Tuesday, 19 October 2010

78 Derngate, A day out to Northampton

On our Italian Holiday, we met and chatted to other guests at our Hotel, and spent some cheery hours with Mel and Annette. These 'gals' live in Northampton, and suggested we would like '78 Derngate'. Mel even reminded me of it and sent me a link.

Last Saturday morning, we pondered on what we would do that weekend, and since it was lovely and bright, a run out in the car, and a visit to Northampton was No 1 for the day. I downloaded the details and looked to see where it was on Google Maps, and off we set. I even sent an email to Mel, and for once kept my mobile on, in case they wanted to meet up.

I map read, as there were lovely sounding names of villages on the way, and they lived up to expectation. The Warwickshire countryside was rolling and we met very few cars on the road, right up to the outskirts of Northampton. There we negotiated the roundabouts....well, Swindon, has plenty of them, and parked up.

As we walked down the Street towards the Park, on the left hand side opposite 78 Derngate, I was taken with the block of flats called Bedford Mansion. The curved glass in what I take to be stairwells reflected the bright blue sky. This 1930's Art Deco Style block of flats, has a central area where there are three balconies, which taper up. I wonder whether there are any flats with original fittings?

Opposite is 78 Derngate. It is a narrow house, close to a large park, and I understand that at the time it was built, where these very stylish flats now stand,there were fields. The trust has taken over a row of houses, and this avoids entering by the stylish front door. This opens straight into the living room/hall. The house is 'one front and back', but four stories high on the back, with an attic for the maid in the roof space.

We were not allowed to take photographs inside, but there is an excellent virtual tour of the house on their website. Instead I chose a couple of postcards, and these have already been posted to friends.

We waited for a guided tour, and managed to book a table in the bright white dining room, with a view over the park. It was interesting to hear a little why this house had been redesigned by Macintosh for the Bassett Lowkes.

There was so much of interest that we spent the whole day there. Mr S spent some time looking at the Bassett Lowke models of various engines including steam locomotives, displayed in tall glass cabinets.

In their gallery space there was an exhibition, with artists present. I chatted with Kumi Middleton about the wonderful and unique bags she makes, she had some inspired by hedgerows. I was so taken by more than one, and guess what....Mr S presented me with this one. The rose hips and set on some fibres which remind me on old man's beard. The inside is lined with pretty Japanese patterned fabric.

As we went back to the car, we saw the Guildhall, and also peered into the local museum. There is certainly much more to see, and Northampton is certainly on our list for a return trip..


  1. Looks fascinating, thank you for sharing that with us.

  2. 78 Derngate looks splendid, must add it to my "places to visit" list. The glass is very reminiscent of that in the Frank Lloyd Wright houses we visited last year. What a treasure you have in Mr S, the bag he bought you looks stunning. Thanks for the postcard.