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

Wilful Damage to Rushden Hall - Councillor Gives Warning
WILFUL damage to Rushden Hall was mentioned by Coun. E. Sugars at Rushden Council's meeting on Wednesday when, as chairman of the Parks Committee, he issued a warning. Two girls, he said, had been seen to break glass in the windows. Although on this occasion the committee had left it with the police to interview the girls and their parents, they wished it to be known that they took, a very serious view of the matter and would deal more sternly with any future offenders.

At considerable expense to the ratepayers, the Council was trying to improve the amenities of the town, and he thought that in many cases much might be done by parents to check wilful damage by children.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 29th February, 1952, transcribed by Jim Hollis

County Rate Will Go Up 6d. to 13s. 4d. — Cuts essential – but will not injure services
Alderman Ewart Marlow announced what he described as “a small increase of 6d.” in the County rate for the next year, bringing it to 13s. 4d., at yesterday’s Budget meeting of Northamptonshire County Council.

Mentioning that the County Council proposes to spend a grand total of £3,871,700 – an increase of more than £300,000 – he argued that such cuts as have had to be made were essential. Although they might hurt, they would not injure the various services.

Ald. Marlow said the net call by committees totalled £1,564,200, of which the ratepayers had to find £759,300 (the rest coming from the Exchequer).

A penny rate now produces £5,195 – an increase of £183.

Preliminary estimates by committees had been reduced by £130,000 to conform with the national need for economy.

Referring to an unexpected and substantial “windfall” of nearly £200,000 increase in the Exchequer equalisation grant, which made all the difference to this year’s rate, Ald. Marlow warned councillors they might receive less next year.

He specified large increases in amounts to be spent during the coming year on education (£34,300, making a total call on local ratepayers for education of £525,800), libraries (for which the call has increased by £4,330 in two years), health (up by £15,000, mostly for water and sewerage schemes), and police (up by £19,400).

Hint to J.Ps.
He stated that it costs £8 a week to send a child to an approved school or a remand home, approved schools actually costing the county £9,650 a year.

Mr. H. J. Potter resisted any suggestion that Kettering Divisional Education Executive should be abolished to save money, and urged that local authorities should be delegated powers regarding town and country planning.

Ald. A. Joyce hoped all committees would economise throughout the year, not leave it to the eleventh hour.

Canon Francis Smith announced that the Ministry was not prepared to agree to the Education Committee’s suggested postponement until September, 1953, of the opening of Loddington Hall as a residential special school for educationally sub-normal children.

Ald. A. Allebone announced that the Ministry grant for classified roads would be £214,000 instead of the anticipated £181,000. To get the full grant they would spend more on classified roads and £13,000 less on unclassified roads, leaving the net call on the rates unchanged.

“We have no money for improvements,” he said, “so it is no use rural areas putting forward schemes. Trunk roads grants have been reduced by £49,537 also, so there will be no major improvements.”

Day Nurseries
Mr. H. R. Patenall, announcing the Health Committee’s decision to close day nurseries at Kettering, Corby and Rushden, said cost per child was 35s. a week, and parents had been asked hitherto to pay only 15s. a week.

Only 33 replies were received to 115 letters to parents asking if they would be prepared to pay the full cost, and it was clear that they would not.

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

Meat decontrol
After the decontrol of meat the Bedford Road abattoir, used since the war as a central slaughterhouse for the district, is to be administered by the C.W.S. There had been no response to an offer to slaughter animals for private traders.

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.

The surveyor, Mr. A. Millar, was instructed to proceed with demolishing the garage building adjoining 93 Portland Road, in compliance with an order made by Wellingborough Magistrates on February 5.

The Rushden Echo, 5th October 1962, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Council’s Work Outlined in Talks

A series of talks about local government by Rushden Urban Council officials began last night – the first move in a “Get to know your local council” drive, in which Higham Ferrers Town Council will be joining next year.

