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Article and photographs by Paul Wright, 2018
Additional Housing 2018
Oakley Arms
Being refurbished
Newly painted - the flats

For many years the Oakley Arms had stood at the junction of Wellingborough Road and Washbrook Road in Rushden, for about ten years it was trading as Pettifer’s Pet Shop with ample parking for customers in the yard.

It ceased trading circa 2017 and has now been mostly converted in to flats.

Pettifers The old name
With a Pettifers Hanging sign
The Oakley name uncovered

Before it closed the pub was a meeting place for musicians, and regularly had gigs upstairs in the "Attic."

One for the former customers of the Oakley Arms was a real character called Ron Paige; he lived in Wellingborough Road opposite Adnitt Road. Ron would go religiously for his daily pint, and would sit there smoking his pipe at lunchtime.

Prior to Ron's retirement he taught "painting and decorating" at Kettering Technical College when it was based in St. Mary's Road in the town.

The former site of the old Kettering Tech was used from 1954 until it moved to Windmill Avenue in 2007; now with 7,000 students it is called "Tresham College".

During the 1970's the principal was "James (Jock) McKinlay," a name that was carried on and used for the theatre. This opened up in 1975, and saw quite a number of famous acts performing on stage. Before this a lot of the shows were at the Savoy Theatre in Russell Street, and the Central Hall in Montague Street. A year later Mr. McKinlay decided to leave Northamptonshire, and he emigrated to live in the sun over in Spain.

The theatre was deemed to be not suitable for purpose, and so was closed down. The upshot being that Kettering then got its own dedicated theatre which is called the Lighthouse. The grand opening took place in Thurston Drive, Kettering, in May of 2008.

Tresham College
Tresham College
Tresham Court

The St Mary's Road site is now used for private dwellings, as can be seen in one of our shots. There is a street named "Tresham Court” there now, and a block of flats called "McKinlay Court".

Meanwhile back at the Oakley, the upstairs has been used as dwellings since 2017, but the carpenters and the decorators were working on the ground floor units from the start of 2018.

All completed, and in March 2018 the apartments are being marketed by Rushden Estate Agents Coley Thompson and are up for sale.

According to the latest figures from the Campaign for Real Ale, (CAMRA), 27 pubs are closing every week in this country.

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