Free app brings characters from Northampton’s past to life

Published: Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A free augmented reality app is helping people learn a little more about inspirational figures from Northampton’s past using their phones.

The Ghosts of Northampton Past trail is accessible from the free HP Reveal app and brings 17 famous Northampton figures to life at venues across the town.

First launched in spring 2017, the app has been relaunched with the support of local shoe manufacturers: Church’s, Edward Green & Co, John Lobb, Tricker’s and Jeffery West.

In addition to the handy trail map, footprints sponsored by the five shoe manufacturers have been placed in the different trail locations to assist people in finding the best spot for hunting down each ghost.

The design of each of the footprints have been based on the soles of famous shoes produced by each company.

Once stood in place, with phones directed at the spot indicated on the map and in the app, people can watch Northampton’s famous figures come to life thanks to local people who stepped up to give voice to their stories. Each of the interpreters has a strong connection to the person they portray.

The ghosts waiting to be hunted down are:

•             John Clare played by poet Justin Thyme and is located to the right-hand side of All Saints church

•             Walter Tull played by ex-Northampton Town footballer Wayne Baptiste and is located in the Guildhall Courtyard.

•             Pickering Phipps played by MD of the Phipps Brewery Alaric Neville and is located at the entrance to Subway on Fish Street.

•             Lucia Joyce played by musician and artist Yoshe Watson and is located at the red door on the Guildhall in Dychurch Lane.

•             Elizabeth Barnard played by Donna Bond – located at a door beside Ask Italian on St Giles Square

•             Charles Bradlaugh played by Brendan Glynane and is located at the door besides Starbucks on the Market Square.

•             Freda Jackson played by actress Helen Crevel can be found in the old entrance to the Royal Theatre

•             Henry Bird played by artist Simon Baird can be found by the entrance to Northampton and County Club

•             John Franklin played by Martin Sutherland, ex Chief Executive at the Royal and Derngate, can be found by entrance to NN Contemporary Art

•             Lady Wantage played by photographer and social art organiser Jayne West, can be found at front entrance of Abington Park Museum

•             George Wilkin, the last man hanged on the Racecourse, played by criminology writer Neil K. Bond, can be found at the old tram stop.

•             Sir Malcom Arnold played by music producer and composer Dominic Read-Jones and is located in The Courtyard at the Guildhall

•             Joan Wake played by training specialist Heather Green and is located at the entrance to Delapré Abbey

•             Denis Brooks played by Nathan Buck, seam bowler at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, can be found at the Wantage Road entrance to County Cricket Ground

•             Edgar Mobbs played by Lee Dickson, scrum-half with the Northampton Saints and is located at The Courtyard at the Guildhall

•             Francis Crick played by Nick Petford, vice-chancellor of University of Northampton, can be found in the Courtyard at the Guildhall

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Northampton has a fascinating history and it’s great that local people were willing to come on board to help bring these stories to life. I’d like to thank everyone who gave the ghosts their voices as well as the shoe companies who this summer, have helped to refresh the trail and make it easier for people to hunt the ghosts down.

“We’re proud of our incredible heritage and hope to continue adding to the trail to help highlight even more characters from the town’s past as well as the venues in which they are located.”

Get started on your ghost hunt by downloading the HP Reveal app for free from your app store and search for ‘The Ghosts of Northampton Past’.

Ghosts of Northampton Past Trail map can be downloaded from Alternatively, hard copies can be collected from The Guildhall Office.