The talks at Rushden, instigated by the Co-operative Society’s education committee, will be given by four council officials, Mr. A. G. Crowdy, clerk; Mr. W. J. Anker, surveyor; Mr. W. D. White, treasurer and accountant; and Dr. P. X. Bermingham, medical officer of health.

Mr. Crowdy, who is a barrister-at-law, spoke at the first in the bi-weekly series about the development of local government in the town. He outlined the powers and duties of a council, explained how it functioned, and mentioned the work of the clerk’s department.

Mr. Cyril Faulkner, chairman of the council last year, will sum up the talks at the end of next month, when he refers to the duties of a councillor and describes the structure of a council.


After the series, being held in the Co-operative education centre in High Street, there will be a visit to a council meeting by those who have attended the talks.

This idea – trying to get people to take an interest in the council and attend their meetings – will be followed up shortly at Higham Ferrers, where the council intends to invite young people nearly eligible to vote to the Town Hall.

The Mayor, Mr. Colin Rockingham, told us: “We will get their names from the register and invite them to the Town Hall so that they can learn how the council operates.

“After all, the chambers belong to the town – not the council. It is surprising how few people have taken an interest and actually been in the Town Hall.”

Mr. W. Hawes, secretary of the committee arranging the talks at Rushden, explained the reason behind the decision to have council officials talk about their work to the townspeople.

“We felt the town needed the opportunity to find out how it is being run,” he said. “Our idea is to keep the series fairly short and simple – there will be six at fortnightly intervals.”

His committee had received the utmost co-operation from the council, which had showed enthusiasm about the suggestion when it was first put forward.

The Rushden Echo, 9th November 1962, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Council Told of Ministry View on Boundaries

Rushden Urban Council’s boundaries committee reported to the council that it had considered a circular from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government on the forthcoming county reviews of local government districts.

The circular said that each county council should propose changes wherever it was considered necessary to secure effective, as well as convenient, units with adequate population and resources.

It added that effective local government did not depend solely on population, but that in considering the effectiveness of smaller county districts, there was a close connection between the size of the population served and the ability of the council to provide services of the standard which people nowadays were “entitled to expect.”


District councils “should be encouraged to give early consideration to their boundary problems so that they will be in a position to give their views with a minimum delay when the formal review commences,” the circular said.

The boundaries committee, the council learned, did not feel it necessary to recommend any action at present having regard to the council’s previous considerations, and its decisions on general policy in relation to boundaries particularly as they affected Rushden and Higham Ferrers.

The Rushden Echo, 4th January 1963, transcribed by Jim Hollis

New Year Hopes & Fears

The New Year is a time to sum up the past and try to assess the future. With this in mind the “Echo” invited three of Higham Ferrers’ and Rushden’s leading figures, Mr. Cyril Freeman, chairman of Rushden Urban Council, Mr. Colin Rockingham, Mayor of Higham Ferrers, and Mr. A. A. Allebone, chairman of Rushden and District Shoe Manufacturers’ Association, to give New Year messages to townspeople.

 Mr. Cyril Freeman
Mr. Cyril Freeman
Mr. Cyril Freeman, chairman of Rushden Urban Council, writes:

“I hope that 1963 will be a peaceful and prosperous year for all, and that Rushden people will enjoy their full share of happiness and prosperity.

“May improvements in local trade bring busy factories and shops and a resulting benefit to all townspeople.

“So far as council work is concerned, I hope that during 1963 our main road traffic problems will be solved. It was actually August, 1958, when the one-way system commenced, and the Ministry of Transport have so far never confirmed the acceptance of Wellingborough, Washbrook and Rectory Roads as the trunk road. When these roads are taken over by the Ministry the lighting can be dealt with and improved, and also limited waiting allowed on our High street.

“The new sports pavilion at Spencer Park should be completed during the summer, and the much-needed housing centre of 48 flats, bungalows and houses in Kilburn Place on the way. I am sure both these items will be a credit to the town.

“May all the local voluntary organisations continue their good work to bring satisfaction and pleasure to their members?

“I am just over halfway in my year of office, and I would conclude by thanking all who have assisted me in any way in the carrying out of my official duties.”

