The Gumtree Blog

Gumtree’s Fun Facts about Northampton

Tuesday 11 March 2014, by

We’ve started this year at quite a pace, so we wanted to share with you some of the exciting new updates we’ve made to Gumtree.

Users in Northampton should notice a big improvement in our postcode data, allowing you to search for ads in your local area and post ads more accurately.

To celebrate that, we’ve prepared an article that celebrates some fun facts about Northampton

Northampton is perhaps best known as the traditional centre of Britain’s shoemaking industry and it’s still home to some of the most esteemed shoe brands in the land. There’s more to this historic town than cobblers though, as our list of fun facts reveals…

In Northampton fame and football go hand in hand 

Popular comedian Alan Carr grew up in Northampton, in fact his dad Graham Carr – formerly a half-back with The Cobblers in the sixties – was the manager of Northampton Town football club between 1985 and 1990.

Another noteworthy ex Northampton Town player is light entertainment legend Des O’Connor (a born and bred Northampton lad) who had a brief professional football career at the club during the Second World War.

The remarkable Walter Tull completes our trio of Northampton Town old boys. Tull, who played 111 games for Northapton 1911 and 1914, was only the second black person to play in the top division of the Football League and became the first ever black officer in the British Army having signed up to the Football Battalion during the First World War.

Northampton – probably the best brewing town outside Denmark

In 1974 Danish beer giants Carlsberg opened a brewery in Northampton, theie first outside Denmark. HRH Princess Benedikte visited Northampton to do the honours, a trip she remade 38 years later in 2012 to celebrate the town’s historic trade connections with Denmark.

In Northampton not all clowns are funny

A Northampton clown caused an internet sensation last year when his somewhat sinister appearances on the streets of the town began to attract attention and a popular Facebook group sprang up. The Northampton Clown modelled himself on a murderous character from the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’ and invariably stood motionless – sometimes waving at passers-by – carrying balloons or a teddy bear.

Northampton has a dark past

Northampton’s spooky history predates the clown by several centuries. Indeed the town’s association with witchcraft is of particular note. The town played host to what many regard as England’s last ever witch executions when Elinor Shaw and Mary Phillips were burned to death in 1705.

Just as grisly is Northampton’s claim to have hosted England’s only recorded case of someone being “pressed to death”. This horrifying form of execution was reserved for felons who refused to plead and entailed stones or iron of heavier and heavier weights being placed on their chest until a confession was made or the prisoner died. Nice.

Northampton led the way towards political equality

In more enlightened times the town elected the sixth ever woman MP in the history of Parliament when Margaret Bondfield was elected Labout MP for Northampton in 1923. She went on to become the first female Cabinet Minister in Britain when Ramsay MacDonald appointed her Minister of Labour in 1929.

Need a lift? Northampton’s the place for you

A familiar sight in Northampton, the Express Lift Tower stands at 127.45 meters and is visible across most of the town. Built for testing lifts by the Express Lift Company, the towering construction was opened by none other than Queen Elizabeth on the 12th November 1982. It’s no longer in use but was granted Grade II listed status in 1997. Known affectionately as the “Cobblers’ Needle”, the tower was also given the name the “Northamton Lighthouse” (a knowing reference to the fact that Northampton is amongst the furthest places from the sea in England) thanks to a Terry Wogan radio phone-in in the 80s. It’s the only tower of its kind in the UK and one of only two in Europe.

The key to a longer life? Move to Northampton

John Bayles, a button maker from Northampton, is said to have lived to the ripe old age of 130. It’s impossible to verify given that he died in 1706 but, if true, he’d have lived through three centuries and would still hold the record of being the oldest man in history by a spectacular margin of 14 years.

Further evidence that there’s something in the Northamptonshire air can be found in the nearby village of Naseby where elderly residents were proverbially dubbed the “Naseby Children” for being so well preserved.

The Media Team

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