kids encyclopedia robot

Kettering facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Kettering Market Place.JPG
Kettering Market Place and restaurant buildings
Population 67,635 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SP8778
• London 81 miles (130 km)
  • Kettering
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district NN14, NN15, NN16
Dialling code 01536
Police Northamptonshire
Fire Northamptonshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Kettering
List of places
NorthamptonshireCoordinates: 52°23′35″N 0°43′23″W / 52.39312°N 0.72292°W / 52.39312; -0.72292

Kettering is a town in Northamptonshire, England, about 81 miles (130 km) north of London and 15 miles (24 km) from Northampton. Kettering is mainly situated on the west side of the River Ise, a tributary of the River Nene which meets at Wellingborough. Originally named Cytringan, Kyteringas and Keteiringan in the 10th century, the name Kettering is now taken to mean 'the place (or territory) of Ketter's people (or kinsfolk)'.

At the 2001 census, the borough had a population of 81,844 whilst the town proper had a population of 51,063. The town is twinned with Lahnstein, in Germany and Kettering, Ohio, in the United States. Being part of the Milton Keynes South Midlands (MKSM) study area along with other towns in Northamptonshire, the town is due to get around 6,000 additional homes mainly to the east of the town. The town, like other towns in the area, has a growing commuter population as it is located on the Midland Main Line railway, which has fast InterCity trains directly into London St Pancras International taking around 1 hour. This gives an interchange Eurostar services to Continental Europe.

Early history

Once believed obscure, the placename Kettering is now taken to mean 'the place (or territory) of Ketter's people (or kinsfolk)'. Spelt variously Cytringan, Kyteringas and Keteiringan in the 10th century, although the origin of the name appears to have baffled place-name scholars in the 1930s, words and place-names ending with 'ing' usually derive from the Anglo-Saxon or Old English word inga or ingas meaning 'the people of the' or 'tribe'...

Before the Romans the Kettering area, like much of Northamptonshire's prehistoric countryside, appears to have remained somewhat intractable with regards to early human occupation, resulting in an apparently sparse population and relatively few finds from the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. About 500 BC the Iron Age was introduced into the area by a continental people in the form of the Hallstatt culture, and over the next century a series of hillforts were constructed, the closest to Kettering being at nearby Irthlingborough.


Like most of what later became Northamptonshire, from early in the 1st century BC the Kettering area became part of the territory of the Catuvellauni, a Belgic tribe, the Northamptonshire area forming their most northerly possession. The Catuvellauni were in turn conquered by the Romans in 43 AD.

The town traces its origins to an early, unwalled Romano British settlement, the remnants of which lie under the northern part of the modern town. Occupied until the 4th century AD, there is evidence that a substantial amount of iron-smelting took place on the site. Along with the Forest of Dean and the Weald of Kent and Sussex, this area of Northamptonshire "was one of the three great centres of iron-working in Roman Britain". The settlement reached as far as the Weekley and Geddington parishes. However it is felt unlikely that the site was continuously occupied from the Romano British into the Anglo-Saxon era. Pottery kilns have also been unearthed at nearby Barton Seagrave and Boughton.


Excavations in the early 20th century either side of Stamford road (A43), near the site of the former Prime Cut factory (now the Warren public house), revealed an extensive early Saxon burial site, consisting of at least a hundred cremation urns dating to the 5th century AD. This suggests that it may have been among the earliest Anglo-Saxon penetrations into the interior of what later became England. The prefix 'Wic-' of the nearby village of Weekley may also signify Anglo-Saxon activities in the area; Greenall reports that it could be "an indication of foederati, Anglo-Saxon mercenaries brought in to boost the defences of the Empire." This was established imperial policy, which the Romano British continued after Rome withdrew from Britain around 410 AD, with disastrous consequences for the Romano-Britons.

By the 7th century the lands that would eventually become Northamptonshire formed part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. The Mercians converted to Christianity in 654 AD with the death of the pagan king Penda. From about 889 the Kettering area, along with much of Northamptonshire (and at one point almost all of England except for Athelney marsh in Somerset), was conquered by the Danes and became part of the Danelaw, with the ancient trackway of Watling Street serving as the border, until being recaptured by the English under the Wessex king Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, in 917. Northamptonshire was conquered again in 940, this time by the Vikings of York, who devastated the area, only for the county to be retaken by the English in 942.