He is Proud

Mr. Colin J. Rockingham, Mayor of Higham Ferrers:

“I am very pleased to have this opportunity to send New Year greetings to all the people of Higham Ferrers.

“I am beginning to understand fully what a wonderful community spirit exists in the town, and it make me very proud to be one of its people.

“I hope that the New Year will see a steady growth in the local organisations and voluntary services which do such invaluable work for the benefit of others.

“Perhaps at this time of making New Year resolutions there may be more people who resolve to spend a few hours during 1963 to help others. I am sure that those who do so will find the satisfaction derived from such services is out of all proportion to the small amounts of time involved.

“I am confident that your Town Council will continue to keep Higham Ferrers in the forefront of local authorities and maintain the proud tradition of good local government established more than seven hundred years ago.

“As Mayor, I look forward to receiving the same wonderful support in the New Year that I received in the old, which active support makes this period of office such a rewarding experience for me.

“May I wish to all the townspeople of Higham Ferrers Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity in this New Year of 1963.”

Mr Allebone
Mr Allebone
Mr. A. A. Allebone, chairman of Rushden and District Shoe Manufacturers’ Association:

“It would be foolish to pretend the year we have just passed through has been anything but a very difficult one for the shoe trade, or that the New Year opens with a promise of better things in the immediate future.

“As footwear becomes more a fashion industry so will fluctuations in demand inevitably become more pronounced. In addition, political uncertainties add to our present difficulties, and foreign imports show few signs of slackening.

“These cycles of adverse circumstances for out staple industry appear to have occurred at fairly regular intervals, and each time the challenge has been met and the industry itself has emerged stronger relatively to the rest of the world then previously. And it will do so again. Shoes are one of the basic human needs, and most of the world’s population must wear them.

“I am sure that the flexibility of the local industry will ensure that Rushden and district will get at least its proportionate share of the New Year’s prosperity.”

Lock-Up Garage Plans

Rushden Urban Council received a report on Monday from the Surveyor, who said that he had completed details of the schemes for the erection of garages at Boundary Avenue and Denton Close, and that tenders would soon be invited.

The council was told by the Housing Committee that the tenant of 17 Denton Close, who was apprehensive that “some disturbance” might result through the garages adjoining his house wound be given the opportunity to exchange tenancies.

The Parks Committee also reported on its decision to invite four local bands to submit their proposals for band concerts in the Hall Grounds this year.

On the question of providing car parking facilities for visitors to the grounds, near to the Wymington Road entrance, the committee reported that relative discussions had been deferred until its next meeting.

The council received news from the county surveyor that the Ministry of Transport had accepted the current proposal for the setting back of the entrance to the Hall Grounds.

Mr. A. E. Goulsbra, for the Library Committee, said it was intended to consider providing a glass screen over the swing doors at the library entrance in next year’s estimates.


Need For a Roof Over Swim Pool

Rushden is the latest town to receive a request for an improvement in its swimming facilities.

The urban council has received a letter from Rushden Swimming Club, stating that the need for a roof over the town’s open air swimming bath is “as great as ever.”

The Parks Committee reported on Monday’s Council meeting that the club had asked for all-the-year-round swimming facilities to be provided, but it had been decided to defer consideration of the matter while further investigations were made.

At the committee’s meeting on December 3 the Clerk resubmitted particulars previously presented in 1958 concerning the cost of improvements at the swimming bath.

Presenting the committee’s minutes, Mr. J. E. Wills said that the council, like the club, was very concerned over providing coverage for the pool, but since 1958 the cost of improvements was likely to have increased.

The Rushden Echo, 1st March 1963, transcribed by Jim Hollis

High Cost of The Freeze

The spell of warmer weather at the beginning of the week has caused local councils to count up the money they have had to spend as a result of recent conditions.

The assistant surveyor to Rushden Urban Council, Mr. J. Wild, told the “Echo” that the cost of snow clearing and gritting alone was in the region of £9,000. “At one time it was costing us about £300 a day,” he said.

