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Rushden Echo and Argus, April-May 1944, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

14th April, 1944


  Enough housing sties and High-street traffic problems were the really vital subjects before Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday, the members concentrated their vigour on the library cancellations and asked the library committee to remedy an acknowledged error.

  On March 24th, according to their records, the Library Committee considered a list of the periodicals and papers purchased for the reading and magazine rooms at an annual cost of £45  14s.  8d.  They decided that twelve of the publications, costing £11  4s.  4d., “shall not be purchased in the ensuing year.”

  When this report came forward Mr. Capon said the deletion of some of the periodicals had created a stir in the town.  While he had agreed that some could be discontinued without detriment to the general public, he thought that some could be retained.


  Mr. Richardson, who is chairman of the Library Committee, said they were quite aware of the agitation in the town, yet there had been a lot of grumbling because the committee had overspent.  The deletion was carried through by a big majority. 

  He was quite sure that if the three publications mentioned had been used as they might have been, they would have been retained.  If the minute was referred to it would be for the committee to decide; he could not take it upon himself to go against his colleagues.  Mr. Bailey said that he, for one, was surprised at the agitation. 

  Mr. Allen said that when the report came before the committee some time ago he opposed the cuts.  He considered that the periodicals were used.  To take the papers out, the religious papers particularly, for the sake of an infinitesimal saving was to take what the people had a right to.  He thought the papers were a definite advantage in these times of materialistic philosophy.

  Coun. Waring: I was one of those who voted for them to be deleted, but I am prepared to acknowledge when I have made a mistake, and from what I have heard in the town I do acknowledge that I went too far.  I consider, however, that the whole of the deletions should be considered, because it would not be fair to restore only a section of them.

  In reply to Coun. Capon the Chairman (Coun. A. F. Weale) said there might be difficulty in getting the orders restored, as supplies were short.

  Coun. Capon said he should have thought it would have been within the purview of the full Council to say “Yes” or “No” to such a sweeping change.


  Ald. Allebone said the real object of the move was to save money for the purchase of more books.  The committee were guided by certain members who claimed to have a knowledge of what was used and what was not used in the library.  If these members were wrong on three publications they were possibly wrong on twelve.  The committee should therefore review the whole thing.

  Coun. Roe: surely the committee do not take it upon themselves to delete books without the consent of the full Council?

  The Chairman: The thing is, the committee did decide, and gave the order.

  It was finally decided that the committee should re-consider the entire list of cancellations.


  The location of the site required by the Council for housing during the first post-war year was announced for the first time by the Housing Committee.  It is on the east side of the Higham-road, adjacent to the Rushden-Higham Ferrers boundary.  The total area is 14 acres, and about nine acres are owned by Messrs. Chettle and Sons of Wymington, who after negotiations with the District Valuer have offered to sell for £1,675.  The District Valuer is still negotiating for the other piece of land.

  On the recommendation of the Housing Committee it was decided to accept Messrs. Chettle and Sons’ offer subject to the Minister of Health consenting to a loan.

  Another minute stated that, subject to Government approval of an extension of the Higham Ferrers sewers, the Higham Council will permit the drainage of about 80 houses on this site into their sewers.  The remaining houses can conveniently be drained into the Rushden sewers.

  Endeavouring to find a site for the second-year housing programme after the war, the Housing Committee has inspected “certain land.”

  Preparation of these sites under the new Government scheme (detailed at last week’s meeting of the Higham Ferrers Town Council) was the subject of a further preliminary report.

  The committee also reported that the small pieces of spare land owned by the Council on the Highfield and Newton-road estates are not likely to be utilised for housing until towards the end of the first year.  These plots have been let for cultivation, and it is not proposed to give notice to the tenants for the time being.


  At the Highways Committee meeting on March 29th the Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) reported on an interview which he and the Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) had had with a representative of the Ministry of War Transport, when the question of heavy traffic in High-street was discussed.  The Ministry’s representative stated that it was not likely that an order for diversion of traffic at each end of the High-street would be made at the present time.  He suggested, however, that the position might be met in part if military traffic in both directions were diverted through Wellingborough-road and Washbrook-road, and intimated that the Ministry might be prepared to ask the various Service Departments to divert traffic accordingly.

  The committee recommended that the County Council be asked to approach the Ministry of War Transport with a view to the diversion of military traffic.  This was agreed to after Coun. Green had remarked that they all deplored the congestion of traffic in High-street.


