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Rushden Echo, 16th December, 1921, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Application for an Increase of Councillors
How The Free Library is Being Used
Big Preponderance of Fiction
The Municipal Housing Scheme
Council “Let Down” by Builders

Wednesday, present Councillors W. Bazeley, J.P. (chairman), T. Swindall (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P, J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, L. Perkins, B.Sc., C. E. Bayes, and T. Wilmott, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Assistant Surveyor (Mr. Lloyd), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. Piper).

The Chairman said they all wished Mr. Madin (the Surveyor) a speedy restoration to health.

Since the last meeting of the Council, the Chairman said, they had had the winding-up meeting of the Fete and Gala Committee, and the nett profit was £1,000, to be divided amongst various objects. He thanked the Clerk for convening the first two meetings, and the members of the Council for all their assistance.

The Late Dr. Baker

The Clerk read the following letter from Mrs. H. Stainer Baker; “I am deeply touched by your letter conveying the sympathy of the Council on my husband’s death, and their high appreciation of his services. I should be very grateful if you would express to the Council and my husband’s colleagues, on behalf of my daughter and myself, our united thanks for their kind words and high tribute to his memory. My husband always said the help and courtesy he received from all the Councillors and Officials made his public work a pleasure and gave him many happy hours in his busy life.”

Housing Scheme

Mr. Bazeley reported that the deputation of the Clerk, Mr. Knight, the Surveyor, and himself had visited the Ministry of Health to put the case of the great need for further houses in Rushden. The Ministry did not dispute the need, but made their attack on the weakest point, namely, that the 66 houses begun in March, 1920, were not all finished. The deputation had pointed out that skilled building trade operatives were not easy to get, or the work would have been done more expeditiously. The deputation could not combat the statements of the Ministry. Mr. Marriott had built 26 houses in about 15 or 16 months, leaving 40 other houses for three other contractors. There were still 17 or 18 houses not occupied through being unfinished. It ought to be an object lesson to the Council when they let other contracts, to fix a time limit for the completion of the houses. It was not fair to the tenants to keep them waiting month after month. Every block of houses not occupied meant a loss of £2 to 50s. a week through rent not being paid. The visit to the Ministry was very unsatisfactory and unsuccessful although all the members of the deputation did their best to press the claims of Rushden. The Ministry officials told them they might go again when they could show a surplus of builders.

Mr. Knight said that the deputation had proved conclusively the dearth of houses in Rushden, and it was most unfavourable when the Ministry officials turned to the question of the time taken to erect the houses. The statistics regarding the employment in the building trade were in the hands of the deputation and of the Ministry, and both were alike. The Council felt that the builders had let them down. If the present houses had been completed the deputation would have had a strong case, and the extra 25 houses would have been sanctioned. He hoped that in future contracts the builders would not be allowed to “play fast and loose” with the Council. Many people in Rushden were living under very trying conditions, and if they were more favourable the Sanitary Inspector would condemn houses in Rushden wholesale. The Council were helpless in the matter. He hoped they would get permission to go on with the extra 25 houses in the new year. It was hard luck to be turned down over something that was not their fault. They had pointed out to the Ministry that they were the first to take up the housing scheme, and the Ministry officials congratulated them on the fact. The houses had been erected at about one-half a house per week since the start. It was nothing more than a disgrace.

Mr. Spencer said he was sure that the deputation had done their best. Mr. Marriott had done his level best to complete his contract as quickly as possible and the Council were exceedingly sorry that the others had not done so. Labour could have been obtained if advertised for. He had searched the papers and there were no inquiries for builders’ operatives. He considered that the Council should make further application for more houses, and also should let the local builders know that if they could not complete the houses in a reasonable time the Council would advertise for builders who could give such guarantee. The Council were in a very difficult position. Perhaps it would be as well to write to the Rushden Master Builders’ Association asking them to give the matter their attention, seeing that the Council had tried to do its best for the local builders. Had Mr. Knight any guarantee for the builders of the houses not yet completed?

Mr. Knight: We have none at all. The matter has been put before the architect. I believe that the last five or six will be ready at the end of next March.

Mr. Spencer: Shame!

Special Committee

A meeting of the Special Committee appointed to consider the question of increasing the number of members on the Urban District Council was held at the Council Buildings on November 23rd, 1921, when there were present: Mr. W. Bazeley (chairman), Mr. T. Swindall (vice-chairman), Messrs. C. Bates, J. Hornsby, L. Perkins, and F. Knight.

