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The Wellingborough News, 14th June, 1895, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

The ordinary meeting of this Council was held in the Vestry Hall on Thursday evening, when there were present : Messrs. W. H. Wilkins (chairman), John Claridge (vice-chairman), John Spencer, P. Cave, G. Denton, T. Wilmott, T. Bromage, J. S. Clipson, Fred Knight, G. S. Mason (clerk), and W. Pare (surveyor).

COMMITTEES – At a meeting of the Plan Committee, a plan was presented and passed for an engine-room in Denton’s-lane for Mr. George Denton. – At a meeting of the Finance Committee it was found that the balance of loan No. 10 was insufficient to cover the expense of laying mains on the Pightles Estate, and the consideration of the matter was deferred. – In connection with the last-named committee, Mr. Cave called attention to the inconvenience of the day of meeting of that committee (Tuesday), on which it was impossible for him to be present. He enquired if it was possible to alter the day; if not, he should be obliged to resign his position as a member of that committee. – It was understood that the matter should be considered by the committee concerned.

SEWAGE SCHEME – The Chairman reported that Messrs. Sharman and Archer had met a committee of the Council last week in reference to this matter. With regard to the question as to whether the work should be done by the town or by a contractor, Mr. Sharman said there were no insuperable difficulties in the way of the town doing the work, but in that case he would not be bound by the estimate. The cost might be a little more or a little less. – Mr. Denton did not see how the town could do the work all through, at once. He should not object to the work being done by the town if part of the work was done first, and the remainder deferred, but if all the work had to be done at once he favoured the undertaking being carried out by contract. – Mr. Fred Knight also leaned to the work being done by a contractor, as the most efficient and expeditious manner of carrying out the work. He advocated that notwithstanding the formidable character of the undertaking that it should be tackled at once. It would have to be done, and he did not believe in putting off the evil day. – Mr. Bromage also favoured the work being contracted for. – Mr. Spencer advocated the work being done by the town, for his experience was that work was done better when done by local authorities than by contractors, and their prime object should be proficiency. He himself did not think the expense would be any greater, and proposed that the town should undertake the work. – Mr. Denton again advocated the work being done gradually and deliberately by the town, and seconded Mr. Spencer’s proposition. – The Chairman said the work was so great that he should hesitate to accept the responsibility of it. – Mr. Claridge proposed that the work be done by contract. He believed the work under the supervision of Mr. Sharman would be done very efficiently. – Mr. Knight seconded, thoroughly endorsing Mr. Claridge’s remarks. – Mr. Wilmott said if he could help in any way by giving an eye to the works in the course of their progress, he should be happy to give that assistance. – Several members expressed their appreciation of Mr. Wilmott’s offer, and after a little more discussion Mr. Claridge’s amendment that the work be done by contract was put to the vote, and supported by all present except Messrs. Spencer and Denton who voted against. – In reference to the question as to how long a period should be allowed for the completion of the work, it was mentioned that Mr. Sharman had expressed the opinion that it could not possibly be done in less than twelve months, and the general view of the members of the Council was in favour of that period. – It was decided to give two months’ notice to those owners whose property would be affected by the sewage works - so far as plans had already been prepared.

MAIN ROADS – The Chairman reminded the Council that in the annual agreement recently submitted by the County Council in respect to the repair of the main roads a condition was, for the first time, made that the approval of the County Council should be obtained before any substantial improvements were effected, failing which they could not be paid for. By this means the County Council sought to evade their responsibility, especially in respect to the footpath improvements. Knowing that the principle laid down in the Warminster case was being contested, and apparently fearing that the result would count against them, the County Council wanted to be on the right side whatever the ultimate decision might be. This was felt to be so unfair to Rushden that counsel’s opinion was taken on the subject, and acting upon the advice thus obtained the Council objected to the agreement in the form submitted. Replying to our clerk’s letter on the subject, the County Council say that the agreement was settled by a committee especially appointed, and could not now be altered – not a very conclusive argument, and further out of sixteen rural and ten urban districts that Rushden Stamford, Uppingham, Towcester, and Stony Stratford, were the only ones who had objected to sign the agreement. In face of this statement the Rushden Council would probably have been disposed to accept the objectionable condition under protest, although it would, contrary to the intention of the Act, have taken the matter out of the hands of the Local Government Board as arbitrators, and made the County Council sole judges in any dispute. It happened, however, that the implied statement that all the Councils except the five named had accepted the condition was not a fact. He had authority for stating that Wellingborough Urban Council had certainly not, so far, accepted the condition, and under those circumstances he thought that Rushden should still refuse to do so. – Mr. Cave suggested that Mr. Denton should ask the Council what authority Mr. Markham had for that statement. (Laughter). – Several members suggested that the matter should be deferred to see what action Wellingborough took, and the Clerk remarked that no doubt the action of the County Council was a very smart move, but two or three Councillors did not think such a move much to the County Council’s credit. – Mr. Spencer expressed his belief that the rural members were trying to boss the show, and in his opinion it was time that an increase of members was granted to urban districts.

POLLING DISTRICTS AND WARDS – Mr. Spencer moved a resolution that the County Council be approached with reference to the decision of the town into polling districts and wards, and after some amount of discussion Mr. Wilmott proposed and Mr. Cave seconded, that the application be made to the County Council for another member for Rushden on that body, and also for the town to be divided into wards. The proposition was carried.

