lines to Market Harborough (1859) and Bedford (1872). The Northampton loop of the West Coast Main Line was built in the late 1870s. After 1850 the town grew beyond the old town walls. In 1800 the population was round 7,000 and was 87,000 a century later. In the 19th century Northampton acquired a reputation for political radicalism when radical non-conformist Charles Bradlaugh was elected as the town's MP.

20th Century


Growth after 1900 slowed until the 1960s. The shoe industry declined and other employment was slow to arrive. In the 1920s and 30s, council houses were built in the east of the town at Headlands; north at St Davids; and south in Far Cotton. The Borough boundary, first extended in 1900, expanded again in 1932. From the 1920s until 1975 the town had its own power station supplying electricity to areas as far away as Wolverton.

In the 1960s The Deco was an ABC cinema. The Beatles appeared there twice on stage in 1963, on Wednesday, 27 March as part of the Tommy Roe/Chris Montez Tour.[10] Montez commented "Who are these guys The Beatles? I try to keep up with the British scene, but I don't know their work".[10] The Beatles were back on Wednesday, 6 November, in their own right and on their own tour.

Northampton was designated a New Town in 1968, and the Northampton Development Corporation (NDC) was set up to almost double the size of the town, with a population target of 230,000 by 1981, rising to 260,000 in later years. In 1959 the M1 motorway was opened nearby. Growth was slower than planned. The 1960s and 70s saw the town centre change with development of a new bus station, the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, flats and hotels.

The population grew to 100,000 by 1961, 130,000 by 1971 and 156,000 by. When NDC wound up after 20 years, another 40,000 residents and 20,000 houses had been added. The borough boundaries changed in 1974 with the abolition of Northampton county borough and its reconstitution as a non-metropolitan district also covering areas outside the former borough boundaries but inside the designated New Town.

The rail link and busy M1 motorway to London helped the growth as a commuter town for London. Northampton's housing expansion was east with the 1970s eastern district estates built mainly for the London overflow population and more recently, in the west at Upton and south near M1 junction 15 at Grange Park, initially of 1,500 houses actually in South Northants Council area.

21st Century

Another major expansion is planned, with the population projected to increase to 300,000 by 2018. Northampton asked, unsuccessfully, for city status as a part of the 'millennium cities' scheme.[11][12] The University of Northampton was established in 2005 after several years as a University College and previously Nene College.

In 2006 Northampton became a government expansion zone with new growth by West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC)[13] an unelected quango. The initial target is 370,000 new homes. Expansion began in 2007 at Upton and St Crispins spreading west towards junction 16 of the M1. The other major area is south-east of the town enveloping villages such as Little and Great Houghton, Quinton, Hackleton and Cogenhoe.

Some expansion will be on brownfield sites such as Ransome Road, Far Cotton, an inner suburb, and in existing borough boundaries. WNDC will also oversee the redevelopment of Northampton into a primary regional centre to service the expanded population, and comparable to UK cities such as Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham with a population of approximately 1,000,000 by 2018-2021.

Government and politics

Northampton is administered by both Northampton Borough Council, run from May 2007 for the first time by the Liberal Democrats, and also Northamptonshire County Council. From 2005 the latter has been controlled by the Conservative Party. The Borough Council runs services such as housing, waste collection and smaller planning items in the Borough. The County Council looks after social services, education and libraries in the whole county. Since April 2006 major planning decisions such as large housing schemes and new roads have been the responsibility of the WNDC.

Northampton is represented in Parliament by two MPs:

Both of these constituency boundaries change significantly from the next General Election after 2005 with the creation of a new constituency, South Northamptonshire, which takes a large part of the south of Northampton borough.


This bridge carries Banbury Lane over Swan Valley Way in the Pineham Park industrial estate, close to Junction 15A of the M1. The bridge is unusual in that it carries one unclassified road over another, the purpose being to keep residential and industrial traffic away from each other.

Northampton is near junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the M1 London to North Yorkshire motorway. The A45 and A43 can be accessed by a partially completed ring road. The A14 is close by to the north.

Northampton railway station is on the Northampton Loop of the West Coast Main Line, and has regular services to London and Birmingham provided by London Midland. Virgin Trains also provide some services to London and the north, with a small number of Pendolinos running each day.

Sywell Aerodrome is the nearest airfield but only has a grass runway. A concrete runway for jet aircraft is due to open mid 2009.[14] For international links, East Midlands Airport and Luton Airport are quickly accessible by the M1; Birmingham International Airport via the M1/M6 and also by train.

