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Cottage Hospital Scheme 1919
The Rushden Argus, 24th October 1919
hospital entrance
Proposed War Memorial Hospital
Proposed Entrance and Gates

The Rushden Echo, 31st January, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Cottage Hospital Scheme
Proposed War Memorial For Rushden and Higham Ferrers

A meeting of the Special Committee for the preparation of plans for a Cottage Hospital at Rushden and Higham Ferrers was held on Friday at the Council Buildings, Rushden.

It was decided that a hospital for the two towns should have twenty beds, accommodation for the necessary number of nurses, an operating theatre, and public health rooms.

Messrs. John Clark, F. J. Sharwood, C. W. Horrell, T. Wilmott, T. Swindall, C. White, E. Walker and Edward Parker were appointed a committee to ascertain the probable cost of an adequate building.

Messrs. J. Garley, C. W. Coles, T. E. Wigginton, C. Giles, W. L. Beetenson, Percival, Fletcher, the secretaries of the Hospital Factory collections, Mr. John Claridge, Mrs. Patenall, Mrs. Walter Robinson, and Mrs. Webster were appointed a committee to report on the cost of maintenance, and finance.

We understand that suggestions have been made regarding a wider scheme of a general hospital for the district. The suggestion should certainly be considered.

The Rushden Echo, 14th March, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden & Higham Ferrers War Memorial
What Form Shall It Take? - A Cottage Hospital

When Peace is signed and the present uncertainties are cleared up, Rushden and Higham Ferrers will be asked to decide what form the local memorial of the Great War is to be. Plans will be laid before the towns for a fully equipped Cottage Hospital of twenty beds or so, which would be sufficient for the needs of Rushden and Higham Ferrers. The Hospital would be provided with all that is necessary for surgical operations, with a proper nursing staff, and with accommodation for such cases of acute illness as cannot be treated without skilled nursing. It would be conveniently situated. It would take many patients who could remain in the town, treated by their own doctors, within reach of their friends, journeys to Northampton and Bedford would be avoided, and although cases of exceptional gravity might still have to be sent away, the provision of hospital accommodation in this district would be an enormous advantage to the public.

Towns like Higham Ferrers and Rushden should not lag behind in providing what is really necessary for the proper treatment of the ordinary needs of the health of the large industrial population they contain. But advantageous as a hospital would be, it will be unwise to start a scheme on an enthusiasm which has not considered the cost. To build and equip a hospital which will be a credit to the two towns will cost between £8,000 and £10,000 at present prices, and maintenance will run from £1,000 to £1,200 a year. An endowment of about £100 a year is available if the present opportunity is taken, and equipment and maintenance are within the power of the two towns.

A very large measure of support has been already given to the scheme, but it would have been unfair to press it till our soldiers have returned from the war, for it is by their good work that we are in a position to think of War Memorials, and as the hospital cannot be maintained without the organised support from labour such as is given at Kettering, it would not have been right to attempt to commit the town in their absence. They are now coming back, and the election of the new Council will make a suitable opportunity for asking for public support for the scheme.

The block at the head of this article is taken from plans for a small hospital which were exhibited at the Royal Academy. It has been placed at our disposal by the architect. It shows the sort of building proposed – a main building for staff accommodation and offices, and wards attached on one storey, so built that extensions can be made at any time without alteration to the main plan. It is not, of course, intended as a picture of the hospital to be built.

The Rushden Echo, 4th July, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

War Memorial For Rushden - Various Suggestions Discussed
The Proposed Cottage Hospital - Institute for Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers

A meeting representative of the Rushden townspeople was held at the Council Chambers on Tuesday to decide on a permanent war memorial for Rushden. Mr. Fred Knight, J.P. (chairman of the Urban Council) presided, supported by members of the Council, with Mr. G. S. Mason (clerk to the Council), and Mr. W. B. Madin (surveyor).

The Chairman said the Council had no scheme prepared. They wished to have the opinions of those present as to what should be done. He hoped that the plans decided on would be agreed to by as near a unanimous vote as possible.

Mr. W. M. Hensman said a permanent memorial should be dealt with very carefully. He personally was interested in establishing a cottage hospital in Rushden. (Applause.) He and others had met to discuss the question, but they had not committed themselves to any definite scheme until the return of the soldiers who should have a voice in stating what should be the form of a town’s war memorial. He was of the opinion that the town could finance such a hospital as had been suggested. It was thought that a hospital having about 12 to 14 beds could be erected, half of the beds to be for surgical cases and the other half for medical cases. The establishment of such a hospital could not be the cause of arousing controversy, as it did not touch political or religious views. But once the scheme, if approved, was adopted, they must not go back on their plans.

