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The Rushden Echo, 9th/23rd December 1898, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

Mr. John Claridge presided on Wednesday night when there were also present:- Messrs. F. Knight, G. Denton, W. H. Brawne, J. Spencer, G. Miller, P. Cave, W. H. Wilkins, B. Mortimer, G. Fountain, G. H. Skinner, G. S. Mason (clerk), and W. B. Madin (surveyor), and Dr. Owen (medical officer).

Committee Work

The following committee minutes were adopted:-

New Street. – Plans, sections, and specifications were presented by Messrs. E. Robinson and H. Adnitt for a new street to be called Rowland-street, leading off Wellingborough-road and passed.

Plans. – Were presented for eight houses in Wellingborough-road by Mr. H. Adnitt and passed subject to the drains being connected with sewer to be laid in Rowland-street. Also for office in Fitzwilliam-street for Mr. W. G. Willmott and passed.

Harborough Park Road. – The Surveyor submitted his estimate and specification for completion of the upper portion of this road. These were approved subject to asphalt macadam channelling being substituted for granite setts and to existing kerbs being re-laid.

Wellingborough Road. – A memorial was received from Messrs. Robert Hooper, James Jaques, and John Clark drawing attention to the footpath and lighting arrangements in Wellingborough-road, and asking to be allowed to explain their views to the Council. The Clerk was instructed to reply stating that the committee had inspected the site but were at present unable to recommend the Council to do anything further to the footpaths in that district.

Footpaths. – The Plans Sub-Committee reported that they had inspected the several footpaths and properties in Washbrook-road and Rushden-hill and recommended that the surveyor be instructed to form foundations with a view to asphalting the footpaths at a future date in front of the properties belonging to Messrs. Denton and Bayes in Washbrook-road and Messrs. Knight and others on Rushden-hill. The Sub-committee also recommended that the roadway at the corner of the Washbrook-road be widened in accordance with the arrangements entered into with Messrs. Lilley, Skinner and Sykes.

Station Footpaths. – The Clerk was instructed to call the attention of the M.R. Co. to the condition of the footpath approaches to the station and ask that the same be forthwith paved with asphalt or Victoria pavement. The clerk was also instructed to call upon the company to connect their closets with the public sewer.

Untrapped Drain. – Attention was drawn to an untrapped drain in front of Mr. Desborough’s shop in High-street, and the Surveyor was instructed to give the same his attention.

Higham-hill. – The Surveyor was instructed to lay pipes and fill in open drain between Mr. Checkfield’s property and the corner of North-street.

Water Supply. – The Chairman reported that the committee had met Mr. Eunson, C.E., as arranged, and discussed with him as to what steps should now be taken with a view to providing a water supply. After further discussion, Messrs. Claridge, Knight, Brawne, and Fountain were appointed to act with Mr. Eunson in making preliminary arrangements for further trial operations on sites to be selected by the sub-committee. Mr. Eunson undertook to prepare a report required by the Local Government Board as to the result of the trial boring at Wymington.

Workmen’s Compensation Act

On the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Council resolved to cover themselves under this Act by insurance in the General Accident Insurance Company.

Increase of Wages

The wages of the caretaker at the water works (Mr. Garrod) were raised 2s a week.

Pightles Estate

The final apportionment of the Surveyor for the making up of the roads on this estate was £571 9s 7d.

Width of Roads

Mr. Miller raised the question of the width of Harborough Park-road as compared with Roberts-street.

Mr. Wilkins explained that it was impossible to make the owners widen Harborough Park-road as it was a road before the Council came into existence.

Numbering The Houses

The Chairman reported that some time ago Mr. Wilkins and he were appointed a committee to arrange for the naming of the streets and the numbering of the houses. The Council might think that they had been a long time about it, but the matter had involved a great amount of work, the bulk of which had been done by Mr. Wilkins, to whom they were much indebted. They had gone carefully through every street, and every house was now arranged to be numbered and the streets named. They had also decided to place hydrant plates for fire brigade purposes, indicating the position of the hydrants, and in that work they were very much indebted to Mr. G. R. Turner, the indefatigable secretary of the Fire Brigade, who was very enthusiastic about these matters and had willingly given his time to go round and take the measurements. The committee thought it advisable to have a printed record stating where these hydrants were, so that the firemen and the Council might know.

