A day in Daventry. Where else can you find a singing vacuum cleaner and Cliff Richard salt & pepper pots?

Yesterday I made my first trip to Daventry in Northamptonshire. I travelled via train to the village of Long Buckby where I took a bus through 5 miles of beautiful fields to this historic market town. The landscape photo is blurry as the driver fancied himself as Nigel Mansell.

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Daventry is famous for radio communication. Peter Pendleton Eckersley, cousin to Aldous Huxley, was the broadcasting pioneer who arranged for the world’s first long wave transmitting station to be positioned on Borough Hill in 1925. In this centralised location almost the entire population of the UK could tune into the wireless to hear its regular opening gambit “Daventry calling!”.

In 1935 another pioneer, Robert Watson-Watt, successfully proved that RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging) could be used to detect incoming aircraft. His Daventry experimental work ultimately saved Britain from invasion during World War II as is detailed in the 2014 BBC drama “Castles in the Sky” starring Eddie Izzard.

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Above is The Burton Memorial erected in the Market Square in 1907 in memory of Town Clerk, Edmund Charles Burton. The water spout was broken and someone had dumped a ball of used tissues in the font.

The small museum is free and the best exhibit in my opinion was this unassuming Hoover which picked up radio music, a side effect of all the nearby broadcasting activity. Apparently it was common for residents to tune into “Daventry 5XX” via their vacuum cleaners and toasters.

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Despite it being market day, it was very quiet during my visit. There was a cannabis aroma around the bus station and 16 year old lads avoiding work or education were utilising the recently created skateboard park.

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One lucky charity retail outlet had been graced with a selection of Cliff Richard memorabilia including these salt and pepper pots. A classy addition for any dining table. Just not mine.

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It is always one of life’s great disappointments for me when a wrought iron church door is locked outside of functioning hours. I found the only 18th century built church in Northamptonshire, The Holy Cross, bolted.

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Still, I enjoyed the accompanying celtic gravestones and watching this timid ginger cat who would not allow me to get any closer.

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Moot Hall is a grade II listed building built in 1769 which began as a private house. Since that time has been a courtroom with holding cells, a women’s prison, an eclectic shopping space and an Indian restaurant. It was shut up during my visit and so I have no clue what it is now used for.

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There are no vegan friendly eateries advertised here nevertheless, Daventry has a large impressive health shop. I was given a taster of raw vegan chocolate cake as I entered and I left with a simple bean salad. A pudding before lunch type scenario. www.sheafstreethealthstore.com.

3 Comments

  1. That’s an unusual piece of information, Lana, about the toasters picking up radio broadcasts! I can kind of get it with the vacuum cleaners though… I wonder if teeth braces did the same thing – I’ve heard of them picking up Radio One before! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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