Dr. Greenfield said he had always held the opinion that a cottage hospital was necessary in any town, but more especially in a place like Rushden – a manufacturing town. As regards the County Hospital, that was a long distance away, and was difficult to reach and inadequate in size – no bigger than Northampton town alone wanted. He believed the population would rapidly increase during the next few years. If they decided on the adoption of the suggestion, he believed they would never regret it. He did not wish to lead the meeting, but to test the feeling he would move that they adopt the scheme of a cottage hospital.

Mr. G. W. Coles, J.P., seconded and said that Rushden was the largest town in the county without a cottage hospital. Visitors to Northampton Hospital were at a great disadvantage in travelling, considering the expense. In having

A Local Hospital

there would be a different atmosphere – one that would be homely and congenial, suited to the recovery of patients. He was sure that the doctors of the town were as capable as any in the county for carrying on the medical and surgical duties of a hospital. There were so many accidents in the different factories that a hospital in the town would be a great boon to Rushden. He believed the factory workers would willingly pay 1d. a week towards the upkeep of the hospital.

Mr. F. Elmer said that although he was in sympathy with the suggestion of the cottage hospital he did not think it was suitable as a war memorial. He thought they should have further suggestions before one scheme was adopted. The idea of the Federation of the Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers was that the town should have public baths and public conveniences. A cottage hospital would need very big subscriptions for its maintenance. He moved as an amendment that public baths and conveniences be the form of the permanent war memorial, instead of having a cottage hospital.

The Chairman thought it might be best not to commit themselves to any particular scheme, but to have several suggestions to put before the public of Rushden and allow the people time to decide which they would rather adopt. He thought they must necessarily have an estimate of the cost of provision and maintenance of the hospital before they could commit themselves to the scheme.

Mr. Hensman said it would be necessary to cut their coat according to their cloth. They should see what money could be raised and go in for as good a hospital as possible.

Mr. J. Knight could not see how anything could be done towards providing a hospital if they did not know whether it would cost £1,000 or £10,000, nor what the maintenance would be.

Mr. W. Bazeley, J.P., said it was time the town made up its mind what it would have as a war memorial. (Hear, hear.) He would like to see all the cards laid on the table, and a proper town’s meeting be called.

Mr. Coles asked if the Chairman of the Council would give the meeting a reasonable assurance that that authority would provide public baths.

Mr. F. Knight said the members might rest assured that the Council were all in favour of public baths and would provide them at no very distant date. (Applause.)

Mr. W. B. Sanders said he would have supported Mr. Elmer’s proposition of providing baths had not the Council promised to carry out such a scheme. While not being opposed to the hospital, he thought

A Large Hall

was more suited to the requirements of the town, a hall that would accommodate large public meetings and where entertainments and amusements could be held.

Mr. G. Selwood pointed out that to have success in any scheme they must get the interest of the majority of the townspeople. He hoped that undue expense would not be entailed in peace celebrations, but they would direct their main financial efforts to the permanent memorial. Personally he was in favour of an institute for the benefit of the lads who had made the sacrifice. Such an institute should be conducted for educational purposes and have both indoor and outdoor amusements. This would be far more beneficial to the town in the long run.

Lieut. Perkins, being informed by Dr. Greenfield that it was not contemplated having a resident surgeon for the suggested cottage hospital, said that if that were so he would much prefer, if he were the victim of an accident or sudden illness, to go by motor ambulance to Northampton, where he would be under the constant attention of a doctor. Hospitals and baths were not war memorials. Something should be done to commemorate the fallen, and to benefit especially the bereaved and those broken in health or limb through war service. That alone could constitute a war memorial. To talk of providing a hospital or public baths was equivalent to saying “We have had a war and have got out of it; now let us buy ourselves something nice!” Returned soldiers in Rushden had no institute where they could meet. Through the kindness of Mr. W. A. Evans they met at the Queen Victoria Hotel. The men wanted an institute so that they could keep together.

Mr. Bazeley said the returned soldiers would share the benefits of a cottage hospital.

Mrs. Webster, speaking as one who had lost a son and had another who had returned by no means fit, said that mothers would much rather have a cottage hospital in the town where their sons could be properly treated.

After some further discussion Mr. Elmer moved that the meeting decide on the adoption of a club and institute for the ex-service men.

Mr. B. V. Page seconded. Mr. Selwood supported, and it was resolved that a committee be appointed to prepare estimates of the cost of provision and maintenance and the probable income. The same suggestion was carried out in regard to the suggested erection of a cottage hospital. It was stated that the town would not be committed to any scheme until such estimates had been made public.

The following were appointed to the hospital scheme committee: Mr. F. Knight, J.P., Mrs. W. Robinson, Mrs. Webster, Messrs. C. W. Horrell, G. W. Coles, J.P., T. Wilmott, C. Giles, and W. M. Hensman, the latter as convenor. The institute committee were appointed as follows: Messrs. John Claridge, J.P., C.C., W. B. Sanders, G. Selwood, J. Knight, and Lieut. Perkins (convenor).

