|Rushden Echo and Argus, June/July 1944, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
16th June, 1944
British Restaurant Is Booming
Excellent and still increasing business at the British Restaurant was reported to Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday.
The Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) said the estimate given to the Ministry of Food last January was that 200 to 300 people were likely to use the restaurant. That was purely a guess, there being no data to work on.
On the opening day 193 main meals and full were served, the receipts being £11 4s. 5d. For the first week the daily average meals were 177 and £10 0s. 8d.; for the second week they were 219. On Tuesday the number of diners was 253 and the receipts were £14 7s. 10d.
The service had been accelerated since the opening day and was working smoothly in spite of the shortage of staff and the large number of people who had to be served in the first half-hour. The amount of waste had been exceedingly small.
Mr. Capon said he went out of town last week-end and stayed at an hotel where the quantity of food served for 5s. 6d. was not nearly so good as the British Restaurant was for 1s. 3d. The service was inferior, and so were the china and cutlery. The Council were pleased in the patronage they were receiving from the people of Rushden, and he saw no reason why they should not go from success to success.
Coun. Dilks said a fair number of workers from his place of business used the restaurant and had told him they were never going to have any more cold dinners while the British Restaurant was open.
“Everyone is satisfied,” said Mr. Sawford. “You have made an excellent start, and I see no reason why your numbers should not be 300 instead of 250.”
Coun. Weale asked the chairman of the Parks Committee if his attention had been called to the damage done in the spinneys at the Hall grounds and particularly alongside the brook. During the last months, he said, a tremendous amount of damage had been done. The spinneys were at one time a regular sanctuary for wild birds, but he questioned if to-day they could find one sparrow there.
Coun. Bailey said that serious damage was also being done to the crops in Jubilee Park and the Cemetery Field by boys and youths in their games as Commandos and paratroops, and in going on to their final objective, the school shelter, the youngsters had ripped out 13 ventilators. Damage had also been done to sandbags, etc., at the factory opposite.
Mr. Bailey said he had seen the headmaster of one of the schools in the area. He hoped it would be brought home to the youths and boys that while their fathers and brothers were doing their best for the country they themselves were doing everything they could to retard the war effort.
A promise was given that the Parks Committee would go into these complaints.
Minutes of the Highways Committee showed that attention was drawn to the condition of the footpath on the west side of High-street and High-street South due to breaking up for the laying of telephone lines, etc. The committee, not satisfied with the work of reinstatement, recommended that representations be made to the County Council (as agents for the Ministry of War Transport) and that the Post Office Engineering Department be informed.
Coun. Swindall said he thought the matter was being dealt with by the County Council, as workmen had been on the job during the day.
Coun. Richardson: May I ask how many accidents have been reported as due to these conditions? It would be interesting to know. The Chairman (Dr. Davies): I have not heard of any.
The committee’s report was confirmed.
Repair and widening of Newton-road for 2,000 yards near the district boundary was estimated to cost £4,782, and similar works in Avenue-road will cost £3,778. The scheme is in the hands of the county authorities, and the Council agreed to pay £500 towards the cost of the work in Newton-road.
It was also decided to notify the Electric Supply Co. and the Gas Co., inviting them to lay their mains while the work is in progress.
“We are told that we should pay as we earn,” said Coun. Richardson, “and this can be paid out of estimates.”
In reply to a letter from the Council concerning the group scheme for the advance preparation of housing sites, a Ministry of Health officer wrote that there was no need to fear that the cost would not be reasonable. He added that competitive tenders would be obtained and fair wages would be paid. The Council’s own Surveyor would help to supervise the work.
The same scheme was the subject of a critical letter from the Northampton Master Builders’ Association.
A new arrangement with the bands respecting the concerts at Rushden Hall was reported by the Parks Committee. It arises from the difficulties faced by the Mission, who, when unable to fulfil an engagement, will be required to give at least seven days’ notice to the other bands. When other bands cannot take over the Mission dates, the Mission Band may apply to the Council for permission to provide some other form of concert.
Coun. Bailey enquired whether some greater use might be made of the deck chairs. Several people, he said, thought these chairs might have been put out for the massed band concerts on Whit Monday.
The Surveyor has inspected the Government’s model steel house in London and will be giving his views on it to the Housing Committee which has also received a letter from the Northants and Peterborough Federation of Women’s Institutes, urging the provision in housing programmes of “cottage flats” for aged people.
There were building plans of a garden shed for Mr. A. Milnes, 16, Church Hall-road, and a canteen extension for Messrs. J. White, Ltd., Lime-street.
The M.O.H. (Dr. D. A. McCracken) reported that the following cases of disease were notified during May: Tuberculosis 3, pneumonia 8, scarlet fever 1, measles 3, whooping cough 20. Nine males and six females were born; seven males and five females, all aged 65 or over, died.