The Committee were unanimously of opinion that it was desirable that the number of members should be increased.

The Committee were, however, of opinion that with an increase of members the present method of election was undesirable. Assuming that the number were increased to 16 it would mean a probable number of candidates at an election of at least 36; and, with 7,800 electors, each with 16 votes distributed amongst 36 candidates, the result would not, in the Committee’s opinion, be satisfactory, beyond which the business of conducting an election on these lines would be most difficult. This difficulty might be somewhat relieved if the Council returned to the old method of triennial elections and increased their number to 18. Six members would then retire each year, but the Committee considered a much more preferable course would be for the town to be divided into three wards, each ward returning six members. This could be most conveniently arranged, but the further difficulty would then arise with the register, which would require to be divided into three wards for Urban District purposes and two divisions for County Council purposes. Moreover, with five Guardians it would be impossible to divide them between the three wards, and it would be necessary for them to be elected as heretofore. If an arrangement were possible by which the number of County Councillors could be increased to three, the number of Guardians to six, and the number of local Councillors to 18, and the town divided into three wards, all difficulties would be overcome, and the Committee recommend the Council to at once approach the County Council with a view to ascertaining if it were possible to carry such an arrangement through.

The report was adopted.

Plans, Etc., Committee

A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, November 30th, 1921, when there were present: Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), T. Swindall, and C. W. Horrell.

Plans

were presented for:-

Sanitary conveniences at the rear of No. 44, Duck-street, for the Gimson Shoe Machinery Co., Ltd., and passed.

Motor Garages (amended plan) at the rear of the Wargate Motor Engineering Co.’s premises on the Wellingborough-road, and passed.

Motor Garage for Mr. W. G. Wilmott at the rear of his house on the Wellingborough-road, and passed.

Barn for Mr. Edward Breen adjoining his bungalow on Court-avenue, and no exception taken.

Corrugated iron store shed for Mr. A. E. Abbott at the rear of his house, No. 29, Queen-street, and no exception taken.

Open shed for Messrs. Allebone and Sons, Ltd., adjoining their factory in Oakley-road, and no exception taken.

Motor garage off Coffee Tavern-lane for Messrs. Denton and Sons, Ltd., and no exception taken provided it be placed at least six feet back from the street.

Box shed of corrugated iron and wood construction for Mr. H. Nicholson adjoining his factory in Victoria-road, and rejected.

Bay window to No. 32, Newton-road, for Mr. W. Danby, and passed.

Wooden building on the Victoria Estate at the rear of Queen-street for Mr. J. Miller, and no exception taken provided that no motive power be used therein and that the building be set in a line with Messrs. E. Claridge’s factory.

Assisted Housing Scheme

An application was received from Mr. H. Roe for permission to erect a coal barn at the rear of the house occupied by him, numbered 121, Newton-road.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto.

Motor Signs

The Surveyor submitted a letter from the Motor Union stating that they had ceased supplying these signs subsequent to the Ministry of Transport’s circular recommending Local Authorities to adopt signs and guide posts of a standard pattern.

He was instructed to enquire the cost of such signs and submit to the next meeting.

Washbrook-Road Footpath

The Surveyor reported that as instructed at the last meeting he had prepared a plan and estimate, amounting to £423 9s. 6d., of the proposed footpath improvements in Washbrook-road, and had submitted same to the Ministry of Transport. A letter had since been received from the Ministry stating that the whole of the funds available for the current year had been allocated, but promising to keep the matter under consideration.

The Surveyor was instructed to make a further application in the new year.

West-Street

The question of the footpath repairs, referred back to the Committee by the Council at their last meeting, was considered and adjourned until the next meeting.

The report was adopted.

Finance and Estates Committee

A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, December 7th, 1921, at 10 a.m., when there were present: Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), T. Swindall, C. Bates, C. E. Bayes, F. Knight, L. Perkins, and T. Wilmott.

Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts

A number of accounts amounting to £3,277 9s. 6d. were examined and passed for payment.

Audit

The Chairman reported that he had received notice from the District Auditor stating that he completed the audit of the Council’s accounts for the year ended March 31st last, on October 21st. The notice also stated that there did not appear to be any matter that the Auditor need call the attention of the Council to.