The Rushden Echo, 18th July, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Memorial Hall for Rushden - Scheme of Returned Soldiers - Cottage Hospital Rejected
A public meeting under the auspices of the Rushden Branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers was held at the Co-operative Hall on Monday, to consider the subject of a war memorial for Rushden. There was a very large attendance.

In the absence through illness of the Rev. Ion Carroll (Vicar of St. Peter's), Lieut. L. Perkins, B.Sc., presided, supported by the Rev. J. Phillips (curate of St. Mary's), Messrs. F. H. Pridmore (chairman of the Branch), F. Elmer (secretary), and the Committee.

The Secretary read an apology from the Rev. Ion Carroll, who said he hoped they would arrive at a decision to go to the Council with a good scheme. He would back up the suggestion of an ex-soldiers' institute. (Applause.)

The Secretary said they had to prepare a scheme as an alternative to the suggested cottage hospital. In his opinion the returned ex-service men were entitled to the foremost consideration.

Mr. Perkins asked them to disregard his uniform as an officer and look upon him as a resident of the town. (Hear, hear.) Whatever scheme they adopted a certain amount of money would be entailed and the question could not be settled entirely by a show of hands. They must have the backing of the majority of Rushden people for their scheme. If what they regarded as a perfect memorial was not fully approved of by the public, the idea must be trimmed to suit the people who would be asked to contribute to the memorial. They must not put themselves first. There were other considerations first. His suggestion was that they have a town's war memorial hall. Connected with the hall should be an institute for recreative and social purposes. He submitted the following

Eight Points

about the suggested Memorial Hall.

1. Inhabitants who have been bereaved in the war should be considered. Within the Hall should be a record of the names of those who have made the great sacrifice.

2. Acknowledgment of the services of the young people should be made by throwing the membership of the institute open to young men now and in the future, because present ex-service men would not always be young.

3. The Hall should have a room specially put aside for the headquarters of the Federation until they got on their feet.

4. The Hall should meet the town's need of a large hall in which to hold public meetings, but citizens to whom they must look for financial help would not give strong support to a suggestion which was opposed to their own principles.

5. The Institute should be open to all sections and parties.

6. Unlike other schemes the Memorial Hall would be self-supporting. He did not want to attack the Hospital scheme, but the Hospital would cost £1,000 a year at the lowest estimate. There must be a recognised membership and they

Must Have Discipline

The income would come from the membership and the letting of billiard tables, etc.

7. It was hoped that a site could be obtained where out-door recreation could be followed.

8. The Institute should be used by soldiers and sailors on leave. The boys on furlough should be honorary members.

In having approached several people in the town, Mr. Perkins continued, he had had very liberal promises but on the strict-understanding that the place be run on teetotal lines, and not on the lines of the clubs of the town. If he had tried to get money on the understanding that drink would be allowed on the premises he was convinced that the same support would not have been forthcoming. They must not think, however, that he was there to decry drinking, nor would he admit it was the most essential thing in the world. There were a great many ex-service men who would not in the ordinary course of things enter a club where drinking went on. On the other hand many men in Rushden were already members of clubs, and they could reach any of those clubs in ten minutes' walk from any part of the town. If they tried to force people to give money against their principles they would not succeed.

The Rev. J. Phillips argued against duplication of anything in erecting a war memorial. He was in favour of out-door recreation, but he thought they should study the physical needs as well as looking after pleasure. Regarding the

Question of Drink

he was not necessarily opposed to drink providing the old-time national beverage of home brewed beer could be used. In that case there would be less drunkenness. But he disapproved of the brewers' concoction produced in these days. When he was orderly officer in the Army it was his unfortunate duty to taste such concocted mixtures. (Laughter.) But even that that he tasted was specially prepared for him and was not as bad as the men had. (Renewed laughter.) In erecting a place where drink was allowed they would be duplicating the clubs making that provision.

Mr. Elmer said he quite appreciated the hospital idea, but he did not think one was necessary in Rushden seeing that it would never be self-supporting and would cost £1,000 a year to keep up. There was a definite promise from the War Office that the town would have

A Motor Ambulance,

and by that means a patient could be very rapidly transported to Northampton Hospital. That would be of infinite advantage as against a local hospital without a resident surgeon and someone running all over the town to find a doctor for a patient who could in as little time be taken to the county hospital. (Hear, hear.)

On the motion of Mr. Coles, seconded by Mr. Felce, it was unanimously resolved not to support the suggested cottage hospital as a war memorial for Rushden.

A member said that if the proposed institute be "a temperance affair," they might carry on, but they would get no one there. (Applause.)

Lieut. Perkins pointed out that the people who would give the main part of the money would be entitled to say how that money was to be spent, and if the institute was to be on non-teetotal lines he could not have got promises of anything like so big a sum as already had been promised.

