|The Rushden Echo, 13th March, 1914, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Shall Swimming Baths Be Provided?
Deputation from Workers’ Societies
Appointment of Rate Collectors
Wednesday, present Councillors C. Bates, J.P. (chairman), J. S. Clipson (vice-chairman), W. Bazeley, J. Spencer, L. Perkins, B.Sc., T. Swindall, F. Knight, J.P., J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., T. Wilmott and G. H. Skinner with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Medical Officer (Dr. H. S. Baker), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. J. Allen).
Plans, Etc., Committee
A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 25th Feb., 1914, when there were present:- Messrs. C. Bates (chairman), J. S. Clipson, J. Claridge, J. Hyde, F. Knight, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.
were presented by:-
Mr. W. H. Darnell for conversion of shop into dwelling house and shop, and rejected as not complying with the bye-laws.
Mr. James Jaques for three cottages in Glassbrook-road and passed, subject to the usual agreement being entered into as to the combined drain.
Messrs. Ashford and Campion for additions to their factory in Newton-road, and rejected as not complying with bye-laws as to thickness of walls.
Rushden and District Electric Lighting Co.
A letter was received from Mr. Jackson, the engineer to the Electric Lighting Co., undertaking to remove the store shed adjoining their works within a period of two years from the 1st January, 1914, or alter same previous to the date in accordance with the plan submitted to the Committee on the 31st December last.
The Surveyor submitted (a) specification of the works intended to be carried out in this street under the Private Street Works Act, 1892, with plans and sections, (b) estimate of the probable expenses of the works, and (c) a provisional apportionment of the estimated expenses upon the premises liable to be charged therewith under the Act, whereupon it was resolved that the specification of the said works, and also the plans and sections, estimate, and provisional apportionment relating to such works be recommended to the Council for approval.
A letter was received from Mr. Joseph Knight objecting to the final apportionment of the expenses incurred in making up this road under the Private Street Works Act, with regard to his property, on the grounds that the road was a back or side street as far as his premises were concerned, and that he had previously paid for the making-up of Victoria-road on his frontage there.
The Committee could not recommend the Council to entertain the objection.
Housing, Town Planning, Etc., Act, 1909
A circular letter with regulations from the Local Government Board for the procedure under the above Act was submitted.
A letter was received from the County Surveyor stating that the Roads and Bridges Committee of the County Council had approved the list of dangerous corners on district roads submitted by this Council, so far as regarded those estimated to cost less than £100 each, and they would be included in the general scheme which would shortly be submitted to the Road Board.
With respect to those costing over £100 each, the Road Board had intimated that each of these must form the subject of a separate application, and must not be included in the general scheme.
The report was adopted.
Recreation Ground Committee
A meeting of the Recreation Ground Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 25th February, 1914, when there were present :- Messrs. F. Knight (chairman), C. Bates, J. S. Clipson, J. Claridge, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.
A letter was received from the Bands of the town asking the Council to consider the erection of a bandstand in the Recreation Ground.
The Clerk was instructed to communicate with the bands, with a view to their each sending a representative to the next meeting to confer with the Committee thereon.
The Clerk reported that, as instructed, he had written to the owners of the property abutting on the ground with regard to the fences that needed repairing and to the occupiers that allowed fowls to trespass on the ground. He had also written to the persons who had constructed entrances from the backways of their houses in Spencer-road to the ground.
Copies of the letters were submitted and approved by the Committee.
The report was adopted.
Finance and Estates Committee
A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Tuesday, the 3rd March, 1914, at 10 a.m., when there were present :- Messrs. C. Bates (chairman), J. S. Clipson, J. Claridge, F. Knight, and T. Swindall.
Surveyor’s Cash Account
The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages books, the expenditure shown therein being as follows:-
The Committee examined the Collector’s accounts, from which it appeared that the following sums had been collected since the last meeting:-
The Treasurer’s accounts were also examined from which it appeared that he had received the following sums since the last meeting:-
And that the balances were as follows:-
Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts
A number of accounts, amounting to £2,657/12/7, were examined and passed for payment.
The report was adopted.
Health and Sanitary Committee
A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 4th March, 1914, when there were present :- Messrs. J. S. Clipson (chairman), C. Bates, W. Bazeley, L. Perkins, G. H. Skinner, and T. Swindall.
