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Council Housing

Irchester Road Council houses in 2009 Hill Crest
Irchester Road Council Houses
in February 2009 -
Photo by Jim Hollis.
Hill Crest was taken into the Council stock in 1969
Formerly the home of Rev Thomas Bromage

Rushden Echo May 8th 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

Housing Problem at Irchester - Should Rushden do the Building? - Rural District Council’s Views
Irchester’s housing problem was again dealt with by the Wellingboro’ Rural District Council at their meeting on Wednesday, when the Clerk gave particulars of the proposed answers to the queries made by the Local Government Board with reference to housing in the district.

To the question whether any houses were required the Clerk suggested the Council state that Irchester required 20 six-roomed houses.

Mr Dunkley asked if it was not a fact that many people who lived at Irchester worked at Rushden. If so, he did not see why the Rural Disctrict Council should provide housing for

Rushden People
Mr J C Turner (Irchester) said that Rushden was as badly off for houses as Irchester.

Mr Dunkley said his question was: Would there be enough house accommodation in Irchester if the Rushden workers lived in Rushden? If so, he did not see why the Rural District Council should do work which the Rushden Urban Council should perform.

Mr Turner said that the people who worked at Rushden were Irchester people, and were bound to go out of the village to work.

Mr Tomkins asked if it was the Irchester Parish Council that recommended 20 houses or only the sub-committee, but the information was not forthcoming. He suggested that this particular question be left over until a reply had been received from the Parish Council. He hoped the Rural District Council would not build houses.

It was eventually decided, on the proposition of Mr Turner, seconded by Mr E Parsons, to fill in the form as suggested by the Clerk.

Rushden Echo, 26th October, 1917, transcribed by Gill Hollis

The New National Housing Scheme

We understand it has been decided that the new national housing scheme shall be directed by the Local Government Board.  The returns already received from the city, borough, town, and district councils throughout the country show that about 100,000 new workmen’s dwellings are urgently required, but we are able to state that from 150,000 to 200,000 will be erected to meet the after-war conditions.  It was stated at the Local Government Board this week that the Government would be asked to grant a subsidy of several million pounds for the purpose.  The type and size of the houses will vary according to the district in which they are built, but all the parts will be standardised from the bricks to window fittings.  In every possible case gardens will be provided, the cultivation of which will be of national value in the years of food shortage which will follow the war.  Local authorities are being urged to adopt a standard system of planning with not more than twelve houses to the acre.

Council Meeting 1931 Questions of Expense and Dignity: A Temporary Arrangement

Rushden Echo & Argus, 23rd December, 1932

Council Houses Sanctioned
Good News for Rushden - 56 Non-Parlour Type to be Built

  The anxiety expressed at last week’s meeting of the Rushden Urban District Council has been dispelled by a letter from the Ministry of Health, authorising the erection of 56 small houses on the road now in course of construction near Tennyson-place.

  It is understood that the sanction came through in the ordinary way without any further pressure by the Council, whose appointment of a deputation to visit the Ministry has proved unnecessary.

Council Housing 1948

Rushden Echo & Argus, 10th March 1950, transcribed by Kay Collins

Council Puts Up Rents of 935 Houses
Because maintenance costs have increased a wholesale advance of Council house rents was ordered at Wednesday's meeting of Rushden Urban Council.

The increases, which range from 5d. to 1s. 8d. will be made on 935 houses and prefabs.

A report from the Housing Committee stated that present rents would not produce sufficient income to meet the outgoings during the next financial year, and it was estimated, that an additional income of £2,900 per annum was required to avoid an increased contribution from rates.

The committee considered that It would be inequitable, for the rents to be further subsidised by additional rate contributions. Every endeavour had been made to adjust the rents equitably, having regard to the accommodation and amenities of the various types of houses.

A table of rents now to be charged showed that the highest gross rent for a post-war house will now be 20s., and for a pre-war house 18s. 8d

Mrs. Muxlow said it had always been the policy of the Council that an increase of the contribution from the rates beyond the statutory one should not be made. It would be noticed that the rents of the houses for old people had been left alone.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 12th May, 1950, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Petitions Against Increases
Three petitions from Council house tenants against the recent rent increases have been received by the Housing Committee of Rushden Urban Council and were mentioned at the Council’s meeting on Wednesday.

One was from 98 tenants in Highfield Road, Coronation Avenue, Chester Road, Boundary Avenue, The Crescent and Spinney Road, who considered that the increases were inequitable having regard to the relative amenities of the houses. The second was from 24 tenants in Trafford Road who, though complaining of the increase, state that they would be satisfied if electricity was installed at the expense of the Council. The third is an individual protest from the tenant of 146 Highfield Road.

