Kettering Civic Society
Newsletter 21 (Summer 2015)

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At the Newlands Centre with Friend’s of the Alfred East Art Gallery & Museum are Committee member Barbara Lewis and PhylisWilson.

Promoting the Society at the Battle of Naseby re-enactment weekend. Earl Spencer drops in for a chat with Monica Özdemir and Barbara Lewis.

Forging links with Tresham College, Paul Ansell with lecturer Maria Delves and HND Graphics students

The Society is often accused of not letting people know it’s aims and objectives. We have a link with the Friends of the Alfred East Art Gallery and Museum, our aims overlapping to some extent. We also have the advantage of their secretary, Barbara Lewis, being a Civic Society committee member too. Together we took on a community stand in the Newlands Centre where we held a display and were able to chat with shoppers. It was interesting to discover the large number of people who visit Kettering from afar because they think the shopping in Kettering is excellent.
We joined in with the Friends again on a rather wet but worthwhile weekend at Naseby when the re-enactment of the Battle took place. Barbara and I were especially delighted when Earl Spencer chatted to us about Kettering, showing interest and being knowledgeable about the Alfred East Art Gallery which his grandfather had opened in 1913.
We were delighted to have been approached by Abigail Greenfield of Greenfields School, formerly Highfield School, in July to tell Year 5 (9 year olds) about the mosaic as part of their project, “Kool Kettering”. What a pleasure it was to experience such an interested group of students who were full of questions about the town’s history. Apart from that it was a revelation to see the amazing makeover that the school had created to provide a stimulating working environment for the children and from what I experienced, it was paying off greatly. It is true to say that all the children I met were highly motivated, and so very well mannered. One can only say that if the occasion ever arises to visit the school it is well worth a look around.
Following us on the ‘talk circuit’ was Ian Addis, former head teacher and local author, who would be telling the children all about J.L.Carr, the schools’ former head teacher!
We now look forward to spreading the word and recruiting new members when giving talk to Bereaved Carers at 4 Seasons School Lane on 4th September.
We also look forward to supporting Open Studios when it begins on 29th August. Congratulations are conveyed to Katie Boyce in the Art Gallery for organising this wonderful event and for producing such an inspiring catalogue.
Higher National Diploma students studying Graphics at Tresham College worked with the Society to create a new branding and through their research they have been discovering more about the town and its cultural heritage. We look forward to continuing this link. We were delighted to award each of the 6 students with a Coleman’s gift voucher in recognition of their hard work.


Several projects had been considered worthy of the Rose Bowl Award by the Committee. The civic scene during the past twelve months has benefitted from the Council’s Grounds Maintenance team’s hard work and shown the town in a very good light. This isn’t the first time that comment has been made and, indeed, the Rose Bowl had been awarded in a previous year for that. By total contrast, the care shown by the Housing Department in having house insulation upgraded is again worth mentioning. In particular, the houses along Stamford Road at the junction of Naseby Road with little porch roofs, double glazing and exterior insulation well decorated, well illustrate that care. The project which has attracted most of our attention has been the complete repair and refurbishment of Northampton House. Northampton House was originally built by James Payne as management offices for his businesses being a link with the Railway Station in 1890. Since then, the building has had a number of uses until it finally stood empty in anticipation that BB Developments would include it within their Station Road proposals. This of course never happened. It was during this time that it was vandalised, lead stolen, windows broken and it became a home for pigeons. A vagrant slept in the lower room.
The Society campaigned to have the building saved. Now beautifully restored it has become a very special Funeral Parlour which Averil Phillips and family carefully run. Northampton House is a special landmark in the Town and although not formally Listed, Societies like the Victorian Society have been very interested in it.