In the town, buses are operated by Stagecoach Northants, First Northampton and MK Metro (Arriva) from the Greyfriars bus station. Stagecoach provide travel to outlying villages and towns during the day. National Express cover routes between major towns. There are good local links to Daventry, Wellingborough, Oxford, Rushden, Kettering, Corby and Market Harborough.

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 and the North Sea. No longer used for freight, the waterway is now popular with anglers and narrowboaters. Principal outlying villages on the canal include Gayton, Blisworth, Braunston and Stoke Bruerne.

Northampton had a horse-drawn tramway which opened in 1881. The system was extended in stages and taken over by the council in 1897 and named 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.[15]


Until 2004 the county operated a three-tier system involving lower, middle and upper schools. In 2001 the move to a two-tier system began, aiming at improving educational standards.[16] A complete list of primary and secondary schools in the town and surrounding area is available on the County Council website.[17]


Primary and Secondary schools

Northampton School for Boys became the top performing comprehensive school in the country in 2007.[18]

For a complete list see the NCC site.[17]

Independent schools

Independent government reports on all schools can be obtained from the Ofsted website.[19]


Market Square from top of the Grosvenor Centre in 2008

Formal parks[20] include: Abington Park; The Racecourse, which used to be home in summer to the Balloon Festival and originally used for horse-racing until 1904 and also used as a cricket ground between 1844–1885; Delapré Park; Bradlaugh Fields; Becket's Park, named after Thomas Becket as are nearby Becket's Well and Thomas á Becket pub. There is a park around an Iron Age fort in West Hunsbury.

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. Other smaller ones are Thorntons Park and Victoria Park.

The main shopping centre is the Grosvenor Centre built in the 1970s. The town has one of Britain's largest market squares, dating from 1235. Outside the centre the Weston Favell Centre built in the 1970s is in the eastern district together with various out of town retail and leisure parks.

Contemporary culture

The Derngate and Royal theatres are in Guildhall Road, opposite Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. They were renovated and reopened in 2006, at a cost of £15 million. The Deco is a 900-seat theatre/conference centre based on the Grade-II listed former Cannon Cinema, in Abington Square used mainly by the voluntary and charitable sector. It was restored by the Jesus Army as part of their Jesus Centre project.

The Deco and the Northampton Jesus Centre share a Grade II listed Art Deco building, formerly the Cannon cinema
Northampton Market

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery has a world-class collection of historical footwear, and also Italian art, glass and ceramics, plus visiting exhibitions and local history. There is also a smaller historical museum in a former mansion within Abington Park.

The old Fishmarket[21] opposite the market square, was renovated by the Northampton Arts Collective. As it has three art gallery spaces, retail units, a cafe, and an arts studio and is host to exhibitions by leading artists and live music, community events and workshops.

An independent contemporary arts gallery, The Sanctuary[22], funded by the Arts Council has eight studios. The Avenue Gallery [23] is at the Avenue campus of Northampton University. Northamptonshire runs an annual county-wide Open Studios[24] event in which artists' studios are open to the public.

The university spent £3m on its Portfolio Innovation Centre, and in early 2009 it will housd up to 45 creative freelancers, digital media developers, and designers.

Two commercial cinemas are also in the town: Vue (formerly UCI) at Sol Central, Cineworld (formerly UGC, Virgin Cinema and MGM) at 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.

Many local music venues provide events. One venue is The Roadmender, which used to be run and funded by the council and later bought by The Purplehaus group. It is host to mainstream touring bands and one off gigs.


The town is home to Premiership Rugby union club Northampton Saints, who play at Franklin's Gardens in the St James area. "The Saints" had their greatest moment when it 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[25] who have produced Ben Cohen and Steve Thompson amongst others[25].

League Two football club Northampton Town, known as "The Cobblers" from the town's shoemaking background, are based at Sixfields Stadium. 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 Northampton Old Northamptonian Chenecks.

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, known in limited overs cricket as "The Steelbacks", play at the County Ground, in the Abington area.

Nene Whitewater Centre provides an artificial whitewater course for canoes, kayaks and rafts.

Northampton Swimming Club trained the young Olympic swimmer Caitlin McClatchey.

Collingtree Golf Club hosted the British Masters in 1995.

