Kettering Furnaces

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Kettering Furnaces' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Kettering Furnaces' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Kettering Furnaces' page

Closed & demolished 1963

By Francis Clarke

Kettering Furnaces had chimneys which were seen from all of Kettering and when the furnace released the pig iron it could be heard from far afield.

No mention of this establishment is made in any of the local books, but in its heyday there was a considerable workforce, mainly Italian.

Not only pig iron was produced, also gas from the furnace was extracted by BOC, tar was added to the slag to produce road surface and taken away by Tarmac.

My father, Geoff Clarke, was an Engineering Manager at the Furnaces and was employed right up to the closing and demolition. When the chimneys were demolished crowds of people attended or watched from vantage points as the chimneys fell. As the main rail line was adjacent to the furnaces, the line had to be closed for the demolition and re-opened when the all clear given.  All that remains of the to remind us of these premises is a lane named "Furnace Lane" that still has a bridge under the main line, which was the back entry to the furnaces and a area to the left of lane before the bridge where the ground is lower - this was a collection pond for the use of cooling in the furnaces. Furnace Lane used to meander past a couple of farms and then past the Crematorium to join the A6.



This page was added by Francis Clarke on 30/07/2014.
Comments about this page

A tale a former work colleague told me. It was 1942 or 3. He and some friends were playing in the second lodge field (opposite the Beeswing pub now). Suddenly a German fighter plane flew low overhead followed by a spitfire. The two planes disappeared in the direction of Rothwell.Some minutes later the German plane re appeared flying toward Kettering. The furnace chimneys were at an awkward angle to his flight that he flew round them. The spitfire was close behind and flew between the chimneys to gain distance. He said the lads he was with cheered the spitfire who had closed the distance significantly by flying through the chimney stacks. We will never know what happened to the German plane but he must have been very low on fuel at this time. I hope he survived and was placed in a pow camp until the war ended.

By Raw Hide
On 29/06/2015

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MLA Department for Education and Skills DCMS Learn with museums Kettering Borough Council