Kettering Civic Society
Newsletter 11 (Spring 2009)

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Now well into spring and a rather cold one at that, the first signs of the town centre remodelling are becoming evident as the Market Place assumes its new image. With the financial difficulties gripping the world, it is so easy to be depressed. The fact is, it has happened before and a positive view is so important. Through our contact with the Council, we are aware of the effort made to transform the town centre particularly.

So many empty shops do not contribute well to the civic scene and a neglected townscape is a constant reminder of the purpose of our mandate. Our £150,000.00 a year Chief Executive has a big task in bringing money into the town to enable the transformation.

The Civic Society’s fund raising is rather more humble. We have the Mosaic to have remounted at the Conference Centre (Kettering Leisure Village) and some Blue Plaques to put up. A way of raising money that is presently being embarked upon is to gain Charitable Status and an application for this is being made at present. We are advised that charities stand a better chance of securing donations than organisations which are not registered.

As ever, we monitor and comment on Planning Applications and have recently been taking part in the Planning Appeal over the redevelopment of Ferndale, 17 Headlands. We are objecting to the replacement of possibly the first house to be built in the Headlands with inappropriate flats.

Our other major involvement is with the design of the Market Place canopy. The original submitted to the Council, and dubbed “a bus stop” by Planners, on our advice is being seriously reconsidered. The Council Planning Committee will shortly give their views on alternatives.

Each year, a social programme is arranged and the 2009 programme of events is now in circulation with again an enjoyable selection; please come to some of them as well as to the Coffee Mornings at Toller.

We look forward to seeing you!

Thank you all.

Paul Ansell

Rose Bowl Award 2009

This year the Committee has decided to award the Civic Society Rose Bowl to the recently renovated and refurbished Chesham House in Lower Street.The building , as many of you know, was the home of the Gotch family for many years and has had a chequered past with regard to its use and viability.

It has now had new life injected into it and is a new centre for small Design and Technology businesses in Kettering. Run by the University of Northampton, and supported by the Borough Council and Northamptonshire Business Link, it comprises of eleven small office units with conference facilities all aimed at start up and small businesses.

The development has retained the buildings historic character under the guidance of the Councils’ Conservation Officer thusensuring it has a relevant place within the towns future.

Blue Plaques

As mentioned previously we will be celebrating the many achievements of Kettering architect J.A Gotch, by placing a Blue Plaque, dedicated to him, on the former ‘Midland Bank’ building, now the premises of HSBC. Details are still to be announced.

40th Anniversary Annual Dinner

Over forty members and guests enjoyed the 40th Anniversary Dinner at the Toller Church Rooms in March. After a delicious dinner, provided by Classic Catering, Chairman Paul Ansell introduced Dr Roy Hargave who gave a fascinating talk with photographs about the work and influence of Kettering architect and author John Alfred Gotch. As well as designing many prominent buildings in the town Gotch was a well known architectural author and also the first provincial architect to be appointed President of the RIBA between 1923-1925.
He was also Kettering's first Mayor.

Theatre Trip to The Curve, Leicester

Kettering at long last has its own ‘Lighthouse Theatre’ and to promote theatre culture, a visit to see Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” at Leicester’s new Curve Theatre was included as an early spring excursion. The theatre named after its plan shape has been designed by Raphael Vinoly, a world respected Uruguayan architect known perhaps for his design to replace the Twin Towers.

The Curve has two theatres separated by a flexible space visible for presentations, rehearsals or as an extension to either theatre. The whole theatre concept is one of flexibility allowing the widest choice of production spaces imaginable. The theatres are surrounded by a wide circulation route enclosed by an outside glass wall enabling passers by to see the theatre working.


Thank you to the Star Inn, Geddington for hosting The Quiz Night on the 28th April! Despite the heavy rain it was well attended, and raised £78 for the Society.

The three Coffee Mornings held so far this year have raised £150 for the Society.
With two more to be held on 20th June and 11th July we look forward to seeing you.
Cake donations welcome!


The Society owns the Nina Carrol painting, The Garden at Beech Cottage

For anyone interested in acquiring her paintings Dr Hargrave has 4 Nina Carrol paintings in his gallery at present.

Hargrave Fine Art
19th century and early 20th century paintings, Specialising in architectural and topographical subjects
44 Queen Street, Geddington, Northamptonshire, NN14 1AZ, (by appointment)
info@hargravefineart.co.uk  www.hargravefineart.co.uk

President: Lady Freeman (Dipl. Cons (AA))     Chairman: Paul Ansell, Dip Arch RIBA    Vice Chairman: Robert Mercer     Secretary: Monica Özdemir
Committee members:
Rachel Aldridge, Mr John Coleman, Mrs Susie Corke, Mrs Mary Lock-Page, Miss Eleanor Patrick and Mrs Andrea Pettingale.