|The Rushden Echo, 14th & 28th October 1898 , transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Mr. John Claridge presided at Wednesday night’s meeting, at which there were also present Messrs. F. Knight (vice-chairman), G. Denton, G. Miller, W. H. Wilkins, Paul Cave, B. Mortimer, G. H. Skinner, T. Swindall, G. Fountain, and W. H. Brawne, with the clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), the sanitary inspector (Mr. J. B. Martin), and the medical officer (Dr. Owen).
The minutes of the committee as follows:-
Cemetery Field The Chairman reported that the tenancy of the small field adjoining Park-road had now expired. It was resolved that the field be retained in hand, and the Cemetery Committee was instructed to have some shrubs and trees planted.
Sewage Land It was reported that Mr. Geo. Willmott’s tenancy of this land had expired, and in this case also it was resolved that the land be retained.
Water Supply Mr. Parker, solicitor, Wellingborough, wrote asking the Council’s intentions regarding the well in Mrs. Harris’s field at Wymington. The Clerk was instructed to reply that the Council were still pumping a small quantity of water from the well, pointing out that the tenants had received full compensation, and asking that the matter of assessment of damage so far as the owner was concerned should be postponed. The Clerk was also instructed to ask that the agreement with Lady Wantage, which expired on Sept. 30, might be continued for twelve months. The Surveyor was instructed to communicate with the engineer of the Midland Railway Co. with a view of obtaining permission to do such work as he might consider necessary for protecting the rising main passing over their land from frost.
New Well at Knuston Spinney The Surveyor reported progress, stating that at present there was no sign of water. Samples of the boring had been sent to Mr. Eunson and Mr. Cameron, and both gentlemen recommended that the boring be continued until the blue lias is reached. It was resolved on these recommendations that the boring be continued.
Manning’s-lane The surveyor submitted a scheme for the main drainage of the West-end of Mannings-lane, which was adopted.
Wooden Buildings The Surveyor reported several infringements of the building bye-laws in the erection of wooden buildings in various parts of the town. The question of wooden structures in general was referred to the Plans Sub-committee.
Park-road It was decided that the asphalting of the footpath on the east side of Park-road be completed as soon as possible.
The report was adopted.
Sewage Compensation Claims
The Finance Committee reported the receipt of claims for compensation by Messrs. Lilley, Skinner, and Sykes, Mr. Thomas Sanders, and Mr. Chas. Bayes, in respect of the construction of sewers by the Council across their respective lands. The original claims were:-
The committee reported that as the result of negotiations the claim of Mr. Sanders had been reduced to £40 and that of Mr. Bayes to £10. As modified, the committee considered the claims reasonable and recommended payment.
The committee concurred.
Contravention of Bye-Laws
Mr. Harry Knight, the architect for Mr. C. G. Ward, attended the Council “to show cause why Mr. Ward had not complied with the bye-laws.”
Mr. Knight said that some misunderstanding had arisen through the matter not having been explained earlier. If he had had an opportunity of explaining matters to the Council earlier he thought the misunderstanding might have been prevented. He produced a plan of the property.
The Chairman: Does that plan show that the work has been carried out according to the plans passed by the Council?
Mr. Knight said they covered no more space in the yard than the original plan passed. But tenders had been accepted before the plans were passed by the Council. For windows at the back he had in his quantities given a specified size, and the contractor had commenced these windows before the plans were actually passed. They had still got the air space at the back.
The Clerk said the work had been done in accordance with the plans which were first presented and rejected.
Mr. Knight said that no one could say he had tried to defy the Council.
The Chairman: No member has used the word “defy.” No one has gone so far as to say you defy the Council.
Mr. Denton: Does Mr. Ward propose to alter these buildings so as to comply with the bye-laws?
Mr. Knight said that if the Council would pass over the contravention of the bye-laws, Mr. Ward would be prepared to give the Council a strip of land in front of his two new shops in Newton-road, 200 odd feet in all.
