|The Rushden Echo, 23rd April, 1915, transcribed by Gill and Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
The Annual Meeting
Election of Chairman
Party Politics and The Vice-Chair
The Financial Position of The Council
Increased Rate Necessary
Wednesday, present Councillors J. S. Clipson, J.P. (chairman), T. Swindall (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., L. Perkins, B.Sc., W. Bazeley, J.P., J. Spencer, J. Hyde, T. Wilmott, G. H. Skinner, and the Ven. A. Kitchin with the Acting Clerk (Mr. Wing), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. J. Allen), and the Medical Officer (Dr. Baker).
Mr. Perkins attended the meeting in khaki, having recently joined the Colours.
Mr. Clipson: I have a name to propose as chairman for the year. I am sure you will be all agreed to Mr. Swindall, who has served the Council before and has filled the post well, and I have no hesitation in proposing Mr. Swindall.
Mr. Spencer seconded, and it was carried unanimously.
Mr. Swindall then took the chair. He said: I thank you for electing me to this honourable position. I have very bright recollections of the year I spent in the chair in 1906. We had many pleasant occasions and very agreeable work to do, and we also had some unpleasant work. I remember that during my term of office the waterworks were opened and also the Council Buildings. The unpleasant part of the work was that there was a tremendous amount of unemployment, which necessitated a relief fund being opened. I hope that will never occur again.
The Chairman proposed Mr. Spencer as vice-chairman for the year. Mr. Spencer he said has been a member of the Council for a large number of years, and although he has held the appointment of vice-chairman twice before he has not been chairman of the Council. During both the times he has held the position of vice-chairman he has acquitted himself in the best possible manner, and I am sure he will be a credit to the chair if elected.
Mr. Bazeley: I have very great pleasure in seconding the election of my colleague, Mr. Spencer, to the vice-chair. He has been a member of the Council 14 years and three years a member of the School Board, and I think his services to the town at this present juncture gives him prior claim to this honourable position. He has been a vice-chairman of the Council but has never passed through the chair, and I certainly think it is time he filled that position. I second Mr. Spencer, knowing that he will carry out the duties with credit to himself and to the town.
Mr. Kitchin, in nominating Mr. Wilmott for the vice-chair, said he thought it had been understood in the past, and acted upon, that all the parties on the Council should be fairly represented among the officials. Mr. Kitchin continued: It seems that we are not asking an undue amount that one from our side should fill the vice-chair during the ensuing year. It seems to me that the idea would have commended itself to the Council, as it was said a year ago that if I had remained in the town I should have been in the vice-chair last year and possibly have been going into the chair this year. Of course, that was out of the question, but at the same time there is the fact of the other parties having been represented both in the chair and the vice-chair for several years past. I do not think we have had a representative as chairman or vice-chairman since Mr. Miller was appointed, and I think it is only right, in addition to being courteous, that we should be represented on this occasion. I am quite sure that in Mr. Wilmott the Council would have a vice-chairman in whom they could feel every confidence. He is an old townsman, and although he has only been two years on the Council he is very well known. He has done extremely good work on the various committees, especially in connection with the housing scheme, in which his technical knowledge has been of great value. I am sure there are a great many people in the town who would feel that the Council could not better consult its best interests than by electing Mr. Wilmott to the vice-chair. I have no objection to Mr. Spencer, and under other circumstances I should have been perfectly ready to support him, but seeing that Labour was in the chair only two years ago and our other friends were represented last year and will be again this year, I think it is only right that we should be represented in the vice-chair this year.
Mr. Skinner seconded.
On being put to the meeting, three members voted in favour of Mr. Spencer and three for Mr. Wilmott. The voting was:-
For Mr. Spencer: Messrs. Knight, Clipson, and Bazeley.
For Mr. Wilmott: Messrs. Skinner, Hyde, and Kitchin.