The committee reported with regret that they did not feel able to recommend any variation. “I am very sorry,” Mrs. Muxlow told the Council “but under the circumstances it is not possible to alter the rents.” The report was adopted without further comment.

Extract from Council Meeting Nov 1951

Interior decoration is to be carried out at 41 houses in Kings Road and at the 50 prefabricated bungalows.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 17th October, 1952, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Catching Up With House-Hunt - Replacements will be next problem
Here is a story that should make pleasant reading to hundreds of Rushden people. It concerns housing, a subject of considerable importance in the town since the end of the war, and carries the glad tidings that the local situation is rapidly being overcome.

From 600 on the waiting list for council houses in 1946 the figure has decreased to a little over 300. Of these applicants, about 150 are considered as absolutely in need, for at least 100 are at present living in sub-standard cottages or flats.

One hundred and fifty is not nearly such a formidable figure to tackle, and at the present rate of building the task might well be accomplished in well under two years.

Statistics in post-war issues of the Medical Officer of Health’s report make interesting reading and show the progress of the situation year by year. No houses were built by the council from 1939 to 1944, and in the three succeeding years the problem was referred to as “acute.”

In 1945 there were 200 on the waiting list, and within twelve months the figure had jumped to 600. By 1947 the list stood at 500 and dropped 75 during the next year. The downward trend continued until 1950, when the figure rocketed back to 534. The most recent issue of the M.O.H.’s report – 1951 – puts the figure at 456.

But unfortunately for the council the matter will not end when progress catches up with the waiting list. They will still have to face the difficult task of clearing the town’s slum area – something of which they were reminded at the last meeting.

With the exception of a few individual houses which have been demolished or closed, little has been done in the matter since the war. It has been suggested that the job should be tackled soon and dovetailed into the normal building programme. The problem is to be discussed by the Health Committee very shortly following a report that is to be submitted by the Sanitary Inspector.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 31st October, 1952, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Treasurer Warns On Housing - Debt is running into millions
A blunt warning on the dangers which may arise from piled-up housing costs is given to Rushden by the treasurer of the Urban Council, Mr. W. D. White.

In a preface to the annual abstract of accounts Mr. White states:-

“It should not be assumed that the future finances of the Council can be viewed with complacency. Housing finances, as a result of the 1952 Act increasing the annual statutory rate aid for new houses by 62 per cent., give rise to some concern…

“When the present housing programme is complete, it is forecast, the annual rate for this service will be over 2s. in the £. The loan debt thereon will be round about 1¾ million pounds, and loan charges, although mainly covered by rents, will present a difficulty if houses cannot be let or a trade slump occurs.

“Repairs’ expenses in spite of the increased statutory minimum contribution, will need to be carefully watched if the repairs account is to be kept solvent.

“These matters are some of the future financial problems which will no doubt have the consideration of the Council from time to time. A review of capital commitments in relation to the live list of housing applicants is essential at all stages.”

Mr. White reports that after the initial shock of a rate increase of 4s. in the £ in 1951, the ratepayers responded very well, and the rate increase at the end of the financial year (March 31st, 1952) showed no marked increase. The output of houses was doubled over the 1950-51 figure, and the loan debt was increased by £110,000 – rather more than the amount paid off housing loans since the Council first began to build houses.

The Council owned 1,165 houses on March 31st – more than one-fifth of the town’s total number – and the net rent value was £33,791 per annum. From five in 1881, the number of people per house in Rushden now averages a fraction over three.

Of a total civic loan debt of £789,130, only £22,000 arises from purposes other than housing.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 11th July 1954, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Council Has . . . . Five-year plan for 'slums'
A "slum" clearance plan involving 23 properties in five areas, was mentioned at Rushden Urban Council's meeting on Wednesday. Mr. J. Allen described it as the first instalment of a scheme which would probably go on for five years.

The first list of properties has not yet been presented.

Electrical installations in the council's temporary bungalows are to be inspected every 14 months in future because they have been the cause of fires. The cost will be about ten shillings per house.

'No parking' here
Council house tenants are to be told that vehicles must not be parked on the grass Verges of the estates.