Health and Sanitary Reports
The Medical Officer reported that fourteen cases of infectious disease had been notified since the last meeting, viz., two of diphtheria, three of scarlet fever, four of erysipelas, and five of tuberculosis, one of the latter of which was a re-notification.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that during the month of February 47 informal and one statutory notice had been issued, calling attention to nuisances, etc., which were receiving attention.
One lot of bedding had been destroyed after a death from consumption. It was resolved to recommend the Council to replace the bedding at a cost not exceeding £1.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the past month.
Factory and Workshops Act.
The Inspector also reported that 32 lists had been received relating to 287 outworkers, and seven lists relating to 34 outworkers sent to other local authorities respecting outworkers receiving work outside the Urban District of Rushden.
Medical Officer’s and Sanitary Inspector’s Annual Reports
These reports were received and ordered to be printed and circulated amongst the members of the Council.
Unpurchased grave spaces. The Cemetery Registrar submitted a statement showing the several grave spaces which had been reserved for 14 years and upwards on payment of the prescribed fee of 10/0.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Registrar to give notice to the persons in whose favour the reservations had been made, that the spaces would be filled up unless a further reservation be applied for and another fee of 10/0 paid.
Purchased grave spaces. The Registrar also submitted a list of grave spaces in respect of which the purchases had only paid a deposit of 10/0.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to call upon those cases whose deposits were paid 14 years ago and upwards to complete forthwith, and to require the other purchases to complete at the expiration of 14 years from the date of the payment of the deposit.
Planting The sub-committee were requested to visit the Cemetery at an early date and inspect the boundary adjoining the Harborough Park Estate, with power to order immediate planting if they thought it desirable so to do.
Mr. Swindall was added to the sub-committee.
An order from the Local Government Board was received making the notification of this disease compulsory and requiring the local authority to forthwith give notice to all Medical Practitioners and certified midwives resident or practising within their district of the duties imposed upon them.
Housing, Town Planning, Etc., Act, 1909
The Clerk submitted a list of queries received from the Local Government Board, requiring a considerable amount of detailed information with regard to the inspection of workmen’s dwellings under this Act, which were referred to the Sanitary Inspector for completion.
The Chairman congratulated the Council on the very satisfactory report from the Medical Officer and the Sanitary Inspector, and said it was the most exhaustive Medical Officer’s report they had ever had.
The report was adopted.
Report of Finance Committee
The re-organisation of the collector’s department, consequent upon the resignation of Mr. Sargent, has received the careful consideration of this Committee, and they beg to report as follows :-
The Committee have met four times to consider this matter, and their recommendations have been submitted to and approved by the whole Council in Committee.
On the 12th January a communication was addressed to the Clerk of the Board of Guardians with regard to Mr. Sargent’s resignation as collector of the Poor Rate, informing him (a) that the powers of appointing an assistant overseer had now been vested in the Council by an order of the Local Government Board and (b) that the Council contemplated a joint collection of the General District and Poor Rates, which arrangement would necessitate the two rates being collected by the same collector. A similar letter was also addressed to the Local Government Board. On the 22nd January a letter was received from the Clerk to the Guardians stating that Mr. Sargent’s resignation of the office of collector had been accepted by the Guardians, to take effect on 31st March, and that they would await instructions from the Local Government Board before proceeding to another appointment.
On the 3rd February a letter was received from the Local Government Board stating that they proposed, subject to anything the Guardians might have to say in the matter, to proceed to rescind the order empowering the Guardians to appoint a collector of the Poor Rates for this Parish.
On the 20th February a formal order from the Local Government Board was received, rescinding the order previously in force empowering the Guardians to appoint a collector, and on the 24th February a letter was received from the Local Government Board stating that the Board would be prepared to assent to a joint collection of the Poor and General District Rates, subject to their approval of the form of rate book, rate receipt check book, demand note, and collecting and deposit book. The Clerk had conferred with the District Auditor and also inspected the forms in use at Kettering and those proposed to be used at Northampton.
At a meeting of the Finance Committee held on the 3rd March, the following scheme already approved by the whole Council in Committee was unanimously recommended for adoption by the Council :-
(1) That a joint collection of the Poor Rate and General District Rate be instituted for the parish and urban district of Rushden.
(2) That if possible the officers employed by the Water Board in the collection of the Water Rate be employed by the Council in the collection of the Poor and General District Rates and become whole-time officers.
