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The Rushden Echo, 13th/27th January 1899, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
“A Lock-Up For The Councillors”

Mr. John Claridge presided at the meeting on Wednesday evening, when there were also present:- Messrs. F. Knight (vice-chairman), G. Denton, H. Brawne, J. Spencer, B. Mortimer, W. H. Wilkins, P. Cave, G. Miller, G. Fountain, G. H. Skinner, T. Swindall, G. S. Mason (Clerk), C. R. Owen (Medical Officer), and W. B. Madin (Surveyor).

In Committee

The following committee minutes were read and adopted:-

A Plan. – Was presented by Mr. H. R. Thompson for butcher’s shop on the Kimbolton-road (near Higham Ferrers) and referred to the County Surveyor with regard to the width of the road at the point of the proposed building.

Water Supply. – The Clerk reported further communication with Mr. Parker with regard to Mrs. Harris’s claim for compensation, and the matter was left in the hands of the Clerk to conclude negotiations.

Robinson-road. – The Plans sub-committee reported in favour of making this road from Cromwell-road to the end of the buildings of the north side of the road. It was, however, resolved that the owners be served with notice of the Council’s intention to proceed to perform certain works in the whole road under the Private Street Works Act but not to make good the road by performing all the works enumerated in the Act and consequently not to take over the road as a public highway.

Church-lane (Mr. Ward’s). The Sub-committee reported that as the result of negotiations with Mr. Ward he had agreed to set back the lower portion of his present shop 2 feet 6inches and give up the ground to widen the footpath on payment to him by the Council of £25 towards the expenses incurred in setting back. He would also dedicate the land given up where he had already set back his new shops as far as Mr. Knight’s slaughter-house. The matter was referred to the sub-committee to see Mr. Ward again and endeavour to arrange for the whole building to be set back, in which case the sub-committee were authorised to offer £40 towards the cost.

Occasional Court-house. – The clerk to the Justices of the Wellingborough petty session division wrote stating that the application of the Council for the appointment of an occasional court-house at the Vestry-hall had been considered by them, and he was requested to convey to the Council that the conclusion arrived at was that they could see no advantage in such appointment before the cells and police-station were built, when no doubt an appointment of an occasional court-house would be made.

Scarlet Fever

Dr. Owen reported three cases of scarlet fever – one in Church-street, one in Drawbridge’s yard, and one in Queen-street. The general health of the town was very good.


A general district rate of 2s in the £, making 4s for the year, was made.

“A Lock-Up for The Council”

A letter was received from Mr. Markham (clerk of the Standing Joint Committee) regarding the request of the Council for provision to be made in Rushden for an occasional court-house. The Standing Joint Committee he said could not see that any advantage could accrue from complying with the request of the Council. He trusted that the Local Government Board would soon enable them to proceed with “the erection of a lock-up for your authority.”

Amid laughter, several members asked if the last sentence meant that the Councillors were to be locked-up.

Councillors and Gas Directors

Mr. C. H. Markham wrote with regard to the request of the Urban Council to the County Council that Urban Councillors who were directors of the Gas Company might be allowed to vote when the matter of purchase of the gas works came before the local authority, Mr. Markham stated that the committee of the County Council would meet on Saturday and invited the Urban Council to send representatives to that meeting.

The Chairman and Mr. Wilkins were delegated to attend the meeting.

Lost To The Rates

A number of irrecoverable arrears on the old rates, amounting to about £34, were written off.

The Building Bye-Laws in Rushden

Alleged Wholesale Infringements

At a committee meeting of the Rushden Urban Council the Surveyor reported an infringement of the building bye-laws by Mr. A. Franklin in erecting wooden buildings at the rear of his cottages in Portland-road, and the Clerk was instructed to summon Mr. Franklin to attend a meeting of the Council and show cause why the buildings in question should not be pulled down.

Mr. Franklin accordingly attended the meeting of the Council last Wednesday, Mr. J. Claridge presiding.

It appeared the wooden buildings in question were for storing coal, &c.