The Committee continue to attend and contribute at the Kettering Town Forum meetings when we hear an update of the towns’ developments and respond appropriately. We were approached by the Kettering Borough Council Building Control and Land Charges Development Services to name new streets on the Westhill/Northampton Road Estate. The Committee suggested accomplished Kettering women artists, and with the Kettering and District Art Society our suggestions were accepted. Again we have been approached to name streets in the Eastern Development and have sent our suggestions for their approval. Chosen artists were;

  • Edith Foster - 1879 - 1973 A very well- known local painter from the twenties to the mid-fifties, cousin of Roland Foster, KDAS Committee Member from 1924-56. Oil painter of local scenes in very distinctive style.
  • Alice Hodge - 1886 - 1958 Was very active before the 2nd World War, encouraged young members. Known for her charming flower studies and imaginative creations. One of W B Gash’s earliest and most promising pupils.
  • Emily Pryor - 1942 - 2008 Lived at the Mill in Islip and her studio was at the top of the building. She painted local scenes and had a very interesting view on situations, mainly oils, large excellent work, very bold.
  • Tilly Wollacott - was one of the leading studio potters in Kettering, her work was always to a high standard, influenced by Art Deco designs and Dorothy Shortland.
  • Nina Carroll - 1932 - 1990 Nina came to Kettering 1964. She created a style of her own in watercolours and inks. Painted widely in England and visited Russia and China exhibiting at the Royal Academy and the New English Art Club -

Nina was also a founder member if the Civic Society and it owns her painting
"The Garden At Beech Cottage” Tanners Lane, Kettering. 5th June 1974

Greetings cards; 6 ˝” x 4 ˝“, Pack of 5 (incl. p&p UK) Ł10.00

Notelets; 6 ˝ “ x 4 ˝” Pack of 5 (incl. p&p UK) Ł10.00

The proceeds from the sale of these cards go towards the Blue Plaque Fund.


The Mosaic continues to take up a great deal of our time and the committee is working on a publicity campaign to ‘sell’ portions of the mosaic in much the same way as people can buy pieces of the moon! In exchange they will receive a specially personalised certificate showing their sponsorship of the mosaic.
In preparation for this big launch we have set up a new Barclays Bank account. Roger Payne is in the process of updating the website to connect with internet banking which will allow for Civic Society donations towards Blue Plaques, purchases from our shop, to pay for membership and tickets to events directly through our website. Other non-computer methods of sponsorship will be made available and advertised widely.
As such, we do not have an office or premises but we came very close to obtaining a pop up shop in the Newlands Centre. This did not materialise as anticipated but researching the whys and wherefores was a useful exercise, one that we hope will become a reality when the time is right.


Having forgotten to pack a book to read on my train trip from Edinburgh to Peterborough I find myself occupied in putting together a Society Newsletter. We have just stopped at Newcastle and the next time I am in this neck of the woods we will be on our 4 day coach trip exploring Northumberland. The following stop will be Durham, the city that we will visit on the way home. York is another stop which reminds me of the brilliant steam engine, the Union of South Africa. Committee members organised a day trip taking 500 of us from Kettering to York for the day passing over the Harringworth Viaduct in May 2003!

What, you may ask, has gadding- about to do with Kettering Civic Society?

The Council having knocked down many of Kettering’s architecturally attractive buildings in the 1970’s no longer has the same destructive objectives (but never the less the Society keeps an eye on Planning issues and responds appropriately). Therefore members are not involved in massive protests. The ‘work’ of the Society is carried out by the Committee which is apparent in this newsletter. Members can enjoy civic social activities! Views and suggestions are always welcome too.

Members of the Society enjoy cultural events and our annual trip to the Royal Albert Hall combines architecture with music appreciation providing us with the opportunity to socialise. In the past we held annual dinners but this has evolved to becoming a lunch, and in May amidst wonderful surroundings in the village of Warkton we were treated to a tasty meal prepared by Classic Catering, our favoured hostesses! Warkton has experienced exciting times with the restoration of the Montagu Monuments and we were enthusiastic to learn about the Monuments from Gareth Fitzpatrick whilst simultaneously viewing the beautiful statues. Committee member, Eleanor Patrick, has represented the Society on the Monuments Panel keeping us informed of their progress and helping to forge links in our community. We are fortunate in having the opportunity to meet with our members during our Toller Coffee Mornings and our committee all rally round and help to make the mornings run smoothly.

We still have places on our trips to the Proms and Northumberland please contact  the secretary for details.


Click here for details of our full 2015 programme

President: Lady Freeman (Dipl Cons AA)   Chairman: Paul Ansell, Dip Arch RIBA    Secretary: Monica Özdemir
Committee: Rachael Aldridge, Erika Beecher, Barbara Lewis, Eleanor Patrick & Andrea Pettingale

If you would like to know more about membership of the Society email the secretary or download a membership form