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Wellingborough memories

Here are memories of Wellingborough and the local area. You can start now: Add your own Memory of Wellingborough or a Wellingborough photo.

Life in Wellingborough After The War

My family moved to 121 Midland Road during the winter of 1946 as my father worked in a local paint factory till 1948. There was a huge monkey puzzle tree in the front garden. I was 7 and my sister was 10. We loved that house. We used to belong to the Boots Booklovers library in the town and were allowed to go and change our books on our own. I remember going to the Wellingborough Zoo for special occasions and can still see the polar bear walking to and fro along his cage. We used to collect conkers from the park near our house and give them to our dad for his work, as they needed them to extract the oil for their paint. Our milk was delivered on a horse and cart and poured into jugs at the front door. We kept it in the pantry during the winter and scalded it in the summer, which gave a thick creamy crust for our cornflakes. We had brought a... Read more

Wellingborough Congregational Church

Congregational Church c1955, Wellingborough
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I too, remember the High School Carol Services held here, especially singing 'Oh Come all Ye Faithful' at the top of my voice. The church seemed enormous then so I was surprised how much smaller it seemed when my daughter was married here in the '80s. Happy days!

Wilby Lido

Wilby Swimming Pool c1950, Wellingborough
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I remember walking to the Lido from Earls Barton, with my sister May. We would take a picnic of cheese sandwiches and a bottle of water and stay there all day. As we got older it was the ideal place to eye up all the boys. Happy days! Isabel Marchant (then Wilson)

A View of The Past

Midland Road 1950, Wellingborough
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This is a nostalgic picture for drivers of a certain age. The round ‘No Waiting’ road signs seen on the right hand side of the road in this photograph is a reminder of when and where you could park your car when you went shopping in the past. These signs were used during the ‘unilateral waiting’ period in the 1950s, when vehicles could wait on one side of the road on odd days of the month and on the opposite side on even days. The signs were hinged in half moons so that they could be tipped over to show which side of the road was currently available for parking.

Wonderful Wellingborough in my Early Informative Years!

Silver Street c1950, Wellingborough
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I lived in Wellingborough from 1952 to 1971. My Father was J N Clark, and with my Mum owned and ran the General Store on Weavers Road until 1960. Mum and Dad took me to see my first film at the Silver Cinema on Silver Street sometime around the mid fifties. The film was 'Peter Pan'. I don't recall much about the inside of the cinema except that, looking back now, it was probably quite small. The outside of the cinema was painted white and, as I recall, seemed to have a large arched portico. I really miss those wonderful days. When I return from time to time to the old town I am not at all impressed with the changes made to modernise the town centre and surrounds.

Polar Bear

Zoo Park c1950, Wellingborough
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Wellingborough Zoo had the saddest Polar Bear I have ever seen. Its enclosure was roughly three times the size of the bear and its pool was hardly bigger than a bath tub. Even as a small child, I knew this was cruel. It really upset me. Wendy Nicolle, nee March.

Carol Service

Congregational Church c1955, Wellingborough
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This church was home to Wellingborough High School's Carol Service. Every December we crocodiled down for two performances, afternoon and evening. We always enjoyed it and learned many new carols. We were conducted by Miss Thomas and were in the choir from the fifth form onwards. Wendy Nicolle, nee March.

High Days And Holidays

Zoo Park c1950, Wellingborough
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We were taken from Leicester on a Sunday School Outing to the Zoo Park. I have very little recollection of the place as I was quite little at the time! I do remember that we were given 'high tea' for which we were offered a choice of fish and chips or ham salad. I also remember being bought an embroidered badge which had on it a picture of a tiger with Wellingborough Zoo Park emblazoned across the top. It was only recently, as my work takes me into Wellingborough quite frequently, that it came to mind. I wonder when it closed down and where in the town it was situated.

When my Life Was Innocent And Care Free

Zoo Park, The Penguins c1950, Wellingborough
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I am an American and from 1959 to 1965 my family of seven lived on '9 The Drive', in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England. We were there with my father who was a U.S. Airforce Seargent stationed in England. My fondest memories were of that quaint little town and all the wonderful places we frequented. The zoo and the park were my favorite places to go as a youngster. I am now 55 years old and it seems like yesterday when I first saw those wonderful penguins at the zoo or the beautiful white swans at Swanspool Gardens. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my mother and my siblings would scream in delight as we strolled through the zoo viewing all the wonderful collection of animals. I am currently working as an Aerospace Engineer at the Kennedy Space Center on the Space Shuttle in Florida. I am fast approaching retirement in a few months. My plan is to come back to England as soon as possible and revisit those... Read more

I Remember This Place

Swanspool Gardens c1950, Wellingborough
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I remember my dad taking a photo of me and my two sisters at the foot of the statue back in 1962. It looks so much smaller now. What fond memories we had! I enjoyed feeding the swans as well as the little ducks. I am coming back one day. Even though I am an American, England has always been a big part of me.

