|Rushden Echo and Argus, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
September - October 1933
15th September, 1933
Housing Policy and the New Act
In a brief discussion at the Rushden Urban District Council’s meeting on Wednesday it was indicated that the progress of housing, so far as Council enterprise is concerned, may be held up as a result of the new Housing Act.
Members learned that after a busy season of 35,000 “dips” the Public Swimming Bath has answered satisfactorily to a bacteriological test. They heard, also, that the Hall and its grounds are to be illuminated by floodlighting next Sunday and during the Feast.
The members in attendance were Mr. John Spencer, J.P. (in the chair), Ald. C. W. Horrell (vice-chairman), Dr. D. G. Greenfield, Messrs. W. C. Tarry, T. F. B. Newberry, J. Roe, Arthur Allebone, C.C., F. Green, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, L. Tysoe, L. Perkins, M.B.E., T. Swindall, A. Wilmott, G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Hornsby and J. T. Richardson.
The Parks, Baths, and Hall Committee had given instructions for the sale of the fruit at the Hall gardens.
They had also received tenders for the painting of the four greenhouses, and accepted that of Messrs. Jacques and Timpson at £13 16s. 8d., the lowest.
Mr. Coles said the fruit was mainly apples and pears that were becoming ripe now. A few minor repairs were wanted at the greenhouses.
Mr. Fletcher, of Irchester-road, was thanked for giving a case of three doves for exhibition at the museum.
Mr. Coles said they proposed opening the Museum for an extra hour of Feast Saturday and Feast Monday; that would be from 2 5 instead of from 2 4 p.m.
Remarking that it was near the end of the season, Mr. Coles said he had a few particulars in connection with the swimming baths that he thought the Council would be interested in.
During the season, the number of children who attended and paid 1d. each was 5,610; children paying 2d. 8,814; adults 10,579; non-bathers paying for admission 961, and children from the schools 5,978. There were 92 season ticket holders, at 7s. 6d. each, and these tickets were used 3,449 times. The grand total was 35,391, and the money taken £270 4s. 4d., with an additional £24 8s. due from the County Council in respect of the schoolchildren.
At Spencer Park, Mr. Coles added, the receipts were: Hard tennis courts £45 15s., grass courts £50 4s., putting green £40 1s. 8d., bowling greens £78 10s., total £215 10s. 8d.
Mr. Coles then announced that the Rushden Gas Company had made an offer, without charging a penny piece, to floodlight Rushden Hall and also the landscape at the Hall grounds. This had been accepted with thanks, and the Company proposed to carry out the floodlighting on Sunday next, September 17th, and to repeat it on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, September 23rd, 24th and 25th. The committee proposed on those dates to keep the grounds open until 9 o’clock at night, and the Company had kindly offered to put two lights in the drive so that people could see their way.
“I think that with a magnificent offer like this we ought to extend to the Company our sincere thanks,” said Mr. Coles.
Ald. Horrell seconding, a vote of thanks was carried.
The Medical Officer (Dr. O. A. J. N. Muriset) reported that since the last meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee two samples of water had been taken one in the morning and the other in the afternoon from the swimming bath, and submitted to the laboratory at the Northampton General Hospital for bacteriological examination.
The result in each case was quite satisfactory.
Mr. Tysoe said he was rather pleased to see there had been an examination of the water in the baths, because they had had several people criticise at various times. The examination was completely satisfactory.
“Has there been any complaint this season with regard to the drinking water?” asked Mr. Richardson. “Up the Harborough way they have been complaining of sand in the water, and other things, and I would like to know if there is any reason to be given for it.”
The Chairman: I am not a member of the Water Board, but I should say they have been making connections of some kind, and the sand has got in.
Dr. Greenfield protested that if there was anything which proved unsatisfactory, surely the obvious course was to bring a specimen of the water down to the Sanitary Inspector; those concerned would then do their utmost to see that it was remedied.
The Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper) said the condition of the water was probably due to some crustation on the interior surface of the mains.
Dr. Greenfield: To whom do we lodge a complaint for the Water Board? Is it Mr. Lloyd?
The Chairman: Yes, the Surveyor is the proper person.
Cost of Lighting
The Lighting Sub-committee reported that the additional early week of full street lighting would mean an extra cost of £6 13s. 4d. The question of the date for the cessation of full lighting was adjourned.
Mr. Wilmott said he hoped the extension would be appreciated. “We can control the light, but we can’t control the moon,” he remarked.
Housing Policy - Loss of Subsidy
Mr. Richardson said they had no report from the Housing Committee this month, but he would like to know what was the feeling of the Council with regard to the further development of the housing estate. It seemed to him from the applicants who were continually appealing that there was a great need for them to continue the housing scheme.
