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Rushden Echo, 19th February 1926, transcribed by Kay Collins
Rushden Urban District Council
Swimming Baths For Rushden
Open-Air Baths : “Glorified Pond”?
Disfiguring of Park Condemned – Another Site to be Considered
At a meeting of the full Council on Wednesday, Mr C W Horrell, C.A., J.P., presiding a long discussion took place again on the question of public baths, both as to site and the cost of covered-in baths. The Swimming Baths Committee had reported as follows:

Covered Baths

The Surveyor submitted his estimate for the construction of covered baths 75ft. by 35ft., making provision for a floor so that it might be converted into a hall for meetings, etc. The building, 99ft. by 53ft., and bath would cost £7,620.

To provide a filtration plant would cost an additional £1,400, and slipper bathes £2,250. To use glazed bricks and provided lavatory accommodation would require an additional £2,000 approximately, thus making a grand total of £13,270.

Open-Air Baths

The Surveyor’s estimate for the open-air bath was as follows:

Cost of bath 75ft. by 40ft. £2,300

Cost of bath 100ft. by 30ft. £2,500

The provision of a filtration plant for wither bath would be £1,400, making a total cost of a bath 75ft. by 40ft. £3,700.

The committee were quite satisfied that the cost of covered baths was prohibitive and the provision of them could not at the present time be entertained by the Council.

With regard to the open-air bath, the committee recommend the Council to proceed with the construction of one 75ft. by 40ft. forthwith, at an estimate cost, inclusive of the filtration plant, of £3,700.

If the Council adopt this recommendation the committee further recommend that application be made to the Ministry of Health for sanction to a loan of £4,000 for the purpose.

Mr C Claridge (chairman of the committee) moved the adoption of the report.

Mr J Spencer, J.P., seconded, and said he was glad the matter had been gone into thoroughly. He thought the baths at £3,700 would answer for a long period.

Mr G W Coles, J.P., congratulated the committee on at last presenting something definite. The Council and the townsfolk would be very pleased that matters were now coming to a head. He was thoroughly in support of the scheme, but suggested that a better site could be found, costing very little. He understood that the cost of drainage alone to the present site would be about £140, and the site he had in mind would be nearer £40 and would not be so open to the glare of the sun. Members differed as to open-air or closed-in baths, and the site he had in mind could be used for wither. He moved that the Council in committee deal with the question of the site he had mentioned.

A New Site?

Mr T Wilmott agreed that the site ought to be more central. Then there was the extra drainage and fittings, and also the emptying of the baths, which at the present site would take six times as long as in another place. He was pleased to know that Mr Coles might be converted to closed-in baths. The difference in the cost would be only about £1,000. In any case they should be prepared for covering-in at some future time.

Mr Claridge said he was quite willing to discuss a fresh site if a more suitable one could be found.

Mr Wilmott said that the estimated £250 on the present site would go towards another, and he suggested somewhere at the back of the Railway Inn and Station-road or at the bottom of Skinner’s-hill.

Dr Greenfield asked what was the object of spending £1,400 on filtration plant if the town water was to be used?

It was stated in reply that the same water would be circulated once in 24 hours and could be used continually after being filtered, whereas the regular supply of fresh water at its present cost would be about £280 in six months.

Mr J Hornsby said that, though the Baths Committee were unanimous on the site, they would not be too thin-skinned to review the matter if a more suitable site could be suggested. On the other hand, they did not want indefinite delay, or the baths would not be ready in the summer of 1927.

The Chairman pointed out that a previous minute committed the Council to the present site.

Mr a Allebone said that, though he had favoured the present site, he saw no reason why they should not consider fresh evidence of a more suitable one. He favoured the site being more central.

Glazed Bricks Not Necessary

Mr W C Tarry: Whatever decision we come to now, the baths will not be ready this summer; therefore, it seems unwise unduly to rush the matter. Up to a few weeks ago I was in favour of open-air baths, because I thought the cost of covered-in baths was prohibitive. Since seeing these new figures and the big advantage of covered-in baths I have now altered my views. Now I think we can have covered-in baths to cost an extra £4,000. A builder told me there is no need to have glazed bricks. Ordinary bricks can be treated with a liquid substance, after which the bricks can be washed down—giving the same result at less cost. Is the £1,400 necessary when water is running to waste? (Laughter) Kettering are scrapping their open-air baths because they are not being used enough. Therefore, if we can get covered-in baths for an extra £4,000.............

