|The Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th May 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
No Prayers at Council Meetings
Decision Made in Private
Scheme Extended to Cover Most of Population
Prayers will not be offered at the meetings of the Rushden Urban Council.
Raised last month by councillor Paragreen and referred to a special committee consisting of Messrs. Cox, Capon, Roe and Paragreen, the proposal was brought to a decision in camera at the Council’s meeting on Wednesday.
The question was mentioned at the completion of the agenda when the chairman announced the conclusion of the public business.
Councillor Weale said he wanted to ask if the chairman’s ruling was correct with regard to the questions of open prayers and a proposed footpath diversion being dealt with in committee.
The minutes of the April Council meeting recorded that the question of prayers, on which the special committee would report, would be taken “after the completion of the public business,” but they did not say “in committee,” and he would suggest that both matters be dealt with in open Council.
“I don’t think any of us are afraid of our opinions on any subject,” he added.
“A Fine Point”
The Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson): May I point out that the reference of the first item specifically stated that the matter should be considered in private and not in public? With regard to the second, the committee recommended that it be taken after the public business, and that has already been adopted by the Council this evening.
Councillor Weale: I still fail to see. We have passed these minutes of the last meeting, and they do not say “in committee.” I move that we deal with this matter forthwith. I think I am in order in asking that it should be dealt with in open Council.
The Clerk: The public business is ended.
Councillor Weale: It is a very fine point, Mr. Chairman.
The Clerk: The difficulty can be got over if it is moved that we resolve into committee.
The Chairman (Councillor T. W. Cox): To clear the whole matter I shall now move that the Council resolve itself into committee.
Seconding, Councillor Sugars said: “I think you are quite right in taking that stand on the agenda, and that is how I should conduct it myself.”
The resolution was carried without dissent and the Council went into committee, the Clerk afterwards informing the Press that after some discussion Councillor Paragreen, with the consent of his seconder, Councillor Spencer, had withdrawn his resolution recommending prayers at the monthly meetings.
Footpath to Stay
The other point considered in committee was the application of the Nene Valley Sand and Gravel Co. for approval of the diversion of the footpath leading from Grange Farm to Ditchford in accordance with a plan submitted. The Highways Committee had referred it to the full Council in view of its “very great importance.”
On this question the Clerk announced “After consideration of the whole of the circumstances it was decided not to accede to the application.”
Many More Shelters
On advice from the Ministry of Home Security it was agreed to provide domestic shelters for all inhabitants who were eligible about 85 per cent of the population. Mr. Surridge, the architect employed by the Council, has been instructed by the War Emergency Committee to make the necessary survey of the North, East, South and West areas, in that order.
As the Regional Officer has given the opinion that the district is not one likely to be subjected to heavy and continuous raiding, it was agreed that Rushden need not remain on the dormitory list, which entails the provision of sleeping bunks in public shelters. The W.E.C. suggested, however, that some of the bunks already received should be retained and placed in the shelters for the use of children.
Delay in the adaptation of basements for shelter purposes was explained by the news that the original tender had been withdrawn.
Councillor Bailey asked whether the chairman of the War Emergency Committee could give any information about the siren in Park-road.
“I was listening last week,” he said, “to a broadcast by a Cabinet Minister, and we were asked to attack, and attack vigorously, any complacency that appeared in our midst. I think that in this we have a startling example. Our Clerk has made repeated efforts, and I think that if we cannot get satisfaction through the ordinary channels it should be referred to the Ministry.”
Councillor Capon said he did not see that they could do any more, the position being that they were waiting for the Government to finish the job. Many representations had been made, both officially and unofficially.
The Chairman: We understand we must wait until the telephone people can find the material and time to fix the line.
In view of an increasing amount of work devolving on the Council’s officers and staff in connection with the A.R.P. and Wardens’ Services it was decided to engage another female assistant at a wage of £2 7s.
Councillor Allebone: We have been told that the clerk has already commenced duties. Doesn’t this have to be referred to the County A.R.P. Committee to rank for grant?
The Clerk: That has already been done, and they have decided to make a grant.
Councillor Allebone: Is the grant 75 per cent?
The Clerk: It is rather more than that.
It was agreed to recommend to the County Council that Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Irthlingborough should have a joint establishment for the decontamination of foodstuffs affected by poison gas. Efforts to find a suitable building had failed, and the erection of a new building in Station-road was suggested. It was also proposed to include a department for general decontamination work.
