Snapshots of the past in Far Cotton

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A 1998 PHOTO showing a street in Far Cotton swamped with river water (above) is an image of one of the worst flood scenes experienced in Northampton that fateful Easter.

The picture of Southampton Road is just one of many photographs which have been included in the latest project by Far Cotton History Group, a calendar charting the history of many of its people and places . . . in pictures.

With a huge archive of old photos taken in Far Cotton, Northampton, the group decided to put some of them together to produce a calendar which could jog the memories of current and former “Cottonites”’

The calendar not only includes pictures of the 1998 floods, but also events much further back such as the street celebrations held for the Queen’s coronation in 1953 and images of Delapre Abbey.

Group chairman Gwen Haynes, who has lived in Far Cotton all her life, said: “We decided that people in Far Cotton would appreciate a calendar of the area.

She said; “Some of the pictures are from years before and some show what it is like now. We thought it would be a good follow-up for the DVD and picture book we produced.

“It is amazing how pictures come in. When we first started as a history group we discovered we have quite an archive of pictures from various sources.”

A couple of the pictures show signs bearing the logo of O G Wake bakery in St Leonard’s Road, a business which was at number 92 during the 1900s.

Gwen said: “I remembered being at school with someone whose surname was Wake and she saw one picture and said ‘that is my grandfather and that is my uncle’.

“These postcards had been found in Leicester and I linked the name with this girl.

“We always knew the bakery as Ward’s but they had taken over from Wake’s.”

Other images in the calendar show the old railway station at Bridge Street, which was closed in the 1960s.

Gwen said: “We have pictures of the old railway station. You had to wait for local trains to go across and people who were in a hurry used to lift their bikes over their shoulders and go across the top, above the trains, and over to the other side on their way down from the Far Cotton area.”

Some of the more dramatic pictures in the calendar were taken during the 1998 floods and the images have already been triggering quite a few memories for local people.

Gwen, who is 73, said: “Some of the people in our history group were involved in the floods.

“We had some calendars at the recent Heritage Open Day at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and one woman saw a picture of her parents being rescued in a boat. She had a few tears as she hadn’t a copy of this photo. She just said: ‘This is my mum and dad’.”

She continued: “For some, the floods were really traumatic. I know two friends whose home was completely destroyed downstairs and who lost all their records downstairs, the water came up so suddenly.

“But we rallied round and houses were repaired. The two people I was talking about still live in the same house but I know another friend’s daughter moved away.”

The Far Cotton calendar costs £5 and is available by calling Gwen on Northampton 762952.

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