Kettering Civic Society
Newsletter 24 (Autumn 2016)

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Time Travellers on the Northamptonshire Open Studios Trail

A surprising venue for art could be found at Kettering railway station, and what an excellent place to find an exhibition by Jamie Poole to cheer up the spirits and buy a work of art. Time Travellers is the name that Kettering Civic Society has given to the room, because the Society is interested in the past, present and future of the town and if you have visited you would see from archive material that things do go around in circles. An art exhibition by one of the oldest art Societies, The Kettering & District Art Society, took place in the station masters office in 1979!

Kettering has been described as a town that people ‘pass through’, the Society is keen to invite travellers to explore what the town has to offer, specifically it has a rich heritage of the Arts and art, it can boast many great artists such as the well-known Dan Dare cartoonist, Frank Bellamy, Gotch, Sir Alfred East, Nettleship the list goes on.

Kettering can also boast philanthropists, one of them being Sir Alfred East who bequeathed the art gallery to the people of Kettering. Wonderful exhibitions can be found here that are ever changing. The colours of the walls will be black for one exhibition, purple for another and even, for one exhibition, ‘Comics’, cartoons were drawn directly onto white walls. This, all due to the imagination of Katie Boyce the Gallery Manager. Needless to say that such inspiring work needed to be recognised and during the launch of Northamptonshire Open Studios the Society presented its Annual Silver Rose Bowl Award to Katie for her inspirational displays of artists’ work and the organisation of the Northants Open Studios Trail.

As well as exhibiting Jamie Poole’s art at the station, on show is a piece of the 1960’s mosaic by Kenneth Budd. It is Kettering’s own public art. (Budd’s works include the Kennedy Mosaic that was in the Bull Ring Shopping Centre in Birmingham, also now re-sited).

The Mosaics’ abstract images tell of Kettering’s rich heritage, it is a modern version of Kettering’s coat-of-arms and pays homage recognising the importance of the founding of the Baptist Missionary Society, William Knibb the emancipator of slaves as well as recording the towns industry; made possible because of the railway coming to town. The Mosaic had adorned the former Grammar School, latterly Tresham College but when it was decided to pull the building down no provision had been made to keep the Mosaic and it was offered to Kettering Civic Society as custodians to save for the town in 2007. Since then it has been in storage awaiting funds needed to restore and re-site it. A mammoth cost for a small Society who has worked hard over the years fundraising. Ł24,000 is still required to restore and re-site it, a small price to pay for a large piece of an iconic 1960’s mosaic showing Kettering’s heritage. Are there any philanthropists out there willing to sponsor and donate a Kenneth Budd Mosaic to the town and have their name in Kettering’s list of benefactors along with Carnegie (Library) and Charles Wicksteed (Pleasure Park)?

It was a privilege to have Susie Corke’s traditional hand and machine patchwork quilts on show during September. She is very well-known within quilters as a professional teacher and an award winning textile artist. Thank you to our volunteers who staffed Time Travellers during September. Sushila Wright, Maria Shurville-Pym, Sandra Clipstone, Phyllis and John Wilson from The Friends of the Alfred East Art Gallery & Museum, and last but not least Eleanor Patrick who is not in the photo but a dedicated member of the Society

You too could become a Station Adopter!

When I told my family that Dan Eustace, East Midlands Trains Customer Service Manager had asked me to be a “Station Adopter” it was met with a degree of hilarity, hadn’t I adopted enough causes! Why would I have been asked to join this group, what would I be expected to do? Dan explained that I had already qualified by what had already been achieved in December 2015- February 2016 and that by transforming a disused room on platform 1 into a pleasant meeting room cum exhibition room for the community and engaging Prince’s Trust Team 43 in creating an attractive garden approach from the station carpark for early morning commuters to pass through was sufficient. Having achieved this in a short time Dan nominated me for the “East Midlands Trains Customer Experience Award”.

In July I was shortlisted from 700 nominees to attend the East Midlands Trains Oscars and what a magnificent event that was! The Oscars took place in Leicester’s Athena, a building with a wonderful Art Deco interior. Tables were beautifully set, we enjoyed a delicious four course meal and entertainment before the Awards ceremony.

It was a privilege to be part of the day and to learn about the amazing work and care that East Midlands staff undertake in making passenger’s experience on the trains safe and comfortable. Awards were presented to staff who had helped in a variety of ways from getting a passenger quickly to their mother who was dying in hospital, to helping the family of a rail fatality. It was moving to hear of the compassion of those members of staff. I felt humbled that I was there because I had decorated a room on the station. When it came to announcing my category, “Community Partnership Award” I was delighted to receive the “Runner-Up” award and a bottle of Champagne.

