Thousands of years in the future, artificial life forms will read this blog* and wonder;

Why folk were queuing to buy trowels from Wilko and take cash out of Halifax ?

Doing what we’re best at


Why a renowned pub blogger had driven 47 miles to to take photos of an unheralded Northamptonshire town with everything closed.

Train journey via London not recommended

I’m retiredmartin.  It’s what I do.


This was my first trip to Britain’s capital of distribution centres (or is that Rugby ?) since the Three Cocks made the Guide in the early 2010s.

Three Cocks (on left) – The “CAMRA” pub

Seven years of bi-monthly flybys on the magical A14 and I’ve never thought “Wonder what Kettering is up to these days ?“.

To make a proper 90 minute stomp of it, I parked up near the venerable Piper on the Wicksteed Park side of town and walked into town.

The other GBG stalwart


It’s no Stamford.

Cafe Culture

But despite the decline of the shoe industry, and the loss of the local football team to Burton Latimer, Kettering is/was an employment hotspot and a population boomtown.

I really had to search for the relics of its industrial past north of Montagu Street.

Font porn
Lots of potential craft beer sites, anyway

A poor man’s Northampton ?

Bit unfair, though it lacks the cosmopolitan feel of the county town, even if it’s stolen the road names.

As always, look up.

Nice font on Toller Church
This is above Vape Junkies

Selecta Tyre wins an award for the “Worst desecration of a Listed building by a yellow banner“.

No, Selecta

Yes, I was having the time of my life on my aimless wander, taking in the joys of recent Guide entries like the Shire Horse and Alexandra Arms.

Mann’s signage rarely a bad sign
Man patiently waits for Alexandra re-opening
A proper scruffy Spoons (see Trip Advisor)

But I was both hot, and hungry.  And the town centre is short on takeaway options.  And you can’t eat jewellery. Yet.

More great fontage
Fun pubs rule
Tourist map doesn’t show takeaways

And then, there it was.

Welcome back

I’m a fan of Subway.  You can pretend you’re eating healthily by asking for “all the salad” on your pile of carbs, and get a proper meal including coffee and cookie (for Mrs RM) for under a fiver.

Normal life is returning, slowly.

Cultural Quarter

And then, just like in the song, a robin sang in Kettering’s cultural quarter square.

“Pubs open soon, retiredmartin” it sang

*The internet will last for ever, yeah ?


  1. The late Rockingham Road – one of the very few grounds in those days making an effort to serve a quite decent selection of cask ales.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only went the once, 1993, and I vaguely remember that. Northants, like Essex, one of the most reliable cask counties.

      Kettering Town have had a tough decade, haven’t they ? Presume they’re developing the Burton Latimer ground; the pub in Burton is great.


      1. With the demise of Rushden & Diamonds, someone had the bright idea of moving Kettrin’ into Nene Park. It broke the club; they collapsed into administration owing £1.2 million a year later and were demoted two divisions.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I find it amazing how you can throw a dart at a map of England and hit a place like this. The photos either lie or this is rather a pretty town. Another place most of us would never see. Keep renownding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Folk who like Victorian and Edwardian architecture would like it; there aren’t many obvious great pubs though the Shire Horse is probably your closest to a Black Country boozer. Should be decent curry here but never stopped.

      “Keep renownding” – normally I edit typos but couldn’t guess this one !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Folk who like Victorian and Edwardian architecture would like it” – and in so many town centres there’s so much from before the war of interest at first and second floor levels if the 1960s or later ground floor plate glass is ignored. ;

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My first acquaintance with “Kettering” was as a word, written in cast-iron fretwork of the steps to the crow’s nest of a slide on the nearby rec. I must have been about five. I thought that it had a nice ring “…and the children went kettering up the iron steps”

    Yes, there are lots of robins this year, and they seem cheekier than ever.

    Which is good.


    1. Etu,
      While I’ve been sat weeding a robin has perched on my shoe and hopped under my knee.
      There was a cockchafer two days ago – and they’re proper beetles.


  4. We’ve visited the charity shops and pub (singular) of Kettering once or twice a month for the last 10-15 years, and ‘still’ hadn’t found anywhere we like to eat. The Three Cocks briefly fulfilled this role with a decent freshly made Cheese’n’Onion, but there just wasn’t the demand once they’d introduced the tastebud mauling Citra.

    The reopening of the Market Tavern finally solved this, or it did for a few weeks before everything closed. Not the half-empty fleapit with a skittles table it once was (sigh!), now an open-plan high table and sofa affair with sky sports, great pizza, and those charcuterie platters we’ve all adopted as traditional British pub grub. And an Oakham beer. Yay!

    The Alex was ‘the’ CAMRA pub for years until the Cocks opened. Not the same beer-wise since the 12-different-pale-beers-you’ve-never-heard-of days under Nip.

    We very much miss Kettering Town. You should’ve gone to the art gallery… oh!


      1. Yes in the frozen wastes we have winter tyres and have to break the ice on top of our Bass. They lost the normal tyres in their ‘storage facility’.


  5. I would write a dissertation on the nuanced differences between “always a good sign” and “rarely a bad sign,” if I had even the faintest idea how to write a dissertation.

    That “Toller Church” lettering is surprisingly 1970s-looking for such a venerable building. Looks more like it was designed for use in the words “Roller Disco.” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s