Mr. Allen, as chairman of the Housing Committee, replied that it would be seen from the minutes of the last monthly Council meeting that they did consider the point, and the committee agreed to defer any further consideration of the 1933 Act, as they did not think they could build houses at the prices to be paid under that particular Act of Parliament.
The chairman agreed that there was a demand, and thought that when the present work was completed the committee should consider how near they could get to the prices required.
Mr. Perkins: As you all know, the Government subsidy of £7 10s. per annum has gone. Until you have a change of government and you know where you are going to be, it will be unwise of the Council to hurry. You don’t expect Parliamentary laws to go on for ever they are not the laws of the Medes and Persians. If we build houses without that subsidy it means three shillings more per week for rent. You can either build bad houses and charge three shillings less, or you can build good houses and charge three shillings more. I shall be very strongly opposed to building houses of a low type that will disgrace the town a few years after we have put them up.
There was no further comment, and the discussion ended.
The members had received copies of a report prepared by Mr. Spencer, Mr. Roe and the Acting Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) on the Urban Councils Association conference at Ilfracombe.
When comments were invited, Mr. Wilmott observed: “I have read it, Mr. Chairman, and I think they had a very good time.” (Laughter).
Ald. Horrell, moving a vote of thanks to the delegates, said the Council was greatly indebted to them for the time they had given and the way they had reported on the proceedings of the conference. The report was very interesting reading.
Mr. Allebone seconded, and the vote was carried.
Mr. Spencer replied for the delegates and said the conference was interesting and very useful. He thought that if members were sent every year it would be very helpful to the Council.
Slaughter of Animals
The Acting Clerk reported that the Slaughter of Animals Act, 1933, which comes into force on the 1st January, 1934, requires that animals in slaughterhouses and knackers’ yards are to be stunned before slaughter, and that the stunning shall be by a mechanically operated instrument, which is defined to include an electrical instrument. This requirement, however, will not apply to sheep and lambs unless the Local Authority apply it by resolution, while goats can be excluded by resolution. The requirement applies to pigs, but, if electrical energy is not available, this is a defence to proceedings, unless the prosecution show that it could reasonably be made available.
The Act also places on Local Authorities the new duties of licensing slaughter men.
The Health and Sanitary Committee deferred the consideration of the Act until their next meeting.
Mr. Allebone was re-elected to represent the Council on the panel of Traffic Commissioners for the area.
Permission was given for the Rushden Thursday F.C. and the Co-operative Society F.C. to use a Spencer Park pitch on alternate Thursdays during the season at a charge of £2 each.
Building plans were as follows: House, Wymington-road, Mrs. C. J. Newton; house, Purvis-road, Mr. G. A. Inwood; four houses, Shirley-road (amended plan), Mr. John White; store shed, Shirley-road, the Rushden and District Electric Supply Co., Ltd.; addition to No. 107, High-street, Mr. R. Cox; wooden shed, Graveley-street, Messrs. A. Austin and Co.
The Council learned that in order to secure a place on the King’s National Roll it was necessary for them to employ at least five per cent. of disabled ex-Service men. The Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) was instructed to give effect to the requirement if possible.
A return of factory outworkers contained the names of 31 persons.
13th October, 1933
Excellent Record Of Rate-Payers
Mr. John White wishes to build a suite of offices on the Newton-road frontage, and has asked the Rushden Urban District Council to remove the public lavatories erected there a few years ago. At Wednesday’s meeting of the Council it was stated that nothing had yet been settled, but a report was promised for next month.
A warm tribute to the ratepayers was paid by Mr. Arthur Allebone, who pointed out that only 5s. 6d. of last year’s rates arrears had to be wiped off as irrecoverable.
The members present were Mr. John Spencer, J.P. (in the chair), Ald. C. W. Horrell (vice-chairman), Dr. D. G. Greenfield, Messrs. W. C. Tarry, T. F. B. Newberry, J. Roe, A. Allebone, C.C., J. Allen, W. E. Capon, L. Tysoe, L. Perkins, M.B.E., T. Swindall, A. Wilmott, C. Claridge, G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Hornsby and J. T. Richardson.
Mr. Millington’s Death
The meeting opened with a tribute to the late Mr. H. A. Millington, who died suddenly on Tuesday while attending a public inquiry at Northampton.
“Most of you,” said Mr. Spencer, “are aware of the tragic circumstances at Northampton, of the passing of Mr. H. A. Millington, the Clerk to the County Council. I rise to-night to move a vote of sympathy to send to his relatives.
