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The Rushden Echo, 14th April 1899, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

The Council as at present constituted met for the last time on Wednesday night when the members present were Messrs. John Claridge (chairman), F. Knight (vice-chairman), W. H. Wilkins, J. Spencer, G. Miller, G. Denton, B. Mortimer, T. Swindall, G. H. Skinner, G. S. Mason (clerk), and W. B. Madin (surveyor).

In Committee

The following minutes of the Council in committee were adopted:-

Plans. Were presented by Mr. Charles Sharpe for a house in Queen-street and passed; Mr. E. Claridge for new house in Hayway, and passed; and Mr. W. Garner for two houses in Higham-road and rejected for non-compliance with bye-laws.

Team Labour. Tenders for night scavenging were received from Mr. German Warren, Mr. W. W. Smith (accepted), and Mr. W. G. Wilmott; and for day work from Messrs. W. W. Smith (accepted), W. G. Wilmott, W. P. Abbott, and A. Sharp.

Wooden Buildings. In accordance with the resolution passed on Feb 22nd the Surveyor was instructed to remove the building therein referred to the properties of Mr. John Wilmott and Mr. J. S. Rose (Higham) on April 14th at 10 a.m. if the owners had not then already done so. At a subsequent meeting Mr. Rose was allowed an extra week. In Mr. Wilmott’s case the order with regard to the building was ordered to stand and with regard to the fence he was asked to see the committee.

Reward Offered. The Chairman read a letter he had received from the secretary of the W.M.C. expressing the club’s wish to assist the Council in discovering the person responsible for the damage in that street and for this purpose offering an additional reward of £1. The Chairman was requested to acknowledge the letter and suggest that the Club should issue a notice offering the reward referred to.

Station Hotel. The Surveyor reported that this hotel had been occupied without a certificate of completion having been granted, and the clerk was instructed to write to the owners.

Churchyard Path

The Chairman said that after the last meeting he and Mr. Brawne looked at the award and found no mention of the path across the churchyard, consequently it was not an awarded path.

Water Supply

The Chairman reported that steps are being taken to procuring a site for a trial well at Sharnbrook.


The Council accepted the tender of Messrs. Macfarlane and Co., of Glasgow, for ventilating shafts and that of Messrs. McDowell, Stevens, and Co., for steel columns, the total amount being £137 6s 4d.

Mr. Swindall: How many shafts are already up?

The Surveyor: Six.

Annual Meeting

This was fixed for Wednesday evening next.

Is He Dead?

This was the question sarcastically asked when the Chairman said he had received a communication referring to the national commemoration of the thousandth anniversary of the death of King Alfred the Great.

Mr. Wilkins: I understand he was a very great king but a very bad cook. (Laughter).

The Chairman: He was a great man in very many ways.

Mr. Wilkins: He lived so long ago that I don’t think we need trouble with the matter.

Mr. Mortimer: We didn’t know him. (Laughter).

It was decided to hang the subscription list in the room.


Mr. Swindall: Are subscriptions coming in towards the Gladstone Memorial?

The Chairman said he and Mr. Swindall would have to call on those people who were likely to subscribe.

Works by Public Bodies

On the motion of Mr. Spencer it was decided to obtain a copy of the Parliamentary returns showing the profits, losses, &c., of the works undertaken by public bodies, the works including electric lighting, gas works, and the water supply.


The Chairman said that as that was the last meeting at which he would preside he wished to thank the members for their forbearance, kindness, and courtesy to him and their assistance to him in discharging the duties of the office. He hoped the work of the Council had not suffered in his hands. He was sorry they had not been as successful in finding water as he had hoped; their efforts had resulted in failure so far, but they hoped they were on the right track now and would soon be able to thank Mr. Wilkins, his predecessor in the chair, for the great assistance he had rendered him, and desired also to thank the vice-chairman, clerk, and surveyor, all of whom had greatly helped him.

“An Ideal Chairman”

Mr. Wilkins moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Claridge for the exceptional ability with which he had filled the office of chairman.

Mr. Mortimer seconded.

Mr. Spencer said that Mr. Claridge had filled the office admirably and had taken a very wise course in associating himself with so many movements during his year of office. They had all looked up to Mr. Claridge, who was an ideal public man.

Mr. Knight said that during the year Mr. Claridge had never missed either a Council or a committee meeting. Mr. Claridge seemed to want no holidays and was always fit for work. He was very sorry Mr. Claridge was not going to continue in office.

Mr. Miller wished to associate himself heartily with the proposition and said he could testify to the immense amount of work Mr. Claridge had done in the town. He had occupied the chair with great zeal, ability, and disinterestedness.

Mr. Swindall said he admired the way in which Mr. Claridge had done his duty. He (Mr. Swindall) considered that too many duties devolved upon the chairman of the Council, and thought the work should be divided among chairmen of committees.

Mr. Denton said that Mr. Wilkins had brought leisure and ability to bear upon the office of chairman making it difficult for anyone to step into his place, but Mr. Claridge had

“Gone One Better”

and raised the ideal of the chair still higher. Every one must admit that in Mr. Claridge they had an ideal chairman. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Skinner said that Mr. Claridge had been most courteous to the members and was quite an ideal chairman. He had devoted a wonderful amount of time to the office.

The motion having thus been supported by every member present and having been carried unanimously,

Mr. Claridge said he should look back with pleasure upon the two years during which he had occupied the chair. He moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Knight for his assistance as vice-chairman.

Mr. Skinner seconded and the motion was carried.

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