One room in each of the 621 council houses on the Higham Road and Irchester Road estates is to be decorated this year. The tenants will be given the opportunity to decide which room they want having done.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th January 1955, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Council owns 1,140 of Rushden’s houses
When objections to the first instalment of Rushden Council’s property clearance programme were considered on Tuesday, Mr. A. G. Crowdy, clerk of the council, told Mr. F. R. Day, a Ministry of Housing inspector, that Rushden has 5,500 houses, of which the council owns 1,140.

The objectors were Mrs. Haseldine, of Kettering, owner of No. 28 Little Street, and Mr. H. Pantling, of Leicester, in respect of Nos. 30 to 38 Little Street and No. 125 High Street South.

For the council it was stated that the site was congested and had insufficient air space. Two of the cottages were unoccupied, and 11 people lived in the other five.

There was only one entrance door to each cottage in Little Street, and except for No. 28 there was no inside water supply.

After hearing the evidence, Mr. Pantling said he would withdraw his objection. Mrs. Haseldine did not attend.

The inspector said he would view the property, and issue his report later.

Extract from Council Meeting April 1955
The tender of F. and R. Windsor, Ltd., for erecting 56 houses in Allen Road and Blinco Road at a cost of £73,726 were accepted. It was agreed to apply for consent to raise a loan of £75,550.

The final plan was submitted for the development of land between Blinco Road and Hayden Road, required for the next section of the housing programme and the council agreed to apply for consent to raise a loan of £10,460 for site works and incidental expenses.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th December 1956, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Council Alters a House for Terry
A decision of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday evening meant a great deal to one Rushden family – the Brittins, of 37 High Street, applicants for a council house.

There was more than the usual anxiety for a house; however, for the decision the council was being asked by its housing committee to make was to adapt a house now in the course of erection to provide certain special facilities.

These facilities are needed, for Terry, 20-year-old only child of Mr. and Mrs. Rowland Brittin, who was struck down by a particularly severe form of poliomyelitis 14 months ago when he was serving with the R.A.F. in Scotland.

After months in a Scottish hospital Terry was flown to England admitted to the Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital in February and now is due to come home.

An ordinary home presents innumerable difficulties, however, because Terry has only the use of his head and left hand – the council’s housing committee recommended successfully at Wednesday’s meeting of the council that alterations needed in this case should be made to one of the houses at present being built.

Terry’s progress during the past 14 months has been slow – and an additional complication was provided by the fact that at one stage he had acute appendicitis and had to be rushed to Northampton General Hospital for an operation.

His mother told a reporter that throughout his illness and at one stage he was in an iron lung, he has remained cheerful.

At various times when his condition has been critical he has been prayed for in all the churches and chapels of Rushden and had also been helped in his fight by the constant support of his parents, and the frequent visits of a large circle of friends.

So much has his case meant to those who have come into contact with it that the matron of the Scottish hospital into which he was first admitted and the wife of the Commanding Officer of his old R.A.F. station, have kept in touch with his family and last week a special phone call was put through to him at hospital from the R.A.F. station where the C.O. and men wished him all the best for Christmas and the future..

Now Terry wants to come home where despite his illness he can be with his own people. That is why Wednesday’s meeting of the council meant so much to the Brittin family.

The Rushden Echo, 15th February, 1957, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Council’s Housing Plans for 1957-8
Rushden Urban Council plans to build twenty houses, six single-bedroom type flats at the Hayden estate and 12 single-bedroom type bungalows during the twelve months beginning on April 1, subject to convenient sites being available.

The programme was submitted to the council on Wednesday in a Housing Committee report which stated that, on January 11 38 houses and 12 flats were in course of construction. At the end of 1956 there was a large number of applications for old people’s dwellings, among them 19 from council tenants whose transfer would release two and three-bedroom-type houses for re-letting.

A Housing Committee ruling, arising from a case in which the tenant had raised objections, was that proper provision for access must be made in all cases where tenants are permitted to erect garages.

Complaints have been received about snow blowing under the slates of houses, particularly in the Westfield Avenue area. The question of “torching” over 700 roofs will be considered, but the cost might be as much as £5,000. Mr. G. Marriott said the work would have to be done over a number of years.

Pre-war houses are to be surveyed with a view to improvements.

The clearance order in respect of South Terrace has been confirmed and became operative on February 9.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 23rd May 1958, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Where Your Money Went
The cost of the upkeep of Rushden’s housing estates are analysed in a handbook just prepared by Mr. W. D. White, treasurer and accountant to Rushden Urban Council. In the financial year 1956-57 there were 1,559 homes to be maintained, and the repair bill came to £14,152 – an average of £9 per house.

