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Rushden Echo, Apr - May 1918, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

12th April, 1918

The Resignation of Three Members
The Rate for the Coming Year
Serious Damage in the Recreation Ground
Shall it be Ploughed Up?
Thanks to Chairman and Vice-Chairman

  Wednesday, present Councillors John Spencer, J.P. (chairman), T. Wilmott (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., J. Claridge, J.P., C.C.,  J. S. Clipson, W. Bazeley, J.P., C. Bates, T. Swindall, and J. Hyde with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason) and the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Mason).

Council In Committee

  A meeting of the whole Council in Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, March 27th, 1918, when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (Chairman), T. Wilmott, C. Bates, W. Bazeley, J. Claridge, J. S. Clipson, J. Hyde, Fred Knight, and T. Swindall.


were presented for:-

  Alterations and additions to No. 1, Duck-street, for Mr. F. Ward, and passed.

Health and Sanitary Report

  The report of the Medical Officer for the month of March was received.

Dairies, Cowsheds, & Milkshops Order

  The quarterly report of Mr. Bainbridge was received, from which it appeared that on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, and 16th March, 1918, he visited 31 premises and inspected 236 cows and heifers, making special examination of their udders and throats.  The Committee considered the report very satisfactory.

Household Supplies of Coal

  A letter was received from the Controller of Coal Mines, enclosing a copy of the Household Coal Distribution Order, 1917, now in force in London, stating that it was proposed to adopt some such scheme for the country generally.  The Controller asked the Council to give their consideration to the proposal and to arrange for a representative to attend a Conference shortly to be called at Nottingham to finally determine the form of the Orders to be made by the Board of Trade to give effect to the scheme.

  It appeared from the memorandum upon the proposed scheme that it would be necessary to appoint an Executive Officer responsible to the Controller for the discharge of all duties falling on him under the Orders, and it was strongly recommended that this Officer should be the Surveyor for the district.

  It was resolved to appoint the Surveyor as Executive Officer accordingly, and appoint him and Mr. Swindall to attend the Conference at Nottingham.

  A letter from the Controller of Coal Mines was received thanking the Council for the valuable services rendered in connection with the local requirements of household consumers during the past winter.

National Salvage Council

  A circular letter from the Local Government Board was received stating that a National Salvage Council had now been set up and urging the Council that use should be made so far as possible of all existing agencies for providing for the disposal of waste.

Team Labour

  A circular from the Local Government Board was also received calling attention to the agreement that had recently been made between the Master Carters’ Association of Great Britain and the National Transport Workers’ Federation with regard to rates of wages to be paid to commercial drivers, etc.

Registration of The Blind

  A further communication was received from the Local Government Board as to the compilation of a Register of the Blind, asking the Council to assist them with such information as was at their disposal in order to make the Register as complete as possible.

  The Clerk was instructed to communicate with the Secretary of the Clubs’ Blind and Crippled Children’s Fund with this end in view.

Housing of The Working Classes

  A circular from the Local Government Board with regard to the financial assistance proposed to be allotted to such local authorities as were prepared to carry out a programme of housing for the working classes was submitted.  The Clerk was instructed to supply each member with a copy of the circular and to write to the Local Government Board for more precise information as to the financial arrangements.

Washbrook-Road Marine Store

  A letter was received from the Trades and Labour Council complaining of the smell and unsightliness of the Marine Store near Spencer Park.

  It was resolved to request the temporary Inspector to visit the site and report to the next Sanitary Meeting.

Road Materials

  Tenders were received for the road materials required for the scheduled roads for the ensuing year, and the Surveyor authorised to place orders for the quantities authorised at his discretion.

Public Lighting

  It was resolved to cease public lighting on April 8th next.

  The report was adopted.

New Rate

  The Chairman reported that the Finance Committee had met that night, and recommended that the rate for the coming year be the same as last year – 2s.  4d. in the £ for the first half of the year, and 2s.  6d. for the second six months.  He moved that the recommendation be adopted, and this was carried.


  The Chairman said that the resignations of the Ven. A. Kitchin and Mr. L. Perkins as members of the Council had already been received.  They had now received a letter from Mr. George H. Skinner, another member of the Council, resigning his position.

  The Clerk read Mr. Skinner’s letter.  Mr. Skinner said he was sorry that his health was so poor that he could not carry out the duties.  In resigning his position on the Council he wished to thank the members for their kind expressions of goodwill towards him.

  The Chairman, in moving that Mr. Skinner’s resignation be accepted, said they all regretted the ill-health of Mr. Skinner, who had been a member of the local authorities of Rushden for many years.  He was a member of the old Local Board, and subsequently of the Urban Council.  He moved that the resignation be accepted.

