According to the 2011 census, Corby had a population of 61,255 and was 85.0% White British, 9.1% Other White (not including White Irish and Irish Traveller), 1.4% mixed race, 1.4% Asian and 1.7% Black.[38] Corby's least White British ward is Oakley Vale where 70.7% of the population are White British while Corby's least ethnically diverse ward is Rural West, where 95.6% of the population are White British.[38]

Using population growth to fund regeneration has proved a successful model for a town trying to reinvent itself after the loss of heavy industry.

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“After the steelworks closed there was a feeling that the place was going nowhere, that we were managing decline,” he says. “We felt growth would bring benefits to Corby.”

To the north of Corby, on the industrial estates, is a 350MW power station built in 1994; and the Rockingham Motor Speedway built in 2001.

That may seem like a mismatch, but Corby is doing its best to catch up with its Chinese twin.

“There’s a spirit in Corby, which welcomes outsiders,” he says. “But there has to be sensitivity to the existing population so that they feel they’re not being manoeuvred out of jobs.”

Corby is a town and borough located in the county of Northamptonshire, England.

About 12.7%, if 2011 Census figures are a good measure. It found that 7,765 of the town's population of 61,255 were born in Scotland.

The town also has six highland dancing schools, according to Mark Pengelly, the Englishman who is organising the town's Highland Gathering and mock referendum on Sunday. "That's more than many Scottish towns with the same population as Corby," he says.

The lowest temperature recorded was −23.3 °C (−9.9 °F) during January 1987,[47] the highest temperature of 35.0 °C (95.0 °F) was recorded in August 1990.[48]

In 2012, Mensch resigned as an MP and the resulting by-election was won by Labour's Andy Sawford with a majority of 7,791 over the Conservatives. UKIP came in third place whilst the Liberal Democrats came fourth, losing their deposit. The by-election was of national and international media interest due the constituency being a marginal seat. During the wait for the results announcement, "Corby" briefly trended worldwide on Twitter.

Unlikely as that may be, the Northamptonshire town’s revival has been phoenix-like, emerging anew from the ashes of post-industrial decay.

But dig a little deeper, and there are signs of Scottishness.

However, when it came to how the population described its national identity, 5,585 people in Corby said "Scottish only". By comparison, 33,018 people described themselves as "English only" and 10,299 people said they were "British only".

This is Corby, Northamptonshire, population 65,400, twinned, at least according to the Chinese embassy, with Shijiazhuang, China, population 10.7 million.

In July 2009 Corby Borough Council was found liable for negligently exposing pregnant women to toxic waste during the reclamation of the former British Steel Corporation steelworks, causing birth defects to their children.[46] The judge found in favour of 16 of the 18 claimants, the oldest of whom was 22 at the time of the ruling. The ruling was significant as it was the first in the world to find that airborne pollution could cause such birth defects

The demographic shift is evident in the town centre, where there are as many eastern European accents as Northamptonshire inflections. Howe says he hasn’t witnessed much tension between longstanding Corby residents and arrivals either from Greater London or the outer reaches of the EU.

The song Steeltown by Big Country (title track of the album) was written about the town of Corby, telling how many Scots went to work there, but found themselves unemployed when the steelworks declined. (Source: Melody Maker, 1984)

"There aren't many towns where you can go in to all the cafes, pubs and clubs and ask for an Irn-Bru, or ask for Scottish pies and haggis in your fish and chips, and hopefully that will continue forever," he says.

Thanks to the campaign, or perhaps in spite of it, Corby’s expansion has continued at a rate of knots. The council leader, Labour’s Tom Beattie, says he and his colleagues took a conscious decision to pursue regeneration through population growth, with the aim of having 100,000 residents by 2030.

"The pub doesn't do Sunday roasts. Everything in Corby revolves around the Scottish. The chip shop up the road will batter absolutely anything - Snickers, Mars Bars, pizzas, Creme Eggs, Chewits," he says.

The Borough of Corby consists of the town of Corby, as well as the villages of Weldon, Rockingham, Gretton, Cottingham, Middleton, East Carlton, Stanion and Little Stanion.

The most striking is the Corby accent, or mixture of accents. Some sound Glaswegian. Others seem to have a slight Scottish twang. And there are those that speak with a broad Scottish accent.


It has been named by the Office for National Statistics as the fastest-growing borough outside London, with a population that is expected to surge by nearly 17% to 76,400 by 2024. In the event that its sister town in China stagnates, Corby is on course to reach parity some time in the year 2346.

Ian Brown, who was born in Corby after his parents moved there from Peterhead in 1961 for the building trade, believes the town is already a "mini city".

But 35 years after steel manufacturing in Corby ceased, how Scottish is "little Scotland" today?

Since opening our doors in 2010 more than 87,900 people have been involved in a whole range of activities, performances and weekly sessions at The Core

Nonetheless, the Corby juggernaut has simply refused to stop rolling along. Where once its numbers were swollen by Scottish steelworkers, it is now welcoming two new groups – suburbanite commuters and migrant workers from the EU.

The Core at Corby Cube, George Street, Corby NN17 1QG

James Lewis, 50, born in Scotland, brought up in Corby: "I don't think anyone that has been out of Scotland for a while, X amount of years, should have the vote - because how can we vote on somebody else's future when we are not part of that country?"

The Corby Pole Fair is an event that has taken place every 20 years since 1862 in celebration of the charter. According to a newspaper report dated 14 June 1862 which focuses on the extravagances of the Fair, the fugitive slave John Anderson was described as being educated in the Corby British School,[6] giving the town an unusual link to slavery in the United States.

Corby is also home to the Corby East Midlands International Swimming Pool which was built in 2009. It is also home to the Stewarts and Lloyds Rugby Football Club which despite the long closure of the steel industry maintains its proud heritage of its industrial roots. The club plays in the RFU's Midland South East 3 division.

Northamptonshire town, one of UK’s fastest growing, is twinned with a Chinese megacity – and is doing its best to catch up

When the steelworks shut down, the town was left devastated as thousands of people were left with neither jobs nor hope. Tata Steel still makes tubes in Corby but that is now under threat as the Indian conglomerate that owns the plant seeks a buyer for its UK operations.

Most were part of a wave of migrant steelworkers from Scotland – and to a lesser extent Ireland and the Welsh valleys. Their arrival transformed the town from a village of 1,500 people into a busy and thriving industrial town.

However, Pengelly isn't concerned that Corby's Scottish culture could become so diluted that it disappears.

And there’s no doubt that population growth, regardless of where it comes from, will put pressure on local infrastructure, school places and GP surgeries. “People from far and wide are trying to get their children into the best schools here, so there is pressure on school places, particularly for infants and juniors,” says Howe.

Brooke Weston Academy, was one of only fifteen CTCs in England, opened in 1990. Brooke Weston CTC consistently achieved examination results in the top 5% of English state schools, and has been a City Academy since September 2008[39] after which it continued with those good results.

The local Conservative Party, who call themselves "Team Corby", have argued that further regeneration in Corby should be delivered through bringing visitors to the town to visit its numerous historic sites. They argue that a co-ordinated tourism programme will increase and diversify the population available for the leisure industry to market to, and thus result in more local leisure facilities being opened.