NIAG and Northamptonshire's Industrial Heritage

Aims of NIAG

NIAG was formed with the following aims:

  • To co-ordinate the study of industrial heritage in Northamptonshire;
  • To encourage and assist with the promotion of industrial heritage in the county, including the production of occasional publications.
  • To provide through meetings and other activities a means of exchanging ideas, information and views of persons interested in industrial archaeology and its heritage in Northamptonshire.
  • To liaise with other bodies at county (including the Sites and Monuments Record), regional and national level having an interest in, or involvement with, industrial archaeology.
  • To contribute to the management of industrial heritage in the county.

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Introduction to NIAG's Interests

Today Northamptonshire is not normally associated with major industries other than perhaps agriculture. A county more for 'passing through' on the way to somewhere else.

The county, however, does have a rich past of industry – quarrying for iron ore, building stone and engineering. It also has a rich heritage in boot and shoe manufacturing of both national and international significance. In the eighteenth century there was a thriving woollen textile industry.

The River Nene provided power for many mills as it flowed through the county. The county was, and is, also strategically positioned on long-distance road, canal and railway routes.

Except for two main lines, with a third in the former Soke of Peterborough, running north to south, the county's railway network has all but disappeared.

As part of its activities NIAG visits and records sites relating to the county's industrial heritage and are shown in the following pages.

A few pictures from our recent summer programmes:

Detail of a former shoe factory.

Detail of a former shoe factory.

Valve motion gear on O & K's 1936 'Elf'.

Valve motion gear on O & K's 1936 'Elf'.

Iron Trunk aqueduct carrying the Grand Union Canal over the Great Ouse river.

Iron Trunk aqueduct carrying the Grand Union Canal over the Great Ouse river.


More images can be seen in the Photo Gallery.