  Mr. Claridge seconded and said that Mr. Skinner’s public work went back even further than Mr. Spencer had indicated, for he was an overseer many years before he became a member of the Local Board.  Mr. Skinner was one of the oldest public men in the town, and they very much regretted that he felt it necessary to resign his seat on the Urban Council owing to ill-health.

  The proposition was carried.

Wilful Damage

  Mr. Knight said that serious depredations were taking place in Spencer Park.  It was grievous from a public stand-point that this park, which was purchased at considerable expense, more especially for the benefit of the younger part of the population should be misused.  He was sorry to think that the boys or youths were damaging what was really their own property.  This recreation ground was bought for the enjoyment of the young people; swings were placed there, a good shelter was provided, and the Council had spent a big sum of money on trees and in beautifying the ground, and the members of the Council and others must be much disappointed at the way in which the youths and boys – it could not be men – were continually damaging the property.  Even young trees planted this year had been broken off and cut and rendered useless.  They did not wish to be harsh or to do anything which would cause hardship to the parents, but it seemed as if the parents were partly responsible for not speaking to their children about damaging this place.  The Surveyor had called his attention to the damage, which was really disgraceful.

  Mr. Bates: It is too late to plough it up and put in potatoes?

  The Chairman: That will have to be considered.  I know some lads go down there carding.  If it does not stop, the Council will have to take some steps.

  Mr. Bazeley thought there ought to be a caretaker there.  Since there had been no caretaker the boys had taken advantage of it.  He did not want to see it ploughed up, but he should like to see it preserved.  He thought the Council should appoint someone to keep it in order.

  Mr. Knight: We have had caretakers there except during the winter, when the swings are not up.

  The surveyor: The caretakers have complained of the behaviour of the boys.


  This being the last meeting of the Council year, Mr. Clipson moved a vote of thanks to the Chairman, and said that Mr. Spencer had probably done more work than any previous chairman, and he had done it well.

  Mr. Swindall seconded, and said that Mr. Spencer had been very painstaking, very regular in attending the meetings, and very courteous to all the members.  He personally was pleased that the Lord Lieutenant had recognised Mr. Spencer’s work and had recommended his appointment as a Justice of the Peace.

  The proposition having been carried, Mr. Spencer said the past year had been a very pleasant one, and the work of the Council had been done in the most amicable manner possible.  He thanked the officials for their assistance and courtesy.  Whatever he had undertaken he had tried to do for the good of the public and the town.  Mr. Bates moved a vote of thanks to the Vice-Chairman, and said that the Chairman had attended so regularly that it had made the work light for Mr. Wilmott, but the best thanks were due to him for the way in which he had assisted the Chairman.

  Mr. Hyde seconded, the Chairman supported, and it was carried, Mr. Wilmott suitably responding.


19th April, 1918

Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman
Three Casual Vacancies Filled

  The first meeting of the new Council year was held on Wednesday.  Councillor John Spencer, J.P., the retiring chairman, presided and there were also present Councillors T. Wilmott (retiring vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., J. S. Clipson, C. Bates, and W. Bazeley, J.P., with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason).

New Members

  The Chairman said the first business was the election of three members in place of the Ven. A. Kitchin, Mr. L. Perkins, and Mr. G. H. Skinner, who had resigned.  It was decided at a meeting of the Council in Committee to elect Mr. Joseph Hornsby, Mr. J. Tomlin, and Mr. F. Green.  He moved that these three be appointed members of the Council.

  Mr. Clipson seconded, and it was carried.

  The three new members then made the usual declaration on taking office.

Chairman and Vice-Chairman

  Mr. Spencer moved that Mr. Wilmott be elected chairman of the Council for the year.

  Mr. Bates seconded and it was carried.

  Mr. Wilmott then took the chair, and said:  I thank you very much for the honour you have bestowed upon me in placing me in the chair.  I can assure you I do feel it an honour.  I am following a chairman who has done a tremendous amount of work with a great deal of ability, but I shall do the best I can, with your assistance and with that of the officials of the Council.

  Mr. Clipson proposed that Mr. Fred Knight be elected vice-chairman for the ensuing year, and said no words on his part were needed to commend Mr. Knight to them.  Mr. Knight was one of the oldest members of the Council, and had always attended regularly.

  Mr. Spencer seconded, and said they all knew the eminent services which Mr. Knight had rendered to the town.