Neutral: Mr. Claridge and Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Swindall (chairman) voted in favour of Mr. Spencer, who thereupon took the vice-chair, expressing his thanks for the honour and stating that as far as lay in his power he should fulfil the duties entrusted to him.
A letter was received from the station-master at Rushden, in reply to a letter from the Council asking that the train from Wellingborough to Rushden at night might be delayed for a few minutes, in order to connect with the train from London. The station-master said the change could not be made, as it would cause difficulties later.
Mr. Knight gave notice to move at the next meeting that a similar request be sent direct to the Secretary of the M.R.C. at Derby.
Roll of Honour
Mr. Perkins said that he would not be able to serve on the Roll of Honour Sub-committee and asked to be relieved therefrom.
The Council concurred, and Mr. Knight was elected to succeed Mr. Perkins.
Plans, etc., Committee
A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, 31st March, 1915, when there were present:- Messrs. J. S. Clipson (chairman), T. Swindall, J. Claridge, J. Hyde, F. Knight, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.
were presented by:-
Messrs. Eaton and Co. for shed at the rear of their factory on the Irchester-road, and passed.
Mr. W. Neville for a store shed at the rear of No. 55, High-street, and no exception taken.
Mr. Arthur Sanders for farm buildings on the Court Estate, and passed.
Messrs. A. Sargent and Son for factory in Portland-road and passed, subject to no part of the building being brought in front of the main walls of the buildings on either side.
Messrs. Allebone and Sons, Ltd., for factory in Oakley-road and passed, subject to no part of the building being brought forward in front of the main walls of the buildings on either side, and the recesses complying with Bye-law No. 28.
Mrs. H. Bromage for two houses in Pratt-road, and passed subject to the usual agreement being entered into as to the maintenance of the combined drain.
Mr. James Jaques for three houses in Duck-street, and passed subject to the provision of a damp course in the wall on the south-west side and the usual agreement being entered into as to the maintenance of the combined drain.
Main Road, Surface Tarring
The Surveyor submitted a letter from the County Surveyor stating that owing to the requirements of the War Office, crude tar must not be used in future, and further that it was improbable that the Road Board would make any grant for this purpose during the current year. The additional cost of using refined tar would amount to about ½d. per square yard and if the work was carried out as usual the County Council would pay half the cost, leaving the remaining half to be borne by the local authority.
The Surveyor was instructed to continue the tar spraying as usual and also to use tar macadam where he considered it necessary.
A letter was also received from the Road Board requesting the Council to abstain from the use of crude tar.
A further letter from the County Surveyor was received intimating that no further expense must be incurred in improvements of this nature but that work already completed would be paid for in due course.
The report was adopted.
Finance and Estates Committee
A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Tuesday, the 13th April, 1915, at 10 a.m., when there were present: - Messrs. J. S. Clipson (chairman), T. Swindall, C. Bates, J. Claridge, and F. Knight.
Surveyor’s Cash Account
The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages books, the expenditure shown therein being as follows:-
The Committee examined the Collector’s accounts, from which it appeared that the following sums had been collected since the last meeting:-
The Treasurer’s accounts were also examined from which it appeared that he had received the following sums since the last meeting:-
And that the balances were as follows:-
Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts
A number of accounts were examined and passed for payment.
Memorandum of General District Rate
The Rates Clerk submitted the following memorandum of General District Rate made on the 2nd day of October, 1914:-
The Rates Clerk also submitted a list of the irrecoverable amounts, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to write same off.
The report was adopted.
Health and Sanitary Committee
A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 14th April, 1915, when there were present:- Messrs. T. Swindall (chairman), J. S. Clipson, C. Bates, W. Bazeley, and G. H. Skinner.
Health and Sanitary Reports
The Medical Officer reported that seven cases of infectious disease had been notified since the last meeting, viz., two of erysipelas, two of scarlet fever, and three of tuberculosis, and one re-notification.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that during the month of March 51 written and verbal notices had been issued, calling attention to nuisances, etc., which for the most part had received attention.
