|Rushden Echo, 16th March, 1906, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Taxation of Land Values
A Question of Corner Plots
| At a meeting of this Council on Wednesday night there were present:- Messrs. J. S. Clipson (chairman), T. Swindall (vice-chairman), F. Knight, G. Denton, J. Hornsby, J. Claridge, A. Mantle, A. J. Dobbs, W. Bazeley, C. Bates, G. H. Skinner, and F. Ballard, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason) and the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin).
Taxation of Land Values
The Chairman reported that he attended as a member of the deputation appointed by local authorities to wait on the Premier and urge that action should be taken with regard to the taxation of land values. The deputation attended at the Foreign Office, but were unable to see the Premier, who had caught a chill. In the Premier’s place, however, they met Mr. Asquith, Mr. John Burns, Mr. Bryce, and Capt. Sinclair, and a promise was made that the subject should be brought forward as early as possible. Mr. Asquith said the Government regarded it as an important matter, though it was not noticed in the King’s Speech this session.
Council in Committee
A meeting of the whole Council in Committee was held at the Vestry Hall on Wednesday, the 14th February, 1906, when there were present:- Messrs. J. S. Clipson (chairman), T. Swindall, G. Denton, J. Claridge, F. Ballard, W. Bazeley, A. Mantle, C. Bates, A. J. Dobbs, G. H. Skinner, J. Hornsby, and Fred Knight.
Before proceeding to fill the vacancy caused by Mr. Smith’s resignation, the general question of the staff required in the Surveyor’s department was considered at length, and it was unanimously agreed that, in view of the additional duties devolving upon the Surveyor with regard to the new water supply and the large amount of clerical work performed in his office, it was quite necessary to appoint a person who would not only do such clerical work but also assist in the duties of Surveyor.
The Committee were given to understand that Mr. Edwin Madin, who had previously been engaged in the office, but had since been with Mr. Nunn at the Water Board’s Works at Sywell, was not disengaged and would be prepared to accept the appointment at a commencing salary of 25/- per week, and resolved to recommend the Council to appoint him as assistant Surveyor at that salary, his duties to commence on the 7th March.
The report was adopted.
Plans, &c., Committee
A meeting of the Plans, Water, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Vestry Hall on Wednesday, the 28th February, 1906, when there were present:- Messrs. J. S. Clipson (chairman), T. Swindall, F. Knight, G. Denton, W. Bazeley, A. Mantle, and A. J. Dobbs.
were presented by :-
Mr. W. A. Patenall for house on the Higham Road and passed subject to compliance with Bye-law 20 (a).
Mr. A. C. Ashby for house on the Bedford Road and passed subject to the drainage arrangements being modified to the satisfaction of the Surveyor.
Mr. T. Swindall for house in Brookfield Road and passed.
It was resolved that the Surveyor be instructed to advertise for tenders for the supply of road materials for the ensuing year, as usual.
It was resolved to continue the contract with Mr. William Packwood for team labour for another year.
Brook, Bedford Road
The Surveyor reported that as instructed at the last meeting of this committee he was preparing an estimate for a close fence which would be forwarded to the County Council to-morrow.
The Surveyor submitted a letter received from the Railway Company stating that their estimate for asphalting the path from Beaconsfield-place and pitching the crossing over the road amounted to £30 and suggesting that the Council should bear some proportion of this expense.
The Surveyor was instructed to reply that the Committee would recommend the Council to bear the expense of the asphalting if the Company would undertake the pitching.
The Committee had before them a number of schemes for heating the offices, and selected that of Mr. J. E. Smith, of Higham Ferrers, subject to certain modifications suggested by the Surveyor.
Mr. Bazeley objected to the plan for Mr. Swindall’s house, on the ground that it was not in conformity with the bye-law regarding airspace at the rear.
Mr. Denton said there was a virtual compliance with the bye-law inasmuch as there was twice the necessary air-space, but it was not in the exact position stated by the bye-law.
In reply to Mr. Ballard, Mr. Denton stated that the plot was a corner plot.
The Chairman said if they interpreted the bye-law strictly every corner plot would have to be wasted, if the angle was not exact. Similar plans had been passed before.
Mr. Bazeley said the difficulty would not arise if builders did not build more houses on a piece of land than it was fitted for.
Mr. Dobbs thought that if they were in the habit of passing such plans, the sooner they altered their bye-laws the better.
Mr. Ballard hoped the idea would not go forth that they were giving a favour to a member of the Council.
The report was adopted.
Finance, &c., Committee
A meeting of the Finance, Estates, Cemetery, and Sanitary Committee was held at the Vestry Hall on Wednesday, the 7th March, 1906, when there were present:- Messrs. T. Swindall (chairman), J. S. Clipson, J. Claridge, C. Bates, J. Hornsby, G. H. Skinner and F. Ballard.