Northampton International Raceway near Brafield is a leading venue for stock-car racing and hosts the European Championships every July. Speedway racing has been staged at Brafield in the 1950s and again in the 1960s. In the 1950s the team was known as The Flying Foxes and in the 1960s they were known as The Badgers.

Speedway was also staged at the greyhound stadium in Northampton in the pioneer days of the late 1920s.

Notable buildings

Interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Northampton's oldest standing building, the Church of 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 Earl of Northampton, Simon de Senlis, who had just returned from the first Crusade. It is based on a plan of the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
  • The current All Saints' Church was built on the site of a great Norman church, All Hallows, which was almost completely destroyed by the 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.
All Saints' Church in central Northampton
  • The Guildhall in Northampton (see picture at top) was constructed mostly in the 1860s in Victorian Gothic architecture, and extended in the 1990s. It is built on the site of the old town hall.
  • 78 Derngate contains an interior designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke and is the only major domestic commission outside Scotland. It is open to the public.
  • The 127.45 m (418 ft 1.7 in) tall Express Lift Tower is a dominant feature in the area. Terry Wogan conducted a radio phone-in during the 1980s to come up with a name for it: "Northampton Lighthouse" was suggested as Northampton is one of the furthest places from the sea. It is also known as the "Cobblers' Needle". It was built to facilitate the testing of new lifts at the Express Lifts factory. It is visible from most of the town, but is now redundant. The tower has however been listed as being of architectural importance in the town.
Express Lift Tower
  • Northampton Castle (now only remaining as a rebuilt postern gate in a wall outside the railway station and the hill on which it stood) was for many years one of the country's most important castles. The country's parliament sat here many times and Thomas Becket was imprisoned here until he escaped.
  • The Carlsberg UK brewery is located in the town.
  • Delapre Abbey – former Cluniac nunnery, founded by Simon de Senlis - later the County Records Office and site of the second Battle of Northampton.
  • Queen Eleanor's body rested here on its way to London – and the nearby Eleanor cross at Hardingstone commemorates this. The Cross is also referred to in Daniel Defoe's a "Tour through the whole island of Great Britain" where he describes the Great Fire of Northampton, "...a townsman being at Queen's Croos upon a hill on the south side of the town, about two miles off, saw the fire at one end of the town then newly begun, and that before he could get to the town it was burning at the remotest end, opposite where he first saw it."
  • Greyfriars Bus Station, built in the 1970s to replace the old Derngate station, was featured on Channel 4's Demolition programme and, cited as the ugliest transport station in the UK, was suggested worthy of demolition.
    Medieval cellars at Northampton & County Club see Northampton's tunnels
  • Northampton & County Club, established in 1873, was the old county hospital before becoming a private members' club; the cellars are medieval.

Other notable church buildings include: St Edmunds, closed 1978 and demolished 2007 with the bells now in Wellington Cathedral, New Zealand; St Giles; St Matthew's, built 1893 [1]; Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate & St Thomas of Canterbury, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton and seat of the Bishop of Northampton.

Related towns

Twin Towns Flag of Germany.svg Marburg, in Hessen, Germany; 75,000 inhabitants. Has links with the brothers Grimm and one of the oldest universities in Germany; Flag of France.svg Poitiers, Vienne, south-west France 100,000 inhabitants.

US towns with the same name in several east coast states include: Maryland, Massachusetts, New York , North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Notable residents



Newspapers The Northampton Chronicle & Echo is the town's only paid-for newspaper. It is published Monday to Saturday each week and has a daily circulation of approximately 21,000 copies.[37] Newspapers issued free of charge, but with a town circulation only, are The Mercury (Thursday) and Northants on Sunday, both from the publishers of the Chronicle & Echo, and the Herald and Post (Thursday). These free papers tend to be mostly advertising media with limited news coverage. The Mercury is one of the oldest newspapers still in circulation, being first published in 1720. It is the fifth-oldest such newspaper in the UK and the tenth-oldest such in the world.[38]

Radio Three stations are based in the town, two of which broadcast county-wide. BBC Radio Northampton[39] broadcasts news, topical items and some music, switching to a regional network after 7pm. A commercial station, Heart 96.6 (formerly Northants 96), broadcasts mostly popular music. A community radio station, Inspiration FM was awarded a 5 year licence on 24 July 2008 and will soon be broadcasting in Northampton.[40]

Regional TV news is broadcast on the BBC East (terrestrial and satellite) with a main programme, BBC Look East, and on ITV's Anglia News. From 1999-2004, Northants TV (NTV) on cable and later terrestrial showed local ads, sport, and limited local activities.

