Piccadilly Buildings

When did shopping change from just buying necessities to become almost a leisure activity? Look no further than this row of elegant shops. Here you could browse for things with which you could treat yourself, save up for, or just dream one day of owning.

Piccadilly Buildings were completed and opened to the public in 1926. The total of nine shops and offices, some with showrooms on the first floor, were built to harmonize with the library and gallery opposite. The first shops to be occupied were: Swift and Presswell (no pun intended, I’m sure!), dry cleaners, Marlow and Sons (greengrocers), Henry Barlow and Sons (bakers), The Piccadilly Café, Laurence the Photographers, M E Coles (ladies outfitters), Barnett and Sons (electrical engineers), Aston and Aston (women’s clothiers) and the Northampton Town and County Benefit Building Society. In addition new wine vaults were built on the corner with Northampton Road for the old George Hotel.

Charles Saunders of the Gotch and Saunders partnership of architects designed the Buildings. John Alfred Gotch set up an architecture practice in Kettering in 1879 and was joined in 1887 by Charles Saunders. In 1899 Henry Surridge joined the firm, and as Gotch, Saunders, Surridge (GSS) they went on to design many buildings around Kettering. You will see many of their works as you tour around the town, which became known as ‘the town that Gotch built’.

Around the UK you can find numerous examples of the work of GSS: over 140 banks built for The Midland Bank for example, including the headquarters in Poultry in London, now the NED hotel, in addition to shops, offices, private houses and World War I memorials.

Look out for the Kettering Civic Society Blue Plaque on the front of the HSBC bank in the High Street.

Researched by David Brown

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