Mr. Franklin said that if he put them 10ft from the present buildings he supposed the Council could not hinder him. Two of the wooden buildings were close to the houses and the others were 4ft away.

The Clerk (Mr. Mason) said they must be 15ft from the back of a domestic building.

Mr. Franklin: I suppose I could put an aviary there and nobody would interfere.

The Clerk said the aviary might interfere with the air space.

Mr. Franklin said that all over Rushden they would find most unsightly places put up, places which were

A Disgrace To Any Town

and, when the Council allowed these, he did not think they ought object to buildings like his. If they forced him to pull them down they would be hurting the tenants, not him. He put the buildings up in the interests of his tenants, not his own. They would find in Rushden something a thousand times worse than his buildings. If the Council had not just lately allowed worse things he would not have minded so much. Within the last six months stables had been put up next to the domestic offices, and horses were kept in the stables.

The Chairman: No plans have been passed.

Mr. Franklin: No plans were passed. They were simply put up and horses put in them. If it is right I should pull my buildings down I shall do so, but I think it is hard when there are so many who have contravened the bye-laws. This is such a little thing – not worth noticing.

Mr. Spencer: I suppose your contention is that other people are doing it.

Mr. Franklin: Yes, every day. All round Rushden you will see hundreds of them.

The Chairman: Not this sort.

Mr. Franklin: Ten times worse. In Queen-street, for instance, there are scores of hens kept. They are

A Great Nuisance

and you can smell them a long distance away, but nothing is said about them.

Reference having been made to the bye-laws, Mr. Franklin said: If I couldn’t have better bye-laws than these I wouldn’t have any. The man that made these bye-laws ought to go out for a time.

Mr. Denton said that no bye-laws would allow Mr. Franklin’s wooden buildings to remain.

Mr. Franklin then withdrew.

Mr. Wilkins proposed that Mr. Franklin be instructed to remove the buildings within a month, with intimation that the Council would demolish them if he did not.

Mr. Miller said he had always thought the bye-laws were

A Little Too Strict

in that respect. He thought more that one member of the Council had infringed the bye-laws with regard to wooden buildings. There ought to be some modification of the bye-law.

The Clerk: You have got all the modification you can get from the Local Government Board. You can put up a wooden building if you put it far enough away from the other buildings.

Mr. Spencer thought they ought to take steps, or there would be a big increase of wooden buildings. Personally he was opposed to a wooden town.

Mr. Denton thought it was clearly the duty of the Council to act in the present case. This was part of a new building and therefore came directly under the notice of the surveyor.

Mr. Wilkins’s motion was carried.

On the proposition of Mr. Knight it was resolved, in regard to a similar infringement by Mr. Crook, to call upon him to attend before the Council.

27th January 1899

Mr. John Claridge presided at the meeting on Wednesday evening, when there were also present:- Messrs. F. Knight (vice-chairman), G. Denton, W. H. Wilkins, G. H. Skinner, B. Mortimer, T. Swindall, J. Spencer, P. Cave, and G. Fountain, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. J. B. Martin).

Committee Work

The following committee minutes were read:

Plans. – For new buildings were presented by the working Men’s Club, Griffith-street, for additional staircase to concert room. And approved subject to the width being increased to 3ft 3in between the strings: Mr. F. Casswell for workshop at rear of house occupied by him in Wellingborough-road, and rejected as not complying with the bye-laws as to partially-exempted buildings: Mr. B. Dickens for stable at rear of house in Wellingborough-road, and Mr. Horrell, Fitzwilliam-street, for engine-house to factory in Fitzwilliam-street, but in each of these cases the Surveyor reported the buildings had been completed before the plans were deposited, though a plan had been sent to him with regard to the stable, not in accordance with, and unaccompanied by, the building notice required by the bye-laws. It was resolved that the Clerk be instructed to institute proceedings against Mr. B. Dickens and Mr. C. Horrell for offences against the bye-laws – proceeding to build without giving the required notices. – The Surveyor reported the erection of a building by Mr. B. Dickens at the rear of a house owned by him in Glassbrook-road, contravening the bye-laws as to air space. – It was resolved that Mr. Dickens be required to attend the next meeting of the Council and show cause why such building should not be removed.