This is how the money went: Plumbing £1,812, gas fitting £391, electrical repairs £88, bricklayers £828, plasterers £521, carpenters £932, roofs £838, fencing £655, gates ££259, footpaths £948, internal decorations £4,674, external decorations £1,014, fireplaces and grates £587, dustbins and line-posts £277, garage repairs £4, special repairs £305, sundries £19.

The repairs fund made up of a £10 contribution in respect of each house showed a surplus of £1,549. An average of £11 was spent on 797 pre-war houses, £5 on 712 post-war houses, and £37 on 50 prefabricated bungalows.

£1,483,383 Debt
On March 31, 1957, the town’s debt for housing was £1,408,567, out of a total indebtedness of £1,483,383. This worked out at £85 7s 4d per head of the population for housing and £4 10s 8d for other purposes.

Net rent income for the year was £64,110, and the tenants also paid £29,281 in rates. Total general rate income at 18s 6d in the £ was £174,683 but £93,873 of this was passed on to the County Council.

Officers’ salaries cost £22,827 and the workmen’s wages £36,729. The swimming baths had an income of £375 against an expenditure of £1,049, Spencer Park £410 against £2,403, Rushden Hall £302 against£974, Jubilee Park £5 against £542. Open spaces cost £967 to equip and maintain. There are items of £224 for street nameplates, £21 for bus barricades and stops, and £24 for public clocks.

Co-op News 23rd December 1961

RUSHDEN Society has been awarded a contract for the internal decoration of 64 houses for the U.D.C.

The Rushden Echo, 8th March 1963, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Enough Housing Sites at Rushden

The annual review of Rushden Urban Council’s housing programme has shown that the sites at Spinney Close, Newton Road and Cromwell Road will probably be sufficient to sustain the 1964/1965 building programme.

The housing committee reported at last week’s council meeting that it would be desirable to make provision for constructing roads and sewers on the Spinney Field site in the early part of 1964 so that facilities would be available for future expansion of the housing programme.

The owners of 28/38 Pemberton Street are to be served with notices to carry out the work necessary to make the houses fit for human habitation.

The public health inspector reported that he had received no reply to informal notices requesting repairs of the premises. In the meantime, no work had been carried out on the houses.

The notices will require the owners to make the necessary repairs within 56 days from the time of issue.

The final cost of tiling the public conveniences in Newton Road was £292.

These conveniences had to be closed for a few days during the cold weather because of frozen and burst pipes.

The Rushden Echo, 26th November 1965, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Over 50,000 homes have been built in past twenty years.

Figures released by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in its Housing Returns for England and Wales, shows that more than fifty thousand houses have been built in Northamptonshire since the war.

The number of houses built at Kettering by the local authority by September 30 was 1,940, with 24 under construction. Privately built houses totalled 2,200, with 215 under construction.

At Higham Ferrers, 310 houses were built by the local authority and 310 privately. There are now 25 private houses under construction.


In Burton Latimer, the local authority built 353 houses with 29 still under construction, and privately built houses totalled 202, with 98 still under construction.

Desborough local authority built 230 houses and has 34 under construction, and there were 225 private houses built with 37 under construction.

The local authority at Irthlingborough has completed 376 houses and has 21 under construction, and privately built houses numbered 206 with 17 under construction. Seventy-two houses were provided by a housing association.

At Oundle the local authority has completed 208 houses and has 29 under construction. Also, 81 private houses have been completed and 14 are under construction.

At Raunds the figures were 228 completed and 24 under construction by local authority, and 313 completed with 64 under construction for private owners.

Rothwell local authority has 313 completed and eight under construction, and 117 private houses completed with eight under construction. A housing association provided 12 houses.

At Rushden, the local authority has completed 970 houses with four under construction, and 1,049 private houses completed with 100 under construction.

The Wellingborough local authority has completed 1,922 houses and has 173 under construction. 1,786 private houses have been completed, and 78 are under construction.

Corby Urban Council built 2,929 houses and has 12 under construction. The Development Corporation completed 5,688 and has 426 under construction. Private houses in Corby total 803 and 109 are under construction.

Kettering Rural Council has completed 877 and has 26 under construction, and in the rural area 453 houses have been completed with 88 under construction.

Oundle and Thrapston Rural Council have completed 869 with 22 under construction. Private houses completed total 392 with 70 under construction.

Wellingborough Rural Council has completed 957 with 18 under construction, and completed private houses total 710 with 110 under construction.

In the county between January 1, 1955, and June 30 this year, 6,331 unfit houses were demolished.

The estimated population of the county at mid-1964 was 417,000.

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