|Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th January, 1944, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
January - March 1944
Rushden’s good neighbourliness was referred to by the Chairman (Coun. A. F. Weale) at Wednesday’s meeting of the Urban Council, when he claimed that no special scheme for helping households stricken by influenza was needed in the town.
Ways and means of helping families during the influenza epidemic shopping, domestic help, etc., - have been suggested in a Ministry of Health circular. It was reported that the Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) discussed the circular with the chairman of the Health Committee (Coun. Paragreen) and the Medical Officer (Dr. D. A. McCracken), the conclusion being that no special measures were needed locally. The report also mentioned that the County M.O.H. had told the district nurses and others how to obtain assistance in various ways when needed.
Coun. Roe said he did not agree with the report. A case had recently been brought to his notice in which the whole family had been confined to the house through influenza. He had been able to help in this case, and he thought there were probably many more in the town. He did not think the district nurses could possibly know of these cases, but if the doctors could report the cases to the Council and some help could be given, it would be much appreciated.
The Chairman said he appreciated Mr. Roe’s remarks, but he had heard of Rushden’s good neighbourliness being put into practice many times during the epidemic, and he thought that was better than a special organisation. It was surprising how the people helped one another over the difficulties.
The Finance Committee stated that they had reviewed the staff salaries, having received applications for increases from several officers. They recommended increased totalling £147 10s. per annum, covering the Clerk, Financial Officer, Housing Manager, Librarian and one other, and that the agreements with the Clerk and Chief Financial Officer as to increments and maximum salaries be cancelled, their salaries to be reviewed annually.
This report was carried without discussion.
The Housing Committee reported that sites on which it is proposed to erect about 120 houses under the first post-war year programme had been approved by the Regional Architect of the Ministry of Health. To this the Clerk added that the Ministry had now authorised negotiations for the purchase of the land.
Sites for further housing schemes are under consideration by the Council.
Referred back from the last Council meeting after some challenging remarks by Coun. Allebone, the Highways Committee minute recommending alterations to the overhead electric lamps was again put forward, the committee reporting that the cost to the Council would be between 4s. and 5s. for each of 52 lamps, this time the report was passed without comment.
Reporting on the British Restaurant, the War Emergency Committee stated that the extensions to No. 93, High-street had been delayed because licences for materials had not been immediately forthcoming. The committee recommended that when the restaurant is opened only midday meals (from Monday to Saturday) shall be served until working experience has been gained. To this the Council agreed.
The following cases of disease occurred in December: Pneumonia 20, tuberculosis 1, scarlet fever 1, erysipelas 1, measles 1, whooping cough 1. There were 18 births (8 males, 10 females) and 19 deaths (10 males, 9 females). Of those who died, 15 were aged 65 or over.
The Medical Officer (Dr. D. A. McCracken) also reported that from June to December, 1943, 99 children under five years of age and 25 between five and 15 years were immunised against diphtheria. Children now immunised numbered 653 (56 per cent.) in the younger group and 1,682 (63 per cent.) in the other. These figures do not take into account any treatment privately arranged.
As no annual health reports have been given to the Council during the war, the Medical Officer is now preparing a report covering the whole period.
Coun. Waring spoke of the fine results obtained from immunisation and urged that the public should take it up to a still greater extent. Coun. Bailey agreed and referred to circulars, which he said the members had probably seen, opposing immunisation.
Commenting on the news that tins will no longer be collected separately from household refuse as salvage, Coun. Paragreen said it was still very essential that paper and bones, especially bones, should be saved by the public. They were needed for the war effort, and he asked the people of Rushden to do their very best.
December salvage was valued at £62 and included 9 tons paper and cardboard, 1 ton 7½ cwt. light iron, 6 cwt. bones, 3 cwt. aluminium and 3 tons 6 cwt. kitchen waste.
After another meeting with the traffic manager of the United Counties Omnibus Co., the Highways Committee reported with regret that the present stopping place near Mrs. Claridge’s house in Skinner’s Hill could not be altered.
The Area Fire Force Commander was authorised to erect a tubular steel drill tower in the yard of the Council’s depot, the old wooden tower having been condemned as unsafe.
It has been suggested by the Regional Commissioner’s Department that part of the new Fire Guard Plan might be put into operation at Rushden. A decision will be made after the War Emergency Committee has met the Chief Warden and his deputy.
