The Rushden Echo, 16th January, 1920, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Northamptonshire County Council
Rushden House as a County Sanatorium
The Public Health Committee reported that they had had under consideration the question of the probable cost of internal alteration at Rushden House, and the provision of accommodation in the grounds for the reception of cases of tuberculosis, and were of opinion that provision should be made for 66 patients. The capital grant by the Government of three-fifths of expenditure, provided the cost per bed did not exceed £150, has been increased to allow of the total expenditure not exceeding £300 per bed. It was proposed that for the accommodation of cases of tuberculosis outside the main building use should be made of the material which the Government has for disposal. The committee recommended the Council to approve the adaptation and equipment of Rushden House and grounds for the provision of 66 beds for the treatment of early, middle, and advanced cases of tuberculosis at an expenditure (including the purchase money already approved) not exceeding £20,000.
Mr. A. Webb (chairman of the committee) explained, with regard to Rushden House, that the 66 beds at £300 a bed would cost about £20,000, of which the Government would pay £11,880, leaving the County Council to provide £8,120. Of the latter sum the Government would contribute in maintenance grant 50 per cent., leaving the County Council to find about £4,000. Allowing a margin, the sanatorium, which would be a credit to the county, would cost only a rate of about three-farthings in the £. It would be the wish of the committee to make the sanatorium as homely and comfortable as possible. The surroundings were all that could be desired. The land was well timbered; there was a good floor for light recreation; there was a very large kitchen garden, where, he hoped, the patients would be able to put in a certain amount of light work which would be a benefit to them; there was a big orchard, and everything which a sanatorium required. The after-care of patients would be a subsequent task. Forty per cent. of the tuberculosis patients were boot operatives; the next were the tailors and tailoresses, but they numbered only six per cent. He hoped the shoe manufacturers would be able to formulate some plan for providing workshops where former patients could be employed.
Mr. Claridge (Rushden), speaking against the proposal, said he wished to urge the same reasons as before. There was a decided objection on the part of a number of Rushden people against this site being used. He was not opposed to the provision of a sanatorium, because they all felt it was important that one should be provided, but they considered the soil was altogether unsuitable. This was a nasty heavy clay soil, whereas a light soil would be more suitable. The site was near the main road and the Wymington road, which were much used; there was a rather large elementary school near, where 400 or 500 children were educated; and many Rushden people felt it was not a suitable place for a sanatorium. As Rushden House had now been purchased he should prefer it being used for another purpose. He understood that very shortly a Secondary School would have to be provided for Rushden, and he thought Rushden House would be very suitable for that, and give plenty of land for playing grounds. The people of Rushden would much prefer Rushden House being used as a Secondary School than as a Sanatorium. He thought the Rushden Urban Council should have been consulted before the County Council arrived at a decision. He thought the Public Health Committee ought to have visited the place and report to the County Council, but only the Chairman of the Committee, as far as he knew, had visited Rushden House. The purchase had now been made, but he wished the place could be used as a Secondary School. It was a very nice house, but the nature of the soil and the proximity to the roads made it unsuitable for a sanatorium.
Ald. Thornton, replying to Mr. Claridge, said that the members of the sub-committee visited Rushden House and came to the conclusion that it was most suitable for a sanatorium. The special advice of their tuberculosis officer was that it would be no source of injury to the town of Rushden, but rather a benefit, because Rushden was a place where there was a higher percentage of tuberculosis than any other part of the county. They would have a dispensary there, which would help the people of Rushden to combat this terrible disease. Far from being detrimental to Rushden, the sanatorium would be a great help to the town in getting rid of the disease.
Ald. Barlow also stated that the members of the sub-committee visited Rushden House and thought it very well suited for a sanatorium.
Mr. Claridge : Does the £20,000 include furnishing?
Mr. Webb : Yes.
The proposition was carried.