When the Health and Sanitary Committee’s report was received, Councillor Spencer said he wondered if at some time or other the Medical Officer could attend the Council meetings. The doctor used to attend regularly, but he had not been for some time. It appeared from the reports that the health of the town was satisfactory, but they were all deeply interested in the question, and he certainly thought the officer might attend occasionally.
Dr. Davis: He attends the Health and Sanitary Committee meetings, and that is when he is useful. If it is necessary for him to come to the Council meeting I am quite sure he will come, I don’t think it is necessary for him to come to the Council meetings.
Considerable progress was shown in the annual report of the librarian (Miss Marion Perkins). Books issued during the 12 months ended March 31 totalled 95,356, compared with 74,944 in the previous year, and the highest monthly totals all over 9,500 were in November, January and March. There were 59,218 adult fiction issues, 14,138 adult non-fiction, 17,112 juvenile fiction and 4,888 juvenile non-fiction.
Additions to stock numbered 1,317, making the total 7,159 of which, however, 4,659 were not in circulation.
Local membership rose from 3,072 to 3,815 (including 964 juveniles) and evacuee membership from 282 to 578 (including 391 juveniles). There were also 30 non-resident members, paying 1s each quarterly.
“Gone With the Wind” was most in demand on the bespoken list, and “Mein Kampf” was also in demand. In seven cases the caretaker had to call for books not returned.
The Library Committee accepted with thanks from Mr. L. H. Chambers, of St. Albans, a copy of the monumental inscriptions in the Rushden churchyard.
In view of the increasing work at the Library it was decided to employ a second junior assistant.
Councillor Weale suggested that the Library Committee should see if they could reserve a room for writing. He had noticed that a number of people used the reading room for writing, and he thought it might be possible to accommodate them properly either in the ladies room, or at one of the tables in the magazine room.
The Chairman: I don’t think there would be any objection to it if it can be arranged without interference with the reference room.
Mrs. Muxlow said she would bring the suggestion before the committee, though she did not know whether the ladies room could be used.
Salvage returns for April were: Paper, 6 ton 12½ cwt; heavy scrap iron, 2 ton 8 cwt; light scrap iron, 1 ton 4 cwt; bagging, 1 ton 1½ cwt; bones, 10 cwt; bottles and jars, 119 dozen.
The Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) stated that work had begun on the collection of kitchen waste. Through the assistance of Mrs. Muxlow 12 bins had been placed in suitable positions to receive food scraps, and 12 additional bins were expected.
The Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. Piper) reported through the Health and Sanitary Committee the probability that some of the milk obtained by local purveyors from wholesalers outside the district was not of a high state of bacteriological purity when it arrived. He was instructed to try and secure the examination of the milk before dispatch.
The Clerk reported that he had arranged for the delivery of 121 steel helmets for fire watchers.
Rate arrears on March 31 were stated to total £39 10s 9d.
The Housing Manager (Mr. H. C. Allen) reported that the persons in illegal possession of a house in Tennyson-road had been ejected, and it was understood they had left the town.
Three tenants who had been served with notice to quit had liquidated their arrears, and the notices had therefore been withdrawn.
Rent arrears (£38) on the Council estates were declared by Councillor Green to be the lowest on record.
Approval was given to the erection of air-raid shelters for Messrs. Sanders and Sanders, the C.W.S. boot works, H. W. Chapman, Ltd., A. Allebone and Sons, Ltd., R. Tarry and Co., Ltd., and W. E. Sargent and Co., Ltd.
No Wage Increase
An application from the National Union of General and Municipal Workers for the wages of certain workmen to be increased was refused on the ground that the men were already being paid on the Grade C scale stipulated by the new schedule.
Appointments to the committee chairs were announced as follows: Housing, Councillor F. Green; War Emergency, Councillor W. E. Capon; Plans, Highways and Lighting, Councillor A. F. Weale; Library, Councillor Mrs. Muxlow; Health and Sanitary, Dr. R. W. Davis; Finance, Councillor E. A. Sugars.
Members in attendance were Councillor T. W. Cox, J.P. (chairman), W. J. Sawford (vice-chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., F. Green, Dr. R. W. Davis, Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. Spencer, J.P., J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, E. A. Sugars and J. T. Richardson.