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Wellingborough is a town in Northamptonshiremarker, Englandmarker situated some eleven miles from the county town of Northamptonmarker and eight miles south of Ketteringmarker. It dates from the 6th century and is mentioned in the Domesday Book under the name of Wendelburie, and was granted a royal market charter in 1201. It has a population of 72,519 (as of the 2001 census). It is situated on the north side of the River Nenemarker with most of the older town being sited on the flanks of the hills above the river's flood plain. Frequent flooding of the Nene's flood plain makes it obvious why the town was mostly built above the flood plain. It is twinned with Niortmarker, Francemarker and Wittlichmarker, Germanymarker.

Wellingborough is the main town in the Borough Council of Wellingboroughmarker, with their office located in the town centre.


The town was founded in the early 6th century Saxon period by a Saxon leader Waendel. The town was named 'Wendelingburgh' now known as Wellingborough.There five wells that are found around the town these are Red Well, Hemming Well, Stanwell, Lady's Well and Whyte Well, which appear on its coat of arms.

The medieval town of Wellingborough housed a modest monastic grange – now the Jacobean Croyland 'Abbey'marker – which was an offshoot of the larger monastery of Croyland Abbeymarker, near Peterboroughmarker, some 30 miles down-river. This part of the town is now known as 'Croyland'.

All Hallows Church is the oldest existing building in Wellingborough and dates from c1160. The manor of Wellingborough belonged to Crowland Abbeymarker Lincolnshire, from Saxon times and the monks probably built the original church. The earliest part of the building is the Norman doorway opening in from the later south porch. The church was enlarged with the addition of more side chapels and by the end of the 13th century had assumed more or less its present plan. The west tower, crowned with a graceful broach spire rising to 160 feet, was completed about 1270, after which the chancel was rebuilt and given the east window twenty years later. The twentieth century Church of St Mary was built by Ninian Comper.

Wellingborough was given a Market Charter dated 3rd Apil 1201 when King John granted it to the "Abbot of Croyland and the monks serving God there" continuing, "they shall have a market at Wendligburg (Wellingborough) for one day each week that is Wednesday"

In Elizabethan times the Lord of the Manor, Sir Christopher Hatton was a sponsor of Sir Francis Drake's expeditions; Drake renamed one of his ships the Golden Hind after the heraldic symbol of the Hatton family. A hotel in a Grade II listed building built in 1600s, is still named the Hind Hotel.

During the Civil War the largest substantial conflict in the area was the Battle of Nasebymarker in 1645, although a minor skirmish in the town resulted in the killing of a parliamentarian officer Captain John Sawyer. Severe reprisals followed which included the carrying off to Northampton of the parish priest, Thomas Jones, and 40 prisoners by a group of Roundheads. However, after the Civil War Wellingborough was home to a colony of Diggers. Little is known about this period and local historians suspect deliberate suppression, although the naming of a residential street after Gerrard Winstanley, a prominent leader of the Diggers, suggests some public knowledge. The neighbouring streets name other religious reformers John Knox and Matthew Newcomen, implying that the naming was based Winstanley's life rather than on the Digging.

In 1857 the current railway station opened serving Kettering and a little later Corby, and a decade later the line was linked to London St Pancrasmarker, in 1898 a rail crash at Wellingborough stationmarker killed six people and injured 40.Originally the town had two railway stations: London Roadmarker which was the first station in the town, linking Peterborough with Northampton with a line that was closed in 1966. The second station, Midland Road, is in operation and has been renamed Wellingborough. In the 1880s two businessmen held a public meeting to build three tram lines in Wellingborough. The group merged with a similar company in Newport Pagnell which started to lay tracks, but within two years the plans are abandoned for lack of funds.

From 1920-1950, Wellingborough grew into a rural market town and by the late 1950s possessed all the amenities of a small town including several dance halls and four cinemas.


At one time, the town had four cinemas in the town centre, possibly the largest number of screens per head of population in the country. The Palace (converted from a theatre), The Regal (same management as The Palace), The Silver Cinema and The Lyric (latterly the ABC). The oldest is now a kebab shop, although it still has distinctive pre-war cinema architecture on the first and second floors, and the newest of the three became a supermarket before being demolished in the 1990s to make space for a taxi rank. The Art Deco Lyric was demolished to make way for an Arndale Shopping Centre. The town no longer has a cinema, with the longest lasting one being The Palace, which has now been made into a new bar named 'The Cutting Room' downstairs and the upstairs into a snooker and pool hall. Local redevelopment plans have recently ruled out the building of a new cinema.

