Share your stories of what makes Northampton what it is in fascinating dive into town's heritage

How did you come to Northampton? What was it like in the past? What is it like now?

Friday, 16th April 2021, 11:31 am
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 11:32 am
People with strong links to Northampton are invited to share personal stories, memories and photos with local artists working on the project.
People with strong links to Northampton are invited to share personal stories, memories and photos with local artists working on the project.

An exhibition is searching for stories from Northampton s own residents about what makes our town what it is.

Many residents might forget that Northampton as it is today grew around being named one of England's 'New Towns'.

A Government plan for post-war revitalization saw the old town marketed as a new horizon for jobs and affordable housing.

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In fact, starting in 1968, a campaign evolved calling on people to move to Northampton by advertising it was only "60 miles by road or rail" from London - which led to it today becoming the biggest town in the country.

But some Northamptonians claim the town grew too quickly and wasn't able to sustain the huge changes it underwent.

Now, a heritage project is asking residents to tell them their memories of what makes our town what it is.

Relaunching this Spring after being delayed by the pandemic, '60 Miles by Road or Rail' is a deep exploration of Northampton's heritage through art and community events.

Founder and Northampton local Andy Routledge, who with his team interviewed over 100 residents to form the project, said: "Our New Town heritage has played a complex yet fundamental role on the makeup of our town and its identity, and yet we rarely talk about it.

"Fifty years later Northampton once again finds itself in a hugely pivotal moment.

"It feels essential to be delivering an intergenerational project that places Northamptonian experiences at its heart."

People with strong links to Northampton are invited to share personal stories, memories and photos with local artists working on the project.

Residents can get involved by:

- Visiting the project's website's 'Get Involved' section- Or by writing to: 55 Greenglades, West Hunsbury, Northampton, NN4 9YW

The project is keen to hear from residents who want to talk about their community's place in Northampton, how they came to the town, and even how it has been shaped politically.

The stories will culminate in a new production at the Royal & Derngate Theatre - but first, the project needs Northampton's own residents to share their experiences.

Artistic director of Royal & Derngate James Dacre said: "After a year of isolation, 60 Miles By Road or Rail will bring communities from across Northampton together again to celebrate our town.

"We’re thrilled to be collaborating with this remarkable team of local theatre-makers as they tell this story of their hometown, drawing upon the stories of hundreds of local people to create a rich theatrical portrait of Northampton’s recent history."

Unlike other New Towns that were largely built from scratch, such as Milton Keynes, Northampton was tasked with expanding an already existing town. Not only did they have to build new homes and welcome new families, they were tasked with integrating the old and the new.

Through arts, heritage and community activities, 60 Miles by Road or Rail provides a unique opportunity to investigate the complex legacy and ramifications of becoming a New Town on those who live here today.