|Rushden Echo, 17th August, 1917, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
The Control of The Food Supplies
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, L. Perkins, B.Sc., T. Swindall, and G. H. Skinner, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. J. Allen).
Lieut. L. Perkins, who is home on leave from the front, attended the meeting in uniform, and the Chairman gave him a cordial welcome.
Council in Committee
A meeting of the whole Council in Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, July 25th, 1917, when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (chairman), C. Bates, J. Claridge, J. S. Clipson, F. Knight, and T. Swindall.
Health and Sanitary Reports
The Report of the Medical Officer for the month of July was received.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that 28 preliminary notices had been issued since the last meeting, calling attention to nuisances, etc.
Two books belonging to the Free Library found in an infected house had been destroyed. It was resolved to recommend the Council to replace the books.
One lot of bedding after a death from consumption had also been destroyed. It was resolved to recommend the Council to replace part of the bedding destroyed, at a cost not exceeding £1 7s. 6d.
Ten boxes of Tasmanian apples, voluntarily surrendered, had also been destroyed since the last meeting, owing to their unsound condition.
The Inspector also reported that he had, in company with the Medical Officer, made a further inspection of the unoccupied cottage No. 58, High-street South, and found same in a very dilapidated and unsound condition. He was instructed to communicate with the owner with a view to demolition, or as an alternative, to barricade and made the building safe.
The Inspector further reported that he had visited and inspected a factory in Moor-road in regard to the sanitary accommodation; only one w.c. was provided and the employees were of both sexes. It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve a notice on the occupiers requiring them to provide separate sanitary accommodation forthwith.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work for the past month.
were presented for:-
A barn on the St. Crispin’s Estate, Wellingborough-road, for Mr. W. Dickens, and passed.
A w.c. to house No. 92, Moor-road, for Messrs. Ashford & Campion, and passed.
An application was received from Messrs. Ashford & Campion for the conversion of a Carpenter’s shop in Midland-road into a boot factory, and not acceded to.
The quarterly report of the Cemetery Registrar was received, from which it appeared that there had been 25 interments for the quarter ended June 30th last, seven spaces had been purchased, and one reserved for a period of 14 years; £30 18s. had been received for fees, etc.
The Committee considered the report very satisfactory.
The Highways Sub-Committee reported that they had met in the Rectory-road, near the Salvation Army Barracks, and recommended that negotiations be entered into with the Salvation Army with a view to the fence being put back and the road-way then repaired and a crossing made into Queen-street.
The Committee agreed, and instructed the Clerk to communicate with the Salvation Army Authorities asking them to meet the Council on the site.
The Sanitary Inspector also reported that, as instructed at the last meeting, the Highways Sub-Committee had met a deputation from the Co-operative Society on this site with a view to the road being put in a proper state of repair. The representatives of the Society expressed the opinion that the other owners should bear a proportion of the expense.
It was resolved to communicate with all the owners in question with a view to the work being carried out by them and the cost apportioned by agreement.
The Inspector was also instructed to serve a notice on Mr. W. W. Smith requiring him to repair the spouting on his property forthwith.
Sewage Farm Sale of Crops
The surveyor reported that the sale of crops at the Sewage Farm was held on Monday, the 23rd instant, and realised as follows:-
Next Council Meeting
It was agreed to postpone the next Council Meeting on account of the August holidays intervening, to Wednesday, August 15th.
Mr. Bazeley moved that, with regard to No. 58 High-street South, the reference to the alternative of barricading be struck out of the report, as he thought the building should be demolished.
This was not seconded, and the whole of the report was adopted.
Finance & Estates Committee
A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings, on Tuesday, July 31st, 1917, at 10 a.m., when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (chairman), T. Wilmott, C. Bates and J. Claridge.
Surveyor’s Cash Account
The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages book, the expenditure shown therein being as follows:-
The Collector’s accounts were also examined, from which it appeared that he had collected the following sums since the last meeting:-
The Committee also examined the Treasurer’s accounts, from which it appeared that he had received the following sums since the last meeting:-
And that the following balances were in his hands:-
Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts
A number of accounts, amounting to £395 4s. 3d., were examined and passed for payment.
A list of the Council’s employees was submitted by the Surveyor, showing the amount of wages and war bonus at present paid to each of them. The Committee revised the amount of wages paid, considering the case of each man separately, and fixed a war bonus at a flat rate of 4s. per week. The result of the revision showed a general all-round increase in the men’s wages, and in the opinion of the Committee were such as to give general satisfaction.
Applications were received from Mr. Lack and Mr. Woodward for their salaries to be reconsidered with a view to a revision.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to grant increases to make up the respective total salaries in respect of their combined appointments under the Council, the Water Board, and the Overseers, to £175 and £150 respectively.
The salaries would be paid as follows:-
The report was adopted.
A circular was received from the Local Government Board stating that the time had now come to for a more systematic control of the food supplies and asking Local Authorities to set up suitable organisations for the purpose. They suggested that each Local Authority should elect a Food Control Committee composed of persons who were well acquainted with the local position and possessing the confidence of the public.
A letter was also read from the Food Controller, who said he desired to keep before him three main principles (1) the food supplies to be conserved; (2) the food supplies to be shared equally by the rich and poor; and (3) prices to be kept down. At first the work of the committee would be confined mainly to sugar supplies, though afterwards they would be called upon to deal with meat and bread supplies.
