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Rushden Echo & Argus, 14th July, 1933, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

Dr. Greenfield and a Population Problem
Over-Building Danger If Town Declines

  Rushden has for many years laid its plans on the basis of an increasing population, but the Urban District Council, at its meeting on Wednesday, thought well to discuss the possibility that a declining birth-rate will one day turn the scales and create a surplus of houses.

  Dr. Greenfield introduced this fascinating problem, but other members, while agreeing that investigations should be carried out, pinned their faith to Rushden’s industrial strength, Ald. Horrell adding the important evidence that Rushden employs 1,500 people who live outside the town.

  Satisfactory annual reports were presented by Dr. Muriset, M.O.H., and Mr. F. S. F. Piper, Sanitary Inspector, and in the regretted absence through illness of Mr. G. S. Mason the Council appointed Mr. W. L. Beetenson to serve as Acting Clerk.

Members Present

  The members attending were Messrs. John Spencer, J.P. (in the chair), C. W. Horrell, C.A. (Vice-Chairman), W. C. Tarry, T. F. B. Newberry, J. Roe, A. Allebone, C.C., F. Green, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, L. Tysoe, L. Perkins, M.B.E., T. Swindall, A. Wilmott, G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Hornsby, J. T. Richardson, and Dr. D. G. Greenfield.

Acting Clerk

  The Council met in committee for a few minutes before the ordinary business began, and the Chairman then announced that they had carried unanimously a resolution appointing the Assistant Clerk, Mr. W. L. Beetenson, to be Acting Clerk during the illness of Mr. George S. Mason.

  “We all regret that our Clerk is ill,” added Mr. Spencer.  “We are exceedingly sorry.”

Building Plans

  Plans were accepted of a house in Court Avenue for Mr. F. Simms; bungalow in Newton-road, Court Estate, Mr. H. Osborne; two houses, Fern-road, Mrs. M. M. Drabble; store and offices, Queen-street, Mr. W. Battersby; store at rear of 7, York-road, Mr. F. Sumpter; new shop window, 100, High-street, Mr. Wm. Wright; garage, Irchester-road (wooden building), Messrs. Radburne and Bennett, Ltd.; box shed, Birchall-road, Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society.

Fire Provision

  A certificate that their factory in Irchester-road was provided with proper means of escape in case of fire was issued to Messrs. Strong and Fisher.

The Triangle

  The question of the Washbrook-road Triangle was again before the Highways Committee.  Various suggestions were considered, but the Committee were unable to recommend any alteration.

  The Surveyor was, however, instructed to erect a “Cross Here” sign at the point near the Roman Catholic Church.

  Mr. Swindall was assured that the new sign would be placed near the Hayway, well away from the Triangle.

  “When that is done,” said Mr. Perkins, “I still think that ultimately you will have to do something more, and I hope members of the committee will keep their eye on the matter and see if anything can be done to make it safe for older people and children.”

  Mr. Richardson asked if any complaints had been received from the police.

  The Chairman: I have had no conversation with the police.

  Mr. Tysoe suggested either reducing the “island” or making the pavement two or three times as wide.

  The Chairman: I think the committee will keep an eye on that matter.

Other Dangers

  The Committee considered the question of the danger at the “Oakley” cross roads, and the Surveyor was instructed to take the matter up with the County Surveyor.

  Complaints were received of the danger occasioned near Messrs. Ginns’ blacksmith’s shop owing to the long stay of buses there.  The Clerk was instructed to interview the Police on the matter.

  The Lighting sub-Committee were requested to consider what, if any, alteration was necessary in the position of the lamp recently demolished at the bottom of Griffith-street.

Radio Relay Services

  The Committee again had this matter under consideration and received a further application from Mr. W. A. Fathers for permission to operate a service in Rushden.  A sub-Committee consisting of Messrs. Wilmott, Allebone, Coles, and Green was appointed to interview Mr. Fathers and the wireless dealers of the town, and report to a future meeting.

Milk and Dairies

  The Inspector reported that under the County Council Clean Milk Production Scheme, six samples of milk had been taken from purveyors in the district and submitted for bacteriological examination.  The results were now submitted and, for the most part, considered satisfactory.  The Inspector was, however, instructed to interview one of the purveyors concerned and inform him that the Committee would expect a much better result at the next examination.

Cows Destroyed

  The Veterinary Inspector reported that on his quarterly inspection he visited 18 premises and inspected 179 cows.  Two cows suspected of tuberculosis had been reported under the Tuberculosis Order, 1925, the disease was confirmed, and the animals had been destroyed.  The remaining cows were clinically normal and the majority in good condition.

Damage by Rats

  The Inspector reported that following a complaint of damage caused by rats at the Bedford-road allotments, he had employed the usual rat catchers and believed the nuisance was now obviated.

  The Chairman said he had had a letter congratulating them on the quick way they had dealt with the complaint, and congratulating Mr. Piper on doing the job well.

Land for Burials

  The Cemetery sub-Committee reported that they had considered the question of the lay-out of further land for burial purposes.  They suggested the utilisation of part of the land for adults, at present reserved for children.  The spaces at present laid out would then be sufficient for approximately eight years, and if that course were adopted there would be no need to disturb the holders of the Cemetery allotments for at least five years.

  Mr. Tysoe said the committee had gone into this matter to allay any feelings of doubt on the part of the allotment holders.  He added: “There is not so many children die as there used to be, we are very grateful to say, and we are going to use some of the land for adults.”

