A Corby Tour

We recently had some friends and their children come to visit us from Yorkshire for a long weekend and like most we had wondered how best to fill the time to keep them occupied. The itinerary such as it was seemed quite predictable at first mixed with the realities of daily life like shopping and cooking. As we drew closer to the Asda car park one of our younger guests asked about the long tube thing standing on it’s own opposite the supermarket. ‘Why’ I replied, ‘That’s what we call the Corby candle’, going onto explain what it was, it’s significance and where it used to be. Suddenly I was a tour guide. They all started firing questions at me. It was the same as we drove out to Kirby Hall and Rockingham Castle. I realised that I knew more of my town’s past than I had realised. The old railway station where my grandma had first arrived from Scotland bringing her entire life and family with her. A drive past the speedway found me spouting lyrically about the ‘dust track’, a jitty which led into the heart of the steelworks along which we would cycle, without permission, as children. The history of the old village, Saint John’s Church and how the cemetery there had to be reduced to make way for a roundabout. Mr. Perry the dentist and his practice between the Samuel Lloyds School and the Boy’s School. The old wooden library that once stood on Rockingham Road. The Welfare Club where I had my first pint of ‘legal’ ale which set me back 17p. The Nags Head. The Odeon cinema and how we used to rush out of there to feed the horses that grazed beyond the large railway bridge which spanned the tracks to the steel works. The admin block at British Steel where I first worked after leaving school. They wanted to know about my uncle Jack, a major in the British army, who is buried in the old Corby cemetery. The significance of the clayholes. I found myself explaining what a ‘loco’ was and where the blast furnaces had once stood. The sites of Golden Wonder and York Trailers. How cars used to go up and down Corporation Street. We sat having a coffee in the new town centre as two lads in Glasgow football shirts walked past, which led onto the Scottish heritage of Corby and its new town status. They were asking me more and more questions and they even bought a book about Corby from a new bookshop. It was then I realised how easy it is to perceive ones own surroundings as being boring or bland. That even in the most unlikely of places stories exist to be told, even fascinate. It’s worth remembering that we create tomorrow’s history and memories by what we do today. Incidentally, how does one pronounce ‘The Jamb’?


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One response to “A Corby Tour

  1. The Corby Guy

    Bit late, but it is DEFINITELY pronounce “Jormb”. It is erived from French “Jambe” for “leg”, ie the leg (street) off the High Street.

    My grandmother (Corby born and bred and NO Scottish blood!) would always correct anyone using the wrong but obvious pronunciation.

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