From the quirky to the beautiful, the quaint to the grand, the famous to the obscure, the treasures of Northamptonshire are featured in a new book.
The book, Icons of Northamptonshire, covers everything from Sunday’s World Conker Championships at Southwick, near Oundle, when people compete to be named King Conker, to the Silverstone circuit, which is the home of the British Grand Prix, and Boughton House, near Kettering, whose grounds have been described as the Versailles of England.
In the book, which was launched on Monday, 70 contributors, including broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and Finedon parish priest and former pop star Richard Coles, describe their favourite iconic places, buildings and events in the county.
Icons of Northamptonshire is published by Northamptonshire County Council and the Northamptonshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Northamptonshire) and is illustrated with colour photographs of many of the icons it mentions.
Council leader Jim Harker said: “This book was born out of our organisations’ shared love of the county and its unique sense of place.
“The contributions capture the grand and the humble, the contemporary and the historic, the natural landscape and the urban environment.
“They showcase some of our best-known gems and shine a light on some of our more obscure treasures.”
Sir Paul Hayter, chairman of CPRE Northamptonshire, said: “It has been a great pleasure to select 70 icons, some predictable, some not, which illustrate why Northamptonshire deserves to be treasured.
“CPRE Northamptonshire campaigns to protect the special character of the county for the benefit of all; this book shows what that character is.”
Broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan writes about the Express Lifts Tower, the landmark he dubbed the Northampton Lighthouse, while explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes writes about Ashby St Ledgers and its links to the Gunpowder Plot.
The Rev Richard Coles writes about St Peter’s church in Lowick; while Lady Heseltine explains the history of her 18th century Georgian home, Thenford House. The Lord-Lieutenant of the county, David Laing, writes about Adrenaline Alley, the indoor urban sports facility in Corby.
Also mentioned in the book are several other places and buildings near Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby including Lyveden New Bield, Rushton Triangular Lodge, the Bede House in Higham Ferrers, Kirby Hall near Corby, Stanwick Lakes and St Mary’s Church in Wellingborough.
Businesses mentioned include Whitworths and shoe manufacturers Cheaney and Sons of Desborough. Wicksteed Park in Kettering is also listed as an icon. There are chapters on Northamptonshire’s countryside and its towns, with Oundle’s Market Place mentioned. Harringworth Viaduct features in the section on transport, which also includes Sywell aerodrome.
In the book’s foreword, CPRE president Sir Andrew Motion declares the book “a long-overdue celebration of one of England’s least celebrated counties...a county which is, at once, on the periphery of things, and yet central to so much of England’s history and identity”.
The book is available at the county’s libraries and costs £17.50.