Cemetery Report

  The Cemetery Registrar submitted his half-yearly report, from which it appeared there had been 89 interments – ten children and 79 adults.  Forty-three grave spaces had been purchased, nine reserved for a first period of 14 years and one for a second period of 14 years.  The fees totalled £172  4s.  6d. and none was outstanding.

Holiday Post

  A letter was received from the Acting Head Postmaster at Wellingborough stating that an application had been made by the postmen at Rushden for the suspension of the second delivery at 11.30 a.m., on the day following Bank holidays, in addition to the third delivery at 3 p.m., which has been suspended on that day for some considerable time.

  The Council raised no objection.

Depleted Committee

  A letter from the County Council asked the Council to suggest the name of a gentleman willing to serve on the Rushden Old Age Pensions sub-Committee to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Fred Knight.

  When Mr. Roe asked who were the members of the committee, the Acting Clerk replied that he believed the places left vacant by the late Mr. George Miller and Mr. T. Wilmott had never been filled.  In recent years the committee had met very seldom – sometimes only once in two or three months – and only a few had attended.

  Mr. Roe moved that the matter be left over until next month “so that we can see who the members are.”  This was agreed to.

Useful Conference

  The Chairman mentioned that with Mr. Roe and the Acting Clerk he had attended the meetings of the Urban District Councils Association at Ilfracombe.  He thought it was a very good conference, and very useful to Urban Councils.  The delegates were getting out a report and wished to know if it should be printed and circulated.    Mr. Coles proposed that this be done.    Mr. Horrell, however, suggested that it would be less expensive to get copies of the minutes of the conference.  “I should be perfectly satisfied if the representatives gave their reports verbally,” he said.

  Mr. Wilmott seconded this, and the delegates promised to prepare verbal reports.

  Mr. Roe said he came away from the conference feeling that it would be very helpful to the Council to be represented at all these Urban Council conferences.

Rushden’s Health

  Dr. O. A. J. N. Muriset presented his annual report as Medical Officer of Health, and in sketching over the printed report, referred to the fact that the Registrar General had estimated the population at the middle of 1932 at 14,240, although in 1931 the census figures were 14,247, and the estimated population in the middle of that year was 14,280.  “I cannot believe it is correct that we have dropped about 40,” the doctor said, “but this figure of 14,240 is the figure on which the report is based.  I think the figure of 14,300 would be nearer the mark.”

  “I think it can be said,” added Dr. Muriset, “that the health of the town for 1932 was pretty good.”

  Mr. Coles noted the increase in diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and said he would like to know whether the increase was due to the rapid rate at which people lived and worked today.  One might imagine that was so, he added.

Population Problem

  Dr. Greenfield opened an interesting discussion on the possibility of a population decline.

  “So far,” he said, “when we have discussed the population it has been treated sometimes rather with levity, but I do think it is a serious thing to consider from the actuarial point of view, what the population is likely to be in say 20 years’ time.  Seeing the enormous amount of property we hold, and the number of houses we are building, it is by no means wise to assume that the population will remain stationary.

  “Some of the educational authorities are considerably worried over this problem, and I do think the Council ought to take it into consideration as part of their housing policy, and get some form of forecast so that in 20 years’ time we shall not be over-building.

  “As far as I can make out at the moment the actuaries have not gone into the subject at all.  I think it is a thing we ought to inquire into at some early opportunity, having regard to the present death rate and birth rate.”

  Mr. Perkins: I think there is more in it than the birth rate and death rate; the real test will be the amount of labour in the town – whether people will give up the habit of wearing shoes and buying them frequently.

  “I should like to assure those interested in building houses,” continued Mr. Perkins, “that there is little fear of over-building.  If they will stand at the bottom of Higham-road at a quarter-past five they will see hundreds of people leaving the town.

  “I do not think there is any fear for several years to come.  So long as we have hundreds and hundreds of applications for houses I don’t think we need be afraid for ten or twenty years hence, and by that time the houses we have built now will be pretty well paid for.  The houses we have now on our estates are quite good.  No one need be ashamed to come to live in the Council houses now put up.”

  Dr. Greenfield: I don’t suggest for a moment that we should give up the housing scheme.

  Mr. Perkins: It is quite an interesting point.  May I suggest that one of our sub-committees should try to find out from the factories the number of people employed in the town who live elsewhere?  The Manufacturers’ Association might help us.

  Mr. Horrell: I don’t think there will be any difficulty about that; I think it is true to say that about 1,500 come into the town at the present time.

  Mr. Hornsby: Have we any idea how many go out to work?

  The Chairman said he could confirm what Mr. Perkins had said as the result of watching traffic in the Wellingborough-road.

  Mr. Tysoe drew attention to the people who lived in Rushden and could not get work.  “That will have to be taken into account,” he said.  “To see them sign-on in the mornings is a grievous thing.”

Inspector’s Report

  Mr. Swindall proposed a vote of thanks to the doctor and said he was pleased to see that cancer was on the decline, and that the preventable diseases as a whole were declining.  That spoke well for the doctor and Sanitary Inspector, and for the Sanitary Committee. Dr. Greenfield seconded.  “It is a very valuable report to have before the Council,” he said.

  Mr. F. S. F. Piper then submitted his report as Sanitary Inspector, and his only verbal comment was with regard to the steam disinfector.  “Had we not installed it,” he said, “We should have paid about £114 in compensation.  The machine has now about paid for itself.”

  On the proposition of Mr. Wilmott the Inspector was thanked for his report.

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