Health Committee minutes disclosed that the Clerk had written to Wing-Cdr. A. W. H. James, M.P., asking him to support a Parliamentary motion declining to give a second reading to the Food and Drugs (Milk and Dairies) Bill on the ground that it deprived local authorities of their responsibilities. The Bill deals with the supervision of conditions under which milk is produced at farms.
Coun. Bailey remarked that the members had probably read Tuesday’s Parliamentary debate on this Bill.
Salvage collected during May and sold for £90 9s., included 11 tons 17 cwt. paper, 16 cwt. bones and 4 tons 9 cwt. kitchen waste.
Members in attendance were Counc. Dr. R. W. Davies, J.P. (Chairman), H. Waring (Vice-chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, C.C., A. Allebone, J.P., C.A., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars, and J. T. Richardson, J.P.
14th July, 1944
Could British Restaurant Close Down?
Rushden’s British Restaurant was the main topic of interest at the usual monthly meeting of Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday, Dr. R. W. Davies, J.P., presiding. Coun. J. Roe wanted the War Emergency Committee to consider the question of providing teas for which, he said, there was a great need in the town. Later, opposition was voiced to the committee’s recommendation that the restaurant be closed for the whole of August Bank Holiday week for staff holidays and general clean-up.
Coun. W. E. Capon presented the War Emergency Committee’s report on the operations of the British Restaurant, which showed that the average numbers of main meals provided and the receipts, were as follows: First week, 177, £10; second week, 219, £12 7s. 10d.; third week 237, £13 8s. 6d.; fourth week, 224, £12 13s. 7d.
Having suggested that the committee consider the provision of teas, Mr. Capon said they were not licensed for teas, but they could be if necessary. Mr. Capon then reported on a meeting of the committee, and said they considered closing the restaurant for holidays of the staff and for general cleaning.
Coun. W. J. Sawford moved that people would need the restaurant just as much then as in other times. He said it would be possible to open from Wednesday with a skeleton staff.
Mrs. Muxlow supported on the grounds of the many evacuees now in the town.
Coun. Green, J.P., thought it would be no hardship with the restaurant shut with people not working.
Coun. Weale spoke in favour of closing it, to give the hard-worked staff a rest.
Mr. Roe said the restaurant was for the whole town and not just for factory workers and he liked the idea of keeping open for part of the week.
Mr. Capon promised that the committee would reconsider the recommendation.
Mr. Swindall, for the Parks Committee, reported that three boys had been caught playing among the ---------- in Jubilee Park, and another boy had been caught smashing windows at the lavatories. The committee were greatly concerned but were reluctant in the case of the boys in question to prosecute, and had instructed the Clerk to recover from the parents concerned the cost of repairs to broken windows, and the surveyor was instructed to ask the headmasters of the schools which the boys attended to warn them of more serious consequences in future.
Mr. Swindall having offered to provide a fountain of the steel pedestal type and the necessary pipes to be laid between the water main and the site chosen for the fountain, the committee accepted the offer with appreciation and they selected a position adjacent to the steps on the easterly side of the Hall. The surveyor was instructed to erect the fountain.
Coun. A. H. Bailey expressed concern at the continued annoyance and danger of damage to the bandstand by children climbing into the actual stand while bands were playing and Mr. Weale said he understood that the conductor of the military band playing at the “Salute” celebration had to stop the band and remonstrate with adults nearby for not controlling the children who were climbing in. The Council had been considering the trouble for three or four years and nothing seemed to happen. The only remedy was to prohibit children going inside the enclosure.
Couns. J. T. Richardson, J.P., and J. George spoke similarly and the chairman of the committee promised to bring the point up again.
On the book recovery drive, Coun. Bailey said he wished to compliment the children this time. There had been a total collected of 55.295. For the “Field Marshal’s” badge 43 children qualified and 62 for “Generals.”
The thanks of the Council were expressed to the scrutineers and all other workers.
The housing committee reported that the Clerk had informed them that the District Valuer was in negotiation for the acquisition of some ten acres of land adjoining Newton-road estate, belonging to Mr. John White, on the basis of an offer made by the latter to the Clerk, and it was hoped soon to acquire the land.
The Plans, Highways and Lighting Committee approved a suggestion of the Surveyor that restricted lighting on the same basis as last year should be resumed on Sunday, August 13th, coinciding with the end of double summer-time.
“Fox and Geese”
The Clerk reported that as a result of the upgrading of that area for the purpose of calculations of wages of manual staffs from B1 to B, Rushden Council would be required to pay an extra halfpenny an hour.
Mr. F. Green said that the change, if the Council approved, would not operate until next April. He, as one of the J.I.C. sub-committee, moved its adoption.