Surveyor’s Cash Account
The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages books, the expenditure shown therein being as follows:-
By the Collector’s account produced it appeared that he had during the month collected the following sums:-
Collector’s Fittings Account
The Committee examined the Collector’s fittings account, from which it appeared that he had collected the following sums during the month:-
Cemetery Registrar’s Account
The Committee also examined the Cemetery Registrar’s account from which it appeared that the following sum had been paid to him during the month:-
From the Treasurer’s accounts produced it appeared that the following sums had been paid to him during the month:-
And that the following balances were in hand on the under-mentioned accounts:-
Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts
A number of accounts were examined and passed for payment.
Health and Sanitary Reports
The Medical Officer reported that five cases of scarlet fever had been notified since the last meeting. He also informed the Committee that the house, No. 7, Bedford-road, which he had inspected and found unfit for habitation, was now unoccupied.
The Sanitary Inspector gave particulars of the scarlet fever cases which had been notified during the month and stated that he had during the same period fumigated eleven houses. Bills with regard to the danger of throwing orange peel and banana skins on the footpaths had been posted about the town.
With regard to the house, No. 7, Bedford-road, referred to in the Medical Officer’s report, the Inspector was instructed to see that it was not again occupied until put in a thorough state of repair.
The Clerk was instructed to negotiate a loan of £2,500 for the erection of the new offices, sanction to which had already been received from the Local Government Board.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to pay Mr. Nuttall £1 15s., the cost of new tyres to his bicycle.
The Surveyor reported that the works in connection with the sanitary conveniences had been carried out.
It was resolved to have a special meeting of the Committee to close the accounts for the year, on Tuesday, March 27th.
The report was adopted.
An Improvement Wanted
Mr. Dobbs moved that the watercourse in Washbrook-road be filled in, and said it was a danger to people using the road and was a nuisance.
The Chairman said the adjoining owners refused to contribute to the cost, which would be about £110, even if the land were given for the purpose. Then the bridge would have to be repaired, and the total cost would be about £200.
Mr. Swindall thought the committee would have recommended the work being done if Mr. T. Willmott had been willing to contribute half the cost.
Mr. Denton did not think the Council could afford the cost of the work, which would have to go in next year’s estimates.
Mr. Ballard thought they were all agreed that the work needed doing if the Council had the money.
Mr. Knight: And a good many other improvements too.
Mr. Denton moved an amendment that the matter be considered when the estimates were before the Council, and the amendment was agreed to.
A letter was received from the Board of Trade asking for the Council’s observations on an application they had received from the County of Northampton Electric Power and Traction Company. The applicants requested the Board to dispense with the Council’s consent to their application for a provisional order for supplying electricity in the district. The Company urged that they had not obtained the grounds of the Council’s refusal to sanction the order and they submitted that the inhabitants of Rushden should have the advantages of electric lighting. The Rushden Urban Council had not applied for authority to supply electricity themselves. Consent had been given to the Company’s application by the Rural District Council, and the Higham Town Council.
The letter was referred to the special committee having charge of the subject.
The retiring overseers, Messrs. J. T. Colson, J. Claridge and G. H. Skinner were re-elected, and the name of Mr. John Spencer was added to the list.
The Rushden Free Library
On Wednesday evening at a meeting of the Rushden Urban Council, the following minutes of a meeting of the Free Library Committee were received:-
A meeting of the Free Library Committee was held at the Library on Friday, the 9th March, 1906, when there were present:- Mr. J. Claridge (chairman), Archdeacon Kitchin, Messrs. T. Swindall, G. H. Skinner, W. Bazeley, J. H. Derbyshire, W. Clarke, W. H. Brown, and J. T. Colson.
The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on the 9th February, 1906, having been printed and circulated amongst the members it was agreed that the same be taken as read and be confirmed under the hand of the Chairman.
Several accounts were examined and passed for payment.
It was unanimously resolved upon the proposition of Mr. Colson, seconded by Archdeacon Kitchin, that a further sum of £10 be expended during the present financial year in the purchase of books.
The Management Committee reported gifts of books by the Rushden Coffee Tavern Co., Mrs. Browning, and the Higham Ferrers, Rushden and District Band of Hope Union.
The Secretary was instructed to convey to the donors the thanks of the Committee for their gifts.
Mr. Claridge, in moving the adoption of the report said the number of books issued per week form the library averaged 450. Last Saturday night was a record night, about 300 being issued, and they might expect a weekly issue of about 500. They really required about 1000 more books and the committee would be glad if ladies and gentlemen would follow the example of Mrs. Browning and the Band of Hope Union. The shareholders of the Coffee Tavern Company had transferred their books to the Library, and those books had proved very useful.
Mr. F. Knight seconded the motion, and the report was adopted.