High-street. – A letter was received from Mr. G. Willmott and other occupiers of shops in Lion-terrace, calling attention to the difficulty of approach from the road, and asking that steps might be erected on to the pavement. The matter was referred to a sub-committee consisting of the Chairman and Mr. Brawne, with power to act. The same sub-committee were requested to give their attention to the crossings to Messrs. Cave’s factory and the Restaurant, and to instruct the Surveyor thereon.

Church Lane Improvement. – The sub-committee reported that they had again seen Mr. Ward on the subject of this proposed improvement. Mr. Ward required £50 towards the cost if he set back the whole building as suggested by the Council. The sub-committee did not recommend the payment of this sum. It was resolved that, if Mr. Ward did not accept £40 and set wholly back, the previous proposal to set back the lower portion of the building be accepted and the Council pay £25 towards the cost.

Oak Pits. – It was resolved that notice be given to Mr. E. Thompson to terminate his tenancy of Oak Pits on March 25th 1900.

The W.M.C. Staircase

The Chairman stated that it was not possible to erect a 3 feet 3 inch staircase at the W.M.C. as suggested by the committee.

The Council resolved to sanction a 3ft staircase.

The General District Rate

The seal of the Council was affixed to the General District Rate at 2s in the £.

The Clerk said the value on which the rate was calculated was £29,705 5s 6d. and the amount estimated to be received was £2390 14s 2d. He expected, however, that the last rate and the present one would produce from £250 to £300 more than was anticipated.

Harborough Road

A letter was received from Messrs. B. Mortimer, T. Spavins, C. Bull, J. W. Drage, W. E. Berry, and John Underwood, objecting to the specifications for the making up of Harborough-road.

Mr. Mortimer said the owners did not consider that it was necessary that the present road bottom should be taken out.

Mr. Skinner said he had been told that it would be a great mistake to take out the bottom as it was very good.

Mr. Wilkins said he had been up the road during the week and anything more horrible for people to have to pass up and down on it would be difficult to imagine.

Mr. Mortimer said there was 15 inches of good solid stone on the bottom of the road.

Mr. Knight thought it was a matter of principle. The Council had compelled others to use slag for a foundation, and he thought all should be treated alike.

Mr. Wilkins took it that the Council would not dispute the matter with the owners. They would simply let it pass and withdraw their notice and specifications. The owners would then have to repair the road themselves. When he saw the road he found it difficult to believe that there was any foundation in it at all.

Mr. Denton thought it was the duty of the Council to withdraw their notice and call upon the owners to do what was required from time to time.

Mr. Wilkins moved that the notice be withdrawn.

Mr. Denton seconded the motion, which was carried.

Explanations and Apologies

Mr. C. Horrell wrote with regard to the infringement of the bye-laws referred to in the committee’s report, and asked the Council to accept an apology.

On the motion of Mr. Wilkins, it was decided to accept the apology if the building is in accordance with the bye-laws.

With regard to the stable erected by Mr. Dickens, in Wellingborough-road, Mr. Wilkins moved that he be asked to remove it, if it was not in accordance with the bye-laws.

Mr. Knight seconded the motion, which was carried.

The Chairman said Mr. Dickens had made some disparaging remarks about the Surveyor.

Mr. Swindall thought he should be asked to apologise.

Mr. Wilkins: And he should be asked where he got the water from for the building he had put up.

It was resolved to call upon Mr. Dickens to apologise to the Surveyor and to explain where he got the water from.

The Council further decided to call upon the Rev. J. Crook to remove within a month a wooden building he had erected in contravention of the bye-laws.

The Gas Company’s Bill

The Chairman asked when the Council should meet to consider the reports of the joint committee of that Council and the Higham Town Council with regard to the Gas Company’s Bill.

The Clerk said it was suggested by the Mayor of Higham (Mr. Parker) that Wednesday next would be a suitable night.

The Council resolved to meet as suggested.

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