Mr. Weale wondered whether there would ever be any finality to the matter. It was a case of fox and geese. If the applicants failed to get their demands met one way they looked around the corner for another means. It was nothing more than a game!
The Council agreed to accept the upgrading.
In regard to Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Raunds District winning the county flag for the highest investments per head in the “Salute” week, the Council offered its especial thanks to Mr. John White (Chairman of the committee) and Mr. W. E. Capon (secretary) for their great work towards the success.
Cottage Hospital Equipment
Giving results of the February Campaign (for raising money for local charities) Mr. Capon said that from the £1,504 raised, £755 would go to the Red Cross, £400 to the Rushden Cottage Hospital and the balance to the British Legion. As promised Mr. W. C. Tarry had doubled the sum of £400 to the hospital and the £800 now stood to the credit of the equipment account. Orders had been placed for equipment to the value of £530.
Mr. Cox said that the Northampton General Hospital had secured the permits from the Board of Trade for the radio-therapy equipment needed and it might even now be ready for delivery.
The Clerk reported on the arrivals of the “670 odd” evacuees into Rushden this week and said the ratio was roughly two children to one mother, though there were up to five to one. A very large number were babies in arms. He had had no information of the composition previous to their arrival and it had been very difficult to get billets for them. He wished to thank all the voluntary workers but especially the school teachers for the wonderful way they had helped.
Mr. Capon spoke of compliments he had heard from the evacuees on the kindly treatment they had received in the town.
The Council received from the Rev. E. E. Bromage on behalf of welfare workers and others who had attended a meeting in Rushden, a copy of a resolution passed at that meeting, requesting the Chief Constable of the County to have women police patrols in Rushden because of alleged moral laxity.
Mr. Green said he believed that such women officials had been appointed and he assumed they would be on duty eventually.
The Council took no further action on the matter.
Members present: Dr. R. W. Davies (Chairman), Couns. H. Waring (Vice-Chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. A. U. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars and J. T. Richardson, J.P., with the Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) and the Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd).
There was an apology from Ald. A. Allebone, J.P.
28th July, 1944
Councillors Dispute Price of Land
Sharp criticism of the price fixed for a housing site was heard at a special meeting of Rushden Urban Council on Monday, when the War Emergency committee’s decision to close the British Restaurant during August Week was also challenged.
Purchase of two housing sites was recommended by the Housing Committee and finally approved subject to the Government sanctioning the raising of a loan.
One site covered 5.143 acres on the Higham-road estate at a price of £1,200. The Council has to pay the surveyor’s fees, and with the forfeit of the right of way, to erect a gate at the Higham-road end, the total of £1,270 covering the whole.
The other 9.933 acres adjacent to the Newton-road estate, the property of Messrs. John White, Ltd., at a price of £1,250. The total sum of £1,322 covers the cost of legal and the surveyors’ charges.
The offers were accepted for purchase after the consent of the Ministry of Health has been obtained.
Coun. J. Allen, referring to the first item, said that it was a high price to pay, being £200 an acre.
Coun. A. F. Weale enquired the number of houses that were going to be put up.
Dr. Davies replied that 140 would be erected on the Higham-road estate and 91 on the other. Sixty houses would be erected on Council estates, making 291 in all.
Coun. Allen asked if an appeal could be made to the District Valuer as £200 per acre for what was agricultural land a little while ago was “rather a lot.”
The Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) replied that the Ministry of Health did not grant a loan until they had the District Valuer’s report, and he did not think it possible at all to get the land at a lower figure.
Mr. Weale said that it was obvious that as agricultural land came into building value the price jumped up.
Coun. Bailey commented that it was more than one might expect.
Coun. Cox said that Mr. White’s offer was not in the same category as the other. It was a very generous offer.
Rest For Staff
Coun. W. E. Capon submitted the A.R.P. and War Emergency Committee’s report and said they had ultimately decided that the British Restaurant should be closed for the whole of August week.
Coun. F. Green seconded.
Coun. Sawford said he was very dissatisfied. The British Restaurant was important especially during holiday week. Apart from evacuees it was to give service to the town and there was no reason why it should not be closed on Monday and Tuesday and remain open for the rest of the week.
Coun. Roe said he was sorry to hear of the recommendation, and agreed with Mr. Sawford. It had been open for two months and now the staff wanted a holiday. Had the committee been influenced by the staff?
Coun. Capon replied that they were not influenced at all by one side or another. It had been discussed from every point of view. It was essential for the skeleton staff to have a rest. No one in the town could cook for 200 on the spur of the moment. A good cook at home would not be sufficient to provide for the British Restaurant.
Coun. Roe queried what would be done if the Supervisor was ill.
Coun. J. E. Dilks asked: “Are we going to have a repetition of this each holiday?” People with evacuees were thankful for them to go out. He was very sorry that the committee had come to this decision.
The report was adopted.