Desborough House tanding with its stables from a 1835 picture

History - Services in Desborough

Desborough House - The Early Years

Desborough House, now the Services Club was built in the early 19th century and is in Anglicised Italian villa style with an imposing frontage approached by steps to a patio extending across the frontage.  It is constructed of stuccoed masonry with some plain ironstone work at the rear elevations, all under a shallow pitched slate roof.


The first recorded owner of the house and estate was Joseph Pain (Payne), a farmer from the parish of Brampton and Dingley who died in 1818 and left all of his property to his wife Ann.  The history of the building for the early years is sketchy as no deeds are available until the 1890’s. A pencil sketch by George Clarke dated 20th September 1837 is titled “Desborough – Thompsons”. This same sketch is used to create the picture on the sale advertisement when on the 2nd November 1857 Desborough House Estate was auctioned by Mr. T. Waddington by order of the Assignee's under the Bankruptcy of Messrs. J. D. and T. H. Gotch. The house is there described as “the late Mr. Thompsons’s house” and “newly built”, with an enclosed carriage drive approach, with pleasure grounds, gardens, paddock, stabling for four horses, saddle house, coach house, brew-house, coal and wood houses and other out-buildings. It was also subject to an annual payment of one pound to the Churchwardens of Desborough. The house was in the occupation of Mr. P. B. Wallis at the time of the sale. The house together with a three storey stone and slated factory with access from Lower Street, a freehold cottage in the occupation of David Reeve and factory (unoccupied) fronting ‘Buckle Street”, together with 10 other cottages was sold for £1685. The Mr. Thompson mentioned is probably Samuel Thompson, a silk manufacturer, who died on 6th July 1857. Samuel had a wife called Martha who died on 7th July 1864. Samuel had two sons, Frederick and Alfred. Mr. Arthur Wright, described as a manufacturer of Kettering, bought the estate in 1862 but sold it one year later in 1863. The next owner was Mr. Valentine Dudley Henry Cary-Elwes who lived there until 1868. He established a Literary and Mechanics’ Institute and Reading Room at number 4 High Street, and also presented a selection of books for the use of its members. The Elwes family home was Great Billing Hall, and his father Cary Charles Elwes, a profligate, had left Valentine “ a rifled home, a crop of debts, and a hideous step-mother” according to Winefride Elwes in “Gervase Elwes”. Valentine married twice, his first wife was Miss Henrietta Lane, who he met on a boat, returning from Australia. But Henrietta died in 1864. Within a year, Valentine had visited Ireland, met and married Miss Alice Ward who was the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Ward, brother of the third Viscount Bangor.  


During that year the house came under the ownership of the Capell-De-Booth family.  (The De Capel-Brooke family resided at Great Oakley Hall and the Booth family at Glendon Hall.  Both families had extensive estates in the area, the Booths were also the owners of the Booth's Gin Distillers.  Mrs. Mary Augusta De Capel-Booth of Glendon Hall conveyed the property on 20th June 1877 to Augusta Booth. (Note: The 1881 census shows the occupants of Desborough House as:- Augusta Booth, a widow aged 77 born at Great Oakley, Charles Booth her 50 year old son, born at Kettering, Ann Yeomans a 40 year old dressmaker/servant born at Desborough, Mary Muggleton a 23 year old servant born at Wilbarston, and Ellen Chard a 19 year old housemaid from Rothwell.) The local gentry and “country set” were entertained here, and in the summer parties were held on the extensive tennis and croquet lawns at the side of the house.

