|Rushden Echo, 16th & 30th March, 1923, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Great Public Improvement
Wednesday, present: Messrs. T. Swindall, J.P. (chairman), L. Perkins, B.Sc. (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., T. Wilmott, C. E. Bayes, C. Claridge, C. W. Horrell, C.A., J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, C. Bates, and G. W. Coles, J.P., with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper).
The Chairman reported that the deputation from the Council met the Midland Railway officials on Monday, Mr. Horrell also being present, representing the Boot Manufacturers’ Association. They were very favourably received by the railway officials. He believed that the deputation had made out a good case for the improvement of Rushden Station, and they felt certain that something would come of it.
The Committee reports were then presented:-
At a meeting of this committee held at the Council Buildings, Rushden, on Wednesday, Feb. 21st, 1923, present: Mr. Joseph Hornsby (chairman), Messrs. C. Bates, T. Wilmott, L. Baxter, and W. Gutteridge.
The Clerk reported that, as instructed, he had circularised all the occupiers of the wartime allotments, informing them that the Council were prepared to retain these allotments as garden allotments for such of the present tenants as desired to wish to retain possession and paid all rent due up to date, and had enclosed with the circular a form of request for signature by the allotment-holders. Very few of these forms had been returned, and from the present information it was impossible to estimate how much of the land was required.
The committee considered the position unsatisfactory, and instructed the Clerk to issue a further circular stating that the allotments would only be retained for such of the occupiers as notified their wish to retain possession and paid all rent in respect thereof on or before March 10th.
It was also resolved to give notice to the tenants that the committee would attend at the Council Buildings on Friday, March 9th, from 6.30 to 8 o’clock in the evening, and on Saturday, March 10th, from 4 to 6 in the afternoon, to receive the rents.
It was also resolved to recommend the Council to grant a sum of £5 as remuneration to the members of the late committee who undertook the rent collection.
The report was adopted.
In regard to the above report Mr. Hornsby said that the holders of land in Blinco-road and Allen-road were not paying rent. He did not know whether they intended not to pay. It should be understood that the rents must be paid or tenants could not be protected by the Council.
In reply to Mr. Knight, the Clerk said that other holders were paying. There was a bank balance of between £50 and £60.
Mr. Spencer asked if there was to be any finality in the pecking open of High-Street. Were the Gas Company looking for a therm? (Laughter.)
Mr. Corby said it was a great nuisance. The Surveyor said the object was to try to find a leakage.
Mr. Knight said that in other towns people were getting poisoned. The Rushden Gas Company were trying to prevent it. (Laughter.)
Plans, Etc., Committee
A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, Feb. 28th, 1923, when there were present: Messrs. T. Swindall (chairman), L. Perkins, C. Bates, C. E. Bayes, C. W. Horrell, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.
were presented for:
House on the St. Crispin Estate, Wellingborough-road, for Mr. H. Mead, and passed.
Enlargement of a barn at 106, Harborough-road, and passed.
Coal barn at the rear of “Roseneath,” Wellingborough-road, for Mr. A. Allebone, and passed.
Sheds at the rear of house on the Newton-road for Mr. H. Dixon, and no exception taken.
Garage at the rear of 65, Harborough-road, for Mr. John Sayer, and no exception taken.
Garage in Harborough-road for Mr. F. J. Sharwood, and passed.
Garage adjoining 27, Carnegie-street, for Mr. J. Joyce, and no exception taken.
Additions to surgery in Park-road for Dr. C. R. Owen, and passed.
Paint-shop at the rear of 20, Winchester-road, for Mr. F. J. Randall, and no exception taken.
Herring-curing loft at the rear of 91, High-street South, for Mr. A. Coleman, and no exception taken.
Washbrook-Road Railway Bridge
The sub-committee appointed to inspect the roadway over this bridge reported that it was impracticable to construct a footpath at present, and suggested that the Railway Company be asked to allow an inspector to meet the committee on the site and consider the matter.
The committee approved the suggestion.
The question of enclosing the triangle at the Higham-road end of this road was again considered, and it was resolved to defer the matter until the improvement at the corner is taken in hand.