The East Northants Joint Hospital Board’s tenancy of the Rushden Smallpox Hospital the subject of debate last month was renewed for three years on the old terms.
Couns. Weale, Davies, Paragreen, Cox and Allen were appointed as a sub-committee to consider the whole question of sewerage and sewage disposal in the town, the Government now being prepared to examine proposals for urgent schemes.
It was resolved to inform the County Joint Standing Committee that it would be useful if, before applications for street collections in Rushden from outside bodies are considered, the Chief Constable would notify the Council, thus giving them an opportunity to submit their views.
In accordance with a national decision it was agreed to increase from 17s. 6d. to 19s. 6d. weekly the war bonus paid to the Council’s adult male manual employees.
Coun. Richardson was re-appointed to represent the Council on the Rushden After-Care Committee.
At the close of the ordinary business the Council went into committee on what the Chairman referred to as “a matter of some importance.”
In attendance were Couns. A. F. Weale (Chairman), Dr. R. W. Davies (Vice-Chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars and J. T. Richardson, J.P. An apology for absence was received from Mrs. Muxlow.
11th February, 1944
Those Sunday Concerts
Steps to investigate the position regarding Sunday concerts in the town were reported at Wednesday’s meeting of the Rushden Urban Council.
On the question of Sunday entertainments the Finance Committee considered two letters. In one, Whitefield U.D.C. suggested certain action in view of the Lord’s Day Observance Society’s activities. In the other, the Lord’s Day Observance Society commented on the Whitefield Council’s letter. It was decided to take no action on the Whitefield letter.
Reference was then made to the position in the district with regard to musical concerts on Sundays, and the fact that several such concerts proposed recently to be held in local cinemas had been abandoned. The Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) suggested that, if the committee wished to consider the position fully, he should submit a report to the next meeting, but in the meantime reported briefly on the legal position, stating that before applications to the Justices for music licences could be made, it would be necessary for the Council to adopt Part iv of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1890.
The Clerk was accordingly requested to submit a report to the next meeting on the general position and the procedure involved, before the committee give consideration to the question of the adoption or otherwise of Part iv of the Act.
A Sore Point
Commenting on a resolution by which the Council offered no objection to the closing of the Newton-road sub-post office for an hour each day as a dinner-time break, Coun. Roe said it was not very pleasing to find that the application had had to come from Wellingborough.
“Here we have a town with a rateable value of nearly £100,000, and a simple little thing like this has to come from Wellingborough. We raised this question with the postal authorities some time ago, and I think it will be one of the first things we shall have to press for after the war.”
The Chairman (Coun. Weale) agreed, and Coun. Bailey said he hoped the Head Postmaster would remember his promise that the raising of the Rushden post office status would be borne in mind after the war.
Four persons, the Council learned, have applied for the post of supervisor at the British Restaurant and a local applicant has been chosen.
Coun. Capon said the roofing for the restaurant turned up recently and they then hoped they might go full steam ahead, but there had been other setbacks since then, and they were waiting for some other parts of the equipment.
However, this did not mean that they were standing still, and the committee hoped it might be possible to open some time during March which, after all, had 31 days!
Mr. Capon added that the lady appointed as manageress had had considerable experience.
A.R.P. Committee minutes showed that out of a total strength of 1,616, as returned in the recent census, there were 1,327 enrolled Fire guards who did not belong to any other organisation and could therefore be considered as effective. The question of operating the reinforcement part of the Fire Guard Plan in this district stands deferred until representatives of the Fire Guard have attended an instructional course.
The housing report showed that there were 77 applications for tenancies last year, but only one applicant could be accommodated.
The librarian (Miss M. Perkins) reported that the following books were issued during the last quarter of 1943: Adult fiction 21,094, non-fiction 4,799, juvenile fiction 4,755, non-fiction 1,958. The total was 32,606 comparing with 31,729 twelve months ago. In addition 187 volumes were lent direct to local organisations. Membership increased by 147 adults and 182 juveniles.
The quarterly journals of the Royal Meteorological Society and the Society of Antiquarians, offered by Mr. L. G. H. Lee, of Higham Ferrers, are to be placed in the library.