Two lots of bedding had been destroyed after deaths from consumption and the rooms sprayed and fumigated. It was resolved to recommend the Council to replace one lot of the bedding at a cost not exceeding £1/5/0.
Complaints had been received with regard to nuisances arising from factories in various parts of the town through the burning of leather scrap. The Inspector was instructed to give the matter his attention.
The Inspector also reported that on the 17th March last, he examined a quantity of pork found in a butcher’s shop, which appeared to him to be diseased and unfit for the food of man, and after consultation with the Medical Officer, the pork had been destroyed on a Magistrates Order.
The Committee commended the Inspector for his prompt action in the matter.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the past month.
Attention was called to the bad state of the approach to Woburn-place, and the Inspector was instructed to write to the abutting owners requiring them to put the same in a proper state of repair.
Dairies, Cowsheds, and Milkshops Order
The quarterly report of Mr. Bainbridge was received from which it appeared that on the 4th, 5th, and 6th March last he visited 31 premises, belonging to 31 cowkeepers, and inspected 260 cows and heifers, making special examination of their udders and throats.
The Committee considered the report very satisfactory.
The report was adopted.
The statement of the receipts and expenditure for the year ending March 31st last and the estimated receipts and expenditure for the coming year were received.
The estimated receipts last year were £2824/1/11, the actual receipts being £2803/1/1. The general district rate at 5/6 in the £ estimated to produce £8835, actually brought in £8970/13/8.
The estimated expenditure last year was £11,831/15/6, whereas the actual expenditure was £12,669/10/5.
A cash balance at the commencement of the year of £537/17/0 had at the end of the year become a deficit of £357/18/9.
The Chairman said that the war breaking out in the fourth month of the financial year had caused the expenditure in many ways to be much heavier than was estimated. There had been far heavier traffic on the main and district roads, and they had been obliged to spend £433 more than estimate. Scavenging had cost more, owing to the extra cost of team labour, etc. Sewage disposal works cost £96 more than the sum estimated. Spencer Park had cost £120 more than expected. Housing and town planning cost £93 above the estimated sum. Altogether they had spent £890 more than they expected. The actual receipts were £134 above the estimate. They had always tried to have a fair balance in hand at the end of each financial year, but during the last few years that balance had grown considerably less. Now, unfortunately, owing to the heavier charges last year, the surplus had been wiped off altogether, and there was a deficiency of £357. It was much better that the Council should have a small balance in hand at the beginning of the year, and at a meeting of the Council in committee on Monday last it was felt that they could not go on any further without slightly increasing the rate. They went through the whole of the expenditure for the coming year, and many items were reduced. At one time they feared an increase of 4d. in the £ would be needed, but now, if they had an increase of 2d. in the £ they hoped to have a balance in hand at the end of the year of about £300. He moved that the estimates be approved, and that a rate be fixed at 5/2 in the £ for the coming year, in two half-yearly instalments of 2/8 and 2/6. He moved this increase very reluctantly, because the people of Rushden, like other towns, would have heavy burdens to bear, but the extra 2d. would mean only £300 distributed over the whole of the town, so that it was not a big sum.
Mr. Spencer seconded, and said that one factor in the increase was the motor ‘bus and the heavy traction traffic, the roads having to be repaired several times during the year instead of only once, as before. Unless there was some relief from Parliament, he was afraid the expense of road repair would be greater in the future. The cost of road material had advanced about 1s. a ton, which had helped towards the deficit.
Mr. Kitchin said he did not think the Council could be charged with extravagance, but it was unfortunate that the expenditure had been considerably more than was estimated. The extra cost of road repair could not have been foreseen. Two other points added considerably to the excess of expenditure Spencer Park and the new municipal houses. With regard to the houses, they were practically forced by the Local Government Board. The cost of Spencer Park had grown from the first. But he did not think they ought to raise the rate. He should prefer the deficit being carried forward in the hope that by most economical administration next year they might wipe out or greatly reduce the debit balance. He proposed that the rate be 5s. in the £.