(3) That the Clerk of the Council be appointed Superintendent Assistant Overseer, with general powers of supervision, but without any actual duties assigned to him.
(4) That Mr. Herbert Lack, at present employed by the Water Board as clerk for the preparation of the Water Rate, be appointed assistant overseer, to act as clerk to the overseers and be responsible for the registration work and preparation of jury lists, also that there be assigned to him the duties relating to valuation and assessment, etc., and the keeping of the overseers’ accounts; that he also be appointed chief clerk in the collector’s department and be responsible for the preparation of the General District Rate, the preparation of the demand notes, the keeping of the rate collection account, and the checking of the collector’s collecting and deposit books. Also to perform all the duties of cemetery registrar, including the receipt of burial fees. His salary, additional to that received from the Water Board (£25), to be £105, rising by annual increments of £5 to £125.
(5) That Mr. F. C. Woodward, the present collector to the Water Board, be appointed an assistant overseer for the collection of the Poor Rate and collector for the collection of the General District Rate, and be responsible for the organisation, preparation, and collection of all rates and other moneys of the overseers and the Council, including Green tolls but not burial fees. Also to render to the chief clerk assistance with regard to registration work, jury lists, etc.
(6) That a junior clerk be appointed to assist in the office at a salary not exceeding £20 per annum.
(7) That the salaries payable as above be apportioned by agreement between the overseers and the Council at a future date.
(8) Any moneys received on the certificate of the Revising Barrister for registration work will be at the disposal of the overseers towards the payment of the above salaries.
(9) That the form of rate book, rate receipt check book, demand note and collecting and deposit book submitted by the Clerk be approved and submitted to the Local Government Board.
On the proposition of Mr. Spencer, seconded by Mr. Perkins, it was decided to include in the work of the collectors the collecting of the rents of the municipal houses, which are about to be erected.
Mr. Spencer, with regard to the appointment of Mr. Woodward, contended that it ought to have been publicly advertised. The case of Mr. Lack was different, because he had been a servant of the Council indirectly for many years, but Mr. Woodward’s appointment as the Water Board’s rate collector was only of recent date.
Mr. Perkins thought that the Finance Committee were authorised to draw up a scheme but not to suggest names.
The Chairman said that the two names were practically agreed to at the meeting of the whole Council in committee, and this was a recommendation from the whole Council in committee.
In answer to Mr. Swindall, the Clerk said that Mr. Woodward’s salary was to be £80 a year under the Urban Council and £40 under the Water Board.
Mr. Bazeley said that if Mr. Woodward’s services had been retained by the Water Board, and the Council had appointed another collector, the latter would not have had a living wage. If the post had been advertised, there was little doubt that Mr. Woodward would have secured it.
In answer to Mr. Perkins, the Chairman said that office hours in the rate-collecting department were :- Saturdays 9 to 12; other weekdays 9 to 5.30.
A deputation, consisting of Mr. G. W. Coles (representing the Rushden and District Friendly Societies’ Council), Mr. Clayton (Rushden and Higham Trades and Labour Council), and Mr. W. J. Hughan (Rushden and District United Clubs’ Educational Association), waited upon the Council to urge them to provide public outdoor swimming baths for the town at a cost not exceeding £600.
Mr. Coles presented the case, and said that the question of public baths for Rushden had been before the town for a large number of years. Some of them could remember it being introduced at the jubilee and the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. Since then the town had been more or less interested in the matter, but the question had never been lost sight of. About 12 months ago the matter was brought to a head when it was discussed at a meeting of the Rushden Education sub-committee, when resolutions from the Co-operative Society, Trades and Labour Council, Friendly Societies’ Council, and the United Clubs in favour of the baths were read. They were strongly in hopes then that would see baths for Rushden, and were keenly disappointed at the result. Again, about six months ago, the matter was re-introduced to the Council, and the Council decided to not even have estimates prepared. The result of that was a meeting of the different bodies his colleagues and himself represented, and it was resolved to canvass the town to test the feeling of the residents and householders. The canvass was undertaken in the very worst of the weather, when it would tax anyone’s energy and sincerity in the matter. He was very happy to say the result of those labours was all that could be desired. The total number of householders signing in favour of the proposed scheme was 1392 and the householders against numbered 17, so the Council could see there was a very considerable majority of the householders in favour of open-air baths for Rushden.