  The Surveyor has been in touch with the Ministry of War Transport regarding the condition of the carriageways in Newton-road and Avenue-road, and the Divisional Road Engineer proposes that the roads should be properly made up and widened from 13 to 16 feet.  Contributions are expected from the local highways authorities (the Rushden Council and the County Council), and the County Surveyor is willing to have the work done “some time before the next winter.”  It is also suggested that the local Surveyor can deal with the worst places in the meantime.  A decision has been deferred pending an interview between the Rushden Surveyor and the County Surveyor.

  At the suggestion of Couns. Richardson and Allebone the Chairman said that the officers would consider preparing a list of rent adjustments, necessitated by the increased rates, for the guidance of property owners.  The new rate was sealed and will produce £28,026 in the current half-year – an increase of £2,000 on the last half-year.

  Coun. George announced that at the end of the financial year recently not a penny of rent was owing on the whole of the Council’s housing estates.  He said that great credit was due to the Housing Manager and the tenants also.

  Coun. Waring: I should like to know if that is unique.

  The Chairman: I am sure it is.


  An unoccupied house on the Highfield estate was mentioned by the Housing Committee, who have informed the tenant that in view of the housing shortage the time has arrived when he ought either to reoccupy the house or surrender the tenancy.

  The Council has received official advice that damaged pedestrian crossings (with posts and globes missing) have the same legal status as fully equipped crossings.

  A letter from the Regional Transport Commissioner announced that the ‘bus stop opposite the Railway Inn is now limited to those Birch ‘buses which, unable to pass under the railway bridge, make a detour through Station-road.  This meets the views of the Highways Committee.

  A letter has been received from the Rushden and District Trades Council, expressing concern that no post-war housing or town-planning scheme has yet been issued.  The Clerk has replied that the war has put a stop to all town planning schemes.

  The Medical Officer (Dr. McCracken) reported the following cases: Tuberculosis 1, pneumonia 9, scarlet fever 1, ophthalmia neonatorum 1, measles 1, whooping cough 5.

  During March nine males and 10 females were born; six males and 16 females died.

  Referring to the recent campaign for the destruction of rats and mice, the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper) stated that he had received only ten notifications of rats having been seen.  In most cases “merely a single rat” had been observed.


  When the Finance Committee considered the question of a fete in connection with the Holidays-at-Home Scheme they had before them a letter from the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund, suggesting that, owing to the possibility of “staggered” holidays being arranged this year, a fete should be held on August 5th and 7th instead of for a full week.  The committee recommended that the Chairman of the Council should call a general meeting of organisations and persons likely to be interested, this meeting to be held on April 27th.


  Moving a vote of thanks to the retiring Chairman, Coun. Richardson said they were indebted to Mr. Weale for his splendid handling of the position.  Both the town and the Council appreciated his kindness, courtesy and genial presence during a year that had been a very full one.

  Coun. Bailey, seconding said that Mr. Weale had shown dignity and ability and had given of his best.

  Coun. Weale replied that he had appreciated the great privilege of being Chairman of the Council and being allowed to serve in some small way the town which had adopted him.  He had thoroughly enjoyed both the Council work and the social work outside.  It had given him great pleasure to visit the outside organisations and it had amazed him to find how public-spirited the general public were in Rushden.

  He also wanted to say how deeply and sincerely he felt that he had had the goodwill and co-operation of every member of the Council and wished also to thank the officers.  When they were changing their chief officers twelve months ago he had some misgivings as to the difficulties they would be faced with but these, if they appeared at all, vanished just as quickly.


  Thanking the Press too, Mr. Weale said: “We perhaps do not always appreciate the criticism and witticisms that the Press brings to bear upon us, but we feel it is done in the best of humour and spirit; and if we are hauled over the coals we are not so thin-skinned but what we can take it.  I hope that in future the Press will continue to take a keen interest in the work.”

  The Vice-Chairman was thanked by Couns. George and Dilks, who spoke with confidence of Dr. Davies’s ability to succeed in the chairmanship during the coming year.

  Dr. Davies, in his acknowledgement, expressed the hope “that things will all go well.”

  The Council then went into committee on “a matter of importance.”

  Members in attendance were Couns. A. F. Weale, J.P. (Chairman), Dr. R. W. Davies (Vice-Chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.A., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars, and J. T. Richardson, J.P.