Mr. A. F. Weale said that of the many needs of Rushden, the suggested scheme of a Memorial Hall and Institute met the larger part. It should have the unanimous support of citizens of the town. There would be no duplicating as far as the hall was concerned and the prospect of getting hold of the youths of the town should be worth aiming at.

An Athletic Centre

in Rushden was absolutely necessary.

Mr. Coles complained that the young people seemed to be uppermost instead of the soldiers, as regards the benefits of the Institute. It was as bad as the programme for peace celebration in Rushden on July 19th, where the children were being looked after and the women - who, though at home, had done their bit - were left out of the plans altogether, as well as their friends.

Mr. Clayton was in favour of a democratic control of the suggested institute.

Mr. Weale considered that object would be attained in placing the matter in the hands of the people's local governing representatives.

The Chairman again pointed out that the people who subscribed to the cost of erection would naturally expect to say how the place should be run. He did not think people would hand over large sums of money to the returned soldiers and say "Here you are. Do as you like with it."

Mr. F. Wilkins criticised the attitude of people who promised to give money towards the memorial providing it were conducted strictly on temperance lines. It was very poor spirited on their part. He was an all-round subscriber, and would give to the Salvation Army and to temperance schemes if necessary, but when he gave he did not stipulate that his money should be used in any particular way. He did not want the meeting to overlook the necessity of public conveniences and, somewhere in a prominent part of the town, a public fountain, where people coming in on the 'buses could drink.

Mr. J. Allen realised the sharp division of opinion on the temperance question and suggested that the club and institute be detached from the Memorial Hall. He was not greatly in love with these people who would not give if drink was to be sold in the institute.

Mr. Weale moved that the scheme as suggested by the Chairman be approved, and that the Federation ask the town to provide such a Memorial Hall and Institute.

This was seconded, Mr. F. Wilkins supporting.

Mr. Elmer moved as an amendment that the Institute be detached and be run on lines approved by ex-service men only.

Mr. Coles seconded.

Put to the vote, eight were in favour of the amendment and about 50 for the proposition.

The Rushden Echo, 10th October, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

War Memorial For Rushden - The Schemes Put Before The Urban Council

At the meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday evening two proposals were brought forward as Rushden’s war memorial.

The first scheme, for a War Memorial Cottage Hospital, was presented as follows:-

“We herewith submit plans and particulars of fully-equipped Memorial Hospital, which would be sufficient for the needs of Rushden, Higham Ferrers, and the neighbourhood. The hospital is designed for 20 beds and two private wards, and would be provided with all that is necessary for surgical operations, with proper nursing staff, and with accommodation for such cases of acute illness as cannot be treated without skilled nursing. Various townsmen have suggested that some suitable memorial should be provided in a prominent part of the town. To meet this, the entrance gates have been designed with panels for the purpose of inscribing the names of the fallen. Two sites have been generously offered as free gifts to the town – one site by James Hyde, Esq., and consisting of between one and two acres, situated in Irchester-road, Rushden; the other by A. H. Sartoris, Esq., situated in Kimbolton-road, Rushden, and consisting of between three and four acres or as much land as the committee need for their requirements. The approximate cost of building the Memorial Hospital (pre-war) is £3,500 to £4,000, estimated at to-day’s cost £8,000 to £10,500. Entrance gates, with names inscribed (pre-war cost) £500 or £600, estimated at to-day’s cost £1,200 to £1,500. The average cost to-day per bed would work out at about £85; for 20 beds (excluding private patients) about £1,500 to £1,600 per year. We consider there would be no difficulty whatever in raising funds for the maintenance of the hospital, as we have the assurance of the clubs, friendly societies, and various organisations in the town that the necessary annual expenditure could be easily maintained. An endowment of about £100 per year is also available if the present opportunity is taken.” The report was signed on behalf of the committee, by Mrs. Walter Robinson.

The Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason): We should want £12,000, including the gates.

Mr. Bazeley: Where is the land offered by Mr. Sartoris situated?

The Clerk: Just below Mr. Arthur Cave’s house. It is a very good building site.

Mr. Tomlin: And nice scenery, too.

Mr. Claridge outlined the second scheme which, he explained, would include (1) a memorial to the fallen; (2) a hall, which was very necessary to the town for meetings, entertainments, concerts, etc.; (3) an institute, which was necessary for the youth of the town. He would also like to see a ground on which games, such as tennis, croquet, bowls, etc., could be played. After completion, the scheme would be self-supporting. Soldiers and sailors on furlough would have the free use of the rooms, and it would be available for the meetings of the Demobilised Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Federation. Educational work could be carried on by means of lectures, talks, etc. The majority of the gentlemen interviewed had expressed themselves as favourable to the scheme, and the promises of financial support had been very liberal. The cost was estimated at £8,000 to £10,000, including the site and the furnishing. The scheme would be self-supporting. Voting by postcard after the public meeting was suggested. The large hall referred to in the scheme would be capable of holding 800 people or more, and underneath there would be rooms for recreation, reading, etc., and a small lecture hall. He believed the scheme would be very beneficial to the town.

