Ghost-hunting family fun this summer

Published: Wednesday, 02 August 2017

Inspirational figures with a significant connection to Northampton have been brought to life through an augmented reality heritage trail.

This summer, you can use your phone to learn a little bit more about 17 people from Northampton’s history with the Ghosts of Northampton Past trail.

Northampton Borough Council first launched the trail in December 2016 with six ghosts around the town centre, and has now extended the number of significant local figures included on the trail.

Using a free app, visitors will be able to watch and listen to the stories of people who made significant contributions to local and national history.

The borough council has produced a trail activity sheet for families to complete during the summer. Visit the One Stop Shop in the Guildhall or Tourist Information to pick up a trail activity sheet for your chance to win a family ticket to see the pantomime at The Deco later in the year.  

Northampton’s famous figures have been brought to life through a troupe of local volunteers who stepped up to give voice to their stories. Each of the amateur actors has a strong connection to the person they portray.

From scientists and campaigners to artists and poets, a broad range of stories are on offer. Joining John Clare, Walter Tull, Pickering Phipps, Lucia Joyce, Elizabeth Barnard and Charles Bradlaugh are:

  • Constance Howard played by textiles artist Abi Jackson - at the front entrance to Northampton Museum
  • Freda Jackson played by actress Helen Cavel - in the old entrance to the Royal Theatre
  • Henry Bird played by artist Simon Baird - by the entrance to Northampton and County Club
  • John Franklin played by Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive at the Royal and Derngate - by entrance to NN Contemporary Art
  • Lady Wantage played by photographer and social art organiser Jayne West - at front entrance of Abington Park Museum
  • George Wilkin, the last man hanged on the Racecourse, played by criminology writer Neil K. Bond - at the old tram stop on the Racecourse
  • Sir Malcom Arnold played by music producer and composer Dominic Read-Jones - The Courtyard at the Guildhall
  • Joan Wake played by training specialist Heather Green - at the entrance to Delapré Abbey
  • Denis Brooks played by Nathan Buck, seam bowler at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club - at the Wantage Road entrance to County Cricket Ground
  • Edgar Mobbs played by Lee Dickson, scrum-half with the Northampton Saints   - The Courtyard at the Guildhall
  • Francis Crick played by Nick Petford, vice-chancellor of University of Northampton - The Courtyard at the Guildhall

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said:

“We’re incredibly proud of our rich heritage and recognise that history is about much more than dates and timelines – it’s about the people who made a difference.

“Our town has been the home to so many interesting and passionate individuals over the years and it’s only right that we celebrate them. The trail first launched with some very well-known local characters, this time we’ve included a few faces who may not be quite as well-known but have equally as interesting stories to tell.

“The ghost trail is a great way to keep these legacies alive while encouraging people to get out and about in our town and parks to explore Northampton today as well as remember our past.”

Download the Aurasma app and search for ‘The Ghosts of Northampton Past’ to get started.