21st April, 1944


  A few minutes sufficed for the election of a Chairman and Vice-Chairman at the annual meeting of Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday, Dr. R. W. Davies (Conservative) taking the chief position, with Mr. Horace Waring (Labour) to sit on his left.

  Coun. A. F. Weale, the outgoing Chairman, proposed the appointment of Dr. Davies, referring to the doctor’s work in the vice-chair during the last 12 months and speaking confidently of his ability to satisfy the Council and the public generally.

  Coun. Dilks seconding, the resolution was carried unanimously and followed by a round of applause.

  Placing the chain of office over the doctor’s shoulders, Mr. Weale welcomed his successor with a handshake and congratulations.

  “The one regret in our minds,” he said, “is that during the last year we have not had the celebration of the day of victory, but I feel confident that during your term of office that day will come, and that the town will support you through thick and thin in celebration and thanksgiving.”

  In returning thanks Dr. Davies said he felt the honour all the more keenly because he had been a member for only seven years.  He described the Council as “one united party” and congratulated the principal officers on their work.


  “We have many problems to settle in this town and district when the war is over,” he continued, “and some that we are trying to settle beforehand.  One of the items is the post-war housing programme, which I am very glad to say has been partly settled.  Another item is the water supply for Rushden and district, which will undoubtedly be improved by the Water Board in the next few years.

  “We shall also probably require, when the war is over, some enlargement of the sewers and disposal works, and we shall also want the repair and widening of the roads in Rushden.

  “The problem of combining town and villages in this area will be a very difficult thing to settle, and it will probably be chiefly decided by the Government.”

  Proposing Mr. Waring for the vice-chair, Coun. Allen said they knew his worth and were sure that when the time came for him to take the chair he would be fully qualified.

  “We hope it will be a post-war year,” he added.  “There will be many problems confronting him.  I am sure he will have the ability and the tact to overcome them.”

  The seconder was Coun. Green.


  In thanking the Council for electing him “second mate,” Coun. Waring confessed: “If the doctor could now put his stethoscope on me he would probably tell me there was a little palpitation going on.”

  Finally Mr. Waring, who is a bachelor, thanked the speakers “for saving me further embarrassment by not referring to my happy domestic position.”

  Committees were elected, and the following representatives were all re-appointed or re-nominated:-

  Water Board: Couns. Allen, George, Green, Paragreen and Sugars.

  Wellingborough Guardians Committee: Couns. George, Green and Waring.

  East Northants Joint Hospital Board: Couns. Cox and Waring.

  Rushden Parochial Trustees: Coun. Sugars

  Rushden School Managers: Mrs. Weale, Mr. A. T. Chambers and Coun. Sugars.

  Intermediate School Managers: Miss W. M. Clipson and Coun. Cox.

  The Council agreed to attend the Hospital Civic Sunday service on May 7th.

  Members in attendance were Couns. Davies, Waring, Weale, A. H. Bailey, A. Allebone, J.P., C.A., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. George, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, W. J. Sawford and E. A. Sugars.  An apology for absence was sent by Coun. J. T. Richardson, J.P.

12th May, 1944

Note:The first column of this article is on the fold of the paper and is unreadable.

  Observing that the Council had budgeted for salaries during the coming year, Coun. Green moved as an amendment that consideration of the sub-committee’s report be deferred until the annual revision of salaries in 1945.  Coun. Capon seconded this.  Coun. Sugars said he saw no object in putting the matter back.  They considered themselves a progressive Council, and should live up to it.

  Coun. Allebone said the Finance Committee were not concerned with the question of salaries; they had deferred a decision in order to get clarity in the whole proceedings.

  Coun. Allen: If it is right to join this organisation 12 months hence on principle, it is right to join it now.

  The amendment was defeated by eight votes to seven, and Mr. Allen’s resolution was then carried.


  Equipment having arrived at last, it was resolved to open the British Restaurant on June 1st, and Coun. Capon, after making a great show of reading out the War Emergency Committee’s latest report in full, asked the councillors and officials to be his guests at the opening ceremony.

  Referring to Mr. Harry Pollitt’s recent speech at Wellingborough, when he asserted that A.R.P. Wardens’ posts in the country were neglected, Councillor Bailey said the “attack” was very unwarranted.

  “I as a Warden resent that entirely and declare it to be untrue.  There is not an atom of truth in it so far as the Rushden district is concerned.  Every post is manned and in as good a condition as when we started.”


