February 1st 1993

Charm of Cotton

MY childhood was spent in Far Cotton during the late 30's and 40's. I attended Far Cotton Infants School in Main Road, which is still being used and I can even now identify parts of the playground that we used for playing with cigarette cards and glass marbles.

I remember the evocative smells of Far Cotton coming from the Old Foundry, Phipps Brewery and the wonderful. steam trains. We were well provided for in respect of shops Mrs Harris's Bakehouse in Oxford Street, Bruton's fish and chip shop, the Co-op general store in St Leonard's Road, which had an intricate system of ceiling pulleys and money containers to transfer cash from the customer to the central point where the cashiers office was situated.

We also looked with fascination in the window of County Radio and Mr Goode's electrical shop at the new developments in radio and TV.

We had a local Salvation Army Hall and it was always a comfort to see their presence and band marching through the streets.

During the war we would listen to the firing on the army firing range just off Rothersthorpe Road and watch tank manoeuvres taking place. Service-men from all over the world were billeted in the area.

I can recall bread and milk being delivered by the Co-op horse-drawn vehicles and sheep and cattle being driven on foot to the Cattle Market in Bridge Street.

Like the other areas we had our characters in Far Cotton such as Mr Matthews the coal merchant, Mr Wright the undertaker and the kindly Dr Stone visiting patients in his little black Wolsey car.

The area was dominated by St Mary's Church and the many activities carried on there.

In the spring, hundreds of people would arrive on a Sunday to watch the annual Anzac Parade with its colourful bands and uniforms as it wound its way up Towcester Road to the cemetery. As children we would spend hundreds of hours playing around Danes Camp, the recreation ground and experience the absolute magic of the films being shown at the Tivoli Cinema.

For any of us who liked reading, a visit to the Towcester Road Library was always an event to be looked forward to.

OUR winning letter this week comes from Gavin Kidd (pictured below) of Thorburn Road, Weston Fayell, Northampton

We had a superb reliable bus service from the town centre to Far Cotton, and the numbers 7 and 18 Gloucester Avenue / Pleydell Road, and my mother's Co-op number will always be indelibly marked in my mind.

On reflection, they were happy days indeed and I always obtain a quiet pleasure gazing across Far Cotton Recreation Ground, looking towards Delapre Crescent Road with St Mary's Church in the background, remembering tunes past.