Tag Archives: abington park

More updates

I’ve had a reasonably productive week, and have put a lot of new photos up on the main website:


1981, Cold

These are from winter 1981, when it was bloody cold – probably the heaviest winter I remember. We were just the right age for a bit of sledging in Abington Park, although looking back now, the slopes we came down were actually very gentle!

Out and About in Northampton, 1977

Some pics from out and about in Northampton in 1977 – the Carnival, the Raft Race and the Borough Show.

Abington Park 1976

Some shots from Abington Park in the summer of ’76

The wonderful Gallone’s ice cream vans, still there to this day. Is the ice cream as good as it was?

The council obviously had more money than it does now, and there were various entertainments put on in the park during the summer – these are some Belgian flag wavers and a Scottish band with a drum major (or perhaps minor judging by the size of her).

These are the Celebrated Ratliffe Stout Band – I know the name, but really don’t know much about them apart from the fact that they came from Northampton, were a folk group and were named after a Northampton beer. Very hard to find out anything about them on t’interweb.

And one of me, probably eating a Gallone’s. And yes, the top is home-knitted.

Family, 1974

And to wrap up 1974, here is the section that the family will have been dreading – the most interesting photos of them from the year.

We’ll start with Mother, looking surprisingly cool in her shades and the evening sun – she’s watching the Caswell Ladies Cricket Team.
Me at the Borough Show in Abington Park, tucking into a hot dog.
I think this is The Brother with my father on the dodgems.

One from London – cousin Chris, me and The Brother.
What’s that? The hair? Yes, I know – you have to remember it was the 1970s.
Me at Midsummer Meadows outdoor swimming pool. Those of you from Northampton who are old enough to remember it will probably have the same memories as me – that water was always bloody cold.
No idea where this was taken, but I’m guessing that the heat of the top that Mother had knitted got too much and I needed cooling down a bit…

Abington Park, 1974

Some photos from Abington Park in the summer of 1974.

These were some giant inflatable wrestler things – I remember this because the smoke they used was bright orange and made me cough something rotten and feel quite ill.

Now either this lady’s jeans have some quite unfortunate detailing on them, or she’s got the worst VPL you’ve ever seen…

And I think this is just classic!

Northampton Early 1973

What a vibrant, exciting place Northampton must have been in early 1973…
Who am I trying to kid – it was the early 70s! Anyway, there was a lot of building work going on in the town, with the old Chronicle and Echo building being demolished and replaced by that modern invention – a shopping mall. And we ended up with the Grosvenor Centre, attached to a bus station of such monstrosity that in 2005 Channel 4’s “Demolition” programme shortlisted it for the worst building in Britain – beaten out only by such excrescences as Cumbernauld Town Centre in Scotland. Then there was the construction of the multi-storey Mayorhold car park, and the modern looking Saxon Inn hotel. And I almost forgot the Carlsberg brewery! I always understood there had been a fire while building it, but I did some googling to find out more. The modern brewery is on the site of the old Phipps one – they were bought out by Watneys, who were then taken over by Grand Met who planned to build a modern new brewery on the site, but a “mysterious arson attack” destroyed the (listed) Victorian frontage, opening the way for a complete rebuild.

But hey, I’m sure everyone was looking forward to the exciting new world in 1973.

I actually remember this – they drained and dredged the bottom lake in Abington Park – great fun for small children!

Masque Theatre summer show

The Masque Theatre in Northampton put on an open-air show every summer, usually Shakespeare. Traditionally it was always held in the courtyard of the museum in Abington Park, but this was closed for a number of years over the last decade or so. However, they’re back there now, which means that the actors once again have to battle to be heard over the peacocks from the small aviary just behind. Assuming there are still any there – I haven’t lived in Northampton since 1992, so I’ve no idea whether there are or not!

As this is 1961, it must be Much Ado About Nothing. If I recall correctly, the little ticket booth is green, and always saw additional service in the Borough Show in Abington Park a week or two later. I spent many summer evenings around there, often selling programmes, as my father was generally in the play and my mother helped out, sometimes prompting, sometimes in the ticket office. Quite possibly sometimes both.

These days, I don’t do Shakespeare – I suspect those summer evenings in the 1970s are a major reason why.

And just sometimes, it doesn’t rain.