Kettering Civic Society


Home | News | Programme | Rose Bowl Award | Blue Plaques | Local Area | Local People & Issues | Mural | Publications | Shop | Links & Contacts | Planning |  Events  | Membership

Artists transform Kettering BT Openreach boxes into colourful heritage trail - and there's 15 more to go

Green metal cabinets on street corners and beside pavements usually go unnoticed – but not anymore. Three BT Openreach boxes have been transformed into mini works of art thanks to a new project by Kettering Civic Society, in collaboration with Kettering Town Council (KTC). Funded by a KTC grant and supported by community discussions and feedback, the project celebrates the town's cultural heritage, while adding a splash of colour to Kettering's streets.

Clockwise from top left Sally Leach (photo National World), Mark James (photo Kettering Street Art) and Daisy Farrar-Hayton (photo Julia Thorley)

The three artists with one of the BT Openreach boxes in Masefield Road with town councillors
and Mayor of Kettering Cllr Emily Fedorowycz /National World

The first metal boxes honour the shoemaking industry, the town’s pleasure park and the former bus station.

Monica Ozdemir, secretary of Kettering Civic Society, said:“I think the artwork is absolutely fantastic. The Kettering Civic Society views this project as an extension of its commitment to fostering artistic expression and community pride."

Before starting the project permissions were ‘meticulously’ sought and Kettering Civic Society involved community groups to discuss themes and memories associated with each area.

The project has seen Daisy Farrar-Hayton’s ‘Pleasure Park’ mural in Masefield Road, Mark James' ‘The Shoemaker’ in Wood Street and Sally Leach's ‘Cafe Corner’ in Oaktree Court, incorporating residents' wishes for a garden design while remembering the former bus station.

Artists then developed several designs, consulting with local residents to ensure the art reflected community spirit and history. As well as being eye-catching it is hoped the trio of outdoor masterpieces may kickstart a trail of painted boxes, encouraging exploration through walking or cycling. Another 15 boxes have permission to be used – but can only be painted following strict guidelines.

Artist Daisy said: “I’m so thrilled to be a part of this exciting project. It’s been great fun injecting a bit of colour on the streets of Kettering. I hope mine and the other fantastic artists’ work will make people smile.”  Mark said: “It’s a great project that I’m very proud to be part of. I hope that my art piece adds colour to the area while shining a light on Kettering’s great heritage in the shoemaker industry.”  Sally added: “It’s been very inspiring to engage with local residents while developing my mural. We really hope these colourful artworks will bring joy to the streets of Kettering and be the springboard to extend the project even further around the town.”

In addition to the ongoing project, the community will have the opportunity to see other local artists at work through a Kettering Cultural Consortium event on June 22 at the town’s annual KettFest.

Mayor of Kettering Cllr Emily Fedorowycz said: “We have so many excellent local artists in and around Kettering, so to have a project that celebrates them while bringing a pop of colour to our streets is just awesome. I can’t thank these artists enough - they have brought a smile to people’s faces at a time when they really need it and left a wonderful legacy.”

Cllr Mark Rowley, chair of KTC’s finance committee, added: “We are pleased to help support this project to bring colour and local flavour to our streets; if people like what they see, then that will be a spur to doing more boxes in the future. I want to congratulate the Civic Society and the artists for coming up with the idea and the designs.”

People can contact the project via @ketteringstreetart.

An article from the Kettering Evening Telegraph March 24


Northamptonshire Heritage Forum chose Kettering to hold their annual History Day on 12th October

Kettering Civic Society with The Friends of Kettering Museum and Art Gallery were delighted to host this successful event which was held at the Corn Market Hall. Over a hundred history lovers, members of the Forum, Civic Society, Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery were treated to a variety of fascinating talks in the morning and walks in the afternoon.

Members of the Forum were able to exhibit their special interest venues and activities.

Steve Sharpe began the morning with his fascinating illustrated talk on Kettering Archaeology  inviting  us to explore further in the     Museum. Steve is an active member of the Ise Archaeological Research Society. In the past he has contributed to their talk programmes, with presentations on Kettering’s archaeology. He has been hands-on in local and national digs, and is a volunteer at Kettering Museum and Art Gallery.

His presentation was followed by David Brown who cleverly managed to squeeze as much information as he could on the History of Kettering  by following the events on the time line on the Market Place.  David is Chairman of the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery & Museum. He is a retired doctor, and is now free to indulge in his two great passions: art and history.

After coffee Kettering’s Artistic Heritage was touched on by Ian Luck and he invited us to explore the Alfred East Art Gallery.  Ian is Chairman of the Kettering and District Art Society. As well as painting, Ian has co-authored the ‘Catalogue of the Permanent collection of the  Kettering Art Gallery’ and more recently ‘Alfred East  – The Incidental Etcher’. He is the acknowledged authority on all Kettering artists.

The History of Wicksteed Park was another informative    presentation by Tracey Clarke who is the Community Link Manager at   Wicksteed Park. Since taking over this role she has been instrumental in many recent changes. Most importantly her outreach work has reinvigorated interest in the improved facilities and also the heritage and archives of the park.

Time passed too quickly and before we knew it, a delicious lunch was served by our favourite Classic Catering team.


At 2pm we had the difficult choice of  joining one of the following tours:

1. Three options for tours around London Road Cemetery were offered. David Brown  gave a general tour, Ian Luck, focussed on artists and Phil Steele shared his knowledge of Military graves. 

2. A tour of the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was followed by a brief tour of the Manor House Museum by Manager Karen Adhemar and the Alfred East Art Gallery Manager, Billie Stevenson.

3. The north town tour covered early religion and non-conformist sites, shoes and missionaries which also took us to the Fuller Museum  was led by Delia Thomas. A history graduate with many local roles. She runs Local History courses and sessions and is an expert in the interpretation of old documents. Her knowledge of the history of  Kettering is boundless. She also spends much time in the museum, helping the permanent staff.

4. The south town’s walk led to monumental buildings, banks and  alms-houses was led by Andrea Pettingale, Civic Society and Northamptonshire Heritage Forum & Northants History Society committee member. She has an in depth knowledge of  local history as well as having expertise and running courses on Genealogy.

Tea and tasty cakes made by volunteers was served before we said our goodbyes.  Compliments were received for this hugely successful day and grateful thanks go to all for making the day so enjoyable!