It just needs some Jeyes: Why history of 'infamous' Northampton shortcut needs saving

Very few people appreciate the history of Northampton's Jeyes Jetty like Georgina Jeyes does.
Very few people appreciate the history of Northampton's Jeyes Jetty like Georgina Jeyes does.

Very few people appreciate the history of Northampton's infamous Jeyes Jetty alleyway - but one resident thinks it deserves its own Blue Plaque.

After years of persistent anti-social behaviour and illicit activity, plans are underway to gate off the Jeyes Jetty shortcut in the Drapery for good.

A plan is underway to close the alleyway off the Drapery for good.

A plan is underway to close the alleyway off the Drapery for good.

Every resident the Chronicle and Echo has spoken to so far has supported the scheme by the borough council to close the alleyway off to the public.

But one resident who carries the names of Jeyes is sad to see the plan underway - and hopes the Jetty can one day be restored.

"It used to be known as 'Screaming Alley'," says Georgina Jeyes. "A dentist down the alley would yank out patient's teeth - so they would run out screaming."

Georgina Jeyes runs the Jeyes on the Square attraction in Earls Barton - a museum dedicated to how the nationally-famous Jeyes Cleaning Fluid brand grew out of the town centre alleyway.

Northampton Borough Council has called anti-social behaviour around the alleyway a "persistent" problem.

Northampton Borough Council has called anti-social behaviour around the alleyway a "persistent" problem.

She is married to "Arthur" David Jeyes, a descendent of Philadelphus Jeyes who along with his brother John Jeyes grew the "Jeyes Chymist and Druggist" out of the alleyway and where the former DW Sports now stands.

It led to the invention of the renowned Jeyes Cleaning Fluid on the site of the Jetty in 1870, which is still used worldwide today.

Georgina is one of the leading authorities on the history of Jeyes Jetty in the town - and she is sad to see it lose its heritage.

"It's just a sign of the times," says Georgina. "I can understand the plan to close it. I'm not saying we should save it. I'm just saying its sad to see Northampton lose another piece of its heritage.

Georgina hopes one day the historical significance of Jeyes Jetty can be restored - possibly with a Blue Plaque.

Georgina hopes one day the historical significance of Jeyes Jetty can be restored - possibly with a Blue Plaque.

"It could do with a hosing. You could say it needs some Jeyes."

"But I don't think younger people appreciate the history of the alleyway So much history has gone on there.

"Can you imagine if someone like Banksy did an art piece down there? Overnight, it would become a national attraction again.

"I think it could even be the perfect spot for a Blue Plaque for Northampton in a few years time."

If Cabinet approves the change, Jeyes Jetty will be gated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with access to College Street still available via Gold Street or through Swan Yard.

For more information on the Jeyes on the Square attraction, visit their website.