Mr Claridge: £10,000.

Mr Tarry: I think we can get building estimates that will bring the cost down to between £9,000 and £10,000. We should then have the advantage of covered-in baths, hot slipper baths (which the workers require), and a hall. I think it would be worth the money and a good investment. Open-air baths are not safe for children of twelve, because of the icy water. I shall oppose the resolution because I am in favour of covered-in baths.

Mr F Corby supported the motion, and said that the site in the Park was at first thought of as lengthways back to the houses in Spencer-road. Now it was suggested with the front facing the brook. That would mean projecting about 19 yards from the fence and would spoil the view of the Park.

Mr J Allen asked if the committee were unanimous on the report.

Mr Claridge: Yes, quite unanimous.

Mr Newberry: Females would not go into open-air baths, and not more than 50 per cent of males, owing to the cold water. The covered-in hall could be used for meetings and dances.

The Chairman suggested that it would be necessary to rescind the minute which the committed the Council to the present site before they could consider another.

Mr f Knight, J.P.: I don’t agree with the Chairman’s ruling. I am totally opposed to the site being in the Park. The ground was bought for a park, and we have laid it out and it looks very well from Washbrook-road. The site at the back of the Spencer-road houses would extend about 20 yards into the Park, nearly half-way down. You would not see the park at all if you have that site, and it would be merely a wooden fence round a glorified pond for nobody but boys and youths. If we are going to have baths, let us have some which both sexes can use all the year round instead of only one sex for half the year. I believe a contractor who was asked to give a price said: “You are never going to have open-air baths? The time has gone by for that.” If we were to take a vote of Rushden we should get 90 per cent in favour of covered-in baths. We have always done the things in the best way so that we could be proud of them. I am totally opposed to the present site and to open-air baths. There are other sites where the cost would be met by the money we should have to spend on the drainage of the present site. Why shut the girls out? They use Kettering baths as much as the boys do. I believe the covered-in baths could be constructed fort a very great deal less than the extra £4,000. I am in favour now of closed-in baths.

Dr Greenfield: Is this meeting to rescind the other minute? I am opposed to open-air baths.

The Chairman said the minute at present committed the Council.

Mr L Perkins, B.Sc. (a members of the Baths committee), contended that they had no right to rescind minutes in that manner. The trouble we are now faced with, he said, is one of the faults of having tiny committees. We try to please you. If you are not pleased then you should do the work yourselves. We tried our best the whole time. Our instructions were to recommend what could be done in the matter of open-air baths. If the Council wants to show a case for closed-in baths it is not for six members to go against the wishes of the majority.

Mr Horrell said there was nothing in the minutes which were before them which would bind the Council to the site. He suggested that that part be passed before considering the minute which did bind them.

Twelve members voted for the passing of the report, and Mr knight voted against.

Mr Coles then moved that the minute which committed the Council to the site in the Park be rescinded, and that the Council in committee consider the case of a new site.

Mr Allebone seconded.

As an amendment Mr Knight moved that the whole recommendation be rescinded and that the Council consider the advisability of providing closed-in baths.

Mr J Roe seconded.

There voted for the amendment Messrs Wilmott, Roe, Newberry, Tarry, Knight and Swindall, and for the resolution Messrs Horrell, Claridge, Allebone, Greenfield, Allen, Corby, Spencer, Hornsby, Coles and Bazeley. The members who abstained were Mr Perkins and Mr Bates.

Mr Knight: Will there be a public inquiry?

Mr Horrell: I do not know.

Mr Knight: I hope there will be.

Members: We hope so.

The resolution having been carried, the Council went into committee to consider a new site.

The Baths Committee are Messrs Claridge, Allebone, Corby, Hornsby, Perkins and Spencer.

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