It is unlikely however that Kettering itself existed as a village earlier than the 10th century (the county of Northampton itself is not referenced in documents before 1011). Before this time the Kettering area was most likely populated by a thin scattering of family farmsteads. The first historical reference of Kettering is in a charter of 956 AD in which King Edwy granted ten "cassati" of land to Aelfsige the Goldsmith. The boundaries delineated in this charter would have been recognisable to most inhabitants for the last thousand years and can still be walked today. It is possible that Aelfsige the Goldsmith gave Kettering to the monastery of Peterborough, as King Edgar in a charter dated 972 confirmed it to that monastery.


At the Domesday survey in 1086, Kettering manor is listed as held by the Abbey of Peterborough, the church owning 10 hides of land. Kettering was valued at £11, with land for 16 ploughs. There were 107 acres of meadow, 3 of woodland, 2 mills, 31 villans with 10 ploughs and 1 female slave.

The nearby stately home of Boughton House, sometimes described as the 'English Versailles' has for centuries been the seat of the Dukes of Buccleuch, major landowners in Kettering and most of the surrounding villages; along with the Watsons of Rockingham Castle, the two families were joint lords of the manor of Kettering.

Kettering is dominated by the crocketed spire of about 180 feet (55 m) of the Parish church of SS Peter and Paul. Little is known of the origins of the church, its first known priest becoming rector in 1219-20. The chancel is in the Early Decorated style of about 1300, the main fabric of the building being mostly Perpendicular, having been rebuilt in the mid 15th century (its tower and spire being remarkably similar to the tower and spire of St Peter's Oundle). Whether the current building replaced an earlier church on the site is unknown. Two medieval wall paintings, one of two angels with feathered wings, and one of a now faded saint, can still be seen inside the church.

The charter for Kettering's market was granted to the Bishop of Peterborough by Henry III in 1227.

17th century

In June 1607 at the nearby village of Newton, the Newton Rebellion broke out, causing a brief uprising known as the Midland Revolt, which involved several nearby villages. Protesting at land enclosures at Newton and Pytchley by local landlords the Treshams, on 8 June a pitched battle took place between Levellers - many from Kettering, Corby and particularly Weldon, - and local gentry and their servants (local militias having refused the call to arms). Approximately 40-50 local men are said to have been killed and the ringleaders hanged, drawn and quartered. The Newton rebellion represents one of the last times that the English peasantry and the gentry were in open conflict.

By the 17th century the town was a centre for woollen cloth.

Recent history

Corn Exchange Kettering
Corn Exchange, Market Square, Kettering, 1853 by E F Law. The upper floor was designed as a Town Hall. In use October 2012 as fitness centre and betting shop. The building is not listed.

The present town grew up in the 19th century with the development of the boot and shoe industry, for which Northamptonshire as a whole became famous. Many large homes in both the Headlands and Rockingham Road were built for factory owners while terraced streets provided accommodation for the workers. The industry has markedly declined since the 1970s, large footwear manufacturers such as Dolcis, Freeman, Hardy and Willis, Frank Wright and Timpsons, having left the town or closed down in the face of stiff overseas competition, while others have outsourced their production to lower-cost countries. Only two smaller footwear businesses remain.

Victorian era Kettering was the centre of the 19th century religious non-conformism and the Christian missionary movement, and this has been preserved in many names. William Carey was born in 1761 at Paulerspury and spent his early life in Kettering before leaving for India as a missionary in 1793. Carey Mission House and Carey Street were named after him. Andrew Fuller helped Carey found the Baptist Missionary Society and he is remembered in the Fuller Church and Fuller Street. In 1803 William Knibb was born in Market Street and became a missionary and emancipator of slaves; he is commemorated by the Knibb Centre and Knibb Street. Toller Chapel and Toller Place are named after two ministers, father and son, who preached in Kettering for a total of 100 years. The chapel was built in 1723 for those who since 1662 had been worshipping in secret.

After several false starts Kettering station was opened in 1857 by the Midland Railway Company, providing a welcome economic stimulus to an ailing local economy, suffering as it was from the loss of wayfaring business since the introduction of railways nationwide. The line in 1857 ran through Kettering from Leicester to Hitchin where it joined the Great Northern Railway. Trains ran from there into King's Cross Station, London .The line was finally linked to London directly in 1868 when the Midland opened its own line from Bedford to St Pancras Station .