  Mr. Bazeley said he had great pleasure in supporting the proposition.  He could assure both Mr. Wilmott and Mr. Knight that they would have the support of the Labour Party during their year of office.  He hoped that during the coming year they would have the pleasure of seeing an honourable peace declared.  This was the thing they all desired.  They all hoped the chairman and the vice-chairman would have a happy term of office.

  Mr. Claridge supported, and said that Mr. Knight had occupied the position several times before with ability.

  The Chairman supported, and said he knew full well that he would have in Mr. Knight a gentleman in the vice-chair who knew more about the Council work that he (Mr. Wilmott) did.

  The motion having been carried, Mr. Knight took the vice-chair, and thanked the members that they had thought well to appoint him to the vice-chair.  He must admit that he had a great interest in the town.  He knew that both the chairman and the vice-chairman always had the most hearty support from the members of the Rushden Urban Council.  It that had not been so, he would not, after having served in the chair and the vice-chair before, have accepted the position.  The business of the Rushden Urban Council had always been conducted in the most amiable and satisfactory way, both as far as the work was concerned and in the best interests of the town.  If he could do anything to assist the chairman in any shape or form, he should be glad to do it.  He hoped Mr. Wilmott would have health to attend all the meetings.


  The Chairman said the Council, before appointing the committees, should decide whether they would revert to the old system of having a Finance Committee and a Sanitary Committee or continue the system they adopted a year ago of merging both committees into one.  They had now twelve members of the Council to fill the positions on the committees.

  Mr. Clipson proposed that they revert to the old system of having separate committees.  They had now the full complement of members.

  Mr. Spencer seconded, and it was carried.

  The following committees were then elected:

  Finance Committee. – Messrs. Wilmott, Knight, Bazeley, Green, Claridge, and Bates.

  Plans and Highways Committee. – Messrs. Wilmott, Knight, Clipson, Spencer, Hornsby, Swindall, and Tomlin.

  Health and Sanitary Committee.- Messrs. Wilmott, Knight, Hyde, Claridge, Bates, Green, and Bazeley.

  Parks Committee. – Messrs. Wilmott, Knight, Swindall, Hyde, Spencer, and Tomlin.

  The seal of the Council was affixed to the new rate, as in the previous year.


  Mr. Hornsby tendered his best thanks to the Council for electing him as one of the members.  It was a good many years since he was a member of the Council before, but some of the old members were still there, and he was pleased to meet with them, as also to meet the new members.  During the term of office he would endeavour to do his best.  He knew the work of the council was restricted, owing to the disastrous war, but they would all do their best and work harmoniously together.  He was satisfied that whatever work lay before them they would work for the best interests of the town.

  Mr. Tomlin also thanked the Council for electing him to that body.  He had not had the previous experience of Mr. Hornsby, but he would do his very best.

  Mr. Green, in thanking the members, said that so long as he remained in office he would do his best to further the interests of the town in all directions.  He had not been before the electors, but that would come in due course.


10th May, 1918

Control of Coal Supplies

  Wednesday, present Councillors T. Wilmott, J.P., (in the chair), F. Knight, J.P. (Vice-chairman), J. S. Clipson, T. Swindall, J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., C. Bates, J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, J. Tomlin, and F. Green, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the temporary Sanitary Inspector (Mr. A. E. Lloyd).


  The Chairman alluded to the death of Mr. G. H. Skinner, and said that at the time Mr. Skinner resigned his seat on the Urban Council a month or two ago he was one of the oldest members of the local governing bodies, his public services covering a period of over 30 years.  He was expressing the opinion of every member of the Council, he was sure, in expressing the deepest sympathy to Mrs. Skinner and the family.

  A vote of condolence was carried in silence, the members rising.

  The Chairman also touched upon the loss sustained by Councillor J. Tomlin in the death of his son from wounds received in action.  By a standing vote the members expressed their sympathy.

Plans, Etc. Committee

  A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, April 24th, 1918, when there were present:- Messrs. T. Wilmott, F. Knight, J. S. Clipson, J. Hornsby, J. Spencer, T. Swindall, and J. Tomlin.

  It was resolved that Mr. Wilmott be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.

  The following Sub-Committee was appointed:-

  Lighting and Fire Brigade: Messrs. Wilmott, Spencer, and Clipson.

  The Surveyor reported that he had submitted particulars of the contracts for this year to the Road Stone Control Committee.  The prices for granite were satisfactory, but those for slag and tarmacadam were in excess of the arrangements made by the Committee with the quarry owners and could only be accepted subject to the approval of the Road Stone Control Committee.  The Surveyor was instructed to communicate with the quarry owners thereon.

