Monday, December 18, 2023

Little Bowden Police Station and Magistrates Court - and my political career

This attractive building stands in Northampton Road, Market Harborough, and the Prison History site gives you its early history:

In the Northampton Mercury of Saturday 5th September 1863 was an advertisement for builders to submit tenders for the building of a new Police Station and Magistrates Room at Little Bowden, with separate tenders needed for both. 

In the Northampton Mercury of Saturday 22nd October 1864 it was stated that the Chief Constable had taken possession of the station and placed an inspector and constable there. In the Northampton Mercury of Saturday 7th January 1865 it was reported that the Magistrates took possession of the Magistrates Room on 13th December 1864. 

Little Bowden Police Station on Northampton Road, Market Harborough is still standing and, I believe, is now used for private offices.

The building was used for private offices until recently, but was then put on the market. I'm not sure if it found a buyer.

The Chief Constable who took possession of the police station here in 1864 was the head of the Northamptonshire Constabulary, because the boundary between that county and Leicestershire followed the River Welland through Market Harborough until the 1890s. So a fair percentage of the town's population and offenders lived in Northants.

At some point after that boundary change the police station closed and became the offices of Market Harborough Urban District Council. I'm told there are still cells beneath it.

Little Bowden Magistrates Court continued to sit until about 1960, hearing cases from the Northamptonshire villages south of the town. It also served as the UDC's council chamber until the authority was abolished in 1974.

When, in 1984. I returned from working in Birmingham and London, the building was occupied by a sports club, The Olympian. It took its name from its owner, Brian Kilby, who had finished fourth in the Marathon at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. By some reckonings, he also held the world Marathon record for over a year in 1963-4.

In 1984 Brian Kilby was a Conservative member of Harborough District Council, but we noticed that he had stopped attending meetings - I believe he was having business problems - and selected a candidate for a possible by-election in his ward. That candidate was me.

I forget whether Kilby was disqualified as a councillor or decided to resign, but the by-election duly took place in May 1986 and I gained the seat for the Liberal Party, appearing as 'Liberal Alliance' on the ballot paper.

My memory may be faulty on some of these points, local readers, so please let me know if I've got anything wrong.

1 comment:

Matt Pennell said...

Who'd have thought that a top class long distance runner would become so feckless and disorganised that they'd stop attending meetings? This shows you how Conservatism can addle a man's brain.