At the end of September, I was invited once again by East Midlands Trains to their Annual Station Adoption Conference, this time the occasion was at the IPRO Stadium, Derby County Football ground. Another great day out courtesy of East Midlands Trains. It was an enlightening experience to be invited to this great stadium and after hearing about the work that all station adopters carry out it is clear to understand that East Midlands really do recognise the valuable community work that volunteers at the station provide to enhance the customer experience. To be invited to attend and meet other station adopters as well as getting to know Jake Kelly the General Manager and Andrew Conroy Customer Experience Director of East Midlands Trains it was a worthwhile experience and one where Kettering Civic Society can continue to forge good links aimed at keeping our station looking good. Any number of people can become station adopters and if you feel that you would like to help to enhance Kettering station please do join us and make sure we come first next year!

Monica Özdemir

Operation Spring Bloom

We are going to give the area around the station along from the Northampton Road bridge to the station some colour and we have ordered over 400 daffodil, bluebell and snowdrop bulbs from Kettering
Borough Council for planting. We are asking you and community groups to join in and help with planting, the more there are of us the quicker, an hour or less should be sufficient and the results in springtime will be stunning. Please do get in touch with us if you would like to help generally, once a week/month for an hour would be great.

Coach Tour to Cheshire, Merseyside & North Wales

Following successful 4-day trips to Scotland and Northumberland in 2014 and 2015, the Society  decided this year to venture less far afield and Committee Member, Phil Evans, prepared an itinerary based on places which he knew. As in previous years Taurus Holidays, Pytchley, provided the transport and this time arranged for accommodation at the Beaufort Park Hotel at Mold in Flintshire which is about 10 miles from Chester. After leaving Kettering at 8.30 am on Monday 12 September, we arrived at the village of Port Sunlight around midday. The village was created by William Hesketh Lever, a soap manufacturer and founder of the now world renowned Unilever group. He wanted to build homes for the people who would work in his new factory and created a wonderful informal and picturesque Garden Village. More than 30 Architects, including Sir Edwin Lutyens, were used to create his vision which included not only the houses but a Church and a range of other buildings including Shops, an Inn, a Theatre, a Fire Station and as a memorial to his wife, the Lady Lever Art Gallery. This contains a most magnificent range of well-known Pre-Raphaelite paintings and many from other eras. Of particular interest to us from Kettering was an Alfred East painting of Lever’s Estate near Bolton. We went on a walking tour of the village conducted by our personal guide, Tony Vaughan.

Tuesday was our Liverpool day and, having viewed the iconic historic waterfront from the Birkenhead side of the river, we crossed to Liverpool on the famous ‘Ferry ’Cross the Mersey’ with its on board commentary. We then went on an open topped bus tour around the city centre and viewed many important buildings including the two Cathedrals. Tony again provided the commentary on both
well-known and less familiar features.

Our party then split, as individuals and small groups explored locations of particular interest to them including the Walker Art Gallery, the Cathedrals and the Albert Dock. Some of us went on a walking tour with our guide and viewed the impressive marbled Departure Foyer of the Cunard Building and the high domed Entrance Hall of the Port of Liverpool Building.

Our return was via one of the road tunnels under the river and a good night’s sleep was followed by a trip into Wales to visit the Italianate village of Portmeirion, the dream of the Welsh Architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis. This was built between 1925 & 1972 as his ideal village on a romantic coastal site. Famously, this was the location of the 1960’s television series ‘The Prisoner’. Our day was blessed by beautiful weather and our route to Port Merion had been via Betws-y-Coed and spectacular, if tortuous, roads across Snowdonia. We returned to Mold via an alternative route passing on the way the picturesque Lake Bala.

That evening many of the party visited the Theatre Clwyd in Mold to see the first performance of the National tour of the play ‘Be My Baby’ which featured in the principle roles Ruth Madoc and the Coronation Street actress Brooke Vincent (Sophie Webster).

Our final day, Thursday, began with a morning visit to Chester where our guide took us on a walking tour around the City Centre on the City Walls, past the Roman Amphitheatre culminating in a visit to the Cathedral. We continued our journey home via the historic Moreton Hall near Congleton in Cheshire. This spectacular half-timbered moated Tudor Manor House marked a fascinating end to our trip and we
arrived back in Kettering quite tired but enthralled by the range of places and architecturally inspiring buildings we had been able to visit in such a short time.

By Phil Evans

Friday 11th November 7.30pm
Kettering Police Social Club, Police Station, London Rd, Kettering, NN15 7QP
Bring a team! - CASH PRIZE! - Ł1 per person to enter
Contact the secretary to place your order

Toller Coffee Morning
Saturday 29th October 10-12 noon
Home Made Preserves for Sale

Click here for details of our full 2016 programme

Shopping on the internet?
If you shop on the internet please register at our fundraising site A percentage will be donated to the Society at no cost to you.

President: Dr J M Freeman OBE Chairman: Paul Ansell Dip Arch RIBA Secretary Monica Özdemir
Committee: Erika Beecher, Sandra Clipstone, Karen Davies, Philip Evans, Barbara Lewis, Eleanor Patrick, Andrea Pettingale, David Rose


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