Written in 1899 for the Northampton Daily Chronicle

Old Poppet, the scavenger, a diminutive man with very bow legs but he was very strong in the arms. He used to water the streets with a large can and then sweep them with a large besom (50 years ago). Mr Fred Hollis was a hosier and hatter on the Parade; John Mason was a noted boot-maker in the Drapery, each was in business with their fathers before them for close upon a century. Old Adson, the paviour, paved most of the centre of the town, 50 or more years ago and removed the grass from under our feet.

I remember the County Gaol being built by Charles Ireson, 60 years ago, the architect was James Miln, a Scotchman. Previous there stood on the spot two large white houses, one being occupied by some of the Scriven family and the other by an old lace-buyer of the name of Garret. The old County Gaol was in George Row where the Magistrates Rooms are, and occupied by Mr H Markham as Clerk of the Peace for the County. Above the gaol lived the father of the late Brook Gates and on the opposite side, where the Town Hall now stands, lived Mr Styles, the dentist and afterwards Mr Butler Wilkins, and next door, Mr T Scriven and after him, Dr Mash for several years.

In the house above lived two old ladies of the name of Evans, who kept their carriage. Then came Dr Robertson, one of the most noted physicians in the town. You might see him of a winter’s night being carried in a sedan, paying visits. The last house was a very old-fashioned place, with large bay-windows, occupied by a Quaker – a farrier and blacksmith – Blunsom, whose premises ran into Dychurch Lane. He had a nephew called Ben Aris, now over 80 years old and looking very well, being in practice as a veterinary surgeon for 50 years. On the opposite side lived Lawyer Fletcher (Flesher?) a gentleman fond of dog and gun. A little higher lived Glory Stanton, a noted man of the old Radical type.

At the corner of Wellington Road and Abington Street, was the residence of John Armitage. He died at a great age. Next door lived Mr Thomas Howes and his family and on the opposite side Dr Percival, a very clever man, grandfather of the present doctor and near him Mr James Whitmy, builder and timber merchant. Mrs W Smith of Gold Street was one of his daughters.

There is a dilapidated house now which belonged to Mr Samuel Percival – a great banker in the Drapery, who was loved and admired by all. Opposite lived Dr Kerr, a clever physician and a kind- hearted gentleman. Just below lives Alderman Barwell, a business man, who was Mayor in 1844 when the Queen came. Then the residence of the Markham family for a century or so. Mr Henry, a great age, is still with us! The late Mr John Whitmy was one of our best tradesmen, the widow of the late Pickering Phipps being one of his daughters. I remember his uncles, the late Richard and Thomas Phipps, when the business was in its infancy 50 years ago.

Some other inhabitants – there were several Quakers like William Collins, who lived in the Drapery for many years and kept a clothier’s shop, and did a large trade in cords and fustian frocks and the old long smock frocks which used to be worn on Sundays and work-days. He made a fortune and, following that, built the house where Alderman Randall resides.

There were two Latchmores in Bridge Street, Edward being a confectioner. Close to him was his brother, a rope and sack maker who carried on a prosperous trade. Opposite was Thomas Browett, tinman and brazier. On the Parade were Barringers, the grocer and in the Drapery, Blunsom, tailor and Payne, clothier and several more.

Amongst our oldest shoe manufacturers were Joel Edens, in Pike Lane also Robert Derby who is still living, he was Mayor and still is a magistrate. Samuel Parker and his brother, whose warehouse was at the top of Wood Street and John Groom of Abington Street, were also Mayors. David Bryan was in Green Street and Henry and William Marshall, also the father of W Hollis and the late Mr J Bostock who carried on his business in College Street and then Victoria Street. His son Mr F Bostock now carries on a still more extensive trade in one of the finer premises in town.

Of our leading iron-founders, Mr ER Barwell and Alderman Grundy had premises in Commercial Street. John Brettle had a foundry in Cow Lane, the business being carried on after his death by William Roberts, who married one of his daughters. They also had an ironmongers shop in Mercers Row. In the Drapery was Sam Wood, Thomas Hewlett and old William Porter and in Gold Street Josh Ashby. Among drapers the father of the late John Phipps was in Gold Street and he was connected with the Bank on the Parade.

On the Market Square was William Franklin, another good, honest tradesman. Also Mr J B Norman, at the corner of Gold street were Messrs Crewe, where the grocers now are, also in Gold Street, Mr Presland, and there was Mr Brice and Mr Warren (where Cockerill’s shop is), he was brother of Mr Warren of Earls Barton who was found murdered at Boughton Fair more than 40 years ago.

Among our leading tailors was William Mills and Mr Walker in the Market Square – afterwards Walker & Gourlays. Goodman & Spoor were in Gold Street some 60 years ago, and after Mr James Spoor carried on the business in the Drapery and then to Wood Hill where he died.

Old surgeons – Mr Mash, House Surgeon at the Infirmary for many years, he was strict and clever and to those who did not obey his orders he did not forget to speak his mind! Mr W Percival, father of the present gentleman in Abington Street, is still living in Kingsthorpe, looking hale and hearty and well not withstanding his 86 years. Dr Bryan and Mr Birdsall, and then came Dr Francis and Dr Webster.