The next time you’re passing Desborough on the B576, stop a while amid it’s industrial Northamptonshire charms. No Good Beer Guide pubs, but you will see the Big Society in action, as well as lots of corsets.
What you immediately notice is a lot of new housing on the edge of town, pushing it above 10,000 population. It doesn’t have the facilities to match that; a few small shops and just the George for refreshment, with the practically adjacent Kings Arms up for sale.
The Kings Arms and George are part of a remarkable number of accommodation options in town, which I can only put down to travelling salesmen from the lingerie factory.
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed them in the George, a boisterous Everards pub with large screen football and sports team, just about maintaining a decent Tiger (NBSS 3) amidst a sea of lager. The current frontage (top) has really toned down the Everards liverage.
Elsewhere, this is the home of the Club; Conservative, Working Mens, Works. You could have fun drinking Smooth in all three of them, particularly if tickets for the Roy Chubby Brown Tribute at the CC (22 July) are still available.
The best local ironstone buildings, apart from the pubs, are around the attractive church.
A walk east will take you to the folly that is Rushton Triangular Lodge (English Heritage); bound to keep teenagers amused for hours.
But the main reason to stop is the wonderful Heritage Centre, a treat for lovers of social history. I spent 3o minutes exploring sock stamping machines and Bisto packets,alongside a sobering account of Desborough’s fallen heroes of the Great War. There’s a mass of material, and amazingly it’s open six days a week, longer than most city libraries.
Local museums like this are often hidden treasures. This is one of the best I’ve seen for a town this size. I’m sure the two genial ladies would have been happy to answer any questions about lost Desborough pubs before they direct you over the road to the charity café.
If you do stay over, you could walk the mile to the big city of Rothwell, but that’s for another time.