|The Rushden Echo, 11th July, 1919, transcribed by Gill and Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
The Meat Question
Central Slaughtering Adhered to
Inconsistent Attitude by the Butchers
Wages of Council’s Staff and Employees
Wednesday, present Messrs. F. Knight, J.P. (chairman), J. Claridge, J.P., C.C. (vice-chairman), W. Bazeley, J.P., C. Bates, J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, T. Swindall, L. Perkins, B.Sc., C. W. Horrell, J. Tomlin, T. Wilmott, and C. E. Bayes, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), and the Acting Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd).
Butchers’ Attitude Criticised
The Clerk read correspondence replying to the Council’s request that slaughtering be done in Rushden instead of at Wellingborough. Mr. W. R. Smith, M.P., wrote enclosing a letter he had received from the Food Controller. Mr. Smith said it appeared that the butchers were the obstacle to the Council’s request and that it was difficult for him to do much in the matter. The Food Controller’s letter to Mr. Smith stated that the Wellingborough and Rushden Butchers had met on June 11th and had decided that livestock should be allocated to the buyers to be slaughtered in their respective slaughter-houses. A few days later the same committee met and agreed that in view of the small allocation of English meat, it would be in the interests of all that the existing method of distribution should continue for the time being. At that meeting seven Rushden butchers were present. Of that number three voted as at the previous meeting and four for central slaughtering. A letter from the Livestock Commissioner, dated July 3rd, stated that he had given instructions that livestock be issued to Rushden and other butchers who drew from the Wellingborough Market, but a letter to him from Mr. Pendered, of Wellingborough, stated that the Wellingborough District Distributive Meat Association had since met and had decided almost unanimously that the present system of distribution should be continued, the only dissentients being the Rushden Co-operative Society. The Commissioner was instructing Mr. Pendered to allocate livestock to the Rushden Co-operative Society on and after July 9th. The Commissioner enclosed a copy of Mr. Pendered’s letter which corroborated his statements, and added that the butchers stated there was less meat lost by central slaughtering than by local killing. Stock was slaughtered and distributed next day, the out-lying districts being served first. Butchers had argued that the meat kept better that way than if the animals were driven many miles in the heat of the day and then slaughtered. By centralisation, inspection by the Public Health Officer was easier. It appeared to Mr. Pendered that the Councils who had written to the Livestock Commissioner might be under the misapprehension that if the meat was distributed alive there would be no necessity for frozen meat. A further letter from the Livestock Commissioner, dated July 4th, suggested that if the Committees wished to take the matter any further they should arrange a meeting of Wellingborough and Rushden butchers and representatives of the various Councils and Food Control Committees.
Mr. Bazeley: Those letters give a different version from what I have heard. This Council and other local authorities asked that each area should slaughter locally. At the meeting of butchers at Wellingborough, I understand that instructions had been received by Mr. Pendered from the Livestock Commissioner to allocate livestock to the various areas. The Butchers’ Association were asked to set up committees to make the necessary arrangements. Each district met separately and Rushden butchers amicably and unanimously arranged in a few minutes for slaughtering in the town. Subsequently Rushden butchers heard that the other districts were going to adhere to the old arrangements. They therefore altered their decision to coincide with that of the remaining districts, the Rushden Co-op Society being against the altered decision. I also understand that the Livestock Commissioner has since written to the Rushden Co-operative Society stating that in view of the almost unanimous decision of the Association to adhere to the old arrangements, he had decided to cancel his instructions regarding the allocation of beast to the various districts, but that if the Co-op. Society wished to take their share alive he would instruct Mr. Pendered to allocate it to them, but the Co-op Society would be placed at considerable disadvantage in regard to the supply of mutton.
Mr. Spencer was surprised at the outcome of the efforts made to effect local slaughtering. Mr. Wigginton had told him the Co-op Society would be compelled to continue with the old system since they could get beef but would have difficulty in getting mutton.
Mr. Swindall thought there ought to have been a Rushden butcher present to speak on behalf of the butchers. The whole of the Rushden butchers had been in favour of local slaughtering, and Wellingborough and other parts of the area were not. Rushden butchers, to make the decision unanimous, offered to do as the other butchers did. That was why Rushden butchers, with the exception of the Co-op Society, gave way. He thought Rushden butchers had done quite right.
The Chairman said that as all the local authorities in the district had asked for local slaughtering, it was a case of the few over-ruling the many.
Mr. Hornsby: The public have to stand aside because the butchers must have their own way. Personally I am very disappointed.
Mr. Horrell: There is the satisfaction of knowing that the meat is properly inspected before it is sent out of the central slaughter-house. Perhaps it would not be done so effectively under the system of local slaughtering.
Mr. Bazeley: Bringing meat five or six miles on a hot day does not improve it.
The Chairman was afraid the Council could do nothing further in the matter.
The Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee presented plans for:-
Factory extension and new offices, in Rectory-road, for the Co-operative Wholesale Society, and passed subject to the thickness of the walls being made to comply with Bye-law 23.
A sanitary convenience at the rear of the Trade Union Club, Higham Road, for the Club, and passed.
New engine house at the rear of their factory on the Irchester-road, for Messrs. Radburne and Bennett, Ltd., and passed.
A store shed and covered way adjoining their factory in Spencer-road for Messrs. Sanders and Sanders, and no exception taken.
House and shop at the corner of High-street and Church-street for Messrs. Campbell Praed and Co., Ltd., and passed.