Mr. L. Perkins also referred to the second scheme, and said he recognised the necessity of looking after the sick and injured, but there was a larger institution – the Northampton General Hospital – within easy reach now they had a motor ambulance in Rushden. The cost of a resident staff for a cottage hospital would be very great. He endorsed Mr. Claridge’s suggestion of a postcard vote, as it was easy to “pack” a public meeting.

Mr. Bazeley: Have you a site in view?

Mr. Perkins: Yes, a central site, with a good games ground attached, not large enough for cricket, but suitable for bowls etc.

Mr. Bazeley: I think the Council should arrange for bowls at the Council field.

The Chairman: Have the committees ascertained the probable support?

Mr. Perkins: We have not seen more than 15 people. Two were against, one was either way, and eleven promised £200 each as a start. As regards the future, these places pay, as a rule.

After further discussion, Mr. Perkins moved that a town’s meeting be called and that the voting be subsequently by postcard.

Mr. Spencer seconded, and it was carried.

Mr. Horrell moved that the Chairman be asked to put the two schemes before the town’s meeting, which was seconded by Mr. Swindall and carried.

The Rushden Echo, 31st October, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Town’s Meeting At Rushden - The War Memorial Schemes Discussed
Cottage Hospital or Institute? - A Postcard Vote

A town’s meeting was held at the Co-operative Hall, Rushden, last Friday evening, to consider the question of a war memorial for Rushden. Mr. Fred Knight, J.P., Chairman of the Rushden Urban District Council, presided, supported by Messrs. C. W. Horrell, T. Wilmott, G. W. Coles, J.P., Dr. Greenfield, G. S. Mason, J. Spencer, J.P., C. Giles, and L. Perkins, B.Sc., and Mrs. E. Webster.

The schemes may be known as follows:-

No. 1 Scheme – A Memorial Hospital for Rushden, Higham Ferrers, and the neighbourhood, to have 20 beds and two private wards; provision for surgical operations, and a proper nursing staff to deal with cases of acute illness. Entrance gates to have panels on which the names of the fallen would be inscribed.Total estimated cost of erection, furnishing, and fitting, including the gates and inscribed panels, £12,000. A site is kindly promised free of cost by Mr. J. Hyde, and Mr. A. H. Sartoris, J.P., has also generously offered to give sufficient land. Mr. Hyde’s site is on the Irchester-road, and Mr. Sartoris’s is on the Kimbolton-road. Estimated annual upkeep £1,500 or £1,600 a year, towards which an endowment of £100 is available.

No. 2 Scheme – A Memorial Hall, in a prominent part of which would be a tablet on which the names of the fallen would be inscribed. The building would have a large hall for meetings, entertainments, etc., a lecture room, an institute (billiard rooms, etc.), a room recognised as the headquarters of the Discharged Soldiers’ Federation, reading and recreation rooms. In the ground on which the Hall stood, provision would be made for tennis, bowls, etc. It is estimated that the total cost of site, building, and furnishing would be from £8,000 to £10,000, and that it would be self-supporting. Of the sum required £2,200 is already promised.

The Chairman said he regretted there was not a crowded attendance. He explained that although there were only two schemes before the public there was no reason why other suggestions should not be brought forward. It was certain that nothing they could do could be in any way commensurate with the noble sacrifices made by the men who had fallen. Mr. Knight said it was suggested that the present meeting should be held to enable the public to become acquainted with the two schemes. It was not intended to take a vote on the adoption of either scheme, because so many people would be affected by the course adopted. A post-card vote or a similar form of obtaining the views of the public was suggested. (Hear, hear.)


