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Arthur Adcock – Journalist, Historian, Liberal and Nonconformist

Portrait of Arthur Adcock (1861-1949)
Arthur Adcock (1861-1949)

Journalist, author, county historian, organiser, expert shorthand writer, these and a host of other attainments all contribute to the versatile make-up of Mr Arthur Adcock, formerly of 161, Ashburnham Road, Northampton.

Arthur Adcock was born 23 April 1861, in Ipswich the son of James and Eliza (née Grickson) Adcock. His father was a shopkeeper, variously a Greengrocer, Seedsman, Stationer and Confectioner. Mr Adcock began his career with five years in a solicitor’s office, and then started journalism on the East Anglia Daily Times. Five years later he moved to Northampton, in 1885, and after a few months on the staff of the Northampton Herald, he transferred to the Northampton Mercury as chief reporter. Having filled sub-editorial and other offices on the staff, he ultimately became editor and was succeeded to that office by Mr W. W. Hadley.

Northampton County Magazine

As a member of the Institute of Journalists, he was secretary for the Northamptonshire District for a long period, and also served for one year as president. He was appointed Fellow of the Institute in 1901.
Very soon after reaching Northampton he devoted himself to the history of the county and wrote a very large number of brochures on Northampton’s history for the John Taylor and Son, publishers, College Street. Later in life, having relinquished his more active tasks in daily journalism, he was prompted to found the Northampton County Magazine in which the folklore, customs and traditions of the county were retold. The magazine had a successful run for six years from 1928-1933.

Local Historian

His many-sided interests led him to collect thousands of newspaper cuttings, and these were filed and annotated in a most methodical way. He also collected books relating to Northamptonshire and pamphlets and books of reference which numbered well over 1,000 volumes. In some respects they were unique, and it is interesting to note that they have been acquired by the Northampton Library. The Library also acquired the great bulk of his manuscripts and papers, his gift to the town, which in conjunction with the John Taylor Collection is a unique contribution to the history of Northampton.


As a religious nonconformist he was a Swedenborgian, otherwise known as The New Jerusalem Church. They met in a chapel in Overstone Road until 1890 when they moved to new buildings on the corner of Abington Avenue and East Park Parade, Kettering Road.

He was at one time president of the Northampton Free Church Council.

He also edited the Northamptonshire Nonconformist for some years. This publication reported on the activities, events and services of all the nonconformist churches in the county with a significant focus on Northampton.

Political work

Mr Adcock was a Liberal of the old school and with Mr G. Jason Phillips, he was the founder of the Northampton Liberal Club, and on two occasions, owing to the illness of the Liberal secretary, Mr Thomas. Ashdowne, acted as Liberal agent including for he 1895 General Election when Henry Labouchere and Mr Drucker, the Liberal and Conservative candidates were returned.

Mr Adcock was instrumental in forming an association for the boot and shoe repairers and retailers in Northampton, and became the association’s secretary, holding the post for many years. His position led him to take part in many of the developments of the Federation, which sprang up, and later he was appointed secretary of the Midland district which comprised eight counties.

Arthur Adcock left Northampton in January 1936 to live with his only surviving son, Mr Leonard Frank Adcock, at Maffra, Victoria, Australia. He died 15 March 1949 at Warragul, Victoria, Australia at the home of his son. He is buried in the Trafalgar Cemetery, Baw Baw Shire, Victoria.

Northampton Mercury – Friday 18 October 1935 p12 c6
Northampton Mercury – Friday 25 March 1949 p7 c4

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