Steam Tipping Wagon
The Surveyor reported that he visited the Government’s Depot at Richborough on Monday last and met the representative of the Road Board there and inspected the disused War Equipment. The Petrol Tipping Wagon of the Peirce Arrow type was very strongly recommended, and he, the Surveyor, was much struck with it. This type of wagon had been much used in connection with road construction in France, and on his return to Rushden, after consultation with the Chairman, he had wired to the Officer in charge at the Depot to retain one of these wagons for the Council. The vehicle in question had not been much used, and the purchase price would be 55 per cent. of the cost price, and would amount to about £550.
The action of the Surveyor and Chairman was approved, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to purchase the wagon on the Government’s terms.
The Surveyor also reported that the Officer had promised to select and forward one of the best water carts at the depot. The price of this would also be 55 per cent of the cost.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to make the purchase on the terms stated.
The Surveyor stated that in reply to his inquiries as to a Tar Boiler he was informed that they had all been disposed of.
Horses, Carts, and Harness
The Sub-committee reported that they had ordered two sets of harness from Mr. W. Webb at £18 per set, and two carts from Messrs. Wadsworth Bros., at £?5 5s. each.
The Committee approved the action of the Sub-Committee, and recommended the Committee to confirm the purchase.
Kimbolton Road Guide Post
It was resolved to erect a new oak Guide Post near the Grange Farm at a cost of £4.
A communication was received from the Fire Brigade with regard to an alteration in the Sale of Charges for attendance at fires and suggesting the adoption of the scale put forward by the National Fire Brigades Union. The Brigade also asked for a retaining fee of £2 each per annum.
It was explained that the neighbouring Authorities all had under consideration the question of adopting the scale of charges referred to and the Committee thought it desirable to fall into line with the rest of the district and to await the decision of other Councils before definitely deciding upon a scale. In the meantime, however, they agreed to increase the scale of charges for attendance of the men at fires from 2s. to 3s. for the first hour, and from 1s. to 2s. for each subsequent hour.
Post Office Telegraphs
Permission was given to the Post Office Authorities to erect an overhead line from the bottom of Wymington-road to the parish boundary with Wymington.
The report was adopted.
The Health and Sanitary Committee reported that:-
The report of the Medical Officer for the month of June was received.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that during the past month he had served 23 preliminary Notices calling attention to nuisances, etc., all of which were receiving attention.
One lot of infected bedding had been destroyed owing to a case of consumption having proved fatal, and the room cleansed. It was resolved to replace part of the bedding destroyed at a cost not exceeding £1 7s. 6d.
A quantity of unsound tins of fish, fruit, etc., which had been surrendered as unfit for human consumption, had been destroyed in the usual way.
A book belonging to the Public Library found in an infected house had also been destroyed. It was resolved to recommend the Council to replace the book.
The Inspector also reported that Mr. E. Warren had been slaughtering and dressing pigs at the rear of his premises in Pratt-road, such premises not being licensed for slaughtering. The Clerk was instructed to inform Mr. Warren that the practice must be discontinued.
The Inspection of all the Cowsheds in the district had been completed. In a few cases it was found necessary to give notices for the periodical limewashing of same and for the removal of accumulations of manure, which were being carried out.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work since the last meeting.
Dairies, Cowsheds & Milkshops Order
The quarterly report of the Veterinary Inspector was received, from which it appeared that on the 9th, 10th, and 14th of June last he visited 32 premises and inspected 224 cows and heifers, making special examination of their udders and throats. The Sanitary Inspector was instructed to see the owner of one of the cows mentioned therein.
The Surveyor reported that a caretaker had been appointed for the Hospital, and would reside on the premises rent free.
The report was adopted.
Staff’s and Employees’ Wages
The Clerk read a letter from the employees of the Council asking for an increase of 7s. a week, and time-and-a-quarter for overtime, which, they stated, would bring them nearer into line with Kettering employees.
The Chairman moved that the letter be referred to the Finance Committee.
Mr. Swindall seconded.
Mr. Bazeley thought the matter was urgent, and moved as an amendment that the whole Council deal with the matter in Committee that evening.
Mr. Spencer seconded.
Lieut. Perkins hoped the salaries of the officials, which had not been touched during the war, would be considered even before the present application.
Mr. Knight: We are considering that in Committee.
By six votes to five it was agreed to leave the employees’ application to the Finance Committee to deal with.
Council to Attend Peace Service
The Clerk read a letter from the Rector (Rev. P. E. Robson) inviting the Council and officials to attend a united open-air service of thanksgiving for Peace which was to be held in Spencer Park on July 20th.
On the proposition of Mr. Claridge, seconded by Mr. Spencer, it was unanimously resolved to accept the invitation.
Public Enquiry at Rushden
A public enquiry was conducted by Major J. Steward, a Local Government Board Inspector, at the Council Chambers on Tuesday afternoon relative to the raising of a loan of £1,250 for the purpose of providing an electrically-propelled dust and refuse collector. There were present Mr. Fred Knight, J.P. (chairman of the Rushden Urban Council), Mr. J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., and Mr. T. Wilmott, with Mr. W. L. Beetenson, acting clerk, and Mr. J. W. Lloyd, assistant surveyor.
The Clerk read figures from which it was shown that the estimated saving to the town by adopting the new system of collecting would be £200 a year.
Mr. Knight: Not only would the suggested vehicle mean a saving to the town, but the system is much more satisfactory for everybody concerned.
Mr. Claridge: It would be much cleaner and consequently a great deal healthier.
Major Steward said he agreed that the cleanliness of the suggested new system was undeniable.
No opposition to the loan was offered.
The Inspector was thanked on the proposition of Mr. Knight, seconded by Mr. Claridge.
Major Steward suitably replied.