The Castle Theatre

The Castle Theatremarker was opened in 1995 on the site of Wellingborough's old Cattle Market. It brings not only a theatre to the area but other facilities for local people. Most rooms are used on a daily basis by the local community, users include the Castle Youth Theatre, Youth Dance, Youth Music and the Castle Youth Company. Annually there is a festival which is held by the Wellingborough Rotary Club in the Castle Theatre. Many people throughout the Wellingborough district enter this competition and there are many categories to enter. After the competition, some people are picked to perform in a concert. There are two main categories; Young Vocalist of the Year and Young Musician of the Year. Young Vocalist of the Year gets £50 and Young Musician of the Year gets £100.

Museums and libraries
Wellingborough has a public library in the corner of the market square. The Wellingborough Museum, located next door to The Castle Theatre, has exhibitions which show the past of Wellingborough and the surrounding villages. Accompanying the exhibitions and articles is a souvenir shop.

Sport and recreation

Wellingborough is home to two football clubs: Wellingborough Townmarker and Wellingborough Whitworthmarker

Leisure centres
Wellingborough has five leisure centres and health clubs called Bannatyne%27s, Club Diana, Redwell, Waendel and Weavers (which is part of Weavers school).


Following the post World War II arrival of immigrants from the commonwealth group of nations into Britain, Wellingborough was seen as an attractive location for many who chose to work in the many local industries, most of which are now extinct. A sizeable Black Caribbean and Indian/Pakistanimarker community grew up in this small market town, and now represents 7% of the population in the Borough and to 11% within the town.


Wellingborough has approximately 2,500 businesses within its boundaries. The borough's traditional economic structure based on footwear and engineering is gradually diversifying with wholesale, logisics, and sevice sectors providing new opportunities for employment. Over 50 companies in the town employ between 100 to 500 people through a base of local companies and those that have arrived via inward investment.

The Swansgate Shopping Centre in 2008
As a market town, Wellingborough has major high street chains mainly located in the town centre. Wellingborough has one shopping centre called the Swansgate, which was previously known as the Arndale Centre, the centre was built in the late 1970s. Supplementing the town centre shops are several out-of-town retail parks and large supermarkets including Sainsbury'smarker, Tesco'smarker, and Aldi. There is also Morrisons which is in the town centre. The town has a market three times a week and a privite market is held once a week. Much of the town centre was redeveloped during the 1970s, when the town grew rapidly, based on London "overspill". The Borough Council of Wellingboroughmarker has recently adopted a 'Town Centre Action Plan'. (see Future Developments).

There are a number of industrial estates in the town these are called Park Farm, Denington, Layland and Finedon Road.

Sectors currently operating within the town include motorsport, high performance engineering, distribution, environmental technology and renewable energy, digital and creative media, financial and business services, and global brands.


The A45 dual carriageway skirting to the south, links the town with the A14, and M1 which also allows links to the east and west of the country. The A45 links Wellingborough with Northamptonmarker, Rushdenmarker, Higham Ferrersmarker, Raundsmarker, Thrapstonmarker, Oundlemarker and Peterboroughmarker.

The town is served by a local bus network provided mainly by Stagecoach in Northants (the other being First Northampton), with buses departing every 30 mins for Northampton during the day. A half hourly X4 service also links the town with Milton Keynesmarker, Kettering, Corbymarker and Peterborough. Local buses W1, W2, W3, W4, W5, W6, W7, and W8 are branded Connect Wellingborough and are provided by Stagecoach and First.

Wellingborough station building
East Midlands Trains operate direct trains to London St Pancras Internationalmarker from Wellingborough railway stationmarker, departing every 30 mins, with an average journey time of 51 mins. The railway line also connects Wellingborough with Bedfordmarker, Lutonmarker, Ketteringmarker, Corbymarker, Leicestermarker, Nottinghammarker, Derbymarker, Sheffieldmarker and Leedsmarker. Wellingborough originally had two railway stations: the current station and another on London Road. Wellingborough London Road stationmarker was linked to the Midland Main Line and provided connections to Peterboroughmarker and Northamptonmarker via the Northampton and Peterborough Railway. This station was closed to passengers in 1964.