The rear garden of Desborough House

The Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

On 20th July 1892, the Executors of Augusta Booth’s will, namely Richard Booth and Thomas George Booth sold the property for £1750 to Mr. Jonathan Reuben Moore, a chemist and druggist of Kettering, whose wife Miss Priscilla Coe, was a native of Desborough. Augusta Booth would not appear to have been in residence at Desborough House at the time of her death as the conveyance states “Reciting that Augusta Booth, late of Desborough made a will on 1st December 1889 appointing Richard Booth esquire therein described as of Glendon Hall but now residing at 14 Fourth Avenue Brighton, and Thomas George Booth of Northampton to be her Executors.” She died on 19th November 1891. The sale was to include “All that tenement without offices, stables, paddock, lawns and kitchen garden lately occupied by Augusta Booth deceased, 8 cottages, yards gardens and the building or factory nearby.” Now Jonathon Reuben Moore and his wife Priscilla had a son, Jonathon, who inherited the property on their deaths. He wrote 'The History of Desborough' - published in 1910. He died aged 58 at the end of July 1914. He left all his property in the parishes of Desborough and Braybrooke to his cousin Lydia Yeomans. The will was proved in October 1914 and on 13th November 1916 the Executors assented to devise to Lydia Yeomans, spinster all the property belonging to the late J. R. Moore being Desborough House, cottages 28-42 Buckwell Street, 2 cottages numbered 1 and 2 High Street (it also records that this property has since been altered and is now known as 2 Lower Street. It was conveyed by deed to J. R. Moore on 16th July 1907) plus a plot of land at the rear, also 4 cottages including yard later merged into one and known as 14 Lower Street (conveyed in a deed dated 10th April 1894). Lydia Yeomans remained there until she died at the age of 86 on 13th August 1946. There was a clothing factory which stood just to the south west of Desborough House, and formed part of that estate until 13th August 1919, when it was sold by Lydia Yeomans, to the Trufit Tailoring Company Limited (corrected on a deed dated 1925 as Trufit Clothing Co. Ltd.) and described as “factory and appurtenances near to or adjoining Desborough House situate in High Street Desborough, and also all that open yard or ground near to and adjoining the said factory together with all rights of way”. The firm went into voluntary liquidation at an Extraordinary Meeting held on 19th August 1922 and appointed John Henry Freeborough of Sheffield as the Liquidator. The Liquidator sold the property back to Lydia Yeomans on 10th April 1925, and the property once again became part of the Desborough House Estate. Miss Yeomans lived mostly in the kitchen, the rest of the rooms were filled with furniture covered over, and in later years numerous cats roamed freely all over the house. Miss Yeomans had a brother who lived with her for a while but he died in 1911.

Mid 20th Century

By a conveyance dated 11th December 1936 Lydia Yeomans sold a piece of land fronting 20 feet of Buckwell Street to H. M. Postmaster General (for the telephone exchange). The gardens were principally to the west side of the house, extending through to Buckwell Street. Mostly they were laid out with lawns, curving footpaths around the perimem, and the boundaries were set with trees and shrubbery. The lawn at the side of the house was known as the Croquet Lawn. The Services Club On 31st October 1946 the estate was put up for auction, (Auctioneers were J. C. J. Legge). It was described as Freehold Property consisting of Desborough House, with two outhouses, a fuel store, garden room and stone and slated stable block, together with ten stone built cottages producing an annual income of £117.17s.4d. The cottages consisted of 2 Lower Street, a stone and brick house with pan tiled and slated roof, 14 Lower Street, built of stone with a pan tiled and corrugated iron roof. Also a block of brick and slated cottages being 28, 30, 32, and 34 Buckwell Street. These were let at 4/6d per week. At the auction Dick Cheaney and Austin Philips had to go to £2700 on their own authority due to some rival bidding. The Executors of Desborough House Estate sold the property to Messrs. Howard Burditt of, Desborough - company director, Joseph Humphrey Cheaney of Market Harborough – Boot & Shoe Manufacturer, William Edward Lock of Desborough - Doctor of Medicine, and Raymond Percy Morris Coe of Desborough. A second meeting was then convened in the Drill Hall when news of the successful purchase was given with the information that the Desborough Industrial Provident Co-operative Society would be prepared to advance £2400 on a mortgage.  There was an immediate response from 30 members present who promised to pay £10 each free of interest to cover the deposit. After that many gifts and interest free loans were made by a great many people.