Film and TV Northampton was the town location in the BBC's Keeping Up Appearances from 1990-1995. Parts of the 2005 film Kinky Boots were made in Northampton and featured shots of the statue outside the Grosvenor Centre in the Town Centre and inside RE Tricker's [4] shoe factory in St. Michaels Road representing the original factory, in Earls Barton.


Northampton's closest towns are Wellingborough, Daventry and Towcester

See also


  1. ^ "Office for National Statistics (Northampton Area)". 
  2. ^ "BBC News". 18 December 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  3. ^ Church's English Shoes
  4. ^ a b "RE Trickers Limited". Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  5. ^ 'Avon New European HQ to Open Autumn 2009' Northampton Chronicle & Echo report
  6. ^ Avon cease manufacturing in Northampton - BBC report 2003
  7. ^ English Partnerships
  8. ^ Extract from Building Societies Yearbook 2009/10 (p.127) Building Societies Association (retrieved 17 November 2009)
  9. ^ "Northampton Castle", The Gatehouse
  10. ^ a b Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopaedia (2000 paperback edition; first published 1992). London: Virgin Publishing, London W6 9HA. pp. 9 and 776. ISBN 0 7535 0481 2. 
  11. ^ "Millennium city leak angers bookies". BBC. 2000-03-07. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  12. ^ "City winners named". BBC. 2000-12-18. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  13. ^ West Northamptonshire Development Corporation website
  14. ^ Sywell Aerodrome - new concrete runway to open
  15. ^ "Trams". Far Cotton History Group. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  16. ^ BBC News - EDUCATION - Parents' concern over school closures
  17. ^ a b "Northamptonshire Schools Directory". Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  18. ^ "Five-star performance by NSB's A-level students". Newspaper (Chronicle & Echo). 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  19. ^ "Ofsted Inspection Reports". Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  20. ^ "Northampton parks and gardens: County Council website". Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  21. ^ The Fishmarket Gallery
  22. ^ The Sanctuary Contemporary Art Gallery
  23. ^ Avenue Gallery
  24. ^ Open Studios
  25. ^ a b Northampton Old Scouts RFC
  26. ^ "Tutti Frutti has room for all sorts - Daily Telegraph report 13 September 2007". Retrieved 5 October 2008. 
  27. ^ "Alan Carr book Launch - Chronicle & Echo report 1 October 2008". Retrieved 5 October 2008. 
  28. ^ Anglian TV's Celebrity Going Home: Robert Llewellyn (2004))
  29. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who - The Official Site". BBC. Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  30. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who - News Story". BBC. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  31. ^ "Ex-NSB head boy Matt Smith is new Doctor Who". Chronicle & Echo. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  32. ^ "Ex-NSB student Matt Smith is new Dr Who!". Northampton School for Boys. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  33. ^ "Who on earth is Matt Smith?". BBC. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  34. ^ "Diana, Princess of Wales - Northamptonshire's most famous daughter - BBC News". Retrieved 28 october 2008. 
  35. ^ "Royal Pioneer Corps, guard of honour for visit of Prince & Princess of Wales, 1989, when Diana received Freedom of the Borough". Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  36. ^ Sculpture celebrates DNA pioneers BBC News, 13 December 2005
  37. ^ "Press Gazette". Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  38. ^ "World Association of Newspapers". Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  39. ^ BBC Radio Northampton "BBC Radio Northampton". BBC Radio Northampton. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  40. ^ Ofcom press release 24/07/2008 "Ofcom website". Ofcom press release 24/07/2008. 

External links

Coordinates: 52°14′14″N 0°53′46″W / 52.237211°N 0.896028°W / 52.237211; -0.896028

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire, and is one of the largest settlements in the UK not to be a city. It is located approximately halfway between the cities of Birmingham and London.

Get in

There are numerous routes into Northampton.

By plane

The nearest airports to Northampton are Birmingham [1], East Midlands [2], and London Luton Aiport [3] in Luton. There are rail and bus links from London, home of Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted Airports.

By train

Northampton Castle Station offers frequent links from Birmingham and London every 30 minutes most times of the day with trains operated by London Midland [4]. The trains to Birmingham New Street cost £11.50 for a one way ticket, and due to the unusual pricing system a return ticket is £11.60. Tickets to London Euston cost £22.80 for a one way ticket, and once again the ridiculous pricing system means a return ticket will cost you £22.90. The railway station is located approximately 15 minutes walk from the town centre and has frequent buses passing the site. Taxis are also available from outside the station.