Several UK airports are within 2 hours' drive of the town, including Lutonmarker, East Midlandsmarker, Birmingham Internationalmarker and Stanstedmarker. Luton can be reached directly by train and Stansted with one change at Leicester. Sywell Aerodromemarker, located 5 miles northwest of Wellingborough, caters for private flying, flight training and corporate flights.


The Borough Council of Wellingborough

Wellingborough is part of The Borough Council of Wellingboroughmarker which is currently (as of November 2009) a Covservative borough. The borough council covers 20 settlements inculding the town. Other settlements include Bozeatmarker, Earls Bartonmarker, Easton Mauditmarker, Ectonmarker, Finedonmarker, Great Doddingtonmarker, Great Harrowdenmarker, Grendonmarker, Hardwickmarker, Irchestermarker, Ishammarker, Little Harrowdenmarker, Little Irchestermarker, Mears Ashbymarker, Orlingburymarker, Strixtonmarker, Sywellmarker, Wilbymarker, and Wollastonmarker

Local Wards

The electoral wards in the town comprise:Brickhill, Castle, Croyland, Hemmingwell, North, Queensway, Redwell East, Redwell West, South, Swanspool West while other, non-political divisions, are areas in Wellingborough such as as: Hampden Park, Hatton Park, Hemmingwell, Kingsway, Queensway, Redhill Grangemarker, and Redwell.

Wellingborough Constituency
Wellingborough is part of the Wellingboroughmarker Constituency which includes the town, surrounding villages and other urban areas. The current MP is Peter Bone.Most wards in The Borough Council of Wellingborough are covered by the constituency and also include the wards in East Northamptonshiremarker of: Brickhill, Castle, Croyland, Finedon, Great Doddington and Wilby, Hemmingwell, Higham Ferrersmarker Lancaster, Higham Ferrers Chichele, Irchester, North, Queensway, Redwell East, Redwell West, Rushdenmarker Hayden, Rushden Spencer, Rushden Bates, Rushden Sartoris, Rushden Pemberton. South, Swanspool, and Wollaston


Fourteen governement controlled primary schools feed the secondary schools that include:Wellingborough Schoolmarker, an independent, fee-paying school, and the state secondary schools of Sir Christopher Hatton Schoolmarker, Weavers School, Wrenn School (formerly the Wellingborough Grammar School), and Friars School

The Tresham College of Further and Higher Educationmarker has a main campus in Wellingborough, and others in Ketteringmarker, Oakhammarker and Corbymarker. It provides further education and offers vocational courses, GCSEs and A Level. The collage also offers Higher Education options in conjunction with several Universities.

The University of Northampton in Northamptonmarker, with around 10,000 students on two campuses. offers courses from foundation and undergraduate levels to postgraduate, professional and doctoral qualifications. Subjects include traditional arts, humanities and sciences subjects, as well as entrepreneurship, product design and advertising.

Notable Wellingburians

Emergency services

Several NHS centres provide health care facilities, with Isebrook Hospital being equipped for procedures, such as large X-Rays and neurological investigations,and long-term care, that arenot catered for by primary care surgeries. Accident & Emergency, maternity, and surgical issues are mainly covered by Kettering General Hospitalmarker.Other emergency services a re provided by the fire brigade , and the police


The town is sited on the hills adjoining the flood plain of the River Nene . In the predominantly agrarian medieval period, this combination of access to fertile, if flood-prone, valley bottom soils and drier (but heavier and more clay-rich) hillside/ hilltop soils seems to have been good for a mixed agricultural base. The clay-rich hilltop soils are primarily a consequence of blanketing of the area with boulder clay or glacial till during the recent glaciations. On the valley sides and valley floor however, these deposits have been largely washed away in the late glacial period, and in the valley bottom extensive deposits of gravels were laid down, which have largely been exploited for building aggregate in the last century. While important for the environment of the area, in economic and employment terms, this industry was minor.