Disease cases in January included one of tuberculosis, three of scarlet fever, 10 of pneumonia, one of puerperal pyrexia and four of whooping cough. There were 14 births (8 males, 6 females) and 12 deaths (6 males, 6 females). Nine of those who died were aged 65 or over.
Replying to a letter from the Council, the County Standing Joint Committee wrote that their regulations did not provide for consultation with local authorities on applications for street collection permits.
The Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) reported that the January salvage was valued at £73 and included 10 tons 4 cwt paper and cardboard, 11 cwt bones, and nearly four tons of kitchen waste.
Members in attendance were Couns. A. F. Weale, J.P. (Chairman), Dr. R. W. Davies (Vice-Chairman), A. H. Bailey, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., J. Roe, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars, J. T. Richardson, J.P., and T. W. Cox.
COUNCIL DEALS WITH CONCERT PROBLEM
Steps to put concerts and dances under magisterial control and thus place Sunday entertainments, if permitted by the Justices, under the protection of a licence, were taken by Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday evening.
On the recommendation of the Finance Committee the Council decided to adopt Part IV of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1891.
The Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) has explained that when the statutory procedure for adoption of the clause has been completed it will be necessary to obtain a licence from the Justices to enable musical entertainment to be given in public in specified premises. Where such a licence is granted and permits musical entertainment on Sundays, the promoter of the entertainment and the person in charge of the building is not liable to incur penalties under the various Sunday Observance Acts.
The clause also applies to public dancing in any “house, room, garden or other place, whether licensed or not for the sale of wine, etc.” In every case the licensing condition operates after six months from the adoption of the clause.
Coun. Allen explained that the process of adoption involved certain detailed procedure which would take some little time to complete. The question of Sunday musical entertainments was one reason for the committee’s action, and after the adoption of the clause public musical concerts such as that which was recently to have been held by the B.B.C., but which was cancelled, would become possible without the danger of incurring penalties.
Adoption of the clause would not in itself make public Sunday concerts certain, but would merely provide the facility, hitherto lacking, for Justices’ licences to be applied for. It would be for the Justices to decide whether, in granting an application, they permitted the use of the premises on Sundays.
A pleasing feature of the meeting was the presentation of long service awards to nine members of the old Rushden Volunteer Fire brigade, which has been supplanted by the N.F.S. with the result that most of the members have ceased to be firemen.
The Chairman (Coun. A. F. Weale) said that Rushden had had a very high regard for the late volunteer brigade, and it was by no means an easy matter to part company with so many faithful servants of the town. They were always ready for a call, and he was very glad to have the opportunity of presenting the medals and bars in appreciation of their long and faithful service.
Ald. Allebone said the Fire Brigade Sub-Committee used to be told that the brigade was the dearest one in the locality, but they always replied that they assessed the value of the brigade on its efficiency. It was one of the best in the country, and everybody in Rushden was proud of it. The men did not look for compensation or payment. They richly deserved their medals, and he was only sorry to see Anno Domini creeping upon some of them: Particularly their old friend Claude Green, “who was a fireman, I think, before I was born.”
BEHIND THE HORSES
Coun. Capon said he could picture Mr. Green in the old days behind two of Mr. Sargent’s horses, holding on for grim death while they made a gentle trot. The professional service of to-day was a sign of the times, but he did not know whether it made for more efficiency.
Coun. Sawford said the old brigade laid good foundations, and, with all respect to the present brigade, he did not think they could surpass or equal them.
The awards were as follows: A. P. Timpson (now Senior Company Officer, N.F.S.), 23 years’ service, silver medal; J. H. Sparrow, 42 years, bar to silver medal; J. Whiting, 38 years, bar to silver medal; W. F. Bayes, 22 years, silver medal; T. H. Smith 22 years, silver medal; F. W. Tear, 21 years, silver medal; F. J. Underwood, 21 years, silver medal; L. A. Bailey (now Leading Fireman, N.F.S.), 16 years, bar to bronze medal; F. W. C. Tassell, 13 years, bronze medal.
Mr. W. L. Beetenson, ex-Clerk to the Council, attended in order to witness this ceremony.
The Chairman congratulated Coun. Allebone on his election as an alderman of the County Council and said the work he had been doing well merited him that position.
