Extraordinary lives in the spotlight in latest history society journal

Kettering sportsman and landowner William Cattel pictured centre (holding football) with members of Kettering Football Club
Kettering sportsman and landowner William Cattel pictured centre (holding football) with members of Kettering Football Club

A tribute to one of Kettering’s unsung heroes makes up part of a journal of history articles compiled by Northamptonshire Records Society.

The journal contains seven articles written by county historians on a range of subjects.

Wellingborough's temporary war memorial in 1919

Wellingborough's temporary war memorial in 1919

However, the tale of Kettering sportsman and businessman William Cattell, compiled by Ian Addis, as well as a tribute to Wellingborough men killed in the First World War, written by Stephen Swailes, marks the Telegraph area’s contribution to the publication.

Mr Cattell’s life story was a colourful one.

The son of a gamekeeper, the Kettering man played for Kettering Football Club and later, using contacts picked up in his footballing days, purchased a patch of land in the north of the town called Moors Roods Meadow.

This was later to become known as the North Park recreation ground.

Injured First World War servicemen at the VAD Hospital in Wellingborough

Injured First World War servicemen at the VAD Hospital in Wellingborough

He was instrumental in encouraging a number of sporting activities in Kettering in the late 1800s, and North Park was used by both Kettering Amateur Cycling Club and Kettering Football Club.

However, Mr Cattell was keen to promote Kettering and not just North Park and he hosted a number of ambitious events there.

One of these, in May 1893, involved a daring duo ascending in a hot air balloon before parachuting to the ground.

Mr Cattell’s fortunes took a slight turn for the worse later in his life.

Kettering Amateur Cycling Club

Kettering Amateur Cycling Club

He made a number of efforts throughout his life to obtain a licence to sell alcohol at North Park with the intention of opening a hotel there.

However, magistrates turned him down on several occasions and Mr Cattell sold North Park in 1900. When his wife died in 1907, Mr Cattell’s occupation was listed as ‘hay trusser’ on her death certificate, a far cry from his days as a landowner.

He emigrated to Canada shortly after his wife’s death in 1907 where he became a farmer until he passed away in 1934.

Stephen Swailes’ article in the journal recalls the details of young men – and two women – from Wellingborough who died in the First World War.

Lady Emily Isham, who adorns the cover of the Northamptonshire Record Society journal, painted by Richard Buckner.

Lady Emily Isham, who adorns the cover of the Northamptonshire Record Society journal, painted by Richard Buckner.

He talks about the histories of the memorials themselves and provides details about some of those whose names appear on them.

About 3,000 men from Wellingborough served in the Great War and 638 of those died in the conflict.

Some of those passed away due to effects of the war long after it had ended.

The journal can be bought for £3.50 by phoning 01604 762297 or emailing enquiries@northamptonshirerecordsociety.org.uk.