By car

Northampton is well connected by road with many distribution companies being based in and around the town. The M1 motorway passes right through South Northamptonshire, and from here it is about 15 minutes to the town centre. Junctions 15, 15A, and 16 all serve the town.

By bus

National Express [5] offer coach services across the country from Greyfriars bus station in the town centre.

By boat

A branch of Grand Union Canal passes directly through Northampton.

Get around

Most common way of getting around is by car, but on Saturdays expect queues because of the football and rugby games that go on.

Northampton also offers a comprehensive bus service. The two main operators in the town are Stagecoach Northampton [6] and First Northampton [7]. Service tends to be more patchy on Sundays; however, Monday to Saturday the bus is a viable method of transportation around the town.

Stagecoach Northampton [8] also offer a number of regional bus routes to the outlying villages and towns in Northamptonshire making exploring small towns like Bugbrooke possible.


Northampton has a number of attractions:

Guildhall: A classic neo-gothic styled building built in 1861 by Edward William Godwin. It now houses the Northampton Borough Council offices. The Guildhall is located opposite the Tourist Information office on St Giles Street.

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery: A collection of artifacts from Northamptons past with particular homage to the shoe industry that caused the town to first boom. The museum is open from 10:00 - 17:00 on Monday to Saturday and 2:00 - 17:00 on Sunday.

The Express Lifts Tower in St James.

78 Derngate, The only house outside of Scotland to be designed by world-famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The House has been beautifully restored and is now a museum. Guided tours are available and there is also a small restaurant. Advanced booking is advised. Open 10AM - 5PM February to Christmas.


Shop along Abington Street, the main pedestrianised shopping area in Northampton. Both the Grosvenor Centre and Peacock Place shopping centres have entrances from this street.

Northampton Market is one of the oldest in the country and operates daily out of Market Square, just off The Drapery and Abington Street.

Watch some sport - Northampton Saints are a top-flight rugby union team, the Cobblers play League Two football, and Northamptonshire play cricket at the County Ground.

Attend a play at Royal & Derngate [9], Northampton's jointly run main theatres.

Each August the town hosts the [10] Northampton Balloon Festival on the Racecourse.


The University of Northampton [11] offers tertiary level courses in a range of subjects.

For vocational courses and A level courses, Northampton College [12] has a wide range of courses on offer.


Northampton Job Centre [13] is on Frances Street and has listings for casual and permenant positions as well as job advice. It is essential for migrants to the area to visit the job centre to secure National Insurance Cards.

Adecco [14] and the usual temporary work firms also operate in Northampton.


For its size, Northampton has a good range of restaurants to suit any budget.


Academy Coffee Haus [15] offers cheap meals from around £7 a head.


The Fox and Hounds pub [16] in Harlestone offers good pub fare at a reasonable price of around £18 a head.


The New French Partridge [17] offers fine, French styled cuisine for around £54 a head.

  • Caffe D'Italia, 5 Fish Street, Northampton, NN1 2AA. Great little Italian cafe with friendly staff. Lovely Italian-style sandwiches and cakes too.  edit

Clubs and pubs are located all around Northampton town centre and the night life is pretty lively most of the time.

For alternative music, pubs along the Wellingborough Road cater for grunge, punk and rock with local acts performing on Friday nights.


Police, fire and ambulance services are all reached from 999 or 112.

Stay safe

Drunken activity in the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights is common and intoxication should be avoided to ensure safety. Keep to well lit areas and avoid taking short cuts through back streets.

The atmosphere after football and rugby matches can be a little loud and boisterous, avoid wearing other teams colours in these instances.

Get out

Althorp House [18] the resting place of Princess Diana is in Northamptonshire just outside of Northampton.

Stoke Bruerne is also located halfway between Northampton and Milton Keynes on the canal and offers a picturesque escape from Northampton.

Trains also depart at regular intervals from Northampton railway station for every possible destination in the country using either Milton Keynes Railway Station, London Stations or Birmingham New Street as transit points.