A report on British Restaurant prospects stated that several items of equipment, including some of the heavier equipment, had not been received, despite the fact that the indent was sent to the Ministry of Food even before they approved the restaurant scheme. This was making it difficult to complete the internal arrangements.
Mrs. B. M. Headland, of Wellingborough-road, has been appointed supervisor, having previously been supervisor of the Market Harborough British Restaurant. She has been on half pay since February 1st.
Supply arrangements have been made as follows: Groceries, Messrs. Millers and the R.I.C.S.; green-groceries, Mr. A. E. Hill; liquid milk, Messrs. A. E. Abbott and Son; meat, R.I.C.S.
Prices of the courses have also been fixed soup (with bread) 2d., main dish 9d., sweet 3d., tea 1d. In accordance with Ministry of Food policy, children will pay the full rate.
Coun. Capon described the report as “tantalising.” “I need say no more,” he added, “except that we are still in the hands of the Ministry.”
Coun. Roe: I don’t suppose they can be hurried in any way, can they?
Coun. Capon: Our telephone has been nearly worn out!
Mr. Waring said he was glad that the bandsmen had again made public their genuine complaint about the irritating habit of children climbing almost on to the back of the bandsmen’s seats while they were playing at the Hall. Appeals to the public themselves to prevent the children doing this had been completely ignored, and the committee had long been considering what really effective method to adopt to stop this annoyance.
Then again, there was danger of disfigurement of the structure. It would be inexcusable if that beautiful bandstand, generously provided by Mr. John White as a cultural amenity, were to be damaged by young vandals who were incapable of appreciation of artistry, whether of music or architecture. However, the committee felt that some remedies might be worse than the trouble itself.
Mr. Waring added that when he saw Mr. White he asked if he had any suggestions, and Mr. White agreed that they could easily destroy the artistic effect of the bandstand and its setting if something not in harmony with it were to be erected near it. Mr. White said that Professor Richardson would be able to meet the Parks Sub-Committee and make recommendations which would be very welcome to the Council.
A BAD ROAD
Drawing attention to the condition of Newton-road, Coun. Allen asked if the Highways Committee had received complaints and if there was a possibility of the road being repaired. It was definitely dangerous, he said, to cyclists and pedestrians, and possibly to all traffic at night.
Mrs. Muxlow spoke in support, and the surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) replied that he had taken the matter up with the Ministry of Transport, whose engineer would make an inspection shortly.
Coun. Green: I daresay there are complaints all over the town about the footpaths at any rate, but we are doing the best we can.
Though there is now a special need for a maximum salvage of bones, the quantity collected in Rushden has declined. The W.V.S. have been asked to make a general canvass for salvage and to make a special appeal for bones when urging householders to search out accumulations of salvage material, particularly from lofts and attics.
Coun. Paragreen said the need for all forms of salvage continued. There was no room for complacency, and he urged all householders to keep on saving bones and place them separate from the ordinary household rubbish, ready for the collectors.
HOUSING AND LAND
A sum of £3,250 standing to the credit of the Housing Fund is available for investment, but in view of the prospective purchase of land for housing a decision on the investment has been deferred.
Coun. George assured Ald. Allebone that the Housing Committee would not think of purchasing land without the consent of the Council.
The Housing Committee are not making any provision for decorations during the coming year. During the last 12 months the maintenance cost has averaged 15s. per house.
Land has been inspected with a view to housing developments after the first post-war year, and the Ministry of Health have been asked whether they would agree to its purchase at an early date.
Disease cases during February included the following: Tuberculosis 5, scarlet fever 4, pneumonia 11, erysipelas 1, whooping cough 1, measles 36. There were seven births (5 males, 2 females) and 15 deaths (6 males, 9 females). Of those who died, 11 were aged 65 or over.
The cemetery chapel is to be redecorated internally.
In reply to Messrs. C. Thurston and Sons, who requested the use of a pitch in Spencer Park for a fair between April 28th and May 6th, the Parks Committee have declined the offer of £25, as it was not felt desirable to allow the use of the park for such a purpose more than once a year.
24th March, 1944
RUSHDEN RATES LEAP UP BY TENPENCE
The Council’s own increased requirement was due mainly to the increased bonuses and the reduction in income from crops and salvage. Salvage income would be down by about £300 and income from crops also by £300. The bonus increase would be about £650.