Mr. Green having agreed to accept the Council’s terms, the Surveyor was instructed to proceed with the rounding-off of both the corners at the top of the Hayway according to the plans submitted to the last meeting.
The report was adopted.
Finance and Estates Committee
A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, March 7th, 1923, at 10 a.m., when there were present: Messrs. T. Swindall (chairman), L. Perkins, C. Bates, C. E. Bayes, J. Hornsby, F. Knight, and T. Wilmott.
Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts
A number of accounts amounting to £1,451 8s. 11d. were examined and passed for payment.
Housing Loan, £3,000
The Clerk reported the receipt of the formal sanction of the Ministry of Health to the borrowing by the Council of the sum of £3,000 for a period of 60 years.
He had received an offer of the loan from the Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society, Ltd., at £4 15s. per cent., subject to repayment on six months’ notice from either side.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to accept the offer.
A letter was received from the Ministry of Transport with regard to the application by the Council for a contribution towards the Surveyor’s salary, and it was resolved that the matter be considered at a meeting of the whole Council in Committee to be held on Wednesday next at 6.45 p.m.
The Clerk submitted a letter from the local branch of the British Legion asking the Council to receive a deputation on the subject of the Prince of Wales’s Fund.
The Clerk was instructed to reply that the committee could not see that any useful purpose would be served by acceding to the request.
General District Rate
The question of the amount of the general district rate for the ensuing half-year was considered. It appeared from figures supplied by the Clerk that the rate could be reduced by 1s. 4d. in the £ for the year 1923-24, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Rates Clerk to prepare a rate at 3s. 4d. in the £ for the period to Sept. 30th next.
Local Government and Other Officers Superannuation Act, 1922
A circular was received from the Ministry of health with regard to this Act, giving information as to the procedure in case the Council decided to adopt it. It appeared that no local authority could adopt the Act unless they had in their service not less than 50 officers or servants occupying posts proposed to be designated as established posts for the purposes thereof; a number of authorities could, however, be amalgamated for such purposes. The Clerk was instructed to inquire what other Councils in the immediate neighbourhood were doing in the matter and report to the next meeting.
The report was adopted.
The Chairman said he was sure that the inhabitants of the town would be pleased to know that the rate would be lowered, although by only a small amount.
The Clerk, replying to several members, said that the actual reduction was 8d. on the district rate and 6d. on the poor rate. The Rushden Overseer was in a very good position.
Health and Sanitary Committee
A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, March 7th, 1923, when there were present: Messrs. L. Perkins (chairman), T. Swindall, C. Claridge, G. W. Coles, J. Hornsby, and Fred Knight.
Health and Sanitary Reports
The report of the Medical Officer for the month of February was received.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that during the past month 29 nuisances had been dealt with, of which eleven had been abated. Of the outstanding nuisances, 23 had now been abated.
The Inspector also reported that the walls and ceilings on the ground floor of 2, Washbrook-road, were in a dirty and bad state of repair, thereby causing a nuisance.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve a notice on the owner requiring the nuisance to be abated within 28 days.
The Inspector further reported that the drain and flushing cistern at 26, Oakley-road, were in a defective condition, thereby causing a nuisance. It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve a notice on the owner requiring him to abate the nuisance within 28 days.
The head of a pig and a quantity of meat offal, all voluntarily surrendered, had been found to be diseased and unfit for human consumption, and destroyed in the usual way. The weight was 1 qr. 15lb.
Following a case of infectious disease one room had been disinfected and also a quantity of bedding.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work and inspections during the past month.
Factory and Workshop Act
The Inspector also reported 47 out-workers’ lists had been received, 22 of which contained the names of 102 out-workers, seven of which number were working outside the district.
The Inspector also reported that the backway of Sartoris, Irchester, and Wellingborough roads was without proper paving and drainage to carry off the surface-water, thereby causing the road to be in a very bad condition. Certain of the adjoining owners were prepared to bear their portion of the cost of doing the necessary work, but others were not.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve notices on the owners requiring them forthwith to put the road in a proper state of repair.
An application was received from Mr. D. Nicholson for a renewal of his petrol licence, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto.