Mr. Knight : There are 2900 householders in Rushden.
Mr. Coles contended that out of the remaining householders a large number were neutral, and he claimed 50 per cent. of those not visited. They wished to press the matter very particularly on account of the children. He felt that swimming should be part of the curriculum of the child. He believed every child ought to be taught to swim. He believed the County Council was sympathetic, as was the Rushden Education Sub-committee. Baths were a dire necessity, as the figures just quoted would show. They did not intend to go into details; they felt that was for the Council to attend to. They were satisfied that it would not cost more than £500 or £600. It would be difficult to find a town of the size of Rushden where there were not public swimming baths. The people of Rushden had not had the opportunity of learning to swim as the river could not be considered accessible or suitable. There was no encouragement to go that distance, and it was not safe for children.
Mr. C. Clayton said he was present at the meeting at the Victoria Jubilee, when Canon Barker presided and the subject of swimming baths for Rushden was introduced. The question always reminded him of a dispute between two rival negro churches that were holding revivalist services. A would-be convert went from one church to the other and asked to become a member. He said he had been “washed” at the other church. “No,” was the reply, “you have only been dry-cleaned.” Mr. Clayton thought that had a special bearing on the question of public baths for Rushden. He believed the people of Rushden had only been dry cleaned. (Laughter.) As the health authority of the town he felt it was the duty of the Council to provide the baths.
The Chairman : I should like to know if there were not some districts not visited by your canvassers.
Mr. Coles : There were some not visited.
Mr. Knight : I am quite sure every member of this Council agrees that public baths for Rushden are very desirable and essential. It is not that we disapprove of them, but for financial reasons they have not been provided. Do the delegates think the societies they represent would be satisfied with open-air baths costing about £500?
Mr. Coles : They would be more than satisfied; they would be delighted. They fully recognise the serious position of the Council, and they have every sympathy with the Council. They do not ask for an expensive luxury, but a necessity. They have this in view; if possible they would like them to be so constructed that the baths could be covered in at some future date.
The Chairman said the Council would discuss the question, and the delegates would probably hear from the Clerk in due course.
Mr. Coles said he was satisfied with that.
On the proposition of Mr. Spencer, seconded by Mr. Claridge, it was resolved to leave the matter in the hands of the Health and Sanitary Committee.
The Annual Report
of the Medical Officer, which is given on Page 7, was discussed. The Chairman said he considered it one of the most exhaustive reports they had ever received, and both the Medical Officer and the Sanitary Inspector should be highly congratulated. (Applause)
Mr. Claridge agreed and looked upon both the reports as being most satisfactory and important, although he wished to cast no reflection on previous officers. With regard to the advice and information on that dreadful disease tuberculosis, he thought it ought to be printed and circulated in all workshops. The Council could congratulate themselves on having such a low death rate; it showed that the town was in a very healthy condition. The tables in the report were very helpful and useful. (Applause)
Mr. Skinner agreed with some of the clauses. He believed that children were often sent to school when they were unwell. He agreed that it was best for the child to be kept at home at such times for its own sake as well as for those whom the child would otherwise go amongst.
Mr. Bazeley thought the report showed great literary skill. From the description it gave of the town Rushden would soon become a residential town. He also would like the valuable advice about tuberculosis to be acted upon.
Mr. Clipson and Mr. Wilmott also spoke highly of the reports.
Mr. Perkins thought the Medical Officer had done well in drawing attention to the attendance of children at school. It was a most important thing in a child’s life that it should be at school when it was well. One bad practice was that of giving rewards for those not missing once, and the child would drag itself to school when it should be at home. He never encouraged children to go under those circumstances. He never allowed the practice of prize-giving in his school for getting children there. In many cases it was the child who was so eager to obtain the reward. It was part of an old system that was to some extent being abolished. It would take a long time for the cast-iron system to be entirely eradicated. Twenty years ago the best schoolmaster was he who could get 97 per cent. attendances. That must not be the standard of merit for a teacher now. (Applause.)
Mr. Spencer also commented on the reports.
In reply, Dr. Baker said he was pleased they were satisfied he was not particularly satisfied himself. (Laughter.)
It was decided to sign the agreement for laying the electric cable through Mr. John Clark’s ground to the new sewage disposal works. The agreement allows for the cable to be placed there for 21 years, to be renewed if necessary, and a rent of 2/6 a year to be paid.