Ex-Service Organisation

An article in the Kettering Leader and Guardian of Friday 1st November 1946 stated : “Ex-Servicemen Buy H.Q. For £2700” It goes on further to say “By the sale on Thursday of Desborough House to Desborough Branches of the British Legion and Royal Air Forces Association for £2700 the scheme for an imposing ex-Service headquarters, which has been discussed for some months comes within a few weeks of fruition. The sale, conducted in a marquee in the grounds of the house was attended by a large company of buyers, and there was a burst of applause when the auctioneer, Mr. J. C. J. Legge of Northampton announced that the ex-service organisation had secured the house. Mr. G. W. Turner of Messrs Berry Bros and Bagshaw, Kettering bought the property on behalf of the two organisations. Formerly the residence of Miss Yeomans, who died a few weeks ago, Desborough House is about 150 years old and stands in a commanding position fronting High Street, Lower street and Buckwell street, opposite to the parish church, there are two acres of grounds and also included in the sale were ten cottages, all occupied. It is anticipated that the interior can be adapted for use as club premises and headquarters fairly easily and extensive grounds will lend themselves excellently to an elaborate layout for outdoor sports activities. At present they are occupied by trees and lawns.” It is also interesting to note that Mrs. Coe, mother of Raymond Coe a Trustee, attended the auction at Desborough House and purchased the lounge carpet and chandelier and donated them to the Club.  The carpet has long since gone but the chandelier still hangs there today. The first elected committee was Dr. W. E. Lock as President, Mr. Dick Cheaney as Chairman, Mr. Austin Philips as Secretary and Mrs. Marjorie Clarke as Treasurer. They decided to carry out the necessary repairs and alterations to transform the dilapidated building into the new Services Club. Mr. Norman Marlow was entrusted with the design and preparation of the plans which he did in his spare time. After the plans were passed Norman Marlow and Austin Philips went to Nottingham by train on a bitter cold day and successfully persuaded the powers that be to grant a building certificate, as any works above £100 had to have a special certificate at that time.  The repairs were carried out and the Services Club was officially opened in 1947 by the late Lord Hesketh.

Stuart Irons, 1997

The Services Club - the first years

Additional Information

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The 1960S & 1970s

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Detail your services

If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.

Announce coming events

Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.

Display real testimonials

Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.

Promote current deals

Running a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.

Share the big news

Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.

Display their FAQs

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1980s & 1990s

Additional Information

This is a long form text area designed for your content that you can fill up with as many words as your heart desires. You can write articles, long mission statements, company policies, executive profiles, company awards/distinctions, office locations, shareholder reports, whitepapers, media mentions and other pieces of content that don’t fit into a shorter, more succinct space.


Articles – Good topics for articles include anything related to your company – recent changes to operations, the latest company softball game – or the industry you’re in. General business trends (think national and even international) are great article fodder, too.


Mission statements – You can tell a lot about a company by its mission statement. Don’t have one? Now might be a good time to create one and post it here. A good mission statement tells you what drives a company to do what it does.


Company policies – Are there company policies that are particularly important to your business? Perhaps your unlimited paternity/maternity leave policy has endeared you to employees across the company. This is a good place to talk about that.


Executive profiles – A company is only as strong as its executive leadership. This is a good place to show off who’s occupying the corner offices. Write a nice bio about each executive that includes what they do, how long they’ve been at it, and what got them to where they are.

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Millenium through to today

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Detail your services

If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.

Announce coming events

Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.

Display real testimonials

Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.

Promote current deals

Running a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.

Share the big news

Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.

Display their FAQs

Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.

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The Bell

The Desborough House bell hung on a frame on the rear wall of the building, the remains of which can still be seen today. It was only discovered again in recent years hidden away in the loft area and now stands in a wooden frame in the club lounge. It is unsure what the bell was used for, various theories include, it being rung to let the poor of the town know that food was about to be handed out.