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Kettering’s High Street to receive a £4.4million makeover

Published: Tuesday, 22nd September 2020

Kettering Borough Council have secured funding from Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

The £4,354,000 project will, over the next four years, revive the historical & heritage elements of the town centre.

£1,480,000 from Historic England, £2,400,000 from Kettering Borough Council plus private sector contributions supports a total investment of £4,354,000, towards cultural-led regeneration plans.

Kettering has been recognised for its rich history, amazing architecture, and key historical figures with connections to some of the town centre’s most historic buildings. Examples include, Sir Alfred East, J.A. Gotch, William Carey, William Knibb, Andrew Fuller, Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria.

Owners of historical buildings within the eligible zone in Kettering can now access grants of up to 80% of the cost of renovating buildings and shop frontages, converting un-used historic buildings, and for building repairs and improvements.

The grants apply to buildings in the conservation area, which includes the High Street, Gold Street, Montagu Street, Silver Street and Market Street. For more information, click here.

Lisa Hyde, Executive Director of Kettering Borough Council, said: “Community and culture are at the forefront of this exciting scheme, with plans to bring the history of Kettering to life in new and innovative ways. As part of the project, the council will also be delivering public realm and street scene improvement works which aim to revitalise key areas of the town centre, providing a cohesive and attractive high street.”

Councillor Russell Roberts, Leader of Kettering Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Historic England to deliver Kettering’s High Street Heritage Action Zone project. The initiative is not only set to revitalise and regenerate our historical buildings, but it is an exciting new venture to allow residents, businesses and visitors to enjoy our town centre.”

Notes to Editor

Historic England is working with local people and partners through grant funding and sharing skills to help breathe new life into high streets that are rich in heritage and full of promise - unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.

This project, coupled with the recent announcement of an additional £3,000,000 capital investment for the cluster of town centre cultural facilities, Alfred East Art Gallery, Library and Museum (GLaM), represent key cultural-led regeneration projects which support the towns vision to be a vibrant place at the heart of the community that is characterful, distinctive and fun.

Kettering’s Historical Figures and Buildings:

Sir Alfred East, a nationally renowned English painter born in Kettering who bequeathed many his works to the town on the provision that they built a gallery to house them. The Alfred East Art Gallery opened in 1913 and remains open to the public today.

The noted English architect J.A. Gotch, who was responsible for many of the buildings we now see around the town centre, such as the former Sun Hotel on Market Street, the Alfred East Art Gallery and HSBC Bank. Gotch was the first president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to come from a provincial practice.

Several local evangelical figures including William Carey, a missionary, William Knibb, a missionary who played an integral role within the anti-slavery movement and Andrew Fuller, a Baptist minister who founded the Fuller Baptist Church in 1782. The buildings connected with all three figures remain in Kettering.

Additionally, Charles Dickens (in 1835) and Queen Victoria (in 1844) stayed at The Royal Hotel.

Many of the buildings reflect the economic growth of the town in the 19th Century with the development of the Boot and Shoe industry.