Kettering Civic Society
Newsletter 17 (Spring 2013)

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Letter to members

Following the Society’s Annual General Meeting we write to inform you that the Officers remain, Chairman Paul Ansell, Vice Chairman John Coleman, Secretary and Treasurer Monica Özdemir. New Committee members welcomed are Carolyn Bushell, Erika Beecher and Barbara Lewis who will join Rachael Aldridge, Eleanor Patrick and Andrea Pettingale.

We are delighted to announce that with grateful thanks to Roger Payne, our web site is up and running again and the Chairman’s and Secretary’s Reports for last year as well as details of the 2012 Rose Bowl Award can be viewed below.

During February we were able to hold an exhibition in the Museum, sponsor a school holiday Mosaic workshop as well as presenting a lunchtime talk at the Alfred East Art Gallery about the meaning behind the Mosaic.

Despite much hard work by the committee to compile a Heritage Lottery Funding bid to restore and re-site the Mosaic on this occasion we were unsuccessful. The competition was strong with thirty three other applications being considered on that day. We will endeavour to continue with our challenge by making a fresh application soon.

We are delighted that Barton Hall has been rejuvenated and the restaurant is now open. To celebrate this we will hold a luncheon there at the Vines on Saturday 8th June please join us and bring a party of friends.

We look forward to your continued support.


One of our year’s landmarks is the presentation of the Rose Bowl and a special presentation by Dr Ahmed Muhktar, Deputy Sheriff of Northamptonshire took place on 13th December 2011 for the conversion and the extension of Elm Bank to a Care Home. The award was special in that the whole project was carried out to an exceptionally high standard. Elm Bank is a Gotch designed entry gateway to the town and a special landmark now well preserved for the future.

Planning through the year has principally been to do with small extensions to houses. There have however been seeds sown for the future. Government funding for the works to the A14 has been made available. This will further help the Eastern District Expansion to continue germinating.
Discussions on the future of the Council Offices have been on -going for several years. To assist in steering thoughts away from moving to an out of town location, we have continued to introduce the idea of extending the rear of the present offices toward the Church in a modern style, landscaping the lower car park to link up with existing planting near the church and finally building a multi-storey car park in the top car park for Council staff parking and visitors to the town. The idea was put to the February Town Centre Forum Meeting to widen our audience.

April was an eventful month which sadly began with the news that Robert Mercer had died. We remember his perceptive thoughts, artistic skills and sense of humour. He is greatly missed.

The first house to be built in the Headlands was Ferndale. Upon the County Council’s stripping of assets, the property was sold to Grace Homes who hoped to redevelop the house and grounds. We had previously objected at an Appeal to the site being developed with flats and that Appeal was dismissed. The Company made other proposals which so far Kettering Council have not supported. Ferndale stands empty as I prepare this report.
Two larger construction projects got underway. Dunelm began building its store in Northfield Avenue and designs were being prepared for work at the Crematorium by Ipswich based architects.

The Society continues to explore possible relocation sites for the Mosaic and an interesting suggestion by Rachael that it could go on the TK Max building was explored. Upon measuring, the large size of the Mosaic presented serious difficulties as did the building construction.
Attracting new members is always being considered and a May meeting was held in the Java Java Café near the Museum to which possible members were invited to hear a talk by Grace Homes about Ferndale and their request that we might help.

The Mosaic continues to be on the ‘must achieve’ agenda and a meeting was held with Val Hitchman the Council’s community Services Manager regarding holding Awareness Events. Future events were expected to get their support.

The Design Guide for the buildings in Kettering remains to be achieved and new houses being built in St Mary’s Road on the old Tresham College site showed a great deal of promise in demonstrating the Society’s objectives of having colours and textures of building materials specific to the town. The Planners were to be congratulated and it remained our hope that the Guide would be produced.

Blue Plaques have been important both in naming significant town residents and highlighting specific buildings. Our hope to have a meaningful trail continues and the Society was grateful for the donation by County Councillor Larry Henson for two further plaques to commemorate the Great Meeting and the life of J A Gotch.

The Mosaic continues to receive our attention and the suggestion that it could be remounted on the Town Centre (Newlands) Multi-storey car park was explored with the new Lease Holders, Messrs’ Elandi. Anxious to show their care for the town, they agreed and a pre- application was made to the National Lottery Fund for the remounting.
While this was going on, Kettering Council successfully entered into an Agreement with the Italian Restaurant Company Prezzo to open one of the new Restaurants on the Market Place. It was planned to open in October.

Barton Hall had been sold at the beginning of the year and following a lengthy Planning process, building work got seriously underway in early November to create a restaurant, conference facilities and accommodation. The restaurant is now open and some landscaping is complete.
After many attempts, Thornton’s Jewellers began work on a new shop front and restoration to upper floors. Kettering Council made a grant toward this. Thornton’s premises have played a part in the town centre history over many years.

A response was made to English heritage on Buildings at Risk and our Society specifically named Charles Wicksteed’s house Bryn Hafod and Northampton House. These buildings are now on the ‘At Risk Register’ with the Council.

The Mosaic is never off the agenda and the Society’s Committee have been preparing our application for a Lottery grant. This is an extensive process.

The crowning event of the year as regards the Civic Scene was the presentation of the Rose Bowl to Kettering Council at a Full Council Meeting on 12th December.