Dr. Greenfield outlined the points in favour of No. 1 Scheme. He very much deplored the death of their greatest advocate, Mr. W. M. Hensman, who had done his very best for the town in which he lived for so long a time. Mr. Hensman had been very much impressed with the need of a cottage hospital for Rushden. What was a cottage hospital? It would not necessarily be quite the same as a general hospital. It was a place where sickness of almost any kind except infectious diseases could be treated. It would produce more homelike comforts that would a big hospital. Patients would have the advantage of being known by their names instead of by numbers. They would get better meals than in a large institution, because it was always a difficulty in a big hospital to ensure at all times good meals for all patients. Rushden had a large population subjected to numerous accidents of a slight nature. The only hospital accommodation was at Northampton, 16 miles away, and Bedford, 13 miles away. Assuming that the accommodation at Northampton was adequate, they might go on as they were doing at present, but it was not adequate. There were only 200 beds, and the town of Northampton itself, with its 100,000 inhabitants needed all that accommodation. A great point had been made of the motor ambulance now in use for Rushden district. Certainly the motor could transport patients quickly and comfortably to Northampton, and it did do so with excellent results, but that arrangement did not provide one single extra bed in Northampton Hospital. The Cottage Hospital scheme was rather an old scheme. Some years ago the late Mr. Wilkins left about £2,000 for the upkeep of a cottage hospital for Rushden. It was proposed to erect in the first place a building to accommodate 20 patients, which was a similar proportion to the inhabitants of Rushden as Northampton’s 200 beds was to its 100,000 inhabitants. The scheme allowed for extensions to be made in several directions to the main building. The class of case they would take would be such that the county hospital would not admit. Northampton Hospital provided for practically all except two or three special cases, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, rheumatism and incurable diseases, and it was for the latter that the cottage hospital would provide. Poor people who happened to be afflicted with a chronic incurable disease, and could not properly be treated in their own homes, had to go to the workhouse. The committee were convinced that the hospital would be a success. Wellingborough was entirely content with a cottage hospital, and as a war memorial they were going to add a children’s ward to the building. Dr. Greenfield concluded that he would do his best to press everybody to support the scheme. (Applause.)

Mr. C. W. Horrell spoke on the financial side of the scheme, and said that before the war the proposed building might have been erected for £4,000, but to-day, it would cost 2½ times that sum, or £10,000. They had not tried to get promises towards that amount, because they had no authority, and did not know whether the scheme would be acceptable or not. If the town was wholly in support a fair sum might be forthcoming. The upkeep would be about £1,500 a year, and would have to be raised year by year. It was estimated that a penny a week contributed by each of the factory employees would bring in £750, or one-half of the amount required. (Applause.)

Mr. Coles associated himself with the remarks of the doctor in regard to the late Mr. Hensman. He added that the Rushden Cottage Hospital would not take all the cases that now went to Northampton, but would be supplemental to the Northampton Hospital. Sometimes people could not go to Northampton Hospital just when they wanted, because there was not a vacant bed, or when they were at the Hospital they had to be sent out before they should because the beds were wanted. The proposed Rushden Cottage Hospital would be open to all, and all would be enabled to subscribe to it. The Committee had sent to various bodies regarding the Cottage Hospital, and the following had unanimously approved the scheme: Free Gardeners, Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, Foresters, National Deposit, Rushden Co-operative Society, Women’s Co-op. Guild, Athletic Club, Working Men’s Club, Band Club, Windmill Club, West End Club, and the Conservative Club. Mr. Coles believed they had the majority of the town in favour of the Cottage Hospital scheme. The Trades and Labour Council had approved, but did not send in a resolution. Higham Ferrers authorities were in favour of the scheme, and Wymington also, and by bringing in those places the penny-a-week collections might be raised to £1,000 a year. The people who had offered sums towards the Memorial Hall scheme, as reported in the “Rushden Echo” – and he did not know who they were – would probably not refuse to give to the hospital. (Applause.)

Mr. G. Selwood asked whether they were considering a town’s war memorial or a county war memorial.

Mr. Coles said it would be a Rushden War Memorial although the hospital would be a centre for the district.

Memorial Hall

The Chairman read a letter from Mr. John Claridge, J.P., C.C., one of the supporters of No. 2 Scheme. Mr. Claridge wrote stating that he was exceedingly sorry he had a severe cold which would keep him in doors for two or three days. He particularly desired, had he been present at that meeting, to have said that in the consideration of the schemes, they should not overlook the good work done by the Hospital Week Committee for close on 40 years. Northampton Hospital thoroughly deserved every consideration. Now that a motor ambulance was available to carry patients to Northampton Hospital, that institution’s usefulness was greatly enhanced. At Northampton Hospital every skill and attention was given to the patients, and without delay. As the cost of maintenance of a Cottage Hospital in Rushden would be very considerable, to say nothing of the erection, in his opinion the scheme was not practicable or necessary. If neither scheme was agreed upon, Mr. Claridge hoped they would erect a suitable memorial on the Green, so that those who were still to come could see the names of those brave Rushden men who gave their lives for their country. (Applause.)