The Wellingborough News, 28th June, 1895


Thursday, June 27th. – Present:- Messrs. W. H. Wilkins (chairman), John Claridge (vice-chairman), Geo. Denton, John Spencer, G. H. Skinner, Fred Knight, H. Brawn, T. Bromage, J. S. Clipson, F. Knight, P. Cave, A. Cave, George S. Mason (clerk), and Wm. Pare (surveyor).

PLANS – The Chairman reported that at a meeting of the Plan and Water Committee, plans were presented and passed for two houses in Queen-street for Mr. Harris; 5 houses in Glassbrook-road for Mr. W. S. Hartwell; a factory for Mr. Barwick, in Griffith-street; factory for Mr. A. Franklin in Rectory-road; and a shop and offices for Mrs. Lucy Brown in Queen-street.

COUNTY COUNCILLORS – At the last meeting of the District Council it was resolved that application be made to the County Council for the representation of this parish on that body to be increased from one to two members, and for the town to be divided into wards. In reply to that application the clerk to the County Council wrote to enquire what power the County Council had to grant the increase asked for. The Chairman said it was clear from the Act that the only authority with power to make the increase was the Local Government Board, and it was equally clear that that Board would only act upon the initiative of the County Council. The County Council would doubtless object to any redistribution that involved any disfranchisement of the smaller electoral divisions, but that difficulty could be got over by increasing the total number of Councillors for the county, and it was for Rushden to show that there were sufficient grounds for a change. When the Local Government Act of 1888 was passed the total number of councillors for this county was fixed by the Local Government Board at fifty-one, and was based on the census of 1881. In the apportionment of the fifty-one, Rushden, with Higham Park and Newton, was made an electoral division, returning one member, the population of Rushden according to the then last census being 3,657, and the inhabited houses 723. The inhabited houses now number 1,785, and the population, at the same ratio, would be 8,970. The rateable value of the parish had increased during the same period from £9,071 to £20,523. From a report to the County Council in June 1890, of a committee appointed to re-arrange the polling-places; the average number of county electors for each electoral division was then 763; there were ten divisions with less that 600 electors to each, and only four with over 1,000, viz.; Kettering (East Ward), 1,105; Rothwell with Desborough, 1,087; Finedon with Irthlingborough, 1,111; and Rushden with Newton Bromshold and Higham Park, 1,172. From the current register it is found that the number of county electors for the Rushden electoral division is now 1,547, and more than twice the 1890 average for the whole county. He thought these figures should be sent to the County Council in the hope that it would lead to enquiry, with the result, probably, that other towns besides Rushden might be found entitled to increased representation. – The question was considered at some length, and ultimately left over.

WASHBROOK RAILWAY BRIDGE – Mr. Spencer called attention to what he considered the insufficient height of the railway bridge on the Washbrook-road. So low was the wall that children were in the habit of climbing on to it, and sitting on it even while trains were passing underneath. – The Council were unanimously of opinion that this was a very dangerous state of affairs, and should certainly be altered. – Mr. Cave also pointed out the generally bad accommodation at Rushden Station, and after some little consideration he agreed that this matter be included in Mr. Spencer’s proposition, and also in the communication to the Midland Company. – The resolution was carried unanimously.

A BATHING PLACE – Mr. Spencer, in accordance with notice, called attention to the bathing-place down at Ditchford, and advised that the place near the lock, which was in Rushden parish, be cleaned out, and life-buoys placed there. He thought, where possible, bathing places should be provided by the local bodies. – The question was raised as to whether the Council had any power to move in the matter until they had adopted the Baths and Washbouses Acts; and this being decided in the negative by Mr. Mason, Mr. Spencer gave notice that he would move at the next meeting that the Council take action under the Act.

THE LOCAL VETO BILL – Mr. Denton proposed – “That this Council approves the object of the Intoxicating Liquor (Local Control) Bill now before the House of Commons, and urges Her Majesty’s Government to take such immediate steps that will ensure its becoming law, and that a copy of this resolution be sent to Sir William Harcourt and Lord Salisbury and embodied in a petition to Parliament, and sent for presentation to F. A. Channing, the member for the division.” Mr. Denton moved his proposition at some length, and the motion was seconded by Mr. Clipson, who considered the measure just and equitable. – The Chairman also supported the proposition, but in his opinion the Bill did not go far enough, seeing it left the clubs alone, which institutions were getting a great evil. – Mr. Claridge cordially supported Mr. Denton’s motion, and the Chairman very much doubted whether the Bill if passed would much affect Rushden. Even if Sunday Closing were passed he did not think it would be of much benefit, but only have the effect of bringing into existence more of those disgraceful clubs. – Mr. Spencer was of much the same opinion, and mentioned that many complaints had been made of a certain club at the top end of the town. He certainly thought some action should be taken with regard to clubs, some of which were respectable and some of which were not, and he agreed with the chairman that some were certainly disgraceful. – Mr. Skinner enquired if Mr. Spencer could bring personal evidence that the clubs were a nuisance, or whether his remark was based merely upon hearsay. – Mr. Cave thought the restricting of houses was a bad thing; for where there were a lot of houses there were fewer people gathered together, whereas if the number of public-houses were more limited the greater would be the number of men in them. The rich man had his club, and the working man was equally entitled to his. – After some further discussion the proposition was adopted.

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