Meeting Report September 2012

Marie opened the meeting with a reminder to members that FoNC was a working group with work to be done!


Tickets are on sale at Waterstones Northampton bookshop in Abington Street. They had been available to buy at the recently held Heritage Fair. In addition to the FoNC website and Facebook page, publicity posters were up in key locations around the town such as the Central Library and Museum. A press release had been sent to the local press and the event had been mentioned on the local radio. Members were assigned tasks, to maximise publicity in the run up to the day; liaise with the manager at Waterstones and Lynne at the Castle Hill Church; be volunteers on the night and check ticket sales. Alison Weir would be contacted to confirm final arrangements and also to see if it was agreeable and possible for her to be interviewed by phone with BBC Radio Northampton prior to the day.

Work was still ongoing. John D. will be talking plus showing the site and some of the Finds, to Year 6 of Spring Lane School on 23rd October. During the October half-term break, John, Jon and Ian, will be in the school one day to sort the Finds. Jon will notify Howard when exact day is fixed so he can put on the website to seek more volunteers. May also get some of the youngsters from the school involved with a view to forming an Archaeology Club; funds for equipment are available. Jon is putting together a newsletter on the Dig which will include the fascinating research he has uncovered on the people who lived on the site before the houses were knocked down in 1937.

Marie reported that at a recently held meeting, attended by business leaders and key figures from across Northampton to share ideas and discuss the future of the town, our proposal for a Heritage Square was presented (not as forceful as hoped for) by the NCC appointed Heritage Project Manager for the Heritage Gateway. She also attended a project meeting with the Churches Conservation Trust at which she was told that the CCT are in talks with the OBL owners regarding its proposed role as part of an interpretation centre.


It was brought to the meeting’s attention that an article had just been posted on the Chronicle & Echo website reporting that County Archaeologists are due to begin investigation of land underneath the railway station in October ahead of construction work of a new station. Jon was requested to send an e-mail on behalf of FoNC to NCC, NBC and WNDC to lobby for the dig to be open to the public for all to see rather than ‘behind closed doors’ and also to ensure that a full and robust investigation was carried out on the site. All members of FoNC are encouraged to contact relevant Councillors on NCC and NBC and MP Brian Binley to lobby likewise. Marie stressed the importance that all parties including the architects and railway bodies should be fully informed and working together to ensure the heritage is properly recorded and taken into consideration during reconstruction of the railway station site.


Our table at the Fair was well supported. As well as the Alison Weir Event tickets being on sale there were also copies of the newly produced FoNC notelets displaying a picture taken from the 3D image video of the Castle on sale. Sanaa has also arranged for them to be available for sale in Central Library. At the fair Sanaa was showcasing his further developed version of the Castle 3D animation with a voice-over provided by Howard. Due to a misunderstanding our exhibition boards and other display items had not been collected when the Fair ended. John M. was thanked for his thoughtfulness in ensuring that they were all returned safely.


It was generally agreed that our twice daily Castle Ward Heritage Project Trail Walks had been a success on all four days averaging between fifteen and twenty people for every walk even on the Thursday (not originally scheduled but hastily arranged when erroneously included in NBC promotional material for the Heritage Open Days). On the weekend days an NBC supported walk clashed times with ours. The Council Department responsible for HOD has been advised to ensure that this does not occur next year.


Joe gave details of bank balance and expenditure so far in relation to the Dig; printing of notelets; and the replacing of an information sign on site of Castle. Membership would be available at the Alison Weir event.

Jon has managed to obtain the unsold bottles of Castle Beer from the closed OBL. However, he still awaits the money due for the bottles sold. Ideas were discussed for the sale of the remaining stock.


The next meeting will be at 6pm on Friday 12th October at Castle Hill United Reform Church, Doddridge Street, Northampton.

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