Wages, Mr. Allen pointed out, accounted for £11,173 nearly half of the Council’s net expenditure. Loan charges totalled £1,657, there being a total loan debt of £356,237, including £338,943 for housing. This worked out at £21 9s. 9d. per head of the population.
Noting that 9s. 5½d. out of the 12s. 10d. rate was taken by precepting authorities over whose expenditure the Council had no control, Mr. Allen claimed that the Council’s rates, in spite of the increase, were below the average. He pointed out that the rateable value of the town was now stationary, a rate of 1d. producing £345.
MONEY IN HAND
Announcing that it was not proposed to draw from the balance this time (a withdrawal of £500 was allowed for last year), Mr. Allen said the balance on March 31st last year was £6,329, and £133 had been added. A balance of £6,555 was now estimated for March, 1945. The actual bank balance had risen from £2,000 last March to £5,000, and the improvement was due to most of the war emergency grant claims having been paid. A tribute was due to the Chief Financial Officer (Mr. B. W. Williams) for having obtained payment of some long overdue grants from the Government.
Mr. Allen maintained that in view of the expenditure, pending grants, on A.R.P., N.F.S., evacuation, war damage repairs, fuel control and the British Restaurant, a balance of £6,500 was not to large. Since 1930-31, when the rate stood at 13s., the average had been about 12s.
MORE TO COME
“With a return to normal after the war,” he said, “there is likely to be an increase in the rates both for the U.D.C. and the County Council, for there will be large arrears of maintenance work to be made up, in addition to very necessary capital schemes.
“Public opinion appears to be ahead of Whitehall in demanding adequate housing, better health services, better educational facilities for the children, etc. These must be adequately financed from both taxes and rates, and the general public must not grumble if the cost of more efficient services is reflected in additional taxation and higher rates.
“There appears to be one contingency not budgeted for the contingency of some celebration when Nazi Germany is finally defeated. I am not in favour of raiding balances, but I am sure such a contingency would justify such a procedure.”
“CAN’T BE HELPED”
Ald. Allebone, in seconding, congratulated Mr. Allen on presenting a concise Budget without any sugar on the pill. They were all sorry, he said, that it was necessary for the rate to be increased, but to-day everything was going up, and it could not be helped. Wages were the primary factor, but they were only keeping in line with other sections of industry.
All the committees had made more or less generous estimates for the coming year. They were asking for £2,337 more than their actual expenditure during the last year and were still including an item which allowed for full public lighting.
“Although we didn’t spend it last year, we all hope we shall have to spend it in the coming year,” said Mr. Allebone.
Claiming that the balance estimated for was only reasonable, he added: “I could give a list of things the town needs which would swallow all that up in the first year.”
“SHOCK TO TOWN”
Coun. Roe said it would be a shock to the ratepayers to find there was an extra 10d. on the rates. It was rather alarming to find that, although twelve months ago all the committees were satisfied that they had estimated to cover their expenses, with one exception all had overspent.
The increased bonuses were taken into account twelve months ago, and it was no use putting it all down to unavoidable overspending.
“There is a large number of people in the town whose incomes have not increased, and to them it is a serious matter. People in the staple trade, or those who have been de-rated, can stand it all right, but there are others of us who have to pay full rates.”
Mr. Roe then confessed that it was almost impossible to see where they could make any reduction in the estimates. He was therefore bound to support the proposal, he said, but he hoped the committees would now keep within their estimates.
Coun. Capon said they ought to congratulate themselves on the financial status of the town. They owned 797 houses on which the “mortgage” averaged only £425, this including road charges, water and sewerage. It was really remarkable that the ordinary loan debt was only £17,000, and when he looked at the parks and other attractions he thought there were few local authorities in a better position. They were exceptionally well served by their two chief officers.
Coun. Sugars said he thought the ratepayers would be quite satisfied so long as they were receiving value for what they had to pay.
The Chairman (Coun. Weale) said he had visited various committees and felt certain each one had been most careful in its spending from an economic point of view. The increase in the Council’s own demand was one that they could not have avoided.
The report was adopted unanimously, and the rate will be levied in two instalments of 6s. 5d. each.
Members in attendance were Couns. A. F. Weale, J.P. (Chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.A., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars, and J. T. Richardson, J.P.