  The Library Committee, which recently caused a commotion by withdrawing about a dozen periodicals from the reading rooms, now proposed to reinstate five of them – if they could be obtained.  The five were “Housewife,” “British Weekly,” “Christian World,” “Church of England Newspaper” and “Sketch.”  The committee also proposed to add “Blackwood’s Magazine” (not previously provided) “if available.”

  The report was adopted, and in reply to Coun. Capon the Clerk said he understood the five periodicals could be obtained.

  In her annual report the Librarian (Miss M. Perkins) stated that 123,509 books were issued, compared with 124,747 in the previous year.  Adult non-fiction decreased from 18,843 to 18,259, juvenile non-fiction from 7,914 to 7,235, and juvenile fiction from 21,838 to 17,771.  Adult fiction increased from 76,152 to 80,244.

  Membership on March 31st was 4,264 adults and 1,097 juveniles.  The total book stock was 9,875 volumes.

  The Junior Library, opened in May, 1943, had proved very successful despite a scarcity of books, and it was hoped to improve the service in time by arranging book talks and “story hours” for younger members.

  Mrs. Muxlow remarked that the book stock was quite inadequate, but the committee hoped to improve it as the year went on.


  Following conferences of Local Authorities at Kettering and Peterborough the Housing Committee reported in favour of adopting the Government’s plan for the advance preparation of housing sites by labour supplied by the Government through contractors, and of linking up with neighbouring towns in the formation of a group to work together within the terms of the scheme proposed by the Ministry of Health.  They stated, however, that they would have preferred to carry out the work through their own contractors after obtaining tenders in the usual way.  They had been assured that the cost of the work – which is to be done by specified firms hitherto working on Government contracts – would be reasonable, particularly as regards rates of pay to workmen.  Local supervision had also been agreed to.

  The report was adopted.

  Reporting on second-year housing plans, the Housing Committee felt it would be good policy to extend the Newton-road estate, now comprising 158 houses, by erecting about 100 additional houses on nearly 10 acres of land belonging to Mr. John White, who, it was understood, was prepared to sell.  The Clerk has negotiated with Mr. White as to the price of the land, and various formalities are proceeding.

  In connection with the first-year programme it was learned that the Government has sanctioned the purchase of nine acres of land from Messrs. Chettle and Sons.  The money (£1,743) is to be borrowed from the Council’s own Housing Repairs Fund, and the Council will pay itself interest at the rate of 3½ per cent.

  The Housing Manager (Mr. H. C. Allen) reported that the gardens on all the estates were almost wholly under cultivation.   On March 31st there were no arrears of rent.


  The Council’s suggestion that certain traffic should be diverted from High-street via Wellingborough-road and Washbrook-road has been approved by the County Council, who are making representations to the authorities concerned.

  A scheme for repairing Avenue-road and Newton-road at the earliest possible date, largely at the expense of the Government, was approved in principle, leaving any widening scheme (at the Council’s own expense) to be carried out after the war.

  Cases of disease during April included one of tuberculosis, eight of pneumonia, one of erysipelas and 12 of whooping cough.  Eleven males and seven females were born; four males and four females died.

  The Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) reported that a book recovery and salvage drive would be held from June 10th to 24th.

  Rushden Swimming Club was allowed the use of the public bath from 8 to 9 p.m. each Monday and Tuesday.

  The reinforcement section of the Fire Guard Plan was adopted, and it was stated that the town will be divided into 24 areas, with additional sector points.

  Rushden Allotments Society, Ltd., is being consulted regarding a scheme of the Ministry of Agriculture for awarding certificates of merit to allotment holders.

  Salvage during April was valued at £79 and included 10 tons 17 cwt paper, 18 cwt bones and 4 tons 10 cwt kitchen waste.


  In accordance with notice previously given, the Council passed a formal resolution adopting Part IV of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1890, governing concerts and dances.  The resolution will come into operation on July 1st.

  New committee chairmen were announced as follows: Housing, Coun. Cox; Highways, Coun. George; Library, Coun. Mrs. Muxlow; Health, Coun. Bailey; Parks, Coun. Swindall; Finance, Coun. Richardson.

  Members in attendance were Couns. Dr. R. W. Davies (Chairman), H. Waring (Vice-Chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars, J. T. Richardson, J. P.

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