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Proper noun




  1. A town in Northamptonshire, England

Simple English

Borough of Northampton
Northampton Guildhall, built 1861-4, by E.W. Godwin

Status: Borough
Region: East Midlands
Admin. County: Northamptonshire
Ranked 262nd
80.76 km²
Admin. HQ: Northampton
ONS code: 34UF
 Total (2005 est.):
Ranked 68th
2478 / km²
Ethnicity: 89.5% White
4.2% S.Asian
2.8% Black British
2.0% Mixed Race
1.6% Chinese or other[1]
Northampton Borough Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Liberal Democrat
MPs: Brian Binley,
Sally Keeble

Northampton ( pronunciation (info • help)) is a big market town and a local government district of the East Midlands part of the United Kingdom. The district has a population of 200,100 people.


Twin towns

Notable residents

  • Steve Flint aged 19 represented Northamptonshire at the 1980 Inter-Counties Championships One Mile winning in a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds, making him one of only four teenage sub-four minute milers in the UK.
  • Composer William Alwyn (1905-1985) was born in the town.
  • Composer Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) was born in the town.
  • Judy Carne, born Joyce Botterill on April 27, 1939 in the town, is an actress who may be best remembered for her introducing the phrase "Sock it to me!" while a regular on Laugh-In.
  • Comedian Alan Carr attended what is now Weston Favell School. His father Graham Carr managed the Town's football club at the time.
  • Scientist Francis Crick, born in the town in 1916, along with James D. Watson discovered the structure of DNA, and went on to win a Nobel Prize. In December 2005, a public sculpture called Discovery by Lucy Glendinning was erected in Abington Street as a memorial to Crick [1].
  • Journalist and broadcaster Andrew Collins from Northampton and wrote about growing up in the town in his memoir Where Did It All Go Right?.
  • Actress Joan Hickson, famous for playing Miss Marple, comes from Kingsthorpe.
  • Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph grew up in the town.
  • Actor Robert Llewellyn (Kryten from Red Dwarf) was also born in the town, and lived at 47 Booth Rise until the age of 13 (source: Anglian TV's Celebrity Going Home: Robert Llewellyn (2004))
  • Writer Alan Moore, creator of V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is a lifelong resident of Northampton. His novel Voice of the Fire is a fictionalized history of the town.
  • BBC radio presenter Anna Murby comes from the county.
  • Nanette Newman, actress and author, was born in Northampton.
  • Des O'Connor lived in Northampton, worked at Church's for some years and played for the Cobblers (Northampton Town Football Club).
  • Myrea Pettit, renowned fantasy artist of fairies, flowers and butterflies learned her craft in Northamptonshire.
  • Jo Whiley, the BBC Radio 1 DJ was born in the town in 1965.
  • The late Delia Derbyshire, who was behind the original version of the Doctor Who theme tune, spent her final years in the town.
  • Blue Peter's Peter Purves lived in the nearby village of Cogenhoe.
  • Composer Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986) was born in the town.
  • Professional wrestler Norman Smiley was born in the town.
  • Nearby is Althorp, the country estate of Earl Spencer where Diana, Princess of Wales is buried. Charles Spencer, the current and 9th Earl Spencer (b. 1964) is her brother.
  • Television presenter Michael Underwood lives in the town.
  • Marc Warren, who plays Danny Blue in the BBC's Hustle series, was born in Kingsthorpe.
  • Stuart Pearson Wright award winning artist was born in Northampton in 1975.
  • Lorna Fitzgerald, who plays Abi Branning in Eastenders lives in Hunsbury
  • Issim Ullah acclaimed late Bangladeshi businessman, landlord and soldier lived in Spencer.
  • Elizabeth Bowen, 20th century Anglo-Irish writer, lived here after her marriage.
  • Charles Bradlaugh, the famous radical MP, was a member for the town.
  • Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)- a puritan poet later based in Massachusetts.
  • Alban Butler (1710-1773) - the author of Lives of the saints
  • John Clare, the poet, was sectioned in the local madhouse, where he remained until his death in 1864.
  • Errol Flynn acted in the Northampton Repertory Theatre between 1933 and 1935.
  • Jerome K. Jerome, author of Three Men in a Boat and other works, died in Northampton in 1927.
  • Spencer Perceval was a local MP and Prime Minister. He was shot in the House of Commons by assassin John Bellingham in 1812.
  • Victorian cricketer and pioneer missionary Charles ("C.T.") Studd who played in the first Ashes test, was born at Spratton.
  • Bauhaus (band)
  • The Departure
  • Mark Griffiths, bass player with Shadows, Cliff Richard, David Essex, Matthews Southern Comfort
  • Faye Tozer, singer from pop group Steps
  • Northampton was used as the town location for Keeping Up Appearances between 1990-1995.

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