An application was also received from Mr. F. W. Saunders, of 22, High-street South, for a licence to store 50 gallons of petrol at the rear of his premises in an iron-covered, brick store 20ft. from the nearest dwelling-house.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to issue the licence.
An application was received from Messrs. G. Chettle and Sons for a renewal of their slaughterhouse and knackers’ yard licence, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to agree.
Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act, 1919
The Clerk reported the receipt of a further letter from the Clerk to the County Council stating that the appropriate committee of the County Council had again had under consideration the position with regard to the delegation of the powers and duties of the County Council to the various local authorities in the county. There were now only two Councils which had not accepted such delegation, and the committee expressed the hope that this Council would reconsider their decision and consent to accept delegation in order that uniformity of methods of administration throughout the county could be secured.
The committee considered the matter at length, and ultimately resolved to recommend the Council, seeing that the majority of authorities had so decided, to accept delegation of the powers and duties of the County Council under the Act.
The question of the appointment of an officer to administer the Act was adjourned for a future meeting.
With regard to the proposal to acquire portion of the site of the Clerk’s house in Newton-road for a street improvement and the provision of public lavatories, it was resolved that a sub-committee consisting of Messrs. Swindall, Hornsby, and Knight be appointed to view the site, stump out the ground required, have a plan prepared and then submit to the Church authorities, with a view to negotiations being entered into with the latter for the purchase of the land required.
The report was adopted.
A Public Improvement
Referring to the last item of the above report, Mr. Perkins said that every member of the Sanitary Committee was determined to see the project through, if possible. The Church authorities, in response to their request, had already met and had agreed to negotiate for the purchase by the Urban Council of the land and property referred to. The Council were trying to do two things at once. Public lavatories were much needed, and the improvement they proposed to effect at the corner would make it much less dangerous.
The Chairman said he was pleased that they had had such a favourable report. (Hear, hear.)
A petition was received from the local master butchers requesting the Council to take steps to regulate the closing of their shops as follows: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7 p.m.; Thursdays, 1 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.
On the proposition of Mr. Coles, seconded by Mr. Wilmott, it was agreed to comply with the request.
The Rushden Labour Party
wrote calling the attention of the Council to what they contended were unfair rents of the new Council houses, having regard to the reduction of wages and widespread unemployment. Other authorities were successfully petitioning the Government to reduce the rents, and the Labour Party urged the Rushden Council to take the necessary action to obtain the same result.
Mr. Spencer moved that the Council try to get the rents reduced by 15 per cent. He said that the Housing Committee had not been satisfied that the rents enforced were fair. The Health Ministry had said that the houses should be rented according to other houses of a similar type in the town. He contended that the rents of the new houses were higher than similar houses in the town by about 2s. a week. The houses were largely, if not entirely occupied by ex-Servicemen, and from that standpoint alone the Council should not be in favour of penalising the tenants. The tenants must find the rents very burdensome.
Mr. Bates seconded.
Mr. Wilmott said that Rushden had gained greater advantage than any other place in the county by “compounding” the houses. He did not know of any other houses that were let so cheaply.. There was 1s. 2d. to come off, and that would reduce the rents to 8s. 2d. He was well aware that the people had suffered from lack of work, and it would be nice if the Council could let the houses free of rent, but they must deal with the houses alike.
Mr. Spencer said he was told the rents were 10s. 2d.
Mr. H. Lack, who came into the Council meeting at the request of the chairman, gave the rents as follow:- Newton-road estate non-parlour type, three bedrooms, 10s. 2d.; parlour type, three bedrooms, 12s. 8d.; parlour and four bedrooms, 14s. 10½d.; four houses of the compounding type, each 8s. 1½d. King’s-road estate smaller houses, 7s. 0½d. (formerly 4s. 9d.); next size, 8s. 6d. (formerly 5s. 9d.); larger size, 8s. 10½d.
Mr. Perkins asked Mr. Lack which type of house in King’s-road compared with a type in Newton-road for accommodation.
Mr. Lack said that the 8s. 10½d. houses in King’s-road were about equal to the 10s. 2d. houses in Newton-road.
Mr. Wilmott: But the latter have more garden?