ABC Lyric Cinema

Traffic in Midland Road 1949, Wellingborough
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I was the Chief Projectionist at the Lyric from approx 1957 until 1963 when I was appointed as Co Chief/Lighting Engineer at the new ABC Blackpool. The Manager at the Lyric was Mr Ron Crabb and when he moved to another ABC Cinema, Mr Ken Porter took his place. Ron Crabb and myself were featured on an edition of Down Your Way, the popular BBC Radio programme of the time. The cinema had a small but lovely little Compton organ which myself and the projection team restored and put back into pristine condition. Eventually it was broadcast four times: twice each by Trevor Willets and Reginald Porter Brown...both of whom were members of the ABC Team of touring organists. An Assistant Manager for many years was Noel Briggs, himself a fine organist. The organ was eventually removed and sold to Wellingborough Weavers Road school, and was restored for use in the School Assembly Hall, by the Music Master, Mostyn Burman. He actually made... Read more


Traffic in Midland Road 1949, Wellingborough
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I was the Assistant Manager at the Lyric. We had a disco club upstairs. Saturday mornings were fun, and loud! My manager was Mr Ken Porter.

Swangate Centre

Midland Road c1950, Wellingborough
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All the buildings on the left of the picture (nearly all Co-Op shops) were demolished to make way for the new Arndale Centre (now Swangate). Most of the local population still mourn the passing of this part of the old town. The public house at the top of Midland Road was The Old Kings Arms (this became Jones the furnishers and then a carpet shop)

Pork Pie

Congregational Church c1955, Wellingborough
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Wellingborough locals always know this building as the 'Pork Pie' church.......for obvious reasons !

The Beatles

The Hind Hotel And Sheep Street c1955, Wellingborough
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I remember 6th November 1963, The Beatles were playing at the ABC cinema in Northampton and word got around that the famous 'Fab Four' were staying at The Hind Hotel. The place was surrounded by fans hoping to get a closer look at John,Paul,George and Ringo....alas they were all deprived of this chance, not only were The Beatles not staying at the hotel but they were'nt staying at any local hotel !! Infact they played 26 minutes ending their performance with 'Twist & Shout' and as the national anthem was playing in the cinema they were making their getaway via a factory in St Michaels Road to be escorted by police back down the M1 to London ! Apparently no one in the audience heard a note of what they played over the screaming.

The Palace Cinema

Gloucester Place c1965, Wellingborough
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The pub on the left of the picture was renowned for a few brawls in it's time, originally called The Globe (now known as Raferty's) I recall walking down Cambridge St and seeing a man being hurled through the window into the street. The United Counties Bristol bus is parked outside the old Palace Cinema (better known by locals as the 'flea pit') These were the days of ice cream ladies in the interval, watching films through a haze of cigarette smoke and plastic orange drink cartons being squashed noisely to be followed very quickly by a cinema usher shining a torch in your face and escorting you off the premises.The Palace was renowned for having seats situated behind columns that supported the upper circle, as the actors crossed the screen one would have to dodge the columns (so to speak) to observe the action. At the end of every film show the national anthem was played accompanied by the sound of fold up seats banging open. The Palace was... Read more

The Lyric Cinema

Traffic in Midland Road 1949, Wellingborough
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The Bedford O Type lorry is delivering fruit & Veg and belonged to Mackness Produce (a local firm) on the right is the old 'Cosy Cafe' which I remember 'doing' a great toasted tea cake and cup of tea. The Co-Op buildings are farther down (I bought my first 'stereo' hi-fi system from there on HP) I remember the Co-Op having an island shop window (you could walk all around it) it always facinated me as a young lad. Lower down the street was the Lyric cinema, The Lyric was always a cut above the Palace cinema in terms of decoration, on Saturdays they held a matinee which featured a live local group and cartoons, kids from Wellingborough all wore the famous ABC club badge. It was a fiasco playing to these kids (I should know...I did it !!) one got pelted with sweets and pennies, for anyone that can't remember our old currency, pennies were large and heavy....and hurt. Above the actual cinema was a club known as the... Read more

Boys Swimming at Wilby Lido

Wilby Swimming Pool c1950, Wellingborough
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From the mid thirties until the building of the new swimming pool in Wellingborough. After the war in the late forties, fifties and sixties, the boys of Wellingborough Grammar School regularly had swimming lessons and their annual swimming gala here. Is this a picture of a swimming lesson?

Singing in The Choir

Congregational Church c1955, Wellingborough
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My parents, Harry and Nancy were married in this Congregational Church and I was a Sunday School Teacher and sang tenor in the choir in the late fifties before going to university. It has a splendid organ with a triumphant tuba stop that David Jones the organist used to good effect in blazing out the melody over new harmonies in the hymn-singing.

