Thinking of moving to Northampton? Here is some information on the Town.
Northampton i/nɔrˈθæmptən/ is the county town of Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the River Nene, about 67 miles (108 km) north-west of London and 50 miles (80 km) south-east of Birmingham. In 2011, it had a population of 212,100.
Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. During theMiddle Ages, the town rose to national significance with the establishment of Northampton Castle, which was an occasional royal residence and regularly hosted the Parliament of England. Medieval Northampton had many churches, monasteries and theUniversity of Northampton, which were all enclosed by the town walls. It was granted its first town charter by King Richard I in 1189 and its first mayor was appointed by King John in 1215. The town is also the site of two medieval battles; the Battle of Northampton (1264) and the second in 1460.
Northampton’s royal connection languished in the modern period; the town supported Parliament (the Roundheads) in the English Civil War, which culminated in King Charles II ordering the destruction of the town walls and most of the castle. The town also suffered the Great Fire of Northampton (1675) which destroyed most of the town. It was soon rebuilt and grew rapidly with the industrial development of the 18th century. Northampton continued to grow following the creation of the Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, becoming an industrial centre for footwear and leather manufacture.
After the World Wars, Northampton’s growth was limited until it was designated as a New Town in 1968, accelerating development in the town. Northampton unsuccessfully applied for unitary status in 1996 and city status in 2000; the town continues to expand with many areas undergoing urban renewal.
Northampton was a major centre of shoemaking and other leather industries, although only specialist shoemaking companies such asWildsmith Shoes, Edward Green Shoes, Crockett & Jones, Church’s and Trickers, formerly located in nearby Earls Barton, survive. A large number of old shoe factories remain, mostly now converted to offices or accommodation, some of which are surrounded by terraced houses built for factory workers.
Engineering became a major employer in Northampton during the post war years following the establishment of the British Timkentapered roller bearing factory at Duston in 1941. The factory which closed in 2002 employed over 4,000 employees at its peak and was a major engineering apprentice training employer.
Northampton’s main private-sector employers are now in distribution and finance rather than manufacturing, and include Avon Products, Barclaycard, Blacks Leisure Group, Nationwide Building Society (Anglia Building Society was formed by amalgamation of Northampton Town and County Building Society with Leicestershire Building Society in 1966 and subsequently merged with the Nationwide in 1987), Panasonic, Travis Perkins, Coca Cola, Schweppes, Simply Business, National Grid, Texas Instruments and Carlsberg. In 1974, Princess Benedikte of Denmark opened Northampton’s Carlsberg brewery, the first outside Denmark. The University of Northampton is also a major employer, as is St Andrew’s Healthcare, a national mental health charity. St Andrew’s Hospital, is its flagship hospital and the United Kingdom’s largest psychiatric hospital, is based in Northampton.
Northampton is near junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the M1 motorway which connects Northampton with London at its most southern point and Leeds at its most northern. Both the A45 and A43 link Northampton with the other major towns in Northamptonshire, and can be accessed by a partially completed ring road. The A14 is close by to the north of Northampton, providing links east and west of the town.
Northampton railway station is on the Northampton Loop of the West Coast Main Line, and has services southbound to London and northbound to Birmingham and Crewe provided by London Midland. Virgin Trains also provide two daily services to London.
Sywell Aerodrome is the nearest airfield which has recently been upgraded with a 1000 metre concrete runway, however it only caters for private flying, flight training and corporate flights. For international links, the East Midlands Airport and Luton Airport are quickly accessible by the M1; Birmingham Airport is also just north of the town via the M1 and M6 motorways and also by train.
In the town, buses are mainly operated by Stagecoach from the North Gate bus station with some services from Uno. Stagecoach serves areas within the town and also provides travel to outlying villages and towns within the county, making links to Corby, Daventry, Kettering,Rushden and Wellingborough. They also go as far afield as Bedford, Bicester, Leicester, Market Harborough, Milton Keynes,Peterborough and Rugby. National Express also operates in Northampton, covering routes between major towns and cities in the United Kingdom.
Northampton is the terminus of an arm of the Grand Union Canal. The arm connects to the River Nene and from that to the River Great Ouse and the North Sea. No longer used for freight, the waterway is now popular with anglers and narrowboaters. Principal outlying villages on the canal include Gayton, Blisworth, Braunston and Stoke Bruerne.
Northampton once had a horse-drawn tramway which opened in 1881. The system was extended in stages and taken over by the council in 1897 and named Northampton Corporation Tramways. It was electrified in 1904, but closed in 1934 mainly as a result of competition from motor buses which were introduced in 1929. Two of the original tram shelters are preserved: one at the Racecourse park and another in Kingsthorpe opposite the Cock Hotel.
The first University of Northampton was established by royal charter by King Henry III in 1261, and started to rival the universities inCambridge and Oxford, with their students migrating to the Northampton establishment. This university was dissolved the King Henry III in 1265, in revenge of its students siding with the rebellious barons in the Battle of Northampton (1264). Henry III was also advised by bishops and magnates that it posed a threat to Oxford, and signed a Royal Decree which banned the establishment of a university in Northampton.
This was eventually repealed and the university’s name was revived in 2005 when the unconnected University College Northampton, which was founded in 1924, was upgraded to full university status and renamed the University of Northampton. This is the only higher education (HE) establishment in the town and offers courses from foundation and undergraduate levels to postgraduate, professional and doctoral qualifications. The university is made of up six schools: Business, Education, Health, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and The Arts.
Northampton’s only further education (FE) college is Northampton College, one of the largest FE colleges in the South Midlands, which has two campuses across the town, offering vocational courses, GCSEs and A Levels. Moulton College is another FE college just north of Northampton which provides many vocational courses, specialising in land-based subjects, sports and construction. In collaboration with the University of Northampton, both colleges also offer some HE programmes.
There are 50 primary schools and 8 secondary schools in the town. Until 2004, Northamptonshire operated a three-tier system in education of lower, middle and upper schools. In 2001, the move to a two-tier system to primary and secondary schools began, aimed at improving educational standards. Some of its successful secondary schools include Northampton School for Boys, which became the top performing comprehensive school in the country in 2007, and Northampton School for Girls, the first school in England to gain Specialist Music College status. There are also 5 special schools in the town and many independent schools including Bosworth Independent College, Great Houghton School (closed 2014), Northampton High School and Quinton House School. Overstone Park School, Pitsford School and Spratton Hall School are just north of Northampton.