Mr. Perkins, in explaining and pointing out the need for the suggested Memorial Hall recalled how the alternative scheme came to be brought forward. He did not think that either scheme was a true memorial to the men who had fallen. This was a time to get something done for the town which would be useful and beneficial. As the Hospital scheme had been mooted, and well worked in the town, it was advisable, since no steps were taken to raise the ordinary form of statuary, that an alternative scheme should be discussed. No one would think the Memorial Hall Committee were opposed to the reduction of suffering and sorrow in Rushden or any other town. In the late war everybody, whether they had stayed at home or gone to fight, had suffered, and a vast number had come back, some broken in health and physique. The Memorial Hall scheme having been suggested, a great deal of support was found for it. Although suffering should be relieved, the county was by no means neglected in that respect. There was reasonable hospital accommodation throughout the county. He hoped there would be other schemes brought forward for consideration besides the two now before the town. The letters mentioned by Mr. Coles would make it appear that there was nobody left to support No. 2 scheme. He (Mr. Perkins) happened to be a member of one of the bodies mentioned, and he had not heard anything of a letter from the Hospital Committee, and was not in favour of it. It was because he and others were doubtful of the support for the Cottage Hospital that the second scheme was drafted. They still doubted if there was a great volume of support behind the scheme of a Cottage Hospital. Provision should be made for the young people, so that they had somewhere to go in the evenings. In Rushden for years and years the incessant parading of High-street had been no good to the town, and never would be. What were they doing to stop it? In various places they had institutes. In Rushden there were small places of that nature, but they appealed only to a few because they were run on narrow sectarian lines. There was need for an institute where all young people could meet. There was no doubt that such a place was badly needed. There was need to look after those who were well as much as for those who were ill – for those who were well in health and might become sick in mind. Anyone coming into the town and seeing the young people parading up and down the main street, swearing and pushing others off the pavement, agreed that such was not an influence for good. Mr. Perkins was not there to ask them to send the young people to night-school. (Laughter.) They got them there. He appealed to the religious leaders of the town. What did they offer the young people during the week-time? Club members did not want their sons and daughters to go to the clubs. Therefore, where was the young man and young woman to go? An institute, such as that suggested, would provide for the boys and girls as well. He believed they should have the boys and girls together more under proper influences than they had done. In the proposed Memorial Hall they could meet every night of the week and mix socially instead of dodging up and down the High-street. The Hall would be the centre for all out-door games and recreation. Every factory girl would be enabled to play tennis if she wished, and she could not at present. It was difficult to get into tennis clubs now; too much mattered about the size of the house the girl lived in. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) After being at work amongst the din of machinery all day, the young people wanted somewhere where they could go without feeling they had been invited; a place where they could go for social improvement and recreation. At first they would want only pleasure, but after a time they would ask for education. Where in Rushden could they find a proper place with educational facilities for the youth of the town? They did not want to go and sit on little forms made for infants. Then again for political meetings that (the Co-operative) Hall got crowded out. Rushden was a musical town, yet they had not a large hall for good entertainments and concerts, etc. thepromoters of such functions had to hire one of the theatres at a very large expense. If during the war it was found necessary to form clubs and erect places of recreation for the munition workers, how much more so was it necessary to cater permanently for the leisure of the young folks? He wished to state that he did not say at a recent meeting that eleven residents had each promised £200, but that the average amount offered was £200. Although the committee of No. 1 scheme brought forward all those resolutions, probably nine people out of 20 of those in the different societies knew nothing about the resolutions having been passed. It was always the same few who went to meetings regularly, and it did not follow that there was the backing represented by the membership of all those bodies, or that there was a majority of the town in favour of the Cottage Hospital and against the Memorial Hall. He asked them to go right to the individual, the man who stopped at home and thought for himself. If either scheme was too ambitious, he hoped they would not let everything drop, but would see to it that a memorial of some sort would be erected. Now was the time to get money for such an object. People would give as a thank-offering for a safe return of themselves, or of their sons or husband. Others would give in memory of loved ones who had fallen.

Mr. W. Bazeley, J.P., thought there was only one scheme before the meeting. Mr. Perkins’s scheme was too vague. He favoured the first scheme, and added that the motor ambulance was very expensive, one man having to pay £2 for the use of the motor.

Mr. Perkins said there was no such scheme as “Mr. Perkins’s scheme.” It was an alternative scheme to the proposed Cottage Hospital, and he merely happened to be one of the exponents of the idea.


Mr. Arthur Wilmott spoke in favour of the proposed Institute. He pointed out that there were splendid hospitals at Northampton and Bedford, and the motor ambulance made it easy to reach those places. He considered they ought to look after the rising generation more than they should those of more advanced years. The chief thing was to see that everybody lived a healthy life, got plenty of fresh air, etc. With the proposed Institute they could encourage all sorts of healthy out-door games. A hospital without a resident doctor would not meet the need of sudden illnesses or accidents. He hoped Rushden would require a hospital less and less as the people lived healthy lives under good clean conditions. Fathers did not want to see their daughters parading up and down the streets in their spare time. They wanted them to grow up to be good mothers. Mr. Wilmott did not think Rushden required a cottage hospital.

Mr. C. Neal challenged the statement that all the Friendly Societies were in favour of the proposed Cottage Hospital. Delegates of the society of which he was a member were instructed to vote against the scheme, and their membership was somewhere about 400. Of that number they usually got from 15 to 20 at meetings. No doubt that was similar to the meetings at which some of the resolutions referred to were passed.

Mr. F. Sharwood asked if the two schemes were to be voted on at that meeting.