In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Kettering as:

Kettering, market town and parish with railway station, Northamptonshire, 8 miles (13 km) N. of Wellingborough and 75 miles (121 km) from London, 2840 ac., pop. 11,095; P.O., T.O.; 3 Banks, 2 newspapers. Market-day, Friday. Kettering is an ancient place, and was called by the Saxons, "Kateringes". It is a fairly prosperous town, with tanning and currying, mfrs. of boots and shoes, stays, brushes, agricultural implements, and some articles of clothing. It has a handsome town hall, a cattle market, a corn exchange and a grammar school. Many Roman relics have been found in the vicinity.

Iron ore quarrying began in the Kettering Area, probably for the first time since Roman times, at Glendon to the north of the town in 1863. At that place the digging of the railway cutting had exposed the ore beds. Quarrying began a little north of what later became Glendon Junction on the west side of the main railway. The Glendon quarries continued in operation until 1980, the last ore being quarried a little to the east of the starting point on the west side of the A6003. Other quarries were opened to the east, south and west of Kettering, all opening and closing at some time between 1875 and 1969. There were also two ironworks in or near the town which used local ore. The Cransley Ironworks was on the north side of the A43 to the west of what is now the junction with the A14. It began smelting iron in 1877 and ceased production in 1959. The site later became a scrapyard. The Kettering Ironworks was on the west side of the main railway to the north of Rothwell Road. It began smelting iron in 1878 and ceased production in 1959. The site is now part of an industrial estate. Various remains of the quarries and the railways that served them can be seen in the countryside around Kettering.

In 1921 Wicksteed Park, Britain's second oldest theme park, was officially opened on the southern outskirts of the town, and remains popular to this day.

From 1942 to 1945 the town witnessed a large influx of American servicemen (including on several occasions Clark Gable), mainly from the US 8th Air Force at RAF Grafton Underwood, 3.7 miles (6.0 km) away. The airfield was soon nicknamed 'Grafton Undermud' in reference to the perceived English weather of 'rain, rain and more rain'. The first bombing raid - targeting the marshalling yards at Rouen, northern France - was led by Major Paul W. Tibbets who in 1945 piloted Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Aircraft from Grafton Underwood dropped the 8th Air Force's first and last bombs of the Second World War.

Local economy and amenities

Arena, Wicksteed Park
Wicksteed Park

Kettering's economy was built on the boot and shoe industry. With the arrival of railways in the 19th century, industries such as engineering and clothing grew up. The clothing manufacturer Aquascutum built its first factory there in 1909. Kettering's economy is now based on service and distribution industries due to its central location and transport links.

Kettering's unemployment rate is amongst the lowest in the UK and has over 80% of its adults in full-time employment. It is home to a wide range of companies including Weetabix, Pegasus Software, RCI Europe, Timsons Ltd and Morrisons Distribution as well as Wicksteed Park, the United Kingdom's oldest theme park, which now plays host to one and a quarter million visitors every season. It has a very large free playground area, which was built by Wicksteed Playscapes, who are based in Kettering; the company is the world's oldest-known playground producer.

Kettering is the home of Kettering General Hospital, which provides Acute and Accident & Emergency department services for north Northamptonshire including Corby and Wellingborough. With its new £20 million campus, 16,000 students and 800 staff, Tresham College of Further and Higher Education is a significant employer in the region.

Kettering Business Park, a recent and current commercial property development undertaken by Buccleuch Property is situated on the A43/A6003, on the north side of Kettering. Many office buildings are being built as part of the project as well as a leisure sector with a new hotel. Many large distribution warehouses have been constructed in the area, creating thousands of jobs for the local economy. Kettering's Heritage Quarter houses the Manor House Museum and the Alfred East Gallery. The magnificent Boughton House, Queen Eleanor cross and the 1597 Triangular Lodge are local landmarks within the borough. Sir Thomas Tresham was a devout Catholic who was imprisoned for his beliefs. When he was released he built Triangular Lodge to defy his prosecutors and secretly declare his faith. The construction's 'three of everything'—sides, floors, windows and gables—represent the Holy Trinity.