Mr. Lack: I believe so.
Mr. Hornsby supported the proposition, and said he did not approve of the paying of an “inhabited house duty.” He thought they would be wise in asking the Ministry to allow the decrease.
Mr. Horrell said he wondered if it would help if the Council asked for permission to build other houses. They had to bear in mind the time when the present houses were built.
Mr. Coles: Eight more houses will soon be completed. They will be much cheaper. What are we going to do about it?
Mr. Swindall said that the committee were going to meet to consider that question. If the Council made application and the Ministry agreed, the Ministry, and not the Council, would bear the loss.
The motion was carried.
The Clerk said it would mean 15 per cent. off the gross, and not off the net, rent.
Mr. Perkins asked that all the business of the Housing Committee come before the full Council for final approval.
Members said that all but the business of letting was reported.
The manager of the Labour Exchange notified the Council that the number of male unemployed persons on the register was 347.
Mr. Horrell said that last time there were 200. The figures included Higham and Rushden. At a meeting of the committee the previous night it was thought that the Council might like to have the figures in case of any works to find employment.
It was agreed to again make application for a certificate of “acute unemployment,” in view of the increase, and, if successful, to consider schemes of public improvement.
Mr. H. Felce, a deputation from the British Legion, complained of cases where, he said, men who wanted houses had been refused when they asked to have their names put on the waiting list. He also contended that cases were not dealt with on their merits.
The Council promised to consider his complaint.
Damage to The Town War Memorial
A special meeting of the Rushden Urban District Council was held on Monday; present: Messrs. T. Swindall, J.P. (chairman), L. Perkins, B.Sc. (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., T. Wilmott, C. E. Bayes, C. Claridge, F. Corby, and J. Hornsby, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), and the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin).
The Council authorised the seal to the housing mortgage of £3,000 at £4 15s. per cent. from the Rushden Co-operative Society, repayable in 60 years.
The retiring Overseers, Messrs. B. Ladds, L. Baxter, F. Green, and F. J. Sharwood, were re-elected.
The Church Clock
The Chairman said he would like to draw the attention of the Council to the question of renovating the face of the church clock. It would seem that someone had known that the Council were going to deal with the matter, as a writer had mentioned it in The Rushden Echo. The last time the work was done was in 1902, and it certainly needed doing again. There were three tenders received, the lowest being Messrs. W. Packwood and Son’s at £6 10s., which included painting the face black and the hands and figures painted with one coat of white paint and one coat of gold size. At Wellingborough and other places the clock face was painted black to show up the figures plainer.
Mr. Mason said he was quite sure that the Church authorities would strongly object to the stonework of the face being blackened.
Mr. Swindall said that the Council would not wish to do anything that the Church authorities would disapprove of.
It was agreed that the lowest tender be accepted and that the face be left untouched, the figures and hands only to be painted and gilded.
War Memorial Damage
Mr. Knight said that very considerable damage had been done recently to the beautiful surroundings of the War Memorial. The gardens were very much appreciated by the townsfolk, especially the old people. Adults always treated the place with the greatest respect and helped to look after it. On Saturday and Sunday nights during the past winter a crowd of youngsters had been carrying on a lot of rowdyism and rough play, particularly in jumping off the backs of seats on to the grass. Several patches had thus been rendered bare and ugly and had had to be returfed. Now the damage had been remedied it was essential that the place should be kept free of such youths. Only the previous night there were about 20 boys carrying on the same disgraceful conduct, the Council employee who was present finding it impossible to keep them in control. If the public knew that the Council would deal severely with the first offender they caught, it might have some effect.
Mr. Claridge and Mr. Wilmott said that they had seen the same thing. Mr. Wilmott said that at Bedford the beautiful gardens by the river were never damaged now probably because the Town Council had made an example of the first offender.
Mr. Claridge: We cannot lock it up.
Mr. Wilmott: No, and we don’t want to.
After further discussion it was agreed that the police be informed of the feeling of the Council on the matter, and the Clerk was instructed to report at a future meeting on the advisability of drafting new bye-laws applicable to the memorial and site.
Cheques were signed and payments authorised to the end of the financial year.