Iron ore

The most economically important aspect of the geology of the area is the Northampton Sands ironstone formation. This is a marine sand of Jurassic age (Bajocian stage), deposited as part of an estuary sequence and overlain by a sequence of limestones and mudrocks. Significant amounts of the sand have been replaced or displaced by iron minerals giving an average ore grade of around 25% wt/wt iron. To the west the iron ores have been moderately exploited for a very long time, but their high phosphorus content made them difficult to smelt and produced iron of poor quality until the development of the Bessemer steel making process and the "basic slag" smelting chemistry, which combine to make high quality steelmaking possible from these unprepossessing ores. The Northampton Sands were a strategic resource for the UK in the run-up to World War II, being the best developed bulk iron producing processes wholly free from dependence on imported materials. However, because the Northampton Sands share in the regional dip of all the sediments of this part of Britain to the east-south-east, they become increasingly difficult to work as one progresses east across the county.

Around Wellingborough it was possible to extract the ore by systematically stripping the overburden of mudrocks and limestone off the ore bed, then removing the ore, and finally replacing the overburden (often the cleaner limestone was removed to make the lime for the "basic slag" process) in the exposed cavity. This left distinctive arcuate quarries across much of the landscape around Wellingborough and north-north-east towards Corbymarker. Further east, around Finedonmarker, Raundsmarker and Chelvestonmarker, quarrying was carried out during the Second World War by underground "pillar and stall" mining. These mines were abandoned and sealed in the 1950s, and the number of people who even know of their existence is rapidly decreasing. It became uneconomic to extract such ores although the Corby smelters continued using ore imported through Humberside until finally closed in the late 1980s.Pieces of the iron ore can still be found around Wellingborough and the rest of the ore field. A style of architecture in a wide area of Northamptonshire and parts of neighbouring Bedfordshire includes buildings faced with the local iron ore, which weathers to a variety of ochre and dark brown colours.

Future developments

Milton Keynes South Midlands Study

As part of its Milton Keynes South Midlandsmarker (MKSM) study, the government has identified Wellingborough as one of several towns in Northamptonshire into which growth will be directed over the next thirty years. It allocates 12,800 additional homes to Wellingborough, and will also create additional facilities, further improve the town centre, improve infrastructure and increase employment opportunities. A jobs growth target of 12,400 jobs has been set to accompany the large scale housing growth.

As a result, plans have been made for a major urban extension in the town, mainly to the east of the railway station. When finished, the town would be around 30% larger and 3,200 new homes would be built on 'Stanton Cross' site, with new Schools, Bus stops, Community Centres, Shops, a Doctor's surgery, and new open spaces. The railway stationmarker would be developed into an 'interchange' with local buses and trains. Building a new road bridge from Midland Road over the railway line is also planned with a new footbridge to reach the new development. The station would also get a new platform, footbridge and new station buildings. Other plans to include the development of the High Street and Shelley Road areas and the north of the town are being considered.

Town Center Action Plan

The Borough Council of Wellingborough have also developed plans to improve the town centre called the 'Town Action Plan'.

This Action Plan aims to create:
  • A safe place for people to meet for play, recreation and shopping
  • A celebration of the towns unique heritage by promoting the historical elements of the town
  • A centre supported by sustainable public transport, improved cycle routes and easy pedestrian access
  • Improvements to existing open spaces
  • Promotion of green links and ecology

The Borough Council and Town Centre Partnership have produced apromotional brochure entitled Why Wellingborough? to bring people and business to the town.

Wellingborough Masterplan

The Borough Council have made long term plans for the town centre, the masterplan inculdes:
  • Rebuilding the Swansgate shopping centre
  • Removing the Swansgate car park and rebuild it underground
  • Demolishing the Libary and the old Woolworth blocks
  • Develop the Market Square
  • If the Tresham College of Further and Higher Educationmarker decides to move, then new shops would be built on the site
  • New leisure facilities on Castle Way
  • New retail developments on Midland Road
  • Improvements and adding Bus stops


Wellingborough's nearest towns are Rushdenmarker, Higham Ferrersmarker and Irthlingboroughmarker.

Twin towns

Wellingborough is twinned with:

See also


External links

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