The Chairman said that Mr. W. E. Capon and Mr. W. W. Rial had done good work on the Food Economy Committee, Mr. Capon being the hon. secretary.
It was decided to appoint seven members of the Council and five from outside the Council to form the Food Control Committee.
The following seven members of the Council were elected on the Committee: Messrs. Spencer, Claridge, Knight, Bazeley, Swindall, Bates, and Clipson. The following five were elected from outside the Council: Mr. W. J. Cure, Mr. George Tailby, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. W. E. Capon, and Mr. W. W. Rial.
Application was made by Mr. C. Thurston for the use of Spencer Park for the Feast, as usual, and this was granted.
Housing Problem At Rushden
At the meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday, Mr. W. Bazeley, according to notice, moved “That a scheme for housing in Rushden for the working classes be at once prepared on Garden City lines, and that an application be made to the Local Government Board for sanction to a loan for the same, the building to be proceeded with when the war is finished.”
The Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason) read a circular letter from the Local Government Board on the question of the housing of the working classes, and suggesting that Local Authorities should have schemes in preparation, and should make early application to the Board for financial assistance.
The circular stated that the President of the Local Government Board recognised that for some time after the end of the war many of the difficulties which had brought the building of working-class houses almost to a standstill would continue to prevail. Recognising that private enterprise, to which we owed approximately 95 per cent. of our house-building prior to the war, would be quite unable to grapple successfully and speedily with the arrears in building, he had come to the conclusion that it would be necessary to rely far more than in the past upon Local Authorities to provide the houses required, with their road, water, and drainage accompaniments. The Government recognised that it would be necessary to afford substantial financial assistance from public funds to those Local Authorities who are prepared to carry through, without delay, at the conclusion of the war, a programme of housing for the working classes which has the approval of the Local Government Board.
Mr. Bazeley: I did not know anything about the circular which the Clerk has read when I sent in notice of my proposition, but I thought it was time Rushden moved in this matter. The Government intend to subsidise Local Authorities to the extent of several million pounds if they take up housing schemes, to commence on the termination of the war. The building of houses has been practically at a standstill for three years, and at a moderate estimate there is said to be a shortage of a million working-class cottages in this country. We know there is a great deficiency in Rushden at the present time, and a great many people are living in two rooms, because they cannot get homes of their own. In Rushden, as in other places, there have been a great number of khaki weddings, and the wives of the men who are fighting for us are at present living with their parents or friends, but when their husbands return some, I am sorry to say, will never return they will want homes of their own. The houses must either be provided in Rushden, or the people must live in rooms with their friends, which is an unsatisfactory state of things. Our Colonies are throwing out inducements to our young married couples and to our young men and their fiancées to settle there and help to build up the Colonies when this devastating war is over. But it is equally necessary that we should see that provision is made to keep the muscles and brains in this country, so that we may reconstruct our land after this war. If we wish to see Rushden develop we must give this matter of housing our prompt attention. Our soldiers deserve the best we can give them on their return, and we certainly should not let there be this lack of housing accommodation in Rushden as there has been in the past. I think we should arrange to build on Garden City lines, to give more ground round the houses, and to save so much money being spent on roads and drainage. I believe that at the present time quite 100 houses are needed in Rushden. Thousands of millions of pounds are now being spent to destroy life, and money should be expended on saving life and prolonging it. The Government recognise the deficiency in housing all over the country, and they are prepared to subsidise Local Authorities for building working-class houses to the extent of several million pounds. I think that we, as a Local Authority, should take advantage of some of this money, which, to my mind, the Government could not spend in a better way.
Mr. Bates seconded.
Mr. Clipson said he thought a better plan would be to refer the question to the whole Council in committee, and he proposed that this be done.
Mr. Claridge seconded.
Mr. Knight said he should support the amendment, not because he opposed Mr. Bazeley’s motion, which, when the proper time came, he should support most thoroughly, as everyone knew there was a great demand for houses in Rushden, and he did not think they would be able to look to private speculators to undertake this work for a considerable time to come, so that it would be necessary for Local Authorities to provide houses. He thought everything should be done to enable the returned soldiers to settle down here and enjoy what they all hoped would be a better world after this war was over, for that was what they were fighting for. He approved of Mr. Bazeley’s proposal, and it was with no idea of shelving the question that he approved of the amendment, but simply because he thought it should be discussed fully in committee.
Mr. Bazeley said that after the sympathetic speech of Mr. Knight he was quite prepared to withdraw his proposal in favour of the amendment. He felt sure there was no desire to shelve this question. He agreed that private enterprise would not meet the demand for houses, as the interest on borrowed money would be too high, and speculators would rather put their money into Government securities. There was no regiment, to his mind, that deserved better of the country than the Northamptonshire Regiment for what they had done during this war. They had been in the hottest corners, and had had some of the severest fighting to do. When the men returned they must all do what they could for them.
Mr. Perkins said he felt sure that Mr. Knight had voiced the feelings of the whole Council, and he had spoken very feelingly on the subject. Some of the men who returned from the war would be wounded, and some with their nerves shattered, and would not be able to go to the Colonies, and it would be much better if they could get back to their friends and to their old factories.
The amendment was carried unanimously, and the Chairman said that a very good feeling had prevailed during the discussion.