Work and Wages
A long discussion took place at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on a motion by Councillor A. J. Dobbs to the effect that the wages of all able-bodied men employed by the Council be raised to 25/- a week.
Mr. Dobbs, in bringing his motion forward, said he thought the Council’s labourers were insufficiently paid. Work that was worth doing was worth paying a living wage for, and 15/- or 16/- a week was not a living wage. It was not nearly so much as it cost to keep people in prison or gaol. If his resolution were accepted the Council would only be following the example of other Councils. The Municipal Employees’ Association were asking for a wage of 28/- in the provinces and 30/- in London.
Mr. Bates seconded the motion.
Mr. Claridge: What are able-bodied men?
Mr. Dobbs: The Council would have to decide that.
Mr. Claridge: Not men 70 years old?
Mr. Ballard: But what would be Mr. Dobbs’s idea as to these old men? Should the Council dismiss them and put on able-bodied men at 25/-?
Mr. Dobbs: If they are not able-bodied men, give them less, but give them
Enough to Live on.
Mr. Skinner: At what age do they throw men out of the shops?
Mr. Bazeley: They are worn-out, some of them, at 45.
Mr. Dobbs: And 20, or any other age.
Mr. Denton said he would be very sorry to see the factory system introduced among the Council’s employees. He was afraid if they fixed the wages at 25/- it would lead to those who were not able-bodied losing their positions and coming on the parish. If they only allowed the Surveyor to employ men who could earn the 25/- some of the present men must be shunted. He believed that the resolution would have just the opposite effect to what was desired. They would have to improve conditions all round before they could get the standard of living at a high level.
Mr. Bazeley said the resolution did not ask the Council to discharge men who could not earn 25/-. Such men should be paid pro rata. Labourers’ wages in Rushden were 5d an hour, but most of the Council’s workmen did not earn that.
Mr. Swindall said the labourers employed by the Council were
Far Better Off
than those in private employment, and though they were, many of them, in the same class as farm labourers they earned far more. He knew that some of the street sweepers were hoping that the resolution would be defeated because they were afraid of losing their places. The advance had not been asked for and he should vote against it.
Mr. F. Knight: It doesn’t look as though the men were dissatisfied, considering how long they have remained in the Council’s employment.
Mr. Dobbs: If private persons sweat the men, the Council should not do so.
Mr. Ballard: A good deal depends on what is considered an able-bodied man.
Mr. Mantle mentioned one of the men he would regard as able-bodied.
Mr. Denton : But I should think if that man got out of his place he would have great difficulty in getting the same money again. After all, we have to look at the matter from a
Mr. Bazeley: Business standpoint.
Mr. Denton: No. not altogether that, but we have to look at it to a certain extent from the supply and demand standpoint. It seems to me we are paying for what we are getting.
Mr. Skinner: If the men did not like it they would leave.
Mr. Dobbs: Yes, they have
The Chance to Starve.
Mr. Ballard said he believed some of the men would have that chance if Mr. Dobbs’s motion were carried. It would be a great injustice to some of the old men employed, and it was not fair to the ratepayers to deal with the matter in such a wholesale way. If some of the men did not receive enough, by all means let the Council consider the matter.
Mr. Skinner: We had better spread the money over a large area than have half the men standing idle.
Mr. Claridge thought the Council should be model employers, and he thought they really were, for they were paying fair wages for the class of work done.
Mr. Denton: I suppose the money to pay them has to come out of the workers.
Mr. Bazeley said he would be very sorry to see anyone turned off, but did not think the motion would have that effect.
Mr. Knight: But Mr. Dobbs keeps on referring to the men who earn 15/- or 16/- a week.
Mr. Dobbs: I don’t want the old men turned off, but surely men at 40 to 45 years of age can earn more than those wages. They could earn that
Standing on Their Heads.
Mr. Ballard said he should vote against the resolution as a matter of justice to the old men. Under the resolution the old men would go to the wall.
The motion was then put and was lost.
Mr. Bazeley moved that the wages of the whole of the men be considered by the Council in committee, each case to be taken on its merits.
The motion having been seconded, Mr. Denton moved as an amendment that the remuneration of the men remain in the hands of the Surveyor. He thought if they interfered with the Surveyor in the matter they would impair the efficiency of the men’s work.
Mr. Swindall seconded the amendment.
Mr. Bates: What do the Council sit for? I thought we came here to deal with the business of the town.
Mr. Bazeley said he did not wish to take the matter out of the Surveyor’s hand, but the Council could give the Surveyor fresh instructions if, after considering the matter, they thought fresh instructions were needed.
Mr. Knight supported the amendment, because the present arrangement had worked well for years. The Surveyor had carried on the business well, and was on good terms with the men.
Messrs. Ballard and Claridge supported the amendment, which was carried by six votes to four.
Mr. Bazeley: The matter will come up again.