Market Street

Market Street, with its double bend, has some well-designed shop fronts and is part of the town’s Conservation Area. When Elizabeth I founded a free Grammar School in Kettering in 1577 it was endowed with land in and around the town, which grew considerably in value as the town developed. Much of the rebuilding in Victorian times was of Grammar School property, and the plaque on Market Street Chambers is a link with the governors. When the grammar schools came to an end, many towns lost their endowments, but the Kettering trustees retained theirs, and the funds are now administered to give help to local students. One shop has a long range of windows above, affording a good north light to the former Kettering School of Art and Photography, which occupied the top floor.

William Knibb and the Sun Hotel

The former Sun Hotel stood opposite the entrance to the Yards. This Grade II listed building was built in 1893 on the site of a previous 19th century hotel. The Sun Hotel was designed by J A Gotch and Saunders. The Sun had 12 guest rooms. On the wall you can see a Blue Plaque dedicated to William Knibb, a well-known Christian Missionary, who was born on the site. The hotel closed in 1960, when it was sold by Northampton brewers Phipps. After that it hosted a number of night clubs: the Laramie, the Astoria and El Caramba.

The Stitching Pony

The Duke’s Arms, one of the great inns of Stuart and Hanoverian days; built in 1667, stood on the north side of Market Street. In the 18th century it was for 40 years the home of the yarn market, when Kettering was the centre of the worsted weaving industry in the county. The yarn market subsequently moved to what is now the Market Inn public house. At the back was the pig market. The inn was demolished in 1879. The building now has a newer frontage. It was initially renamed ‘The Golden Lion”, then ‘Watercress Harry’ after a well-known Kettering character who used to sell watercress on the street. It is now ‘The Stitching Pony’. This name refers to a special type of seat combining a workbench used by the workers in the manufacture of saddles. A saddle shop occupied one of the shops facing the pub.

Researched by Bernadette Millar and KnibB

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