The British sitcom Peep Show has various scenes located in Kettering owing to the head office of JLB, the company which employs lead character Mark Corrigan, being located there. However, the scenes are not filmed in Kettering, and places named in the show such as the nightclub Lap Land Kettering and the hotel Park Kettering are fictitious.



The A14 skirts the west and south of the town, links the town with the A45 dual carriageway, M1 and M6 motorways. The A6003 links Kettering to Corby. The A43 links Kettering with Corby and the county town of Northampton and the A509 (Kettering/Wellingborough Road) links Kettering with Wellingborough.


In April 1986 the bus station was relocated away from the market area to the Newland Street entrance of the modern Newlands shopping centre, causing a fatal decline in market trade. Although buses were re-allocated there in April 1987 before closing again in September 1989 and building a smaller version of a Bus Station on which it closed also in May 1999, buses since then have just served The Library and Newlands Shopping Centre. From May 2010 all buses now serve the new horsemarket bus interchange, as they don't serve the library any more this is due to public realem improvements. New bus stops have been installed around rail station and headlands.

The town is served by a local bus service under the name Stagecoach Kettering (united counites) with the following routes:

  • Corby X1 Corby- Kettering – Burton Latimer – Finedon – Wellingborough
  • Kettering 15 Stamford road – Kettering – Kettering Train Station – Highfield road- Tesco
  • Kettering 19 Kettering – Ise lodge
  • Kettering 49 Rushden – Higham Ferrers – Irthlingborough – Finedon – Kettering – Brambleside
  • Kettering 50 Bedford town centre (bus station) – Rushden – Higham Ferrers – Irthlingborough – Finedon – Kettering- Brambleside
  • Kettering X43/43 Market Harborough – Desborough – Rothwell – Kettering
  • Kettering 19 Kettering – Rothwell – Desborough – Rushton – Corby
  • Kettering X4 Gold Peterborough – Oundle – Corby – Kettering – Wellingborough – Northampton – Milton Keynes
  • Kettering X43/43 Northampton – Moulton – Broughton – Kettering – Rothwell – Desborugh – Market Harbrough
  • Kettering 39 Kettering – Mawsley – Moulton – Northampton
  • Kettering 34 Wellingborough – Little Harrowden – Orlingbury – Pytchley – Kettering – Lake Avenue

The Town is also served by a local bus service ran by Centrebus Northamptonshire, with the following routes:

  • Kettering 8 Corby – Stanion – Geddington – Weekley – Kettering
  • Kettering 16 Kettering – Cranford – Thrapston – Raunds
  • Kettering 34 Kettering – Wellingborough
Kettering railway station platform

Rail services operated by East Midlands Trains depart every 30 minutes from Kettering to St Pancras International railway station, with an average journey time of 59 minutes. St Pancras also provides an interchange with the Eurostar service to France and Belgium. Kettering is linked to Corby, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield to the north and Wellingborough, Bedford, Luton to the south. Because of good rail links, a large and growing commuter population takes advantage of Kettering's position on the Midland Main Line railway.


Five large UK airports are within 2 hours' drive of the town, these being London Heathrow, London Luton, East Midlands, Birmingham and London Stansted. London Luton can be reached directly by train while East Midlands and London Stansted can be reached by one change at Leicester. Sywell Aerodrome, located 6 miles (9.7 km) south-west of Kettering, caters for private flying, flight training and corporate flights.

Future growth

In mid-2003, the population of the Borough of Kettering was estimated at 86,000, with 51,063 residing in the town proper. Kettering along with the neighboroughing town of Corby is located in North Northamptonshire, the fastest growing place in England and Wales, with the East Kettering development area covers 300 hectares and extends from the A43 in the north to the A14 in the south. In March 2007, a project was revealed to refurbish and bring new leisure and shopping to the town centre, including water features, public art, sculptures, street furniture, trees, plants and an innovative pavement lighting scheme. In 2017, is expected that the famous Spanish engineers PGP and IGG are going to meet in this town as a part of their European Tour. The local authorities are confident this event will bring Kettering international recognition. .



Kettering experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification) which is similar to most of the British Isles.

Climate data for Kettering, GBR
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7
Average low °C (°F) 2
Precipitation cm (inches) 4.51


Kettering's nearest towns are Desborough, Burton Latimer and Rothwell with the larger towns of Corby and Wellingborough a bit further away.

Town twinning

Kettering is twinned with:

kids search engine
Kettering Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.