With regard to the printed record, the Council agreed.

Mr. Miller: I suppose the committee will not go further and connect the fireman’s houses by telegraph?

The Chairman: We must arrange that some other time. That would be beyond our powers.

Mr. Wilkins said it would be necessary to obtain the consent of the Council to several changes in the names of streets, &c. The committee did not approve of streets, places, &c., being named after individuals, and they thought that the word “Yard” was rather objectionable. The committee preferred the word “Place.” They suggested that School-lane, &c., should be called College-street. (Laughter.)

“Where is the college?” asked one.

Mr. Wilkins: The school is a boy’s college.

The Council agreed to call the lane College-street.

Several other changes were made.

Gas Works

Mr. Spencer asked if any progress had been made with regard to the proposed purchase of the gas works by Rushden and Higham Ferrers. Had the committee met, so that they could have a town’s meeting before Christmas? Time was going on.

Mr. Denton said there had been no meeting as far as he knew since the one at Higham when it was decided to approach the directors with a view to arranging a provisional agreement.

The Water Supply

Mr. Miller asked if anything had been done yet in regard to the supply of water.

The Chairman said he had been in communication with Mr. Eunson, who expected to meet the committee next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Street Lighting

Mr. Skinner asked who was responsible for lighting the street lamps – the Council or the Gas Company.

The Chairman: The Company.

Mr. Skinner said that one of the lamps in Alfred-street was not alight on Tuesday night.

23rd December 1898

The members present at a meeting of this Council on Wednesday night were:- The Chairman (Mr. John Claridge), the vice-chairman (Mr. F. Knight), and Messrs. W. H. Wilkins, G. Miller, G. Fountain, T. Swindall, W. H. Brawne, and J. Spencer, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason) and the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin).

Committee Work

Plans. Were presented by Mr. H. Thompson for a butcher’s shop on the Kimbolton-road, near Higham Ferrers, and rejected for system of drainage to be shown; Mr. C. E. Bayes for 8 cottages on the Irchester-road, and passed; Mr. A. Bond for workshop and smithy on the Newton-road, and passed subject to the drain under the building being laid in concrete.

Harborough-road (Upper Portion). – The upper portion of this street not being sewered, levelled, paved, metalled, channelled and made good to the satisfaction of the Council, it was resolved with respect to such part of the street to do the following works, viz., to sewer, level, pave, metal, channel and make good the same. The Surveyor submitted in respect of the upper portion of Harborough-road, (a) A specification of the private street works resolved to be done by the Council, viz., to sewer, level, pave, metal, channel and make good the same: (b) an estimate of the probable expenses of the works: (c) a provisional apportionment of the estimated expenses among the persons liable to be charged therewith. It was resolved that the same be approved respectively.

Robinson-road. – The plans sub-committee were requested to visit this road and report as to what steps, if any, should be taken to make good the same or part thereof, under the Private Street Works Act.

New Hotel. – The Surveyor reported that a room had been added to the building not shown on the approved plan, and that the system of drainage and been diverted. He also stated he had written to the architect, drawing his attention to the matter, but had as yet received no reply. – The Clerk was instructed to write requesting alteration.

Police-station. – A letter was received from Mr. Markham saying this mater was now in progress and all the papers were before the Local Government Board.

Waterworks. – Mr. Eunson’s formal report on the result of the trial boring at Wymington was also received and ordered to be forwarded to the Local Government Board.

The Fire Brigade

A letter was received from the Clerk to the Wymington Parish Council asking the terms upon which the Rushden Urban Council would be prepared to place their fire-engine and brigade at their disposal, and asking what alteration, if any, was contemplated in the present system of call.

Mr. Denton asked what the position of the Council was with regard to their volunteer brigade.