Mr. Bazeley supported the Chairman’s proposal. It was a very small increase, and they should be grateful they had not to ask the ratepayers for a bigger sum. With regard to the municipal houses, over £10 had been received in rent. But for the war, and if the builders had carried out the housing according to the contracts and in the specified time, the rents would have covered the expenditure. The housing scheme was one of the best investments the town could make, and he wished they had 100 instead of 40. There had been no unnecessary expenditure.
Mr. Hyde opposed the rate of 5/2 and thought that by careful working the deficit might be wiped off by the end of next year. The town was in excellent order, and there was no need to spend as much now in many places.
Mr. Skinner said he should vote against the rate of 5/2.
Mr. Wilmott thought there was still room for retrenchment. He hoped they would get some recompense from the County Council or the Road Board for the extra amount spent on the roads.
Mr. Perkins: I think we ought to pay as we go, and not carry the deficit forward to next year. A man who grumbles at the extra 2d.in the £ on the house he occupies is not very patriotic.
Mr. Claridge said they were all reluctant to increase the rate, but under the peculiar circumstances they could do no other. It was not sound finance to carry forward the deficit.
Mr. Clipson said they had saved every possible penny in the estimates. Road materials, labour, and things in general have gone up to such an alarming extent that they could not avoid the increased rate.
The Chairman said the Water Board’s call was lower than last year or certainly they must have had an increase of 4d. instead of 2d.
The Chairman’s proposal of a rate of 5/2 was carried. Messrs. Kitchin, Hyde, Wilmott and Skinner voting against.
Mr. Spencer moved that a ten per cent. bonus on their wages be given to the Council workmen, not including the salaried officials, exempting workmen over 65 years of age whose cases should be dealt with by the Finance Committee. The reason he proposed to except those over 65 years of age was because some of them were getting very infirm, and their positions might be jeopardised if the bonus had to be given in all cases. The cost of living had increased enormously.
Mr. Hyde seconded.
In answer to the Chairman, the Surveyor said it would cost another £150 or £160 a year if the bonus were granted to all workmen, irrespective of age.
Mr. Bazeley and Mr. Claridge supported, and the proposition was carried.
With regard to the annual report of the Medical Officer, which has appeared fully only in the “Rushden Echo,” the Chairman said it was a very exhaustive report and he hoped the people of Rushden would derive great benefit from reading it.
Mr. Claridge said it was the most interesting and instructive report they had ever had. He was glad the infantile death-rate had gone down from about 130 per 1000 births in the days of the Local Board to 75. The general death-rate too, was very low, showing that Rushden was a very healthy town in which to reside. He was glad that, through the Press, the people of Rushden had had an opportunity of reading the Medical Officer’s report.
Mr. Bazeley said it was an excellent report. He hoped the town would soon be in such a financial position that they could have stabling etc., and covered carts for scavenging.
Mr. Claridge said that infectious disease had been very much reduced.
Mr. Wilmott said they felt thankful to Dr. Baker for the way he had carried out his work.
Regarding the Sanitary Inspector’s annual report which also has been published fully only in the “Rushden Echo,” the Chairman said it was a very useful report, and Mr. Allen had done his work efficiently and in a very kind and pleasant manner.
Mr. Bazeley congratulated Mr. Allen on his report and on the good work he had done. He felt thankful to the Medical Officer and the Sanitary Inspector for the diligent way in which they had carried out their duties.
Mr. Clipson reported on the visit of the Local Government Inspector with respect to Council employees and making of munitions of war. The Inspector said that the men required were those used to wheeling barrow-loads of stones etc. The men who went would be paid well for their work.
Mr. Swindall moved hearty thanks to Mr. Clipson for his services as chairman during the past year.
Mr. Claridge seconded, Mr. Bazeley supported, and it was carried unanimously.
Mr. Clipson, in reply, thanked the officials of the Council and the Press.