Meeting the community – Jacqui Norton, Vice-Chair of Wellingborough Civic Society

As part of our new Community Spotlight series, Jacqui Norton, Vice-Chair of the Wellingborough Civic Society tells us about her life in Wellingborough, as well as the town’s history, the Civic Society, and the best places for a meal out…

Hi Jacqui! Tell us about yourself…

Hi! I was born in Wellingborough during the late 1960s in Park Hospital, now known as Isebrook Hospital. 

From a young age, I knew I wanted to work in the music industry, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I decided to make my dream a reality. I got a job at Warner Chappell Music Ltd – the publishing arm of Warner Music – and moved to London. 

In 2001, after 10 years living in London, I was able to sell my flat and purchase a house in Wellingborough – something I’m really glad that I did.

Currently, I lecture in Arts and Festivals Management at De Montfort University in Leicester – and I am proud to be the Director of the first arts festival to take place behind bars, called ‘Talent Unlocked’. During the pandemic, I recorded a music industry series for prisoners, which is currently on air on in-cell television. I have also developed a motto that I live by: Educate, Mentor and Inspire.

Why did you move back to Wellingborough?

Wellingborough is such a welcoming place. The town is also well connected, and I now commute most days to Leicester, but at times still travel to London for work or pleasure.

Wellingborough has some great open spaces – if you enjoy walking, from most corners of the town, you can walk into the beautiful countryside within 20 minutes. 

Tell us about your work with the Civic Society…

The Civic Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, where I have been a member for the last 13 years and in 2021, I proudly became Vice Chair. 

I joined the Civic Society because I love learning about my town’s heritage, and it’s great that the long-standing committee members have a myriad of knowledge, which they are happy to share. I also wanted to ensure a positive legacy is left for the future generations of Wellingborough. In short, I’d like to make a positive difference, no matter how big or small. 

Hopefully future generations will enjoy and appreciate Wellingborough’s rich history, the way I do, particularly as there are so many interesting artefacts, historic files and images that document Wellingborough, and this can all be found at Wellingborough Museum.

I would also love for new residents to embrace the town’s heritage and reach out to the Civic Society. It’s always nice to see new faces and we are very approachable!

What’s a lesser-known fact about Wellingborough that you think everyone should know about? 

We’re all familiar with stories of the Great Fire of London, which took place in 1666, but did you know that in 1738, Wellingborough had a famous fire too? There is a heritage plaque on The Red Well on Silver Street, about the fire that consumed most of the town in just four hours. You can find out more about the fire and the fittingly named local heroine, Hannah Sparke, at the Wellingborough Museum.

What would you like the future of Wellingborough to look like? 

Like most residents, I would like to see our High Street and shops improve. I think it would be great to utilise empty premises to showcase local artists and their artworks, so we have something amazing to look at every day.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

I would love to give a shout out to my favourite pub and restaurant in town – The Little Ale House on the High Street! Tracie and Alan are really friendly and make Sunday afternoons feel like a Friday night. 

Also, Niwan Turkish Restaurant on Midland Road has delicious food and a great atmosphere! Both places I highly recommend.

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