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A Walk Around Kettering

Discover the History of Kettering Town


Collage

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Parish Church

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Sawyer's Almshouses

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Picadilly Buildings

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The Naseby Hotel

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The Manor House Museum

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The Public Library

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Dryland Memorial and Horse Troughs

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The Alfred East Art Gallery

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Council Offices

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Speight's Corner

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London Road Corner

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Swimming Pool

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Parish Church

The Parish Church of SS Peter and Paul is the oldest building in the town.

The chancel of the church (the space around the altar) is in the 'Early Decorated' style of around 1300, however most of the church is in the 'Perpendicular' style of 1450-1500. The tower and spire are particular examples of the 'Perpendicular' style, and have a combined height of 180 feet.

A special feature of the church are the shutters to the belfry openings (the structure around the bells), which can be closed to reduce sound volume during bell practice. Three of the original bells were cast by Thomas Eayre, who was from a family of Kettering bellfounders, and whose business was commemorated in the name of Bellfoundry Lane.


Sawyer's Almshouses

The Almshouses are on the Headlands, and can be identified by a coat of arms on the front in Weldon stone.

They were built with money left by a gentleman called Edmund Sawyer, who originated in Kettering but settled in Aleppo in Syria. The Sawyer family were Lords of the Manor of Kettering; a leading town family for 150 years until 1723. Edmund Sawyer was a traveller and a merchant, and when he made his will on board a ship he part-owned called the 'Asia', he left £600 to his sister Joyce to use to the benefit of his home town. The houses were built after his death in 1687.


Piccadilly Buildings

Dating from 1924, this small set of shops was designed by the architect Charles Saunders of Gotch and Saunders, and still function today.

The Naseby Hotel

In 1826, a gentleman called Robert Smith recalled that a pub with the sign of the Cock stood on the Naseby Hotel site 'a hundred years since'. In the 1876 bill of sale it claimed that the hotel was 'in direct line from the station to the principal streets'. There also used to be yards on the street where the Piccadilly buildings now stand.


The Manor House Museum

Probably standing on the site of the 'noble hall' in the days of Abbot Walter de St Edmunds (1233-46), in a time when Kettering was one of the most valuable possessions of Peterborough Monastery.

In 1720 John Bridges wrote 'Mr Sawyer's house, in which are old stone window frames, was formerly the Abbot's House'. The present building, though restored, has some seventeenth century features behind an eighteenth century facade. 


The Public Library

The first library was established in the old Corn Exchange on the Market Place in 1896, and its second home was on Silver Street in 1901.

 The library building we know today was built with a gift of £8,00 from a gentleman named Andrew Carneige, who opened it in 1904. It was designed by Goddard, Paget and Carlow, with a design of red brick, Ketton stone dressing and a Collywestone slate roof.


Dryland Memorial and Horse Troughs

The Dryland Memorial faces the Library and includes a drinking fountain, horse troughs, and a lower trough for dogs.

It was named after a Kettering doctor named John Winter Dryland, who played a major role in making the town a healthier place during the 1860s and 1870s. His work entailed founding a water company to supply purer water to the town in 1871, and establishing a Local Government Board in 1872 to replace the old Parish system of government. Dryland Street was also named after him.


Alfred East Art Gallery

The Gallery was designed by J A Gotch and built to house a gift of seventy works from Sir Alfred East.

Alfred East was a Kettering man who studied as a landscape painter in Glasgow and Paris. He became an ARA in 1889 and President of the Royal Society for British Artists in 1906.  In 1910, East received a knighthood in the King’s Birthday Honours List, which was celebrated with a banquet at the Royal Hotel in Kettering. At this celebration East presented the town with a painting called Midland Meadows, which initially hung in the Public Library for three years and is in the Art Gallery collection to this day. Over his career, East's work became internationally well-known.

Unfortunately, Alfred East was  unable to attend the official opening on 31st July 1913 due to illness, and died before he could see his work displayed in his home town.


Council Offices

Originally designed by J A Gotch in a neo-classical style of red brick and Ancaster stone, the building opened in 1913 as the Kettering High School for Girls and Kettering Grammar School for Boys. The two schools were split into the left and right sides of the building.


London Road Corner

Originally a market keeper's house, and then the administrative buildings of the old Cattle Market (now London Road car park), London Road Corner is now used by the local council.

In its time it also acted as a public weighbridge during the 1920s for vehicles in Bowling Green Road traffic streams, a refreshment bar for use on market days, was adapted to be a restaurant in 1983, and was once a shed for the Council's steam roller.


Speights Corner

Originally a photographic studio built in 1886 by Charles Speight.

At this period of time it was fashionable to drive to a studio to sit for portraits, and these portraits would then become family heirlooms.


Swimming Pool

Built by Lovell Construction Ltd to the designs of the Weedon Partnership of Warwickshire. It opened in January 1984.

Get in touch with Kettering Borough Council

Email: customerservices@kettering.gov.uk. Telephone: 01536 410333.

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