It's no rough draught: Historian pours out the stories of more than 500 Northampton pubs in new book

Author Dave Knibb researched Northampton's pubs for four and a half years to write "Last Orders".
Author Dave Knibb researched Northampton's pubs for four and a half years to write "Last Orders".

The history of more than 500 Northampton pubs and the characters, crimes, murders and happy moments that surrounded them has been put to paper in a new book.

"Last Orders" is the story of more than 570 Northampton locals that have come and gone over the centuries and details the past life of some of the town's best known watering holes.

The Kingsley Park Hotel - now The White Elephant - in 1900.

The Kingsley Park Hotel - now The White Elephant - in 1900.

It includes stories from dozens of town pubs; from the crimes of Mr Septimus Killer, who was a regular at The Rifle Drum in town centre, to how The Trumpet in Weston Favell had to be pulled down and rebuilt to make a blind bend on a road safer; or how the former Bantam Cock was the last stop for prisoners on their way to be hanged on The Racecourse.

The 300-page compendium is the product of four-and-a-half years of research by Northampton historian Dave Knibb, who made a hobby of finding vintage photos of the town's pubs but soon began compiling countless facts about their history.

Dave told the Chronicle and Echo: "I had literally hundreds of thousands of bits of information saved and I thought had better start writing some of it out.

"It's my first book. It's not cordon-bleu writing but I hope the mix of ingredients is palatable for readers."

Last Orders is available by getting in contact with author Dave Knibb.

Last Orders is available by getting in contact with author Dave Knibb.

For years, Dave has been posting snippets of his research to the Northampton Old Faces Facebook page. But the strong positive feedback he had from readers proved he had hit on a popular topic for the town's historians.

Now, "Last Orders" pulls together all the stories along with more than 300 pictures to make a complete history and directory of Northampton's long lost locals.

Dave said: "It's bittersweet to see so many of Northampton's pubs close. There are over 500 pubs in the book but I don't think more than 50 of them are still around today.

"I suppose society is changing and like it or not communities don't go to the pub as much.

The Rifle Drum in Northampton town centre - looking much the same it did 100 years ago as it does today.

The Rifle Drum in Northampton town centre - looking much the same it did 100 years ago as it does today.

"But when I post something about an old pub on Facebook it gets hundreds of reactions. Something about pubs just resonates with people."

"Last Orders" is in limited print and is available by contacting Dave himself on Emmaadamknibb@hotmail.com or by ringing 07939 990790. Copies are priced at £17.99.

What is now The Garibaldi Hotel sometime between WWI and WWII.

What is now The Garibaldi Hotel sometime between WWI and WWII.