Wellingborough, aka “Well Rough”

Some towns get articles on this site because of mass unemployment and petty (and not so petty) crime, others because they’re too small and underdeveloped to support any decent nightlife or culture. Wellingborough manages to do both at once.

Once upon a time the town had a major railway depot, in addition to various factories for the famous Northamptonshire shoe trade. Both of these are now long gone, leaving behind a lot of council houses to hold workers the town no longer needs nor wants. The ones that weren’t sold off are falling to bits because the county council (which spectacularly self-destructed for reasons too complicated to go into here and is being reorganised from the ground up) lacks the money or the inclination to do more than the bare minimum of upkeep maintenance.

There’s pretty much Sweet Fanny Adams in the way of work except at a few remaining warehouses on trading estates that are right on the edge of town where there’s no buses to speak of. Everyone with ambition and talent leaves as soon as they’re out of school and never returns.

How grim is your Postcode?

Unlike most of the other Midlands ex-industrial towns on this website, Wellingborough is just big enough to have some genuinely dodgy bits but not quite big enough to support anything to make up for it. Apart from the criminally under-utilised local theatre and a pleasant but tiny museum in the middle of town there’s nothing in the way of an arts or culture scene.

The town centre is going the way of everywhere else these days since Amazon got mainstream: Charity shops, vape stores and questionable fast-food outlets abound outside the shopping centre and ultra-cheap chain stores dominate within it.

At one point around 2003 the town supposedly had more teen pregnancies per head of population than anywhere else in all of Western Europe, and it’s easy to understand why because there isn’t a lot else to do.

And just to set the tin lid on it, Wellingborough is positioned at exactly the right distance from London to completely negate the potential benefits to buying a house there and commuting to work, thanks to the stupidly overpriced local trains.