Mr. H. F. Pinnock, president of the Rushden and District Shoe Manufacturers’ Association, said that 1958 had been a testing year, but the local industry had emerged from it in better shape to take advantage of the signs of trade extensions both at home and overseas.
Local manufacturers, he added, were well abreast of new trends and the area remained vigorously competitive.
From other inquiries we were left in no doubt of the reasonably optimistic attitude of the boot leaders at Rushden and Higham Ferrers. It was pointed out that the year begins with trade in a healthy condition and with no spare labour about.
Rate Cut Hopes
A general view was that recent economic developments promised opportunities for increased freedom of trade in many parts of the world from which Rushden, with its always evident enterprise in regard to foreign markets, is likely to benefit.
A good year was looked forward to by the civic heads of Rushden and Higham Ferrers.
The chairman of the Rushden Urban Council, Mr. Frank Brown, was full of enthusiasm for town improvements and better trading prosperity. In Higham, the Mayor, Mr. J. D. Wilson, said he hoped to see a cut in the borough rate.
Mr. Brown said that the council would soon have the road-widening and car park work in Duck Street finished, and work at the corner of Rose Avenue should be completed before long. It was hoped to start on the Kilburn Place clearance scheme.
A few more days should see the end of the road widening work near St. Mary’s Church, he said. After this would come all-out plans for a one-way traffic system for High Street. “We really want to get our stall out and get traffic improvements in the town,” he declared.
As for the town’s trade, Mr. Brown was confident that Rushden could be cheerful. The next few months would see business picking up, he predicted.
The Mayor of Higham Ferrers hesitated to make any definite forecasts about 1959, but said it was his ambition to see the rate cut if possible. Nothing about this was certain but he felt that the rate would not go up and had high hopes that a decrease might be affected.
He said he thought the recent happenings with Britain’s and Continental currencies would be of benefit to all and he hoped a prosperous year was to come.