The Chairman suggested that the two committees make arrangements together as to the method of getting the town’s opinion on the two schemes.

Mr. G. Denton thought the Memorial Hall scheme should be more fully developed so that the people thoroughly understood all it meant, as was the case with the Hospital scheme. The latter would involve great sacrifices. The county hospitals would be to some extend sacrificed, and he thought that should weigh very much with the people of Rushden. Northampton Hospital had done a great work and was preparing for still greater work in the future.

Mr. S. Saint asked whether a separate scheme of a memorial was possible.

Mr. W. Knibbs said that at two meetings of a body to which he belonged the resolution in favour of the suggest cottage hospital had been passed without any members voting against. An Institute on the lines mentioned by Mr. Perkins was sadly needed in Rushden, and he was disgusted with Rushden people for not having a place for the young people to go to. He thought they might erect a cenotaph in the town.

A discharged soldier asked whether the Discharged Soldiers’ Federation had been asked their opinion regarding the proposed Cottage Hospital.

Mr. Coles: No.

Mr. F. Elmer (secretary of the Rushden Branch): It is a disgrace that the men who have been and fought and helped to win the victory should not have been consulted when a war memorial is being considered. (Loud applause.)

Mr. Coles apologised for the omission of that society from the list of bodies to whom the hospital committee sent their circular letter, and assured Mr. Elmer that it was a pure oversight.

Mr. J. Spencer said he had an open mind on the two schemes, and did not regard either as a true memorial to those who had fallen. An institute was certainly needed in the town, and they needed acres of ground. He had been in favour of more recreation grounds, swimming baths, etc., but that was for the municipal authority to provide. They needed a gymnasium where every child had a chance of improving its health. The Institute did not provide that. An occasional game of billiards would not carry out what was intended. There was also need for a cottage hospital in Rushden. Both schemes would tax to the utmost the town’s resources to erect. He suggested that if both schemes failed to obtain the proper support a suitable monument be erected bearing the names of the fallen.

Mr. W. W. Rial said he doubted if the £1,500 necessary for the upkeep of the hospital would be easily forthcoming year after year. Personally he would not like to be one of the collectors. He favoured the extension of Spencer Park to Kimbolton-road, and have additional entrance gates with panels on which the names of the fallen could be inscribed.

Mr. Coles, replying to questions, criticised the Institute scheme, and said he believed it would prove a white elephant. They had the examples of that in the Wellingborough Liberal Club, and the Bedford Y.M.C.A., both of which places had failed to get the necessary financial support. Rushden Public Hall had had to be closed by the people who were advocating the Institute. So far as the society to which Mr. Neal belonged, he (Mr. Coles) understood that the delegates did vote against resolution.

Mr. Perkins, who also replied to questions, said the Institute committee had merely outlined the scheme, leaving the details to be suggested by supporters. The scheme had been expounded to a meeting of the Discharged Soldiers’ Federation, who had given it their support. He promised that the scheme would suit a large number of voters. No one had offered a site, but he believed they would have no difficulty in getting the piece of ground opposite the Council Buildings on the corner of Rectory-road and Newton-road. The committee believed the Institute would be self-supporting, as there was a profit out of billiards and refreshments, as the Public Hall Company found. He was not a director nor a shareholder of that company. The large hall would also be a source of income. It would not cost £1,500 a year, which needed raising by begging. Even if they managed to raise the £1,500 the first year or two, it would be difficult later on when the novelty had worn off. Then again, the subscriptions to Rushden Nursing Association and other necessary and deserving causes, including Northampton General Hospital, would not be so numerous or large.

After further discussion it was agreed nem. con. To ask the Rushden Urban Council and the two committees to arrange a poll of the town of all persons from the age of 18.

The Rushden Echo, 7th May, 1920, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Cottage Hospital Scheme - Rushden's War Memorial - Committees' Disappointment

A meeting of the Finance Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Tuesday, Mr. C. W. Horrell in the chair. The Chairman expressed regret at the delay in convening the meeting, but stated that the committee appointed to interview the manufacturers had experienced considerable difficulty in obtaining promises of support from them, in fact the only definite subscriptions promised were for £1,000 and £500 previously announced. The possibility of giving any reliable estimate of the ultimate cost of the proposed hospital, owing to the enormous increase in the cost of building and the present state of trade in the town, had been the principal difficulties.

The Committee expressed disappointment at the report and felt that it was useless to make an appeal to the general public without some more substantial lead from the manufacturers. A strong feeling was also expressed that the project should not be abandoned but kept alive for a more favourable opportunity, and the meeting was formally adjourned for three months.

As showing the great need for Hospitals of this character, Mr. Coles quoted from the report made by the Board at the last quarterly meeting of the Northampton General Hospital which stated that the list of patients waiting for admission was now greater than it had ever been before, the number on the list at the present time being no fewer than 120.

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