The council has had as many as 90 men, in addition to its own employees, working on snow clearing during the period. Also, from outside firms, the council has hired 21 lorries, three mechanical shovelling and loading vehicles and two bulldozers.

It has also had to contend with 800 complaints of burst pipes and frozen services in council houses, while the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board has dealt with a further 1,000calls for assistance and advice.

No Failures

Ten private plumbers were employed and all complaints notified have been dealt with, most of them by electrical methods.

“We are proud to say that we haven’t had any failures,” said Mr. Wild.

It was not possible as yet to estimate the extent of the damage by frost to roads, but in some areas, particularly Tennyson Road and Hall Avenue, the ground had subsided and left the roads in a very bad state.

One Piece

“In one place the footpath has come up about 1½ inches, but it is all in one piece and we are expecting it will stay that way when it goes back after the frost has cleared,” he said.

At Higham Ferrers the town council has spent much more than was originally estimated on snow clearing and gritting.

A revised estimate is £1,650 for snow clearance and in the region of £1,000 for gritting.


The Rushden and Higham Ferrers water supply at Sywell reservoir has been frozen over with ice a foot to 15 inches thick and the board has been having to pump as much water as possible from Ditchford and Wollaston to make up for theconsequent shortage.

Mr. F. Clifton, of 70 Wymington Road, Rushden, who kept a record of temperatures during the similar period of extreme cold in 1947, tells us that it was after the cold spell in that year that the worst gale for many years hit the district.

The date of this gale was March 16.

Northamptonshire Advertiser, Friday, November 8, 1963, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Urban Council has decided that in cases where approval is given for the erection of garages or the provision of hard-standings at council houses, tenants should have all incidental works completed to the surveyor's satisfaction by an approved contractor, or place an order, accompanied by a deposit, of the estimated cost of the work.

The sale of 155 square yards of land forming part of the site of Thrift Cottages to Wright and Young Ltd., has been approved by Rushden Urban Council.

The Finance and General Purposes Committee of Rushden Urban Council recommended no action by the council in connection with local factory accommodation which is shortly to be offered for sale by auction.

It was decided to issue further advertisements for an engineering assistant with architectural experience at a grade APT II or APT III salary

The Rushden Echo, 19th March 1965, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Built-In Rate ‘Accelerator’

Rushden Urban Council’s new rate was fixed at 11s 6d in the £ on Monday – an increase of 10d on the current rate, due to the five penny increase in the county precept and a five penny increase in the local rate.

In his budget speech, the chairman of the Finance Committee, Mr. C. Faulkner, said it seemed they had been bequeathed a system with a built-in accelerator, which ensured on average the rate had to be increased by 8d to 10d in the pound each year – even if there was no change in policy.

He pointed out that the rateable value and the product of the penny rate had increased by over 11 per cent over the past six years, but expenditure had increased by 65.6 per cent over the same period.

To obviate excessive loan charges the council had, where possible met some expenditure from revenue.


Mr. Faulkner said this was sound policy and good housekeeping.

In other cases the council had resorted to temporary borrowing when the market had been favourable.

“By doing so we have saved the ratepayers a goodly sum of money over the past few years,” he said.

The committee estimates for the coming year all showed increases, except the allotments committee which was down by £50.

On the other hand the Public Health Committee estimate was up by £9,000. The total increase amounts to £19,195.

The product of a penny rate stands at £2,700 -- £40 up on the current year.

When added to the water board precept, the council’s needs total £170,170. Deducted from that is £26,000 in Government grants and £1,070 from the balances. This leaves £143,100 – or a rate of 4s 5d. The county rate is 7s 1d.


Mr. Faulkner said they had a duty to provide essential services. They had to be paid for and it seemed they had no option but to do three things.

To steer a middle course between extravagance on the one hand and parsimony on the other; to make quite sure that they got their priorities right; and to see they got value for money spent.

The committee’s report stated that the Highways and Planning Committee had been advised that the capital estimate of £25,000 for street improvements could be increased to £40,000 if it should prove possible to place additional contracts in the course of the year.

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