and County Club is housed in fine premises (Grade 2*)
in George Row, Northampton and is situated in the All
Saints Conservation Area. The house itself was built
after the great fire of Northampton in 1675 when most
of the town was destroyed. It forms part of a handsome
row of Listed buildings which include the Grade 1 Listed
Sessions House, the Judges Lodgings and County Hall
(both Grade 2*). A feature of the outside of the building
is a central porch with Doric columns while inside can
be found a well-preserved late 17th century staircase
and early 18th century ceiling. Under the house are
fine vaulted cellars and tunnels which were probably
used for storage.
In 1744 the house
was leased for £30 a year for a town infirmary set up
by public subscription for the poor, sick and lame,
no money, gift or reward is taken of them or their friends
whatever. The infirmary had 30 beds and opened on 29th
March 1744. There was soon a waiting list so money was
raised in 1750 to increase the number of beds to 60
and the house next door was purchased. By 1790 it had
become obvious that George Row was not a satisfactory
location mainly because of the noise of the passing
traffic, the church bells and the town gaol next door.
Land was purchased in Northampton Fields and a new hospital
was built together with new roads leading to it.
In 1873 a group of Northamptonshire gentlemen proposed the setting up of a club for chess, billiards and news. They wanted two billiard tables and a room large enough for refreshments such as chops, welsh rabbits and cheese. They found temporary accommodation in the Old Corn Exchange and employed two boy billiard markers, dressing them in blue livery with steel buttons.
The Club proved popular and within five years had outgrown its premises. The former infirmary in George Row came on the market and was bought by Mr Vials and the gentlemen moved in. The purchase included yards, gardens, orchards, stables, coach house, granaries and offices to the rear.
Since then the Club has flourished and members have come from many local businesses. Membership is now open to both men and women and non-members may hire the beautiful premises for functions or dinner parties.