After further discussion it was resolved to consider this matter in committee.
The seal of the Council was affixed to the mortgage deed with the West Ham Corporation for the loan of £4,130 for sewage purposes.
The Water Expert’s Bill
Mr. Mortimer said that at the last meeting he gave notice that he would call attention to the matter of the bill of Mr. Eunson’s costs. Through his instructions the Council had now spent about £750, and now they had gone on Mr. Skinner’s farm again. He thought it would cost them about £1,000 that year for the Wymington boring and the well on Mr. Skinner’s farm. As Mr. Eunson had not yet sent in his bill he (Mr. Mortimer) would like the Council to ask for it, so as to know how they stood. Both experiments were a failure as far as he could make out. He proposed that they ask for the bill.
The Chairman thought it would be time enough to ask for the bill when the boring on Mr. Skinner’s farm was complete. He thought Mr. Mortimer’s figures were too high. About £500 or £600 for the two experiments would be nearer.
On the suggestion of Mr. Denton, Mr. Mortimer said he would defer making his proposition until the next meeting.
Mr. Miller: I understand Mr. Eunson has been here to-day?
The Chairman: Yes. I think we had better discuss this matter in committee.
The Council then went into committee.
The Gas Company’s Bill
The meeting of the Urban Council on Wednesday night promised to be a very short routine meeting, but, although the business was concluded in good time, there was more of interest in the meeting than was promised by the agenda paper. The members present were:- Messrs. J. Claridge (chairman), F. Knight (vice-chairman), W. H. Wilkins, G. Denton, G. Miller, W. H. Brawne, J. Spencer, G. Fountain, B. Mortimer, G. H. Skinner, and T. Swindall, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason) and the Surveyor (Mr. Madin).
The minutes of the Committee were:-
Plans Were presented by Mr. J. Childs, of Kettering, for a shop front to a house in Wellingborough-road, and passed; Mr. J. W. Cooper, 2 houses in Queen-street, rejected for want of a proper plan; Mr. Charles Bull, seven houses in Harborough-road, passed, subject to the system of drainage being amended to the satisfaction of the Surveyor; Mr. Sparrow, 2 houses in Glassbrook-road, passed.
Harborough-road It was resolved that the necessary steps be taken for making good the portion of Harborough-road not at present a public highway, and that the Surveyor be instructed to report what works were necessary for this purpose.
Workmen’s Compensation Act It was resolved that the Council cover themselves against liability under this Act by insurance. The question of determining the Company in which the Council insure and the amount of insurance was referred to the Finance Committee, with power to act.
Trial hole at Knuston Spinney The Surveyor again reported progress. There was no sign of water at present. Letters were read from Mr. Eunson and Mr. Cameron, giving their opinion that the lias was not yet reached and recommending that the boring be continued to 130 feet. The latter gentlemen expressed a strong opinion that the water would yet be found there.
Water Supply Mrs. Harris Correspondence between Mrs. Harris’s solicitor and the Clerk was read. It was agreed to make her an offer of £12 to cover compensation to Sept. 29th last, and £10 per annum so long as the well is used.
Surveyor’s Clerk An application was received from Mr. Pratt for an increase of salary, and it was agreed that he be informed that the Council were prepared to grant an increase of 2s 6d per week from January 1st.
Gas Bill A general discussion on the subject of this Bill took place, and, upon the motion of Mr. Swindall, it was resolved that the matter be adjourned for consideration at a special meeting to be held on Thursday, 27th October.
Mr. C. G. Ward’s Infringement A Sub-committee, consisting of the chairman, vice-chairman, and Mr. Cave, were appointed to see Mr. Ward on this matter.
The Water Supply
With reference to the offer made by the Council to Mrs. Harris with regard to the well at Wymington, Mr. J. T. Parker, solicitor, wrote that Mrs. Harris demurred to the statement of the Council that she had suffered no damage. That was not the way to put it as the Council must be aware. They wanted the water, and it was usual and fair for them to pay for it under such circumstances. Mrs. Harris thought she had been treated in a way rather out of common, but she would accept £20 for the water up to September 29 last and £10 per annum in future, the Council to pay his (Mr. Parker’s) costs, which he put at two guineas.