I Helped Out at The Zoo

Zoo Park, The Penguins c1950, Wellingborough
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When I was still at school I went and helped out in the evenings and weekends at the zoo and one of my jobs was feeding the penguins.

Would Love Some Help!

I have a dear friend who was born and raised in Wellingborough. I am Canadian and he moved here as an adult after teaching in Africa. Although I am not from Wellingborough, I have heard such wonderful stories about it. I would truly love to put some pictures and memories together for him of where he was raised. Any help? I know he speaks fondly of a place called, I think Anne's. It was a bakery where he would get his favourite iced buns from (apparently was hit by bombs in the war). And also the cinema there where his mum would take him and bribe him with sweets to stay so she could watch the movies. His Dad worked at the Tannery? Probably stretching it by saying his last name is Crickmer..but worth a try....

Midland Hotel, Midland Road

My name used to be Sue Dear and I was born in the Midland Hotel. My family had been there for 4 generations - my Grandma was Grace Cook and she was the licensee. My aunt Sybil ran a Driving School from there called The Midland Driving School. I read Angela's account of living in Midland Road and I certainly remember the monkey puzzle tree in the front garden. Was your surname Tear - Angela? Also walking to school in the winter of 1946/7 - I started school at The Lindens in Midland Road, then going to The Acorn School (in the church hall) - then Victoria School and finally The Girls High School from 1951-6. The garden of the Midland Hotel backed onto the Cambridge Hotel and that was referred to as The Bunny Run by my family - re the American soldiers and the local girls. It was lovely reading about the home town of my childhood. What a mess the planners made of it - with... Read more

St Barnabas School

I went to  St Barnabas school from 1950 until 1953, I have just found an old school photo from the above years.  I can put names to some of the faces but could do with some help with the rest.  Can anyone help?

Memories of Northamptonshire

The Ridge

I lived at 71 The Ridge for 20 years from 1946 to 1966 when I went to Agricultural college. I still have happy memories of going to the youth club in the Church hall. Playing games and helping in harvest time at Top Farm, long walks down to the Nene on sunny afternoons. Lots of friends - Bob Digby, Tony Bond, Mick Arch, John Thompson and Jane Ingram etc. A few beers in the Stags Head or down at the club.

Len Butler Memory One

On My Finedon website I received this e mail. As an expatriot I thought you would like a message. I was born in Finedon in 1912, and left for Canada in 1928. I lived in Placketts Yard and Ivy Lane. Attended the infants school at Lime Tree end, and then the boys school on Church Hill, and graduated to Mulso School on Wellingboro Road with Capt J. F. Sutton as Headmaster. I performed in the miracle plays that Rev Marsden produced at the Star Hall. The Rev G Tavener was our scout master and Bert Munns, Bernie Ellson and I were patrol leaders. We met at the Gatehouse on Station Road and put on displays in the Vicar's padock. I have many memories of those years if anyone is interested. Len Butler More to follow

Len Butler Memory Two

Do you remember seeing a field of giant mangel wurzels in Finedon? When I was still a lad, Finedon farmers were still following a fifteenth century practice of growing the huge white and yellow beetroots for cattle food. I remember seeing several fields of them down Harrowden Lane. As a seven-year old, I had a very intimate acquaintance with them. We lived in Plackett's Yard which abutted the Wallis farm, and I used to go over and "help" the men. One task that gave them great amusment, was asking me to get out three mangels for cow feed. Since each mangel was two and a half to three feet long, and weighed about forty pounds, it was quite a task for a little boy. I put my arms around it and wriggled it across the floor to the turnip chopper. The men took a spade and cut the mangel into several pieces which they tossed into the hopper. The chopper had a cylinder with four knives set into it, a... Read more

The Church Where David Tall Married Susan Ford in 1963

All Saints Church c1965, Earls Barton
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This is a photo of Earls Barton Church in 1965, just two years after Susan Ford of Earls Barton married David Tall of Wellingborough 21 Sept 1963.

Miss Wills - Teacher at Earls Barton Primary School Poss 1965

All Saints Church c1965, Earls Barton
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Attending Primary School in Earls Barton I remember a teacher called Miss Wills very well.
She drew shy pupils out of their shells and plonked them on the stage. The performance she put on included Alice in Wonderland and I remember her encouaging all to participate.
Miss Wills took a small group of pupils from my year and took us, for the very first time, to the Northampton Rep to see Great Expectations. It was our first introduction to the theatre and also to Charles Dickens.
A sort of 60's version of Jean Brodie she chose children who she felt had potential and embedded within them a love of English and a love of the theatre.
A wonderful teacher!
Marian Kelleher

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