It’s not entirely clear why Northampton isn’t officially a city – it has a large population, a cathedral, and it is the county town of Northamptonshire (the clue is in the name). But even after several applications for city status, Northampton remains a town – but the reasons behind the decision are never made public. Still, the town, with its population of 220,000, is a significantly sized settlement, and is larger than several of the UK’s cities such as Cambridge, Preston, Norwich and York. At least Northampton Town FC won’t have to change its name anytime soon.
The town is situated all on its own, about halfway between London and Birmingham. The nearest large towns are Rugby and Milton Keynes, each about 25km away. This isolation has given Northampton a personality all of its own, with traces of both the South and the Midlands in its accent.
Northampton is to footwear what Sheffield is to steel – its boot industry was known all around the world and can trace its roots back a thousand years. It supplied millions of pairs to soldiers heading off to fight in World War I, but the industry declined thereafter. One very important trace remains, however – Dr. Martens, the company that’s loved all around the world for its AirWair boots and shoes, is headquartered in Wollaston, a few miles outside the city.
If you’re Northampton bound, here’s all the train and ticket info you need.