Council Building and Free Library

Tenders were received for the outside painting of the Library and the outside and inside painting of the Council Buildings, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accept that of Mr. A. T. Nichols.

The report was adopted.

Health and Sanitary Committee

A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, December 7th, 1921, when there were present: Messrs. T. Swindall (chairman), W. Bazeley, J. Hornsby, F. Knight, and J. Spencer.

Health and Sanitary Reports

The report of the Medical Officer for the month of November was received.

The Sanitary Inspector reported that since the last meeting 15 preliminary notices had been issued calling attention to nuisances and other matters, and the number of nuisances now outstanding was 58.

During his inspections he had discovered the following meat, which upon examination he found to be unfit for food: One set of ox lungs, one ox liver, one ox head, and one can of preserved ox tongue. The whole of this meat had been voluntarily surrendered and destroyed in the usual way.

Two beds had been destroyed, ten articles of bedding and five Library books disinfected, and five rooms cleansed and disinfected, all after cases of infectious disease.

The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the past month.

Refuse Receptacles

The Inspector of Nuisances submitted a report with regard to the number of houses showing the nature of the accommodation for the deposit of refuse.

It appeared to the Committee by this report that the houses therein referred to were without a sufficient ashtub, ashpit, or other receptacle for the deposit of refuse, and it was resolved to report to the Council accordingly with a recommendation that notices be served upon the owners requiring them within 28 days to provide for each house a sufficient and proper receptacle.

The Inspector stated that since the last meeting galvanised iron sanitary ashbins had been provided for 81 houses in the town.

Slaughtering of Pigs

The Inspector further reported upon the prevalence of the slaughtering of pigs by allotment holders in places other than licensed slaughter-houses.

The Committee expressed their disapproval of the practice, and hoped that it would not be necessary, after this warning, to take any proceedings in respect thereof.

Petroleum Acts

Applications were received from Mr. R. E. Ackroyd, of the “Laurels,” Court Estate, and Mr. H. Wills, of 25, Alfred-street, to store 100 and 150 gallons of petrol respectively on their premises.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto subject to proper stores being constructed to the satisfaction of the Inspector.

Slaughter-House Licence

An application was also received from Mr. F. W. Swindall, of Moor-road, for a licence in respect of a Slaughter-house now in course of erection off the Washbrook-road.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to accede to the application provided the building be completed to the satisfaction of the Inspector.

Medical Officer of Health

It was resolved to request the Council to meet in Committee at 6.45 p.m. on Wednesday next to consider the appointment of a Medical Officer of Health in the place of Dr. Baker, deceased.

The report was adopted.

Public Library

A meeting of the Public Library Committee was held at the Library on Friday, December 2nd, 1921, when there were present: Messrs. J. T. Colson, J. S. Clipson, T. Swindall, S. Saddler, L. Perkins, J. Spencer, The Rev. C. J. Keeler, and Miss C. Clarke.

It was resolved that Mr. Clipson be appointed Chairman of the Committee.

Before proceeding with the business of the meeting the Chairman referred to the death of the late Mr. Claridge, who had been the Chairman of the Committee since its inception, and moved that a record of Mr. Claridge’s services to the Library be placed upon the minutes.

The motion was carried sub silentio.

The Chairman also referred to the death since the last meeting of Mr. William Clarke, who for a number of years had been a member of the Committee, and moved that the deep sympathy of the Committee be extended to Mrs. Clarke and her family in their bereavement.

The motion was carried sub silentio.

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on October 29th, 1920, were read and confirmed.

It was resolved that the Management Committee for the ensuing year again consist of the whole of the members of the Committee.

The Secretary reported that the number of books issued for the twelve months ended August 31st last was 35,236, made up as follows:-

Fiction

31,689

Non-fiction

300

Juveniles

3,247

and a number of books had been re-bound.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to authorise the Committee to expend a sum of £20 in the purchase of new books.

It was agreed to continue the present arrangements with Mr. Charles Robinson for the supply of papers and periodicals for the year 1922.

It was also resolved that the annual sale of the papers, etc., be held in December as usual.

The report was adopted, the Chairman stating that the Library was being well used.

Mr. Spencer said the lighting in the reading room was very inadequate.

Medical Officer

Mr. Swindall gave notice that at the next meeting he should move that Dr. Muriset be appointed Medical Officer of Health for the urban district in succession to the late Dr. H. S. Baker.



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