Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Super Job at St James - or Not? Part 1

Jimmy's End
But first, a puzzle picture.
And now, a map.
On the further side of the Nene, across the west bridge, in the suburbs of Northampton, still known as St. James's End, William Peverel founded an abbey for black canons of the order of St. Augustine. He endowed it with 40 acres in Duston, the church of Duston, and the mill of the same parish. The grant is undated, but was confirmed (probably in the same year) by Henry I. in the fifth year of his reign, 1104-5. The Abbey was dedicated to St James.

On the old map above (centre left) note "Abbey Walls", St James End and a lighter oval near the lower centre marked "Castle"; this is the site of today's railway station.

Jimmy's End expanded with factories and housing for the boot and shoe industry,
The station is to the right (east) of the "recreation ground". fbb's auntie used to taker him there to watch trains (sigh) - ah the joys of childhood.

Both Castle and Abbey have long since disappeared completely.

In 1904 Corporation trams reached St James, terminating at Franklins Gardens on Weedon Road..
The tram depot on St James Road later became the bus depot and remained in use until First Bus withdrew from the town.
Franklins Gardens became the home of the Saints rugby club with its stadium partly built on Abbey land. Abbey Works also rook its name from the monkery.
This was the home of Express lifts until the firm was taken over by Otis and the Northampton operation closed down.

But the lift company left a significant memorial. It has a set of entrance doors ...
... and looks like this ...
... from ground level and like this from the air.
Note the rugby stadium nearby.

Known affectionately as the Northampton Lighthouse (!) it was built by Express as a lift testing tower.

The structure was commissioned in 1978 with construction commencing in 1980, and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 12 November 1982. Since 1997 it has been a Grade II Listed Building.

The building is now privately owned and has been renamed the National Lift Tower. Following extensive renovation and repairs, the tower was re-opened for business in October 2009. The tower is used by lift companies for research, development, testing and marketing. As well as being a resource for the lift industry, the building is also available to companies requiring tall vertical spaces, for example companies wishing to test working-at-height safety devices.

It is also used for abseiling; both outside ...
... and inside.
The puzzle picture at the head of this post is now revealed as a view up the tower showing some of the testing equipment.

Readers may be surprised to know that fbb is not an enthusiastic practitioner of the art of absailing; indeed has never sailed an ab in his life. But the attractions of the Lift Tower for those that enjoy such things must be truly great.

The tower is a spectacular landmark, visible for miles around and notably from the M1.
New housing development has replaced the former Express works.

But our interest now turns to today's public transport, almost exclusively in the hands of Stagecoach.
Tomorrow, we begin to investigate the road junction illustrated in the above bus map extract, shown in more detail below.
Strange things are happening here with significant effect on the public transport of the areas.

We shall look some more tomorrow.

 Next Jimmys End blog : Wednesday 11th January 

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