There had been four possible candidates for the presentation which were for:
The towns Grounds maintenance Teams responsible for our landscapes which were at their best for the run through the town with the Olympic Torch.
The housing in St Mary’s Road and the Planners contribution in its appearance.
The extended use of the Council Offices to include the Inland Revenue, Blood Testing, The Registry Office, Accommodation Concern and the Tourist information Desk.
This wide range of uses related back to our vision of extending the rear of the Council Offices as a Municipal Focus in the town.
The Northampton Road Roundabouts as a further move to assisting traffic entering and leaving the town and in so doing helping regeneration of the town centre.
The Rose Bowl was awarded for the roundabout junction.
That presentation was especially helpful in furthering our relationship with the Council which its Leader acknowledged.
A very special mention must go to all the Committee particularly regarding our bid for Lottery Funding. Very many hours work have gone into this and we must hope that it will be successful. Thank you all!

During the whole year, our secretary/treasurer has tirelessly worked for the Society and without Monica’s dedication, the Society would not have been succeeding in the way it has.

A very special thank you Monica, the Society owes you a debt of gratitude.

Paul Ansell
Chairman, Kettering Civic Society


Events for 2012 began on 29th March with a visit to London, the visit planned for the previous year had been cancelled by the British Library due to a visit from her Majesty the Queen! The day was a huge success as we began with a scenic route through London via Camden, over the Canal and past Regents Park. Some of us were dropped off at the Victoria & Albert Museum whilst others explored St Pancras, the newly refurbished railway station before all meeting for a behind the scenes tour of the Library at 2.30pm.

Traditionally the Society held an annual dinner; however it was decided to have a change with a luncheon at our favourite venue, Toller Church Rooms with Gloria providing a delicious meal. This was attended by 57 members and guests including Bob and Jane Carr who joined us to celebrate the birth Joseph Lloyd Carr a hundred years ago. An inspiring talk about JL Carr was given by Ian Addis a former head teacher and friend of JL Carr and Bob Carr talked about his father.

This year we were only able to hold two Toller Coffee mornings due to the high demand by other charities for the venue. These occasions provide us with an opportunity for members and friends to socialise and talk about civic matters informally as well as providing a small income to assist with administration.

On 2nd June, to celebrate Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee, seventeen members and friends spent a most enjoyable day looking around Windsor Castle and viewing and the exhibition “The Queen: Sixty Photographs for Sixty Years”.
It was disappointing that we could not fill the 30 seater coach.

The same problems were experienced when only nineteen people joined the trip to the Proms on 18th August. However, the programme was perhaps the most successful one that we have heard. Weber, Mahler and Tchaikovsky, was performed and Alice Coote mezzo-soprano sang with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The fundraising quiz in October at The Star Inn in Geddington had been fun and Ł104.50 was raised.

On 9th November, the Chairman, Secretary and friends attended the Mayor’s Ball at the Ritz in Desborough.

Towards the end of November we chose to visit Birmingham for two reasons, the first being to form a link with Birmingham Civic Society and visit the site where Oliver Budd’s Kennedy Mosaic would be installed and secondly to encourage new members by introducing them to a regenerated Birmingham and simultaneously enjoy the German Christmas market.

During the visit, the Chairman and Secretary met the Chairman of Birmingham Civic Society, Christine Cushing and were delighted to exchange ideas.

The remainder of the Society’s year was devoted to meetings in preparation for the application of Heritage Lottery Funding to restore and reinstate the Mosaic. This was to be submitted by 31st January 2013.

Finally, in 2012, the Secretary felt that she had won the lottery when, having for many years contemplated how the Society’s files could be stored, wrote to David Bletsoe Brown asking for assistance. She was elated when he telephoned and offered to store the files free of charge, the normal fee would be Ł50 per month. The files are now safely in storage at Telford Way where they are able to be viewed at any time by committee members.

Monica Özdemir
Secretary, Kettering Civic Society

Rose Bowl Award 2012
This award is presented by the Civic Society in recognition of good design

In 2012 the following achievements were considered.

Firstly, we commend the Council landscape and maintenance team for their hard work and the quality of the landscape and gardens which were at their peak when the Olympic torch came through the town and remained for the summer.

Secondly, the new housing development in St Mary’s Road, the choice of materials make it fit perfectly into the town’s colour character and echoes the houses around.

Congratulations to Kettering Borough Council for the way it has included into the Council Offices a whole selection of Civic Functions, including the Registrar, Customs and Excise, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Blood Testing, Accommodation Concern and the Kettering Tourist Information Centre.

The 2012 Rose Bowl winner was presented on 12th December, at a Full Kettering Borough Council Meeting. for the development of the town’s road networks to improve access to town and the flow of traffic, the twin roundabouts in Northampton Road make an excellent contribution to this.


View the programme of events


President: Lady Freeman (Dipl Cons (AA))     Chairman: Paul Ansell, Dip Arch RIBA    
Vice Chairman:
John Coleman      Secretary: Monica Özdemir
Committee members:  Carolyn Bushell, Erika Beecher, Barbara Lewis, Rachael Aldridge, Eleanor Patrick and Andrea Pettingale.

If you would like to know more about membership of the Society email the secretary