The Clerk said they could not bind the brigade; they could only bind the engine.

Mr. Wilkins did not think an arrangement by which the Wymington Council paid so much a year would be advantageous to either Council. The Wymington people would lose, because the money would come out of the rates, whereas, under the present system, the charge for the attendance of the brigade and engine fell on the property in the event of a fire taking place.

Mr. Denton took it that the Wymington Council only wanted to assure them that they could have the engine.

The Clerk: Perhaps they want to pay £5 a year to help to maintain our engine.

Mr. Knight said the engine always had gone to outside fires when sent for. It had never been refused.

Mr. Wilkins thought the good people of Wymington might rest content till the Council passed a resolution to the effect that the engine must not leave the town.

Mr. Miller suggested that if a fire broke out at Wymington the firemen would be anxious to go for a little practice.

The Chairman said it appeared to him that no alteration was needed.

The Clerk was instructed to reply to the effect that the Council did not see the advantage to be gained by altering the present system.

Another Case of Typhoid

The Medical Officer (Dr. C. R. Owen) in his report said: “There is another case of typhoid fever, that of Grace Fields, West-street, where the fever already existed, and it is probable she contracted the fever from her sister. There is a case of scarlet fever in Ebenezer-terrace – Chas. Holley. Isolation is being resorted to and disinfectants have been supplied.”

The Chairman said they would all be very sorry to hear that a death had taken place since their last meeting, that of Harry West.

Mr. Spencer asked whether it would not be a good thing to get the County Medical Officer to come and make a special inspection of the town. The fever seemed to be lurking about and they did not seem to be able to stamp it out. At any rate, they would lose nothing if he came.

Mr. Denton did not see how Dr. Paget could be of assistance to the town. The outbreak could not be called an epidemic, and it was due probably to causes they knew more about than anyone else. Towns were always liable to these outbreaks where cases occurred of water being taken practically from the drains. The Council had done what they could in the matter.

Mr. Swindall did not think Rushden was worse off than other places. He noticed there were outbreaks at Northampton, which was well known to be in a good sanitary condition.

Mr. Knight said nearly all the cases had been accounted for.

Mr. Swindall said it looked to him as if they could have stopped the spread of the disease if they could have isolated the first case or two.

Mr. Spencer thought the evil lay in the disease being regarded as non-infectious. If it were regarded as infectious, greater precautions would be taken.

Mr Denton thought that all the wells should be closed before the County Medical Officer was invited.

Mr. Swindall: And ventilating shafts put up.

Several Councillors suggested that proper nursing was needed more than anything else.

The subject then dropped.

An Occasional Court-House

With regard to the application of the Council for the Vestry-hall to be made an occasional Court-house, Mr. Markham, Clerk to the County Council, wrote that he had communicated with Mr. Simpson, Clerk to the Wellingborough Bench, and suggested that the Urban Council should apply to the Wellingborough Magistrates direct. He (Mr. Markham) was afraid, however that an occasional Court-house, such as was proposed, would not really be of as much value as was anticipated, and he hoped the Council would be content until they had a police-station complete.

Mr. Spencer asked whether it was not possible to get the Rushden business transferred to the Higham Ferrers Court. It would be nearer for those having business at the Court.

Mr. Wilkins didn’t think such a step would be acceptable.

Mr. Spencer thought it was an injustice that a town the size of Rushden had not a Petty Sessions of its own.

The Chairman: There are two ways of looking at that. (Laughter.)

The Council resolved to apply to the Wellingborough Bench direct as suggested by Mr. Markham.

The Gas Company’s Bill

Mr. Miller asked whether it would not be as well for the committee to report to the Council as to what they had done on this subject. They had now come to another vital point.

Mr. Swindall did not think it would be wise to make a report.

Mr. Denton thought that the report, if made, should be made to the Joint Committee of both Councils

The subject dropped.

A Merry Christmas

The Chairman, at the close of the meeting, wished the members of the Council a happy Christmas and received the good wishes of his colleagues in return.

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