Mr. Wilkins moved that the Council offer £15 for the water prior to September.
Mr. Brawne seconded the motion, which was carried.
The Clerk read a copy of the agreement with Lady Wantage with regard to the water supply, which agreement is to be continued for 12 months.
The Experimental Boring
The Chairman, referring to the experimental boring near Knuston Spinney, said he was sorry to say they were not making much progress. It was suggested that better tackle was needed, and the Surveyor got some fresh tackle from Wellingborough, but it proved unsuitable.
The Surveyor said the boring had been deepened six inches during the past week, the substance passed through being hard clay.
Mr. Skinner said it was of no use to throw money away with the tackle they had.
Mr. Fountain: Six inches means £6, I suppose?
The Surveyor: Well it costs about 16s a day. It takes four men to pull up the rods. We want some fresh tackle. We really want a crab.
Mr. Fountain: What is the present depth?
The Surveyor: 116ft 6in.
The Chairman: It is very unsatisfactory to go on spending money like this.
Mr. Skinner: We don’t seem to get any further.
Mr. Denton moved that the Surveyor discontinue boring at Knuston Spinney and inform Mr. Eunson that he had done so.
Mr. Mortimer seconded the motion, which was carried.
The Gas Company’s Bill
Mr. Denton, referring to this Bill said he hardly thought the Council were in a position to deal with the matter. He thought the subject would be considered at a meeting of the parishioners. They would be rightly blamed if they allowed the time for opposition to pass, if it was thought well to oppose the Bill.
Mr. Miller: We ought to have an expression of opinion from the town.
Mr. Spencer: Many of us have a mandate from the electors to purchase the gasworks if possible at a reasonable cost.
Mr. Denton thought they ought to convene a meeting quickly if they meant to do so. If they waited till the next Council meeting and to receive a report from the committee that was to meet on Thursday, the time would practically be past for proper opposition.
The Chairman: What is the latest time for opposing?
The Clerk said the Bill would not get before the Parliamentary committee till February, but even after the consent of the County Council was obtained to allow certain members of that Council to vote on the subject of opposition, it would take six weeks to get things in order.
The Chairman said there did not seem to be a great deal of interest taken on the subject in the town, but it was a question in which very great interest ought to be taken.
Mr. Denton asked whether he would be in order in moving that the Chairman convene a town’s meeting.
The Clerk: If you call such a meeting would you not really be committing yourselves to the opinion of the meeting?
Mr. Knight said they could do nothing until they had an expression of opinion from the town. It seemed to him that that was what they wanted before they could do anything as a Council.
Mr. Swindall: What are the Higham Ferrers people doing?
The Clerk: They have not yet considered the subject.
Mr. Swindall: If there is any opposition to be made, it should be made by the two authorities.
The Clerk: No doubt they would join.
The Chairman said he should certainly like an expression of opinion from the town, but he would like that opinion to be really the true expression of the town’s feeling.
The Clerk said that of course the real point at issue was with regard to the purchase of the gas-works for the town.
Mr. Spencer said he was prepared to move at the meeting on the following night that negotiations be entered into with the Gas Company to see upon what terms they would be prepared to sell the gas-works and withdraw their Bill. If they could enter into an agreement to purchase, they would save at least £500 through the withdrawal of the Bill.
A councillor having made a remark with reference to the purchase of the works by Rushden alone, Mr. Miller said that was a very knotty point. The real crux of the question seemed to lie in joint purchase by Rushden and Higham.
The Chairman ruled that the consideration of the matter must be deferred till the following night.
Mr. Spencer gave notice that at the next meeting of the Council he would move that in case the Council deemed it advisable in the future to issue contracts, a clause should be inserted to the effect that the workmen engaged should receive not less than the standard rate of wages paid in the district.