Coal Control Conference

  The Surveyor reported that he, with Mr. Swindall, attended this conference at Nottingham on the 17th instant, when a very useful discussion took place on the proposed rationing of Coal for household purposes.  It was proposed to adopt the scheme in force last year for London and the Home Counties, with the necessary modifications.  The supply would probably be about 33 per cent. less than that for the London scheme, and gas stoves would be taken into account in fixing the rations.  Each Local Authority would be required to appoint a Coal Control Committee which would consist of two representatives of the coal merchants, one of the Gas Company, one of the Railway Company, and four from the Urban District Council.  The Executive Officer would be under the direction of the Coal Controller.  Coal merchants would have to be registered, and householders make a return of stocks and occupied rooms.  Anyone was at liberty to obtain their year’s supply as soon as possible.    The report was adopted.

Finance and Estates Committee

  A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Tuesday, April 30th, 1918, at 10 a.m., when there were present: Messrs. T. Wilmott, F. Knight, W. Bazeley, J. Claridge, and F. Green.

  It was resolved that Mr. Wilmott be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.

  A number of accounts amounting to £534  10s.  4d. were examined and passed for payment.


  The Surveyor reported that he had not yet been able to effect a settlement with the contractor.  The Committee expressed great dissatisfaction at the delay, and the Clerk was instructed to communicate with the contractor and inform him that if his account was not delivered before the next meeting of this Committee they would recommend the Council to pay a cheque on the Surveyor’s certificate and repudiate any further liability.

  The report was adopted.

Health and Sanitary Committee

  A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, May 1st, 1918, when there were present: Messrs. T. Wilmott, F. Knight, C. Bates, W. Bazeley, J. Claridge, and Fred Green.

  It was resolved that Mr. Knight be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.

  The following Sub-Committees were appointed:-

  Farm: Messrs. Knight, Wilmott, and Bates.

  Cemetery: Messrs. Wilmott, Claridge, Bazeley, and Green.

  The report of the Medical Officer for the month of April was received.    The Sanitary Inspector reported that during the past month 21 preliminary notices had been served calling attention to nuisances, etc., all of which had been complied with.

  Three lots of bedding had been destroyed after deaths from consumption, and the houses disinfected.  It was resolved to recommend the Council to replace part of the bedding destroyed at a cost not exceeding £1  7s.  6d. in each case.

  The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the past month.

  An application was received from Messrs. G. Chettle & Son for a renewal of their knacker’s yard licence, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto.

  The inspector also reported that as instructed he had visited and inspected the marine store in Washbrook-road, occupied by Mr. T. W. Bailey, which he found in a very untidy and unsightly state owing to the large accumulation of rages, bones, manure, etc.  Mr. Bailey had since carted away all the bones and manure, and had expressed himself willing to do all in his power to prevent a nuisance arising.   The Inspector was requested to keep the store under his observation.

  It was resolved to recommend the Council to fix the salary of Mr. Lloyd, the temporary Inspector of Nuisances, at £100 per annum.    The report was adopted.

Parks Committee

  A meeting of the Parks Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, May 1st, 1918, when there were present: Messrs. T. Wilmott, F. Knight, W. Bazeley, John Spencer, T. Swindall, and J. Tomlin.

  It was resolved that Mr. Knight be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.

Spencer Park

  Herbage – The Surveyor was authorised to sell the herbage in Spencer Park in convenient lots as opportunity arose.

  Caretaker – It was resolved to recommend the Council to authorise the Surveyor to arrange with Mr. Edward Thompson to act as Caretaker at the salary to be agreed upon.

Prisoners Of War Fund

  A letter was received from the United Clubs Benevolent Committee making application for the use of Spencer Park on May 18th and 20th for the purpose of the holding of sports, etc., in aid of their funds and those of the Prisoners of War.  The Committee expressed themselves anxious to assist the funds in any way possible, but considered Saturday and Monday as inconvenient days, it being desirable that the ground should be quite clear on Whit-Sunday.

  The Clerk was instructed to inform the Benevolent Committee that they were at liberty to use the ground, and to suggest that it be for one day only, viz., White-Monday or if two days are required, then Whit-Monday and Tuesday.

  The report was adopted.

Municipal Housing

    Mr. Spencer said he had been asked by a number of property owners when a balance sheet of the municipal housing scheme would be published.  He hoped this would be done at the earliest opportunity.

Free Library

  Mr. Claridge said it had been decided to close the Free Library at 9 p.m. instead of 9.30 p.m. in order to comply with the requirements to consume less gas.


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