Franklins Gardens, Weedon Road, Northampton NN5 5BG
The Saints consists of rooms under one of the stands at Northampton Rugby Club in the town of Northampton. The venue is modern with plenty of on-site parking for a dance event.
The venue has been used on a number of occasions over the years by Ceroc, as an alternative to the Cripps Building at Northampton General Hospital.
The Saints is a building in much better condition than the Cripps, although there are suggestions that the Cripps building is being upgraded in 2017, hence the move away from the building in the spring of 2017 by Ceroc. No information that I could find was readily available as to what the long term plans were.
The only problem with the Saints is that being a room under a stand, it has supporting pillars within the dance area. There is a bar along one of the long sides of the room, while the DJ operates from a table opposite. There are seating areas at each end of the oblong dance floor. A second room opens off the first.
2017 is the second time I’ve known Ceroc move to the Saints from the Cripps, and on the occasion I went there the numbers were tiny. Arriving at around 8.20pm for a saturday evening dance I found half a dozen people sitting around with no one dancing. By 8.30 a few more had arrived but then they all vanished into a side room for a lesson, meaning that the freestyle didn’t get going until gone 9pm.
Even when it did there was still only around 30 people in the room.
From my perspective (and of course this might be just me) part of the problem can be summed up by the fact that even with these small numbers the room did start to get warm, and although there were fans none of them were switched on. I went to the lady on the door (the only person present “in authority” as it were) and asked for the fans to be switched on but she said, “I don’t do the fans. Ask the DJ”. I did and he said, “why on earth did she tell you to ask me?” The fans stayed off, and we got hot.
It is symptomatic of Ceroc in this region. Once, after three or four years regular attendance every week on Monday and Thursday at Ceroc in Wellingborough and Kettering I managed to arrive without my wallet. I was of course well known to the lady on the door and explained my error, but despite having admitted me to the venues maybe 150 times by then, she utterly refused to allow me in with a promise that I would make good in a couple of days. It’s that sort of franchise.
On another occasion I arrived and found the franchisee and the lady on the door having a discussion. I stood ready to hand over my cash, and they just continued to talk to each other and ignore me.
- Air conditioning: 2 out of 5. As noted above, it needed fans on, but no one knew how to do it!
- Atmosphere: 0 out of 5 – you can’t get an atmosphere in a big room like this with such a tiny number and such an attitude.
- Do ladies ask men: 3 out of 5. The handful of us who were there were desperate to get any sort of dance so certainly some did.
- Facilities: 5 out of 5. It’s got a smart large modern bar. The bar staff must have been bemused having nothing to do all evening.
- Free water: Yes.
- Friendliness: 0 out of 5. See notes above
- Location: 5 out of 5 – it is a little way out of the town centre but easy to find off a main road, and the car parking is within the rugby club’s environs.
- Music: 5 out of 5
- Parking: 5 out of 5 – lots of it and always enough even when I went many years ago with a much larger crowd.
- Space: 4 out of 5 – obviously with such a tiny crowd, there is no shortage.
- Venue overall: 4 out of 5