Northampton’s political leaders visit Bedford to learn about history

Marie Dickie at the site of the old Northampton Castle near Black Lion Hill.
Marie Dickie at the site of the old Northampton Castle near Black Lion Hill.

Political leaders from Northampton are due to visit Bedford to pick up tips on how best to present a town’s history.

The leaders of both Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council will visit nearby Bedford on Tuesday to see how the town has restored the remains of its castle.

The group hopes to pick up tips for how Northampton’s castle remains, close to the town’s railway station, can be better promoted as part of a new ‘heritage gateway’.

The leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con , Rectory Farm), said: “The story of Northampton is fascinating, and the heritage gateway will bring all of this together for residents and visitors who want to discover our past.

“Bedford has already been through this process, so I’m looking forward to finding out how they brought their history to life.”

He will be joined on the tour by county council leader, Councillor Jim Harker (Con, Kettering Rural).

He said: “It will be very interesting to visit colleagues at Bedford Borough Council to find out what their restoration project has achieved and how we can learn from this to help make sure Northampton’s place in history is properly recognised and enjoyed by all of us.”

Accompanying the politicians on the trip to Bedford will be castle expert, Dr Marie Dickie, from the Friends of Northampton Castle.

She said: “We’re really looking forward to this visit.

“We know that Bedford has set an example of how celebrating a town’s history can make its future brighter. We want to do that in Northampton too.”

Northampton’s castle was partly dismantled by Royal command in the 17th century before being demolished in the 19th century to make way for the town’s railway station.

Bedford’s castle was dismantled by Royal command in the 13th century. But, in the last few years archaeological work has uncovered some of the foundations and even a medieval lime kiln.