“Mr. Millington was a man who bore a very high character and was very approachable. He was very attentive to public business, and undoubtedly the strain of late had been more than his body could bear. His dealings with our Council have always been carried out in a very cordial manner, and there has never been any difficulty so far as he was concerned.”
At the Chairman’s request the members endorsed his tribute by standing in silence.
Adopting the suggestion of the Ministry of Health, the Housing Committee recommended the convening of a conference of local builders, building societies, public utility societies and others interested in the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1933.
Speaking as chairman of the Housing Committee, Mr. Allen said that under the present conditions, and in consideration of the number of applicants they had on their housing list, it seemed that if the conference should prove abortive the Council would have to take some steps to consider a further housing policy.
Mr. Coles said he wondered if the Housing Committee would bear Mr. Allen’s remark in mind and if the conference should prove a failure act upon it without waiting for a resolution from the next Council meeting. He suggested that the committee should be empowered to consider a further supply of houses.
The Chairman: I think this is the first step we can take, and the matter has to be reported to the Ministry before anything further can be done.
Newton Road Scheme
A letter from Mr. John White, boot manufacturer, stated that he had plans in course of preparation for a very fine suite of offices, adjoining his Newton-road factories and facing the Newton-road, which, he claimed, would add greatly to the aspect of that part of the town. Before he proposed to proceed with these extensions he would like the Council to consider the removal of the public lavatories, as he could not entertain the idea of erecting buildings of the type he had in mind while the lavatories occupied their present position.
The Plans and Highways Committee agreed to interview Mr. White before coming to a decision.
Mr. Wilmott said that Mr. White wanted to erect a fine suite of offices. “The Committee,” he added, “have interviewed Mr. White, and he gave us his plans and what he thinks about doing. There is nothing definitely settled. We are going to see him again and go into the matter, and a report will be given next month.
Mr. Perkins: I wish to suggest that before the question is brought before the Council it should be considered by the whole Council in committee. It is too big a matter to be brought up in the usual routine. We can speak more freely in an informal committee meeting than in Council, when we can speak only once on a resolution.
Mr. Wilmott: We were all satisfied and all wanted to do what we could for Mr. White. I think when you know you will be well satisfied with what is brought forward. The Chairman agreed to adopt Mr. Perkins’ suggestion.
Minutes of the Council in committee revealed the appointment of a whole-time officer at a salary of £4 per week, to carry out the work of housing inspection on the Council’s estates. The officer selected was Mr. J. A. Norris, who has been temporarily in the Council’s employ as a rating assistant, and the appointment is to be reviewed at the end of six months.
A report explained that the new officer would collect about 25 per cent. of the rents each week, which would mean that so far as collection was concerned he would visit the whole of the houses monthly. He would interview tenants with regard to arrears, periodically inspect the houses with a view to compliance with regulations, investigate complaints, report as to repairs, and take charge of the list of applicants for houses, recommending suitable tenants for casual vacancies.
The Finance Committee mentioned that with the exception of 5/6, excused on the ground of poverty, the whole of the rates arrears for the half-year ended March 31st had been paid. Calling attention to the rate arrears account, Mr. Allebone said the only amount they were asking the Council to write off as irrecoverable was 5/6, and he thought he should be in order in taking that opportunity of congratulating not only the collector and his staff for showing such a wonderful balance-sheet, but the whole of the rate-payers of Rushden, on whom it reflected very great credit.
“I often read other authorities’ balance-sheets,” added Mr. Allebone, “and I think this is a very creditable one to bring before you. I only hope that when I bring forward the ‘budget’ for 1934-35 it will show an equally creditable position.”
Under the Slaughter of Animals Act, 1933, which comes into force on January 1st, 1934, and requires that animals to be slaughtered must first be stunned by a mechanical instrument, the Health and Sanitary Committee recommended the Council to adopt a resolution specifying such treatment for sheep, which otherwise would be excluded. Mr. Tysoe said the Council proposed that the Act should apply to all animals slaughtered in Rushden. The resolution was carried.
Tenders were received for increased office accommodation at the Council Buildings, in accordance with the plans and specifications already approved by the whole Council in committee, and that of Messrs. W. Packwood and Sons at £667, the lowest, was accepted.
A letter from Mr. R. Rusting, on behalf of Messrs. A. E. Craig and Co., Ltd., enquired if, in the event of their developing the portion of the Rushden Hall Estate at the rear of Messrs. Claridge’s factory, the Council would be prepared to bear half the expense of making up the roadway on the east side of the Hall Grounds. The Acting Clerk was instructed to reply that the Council could not see their way clear to incur the expense.
The Rates Clerk was instructed to prepare a rate of 5/3 in the £ for the half-year. Mr. Beetenson said the amount of the rate was £16,771/18/3. The Chairman observed that the Finance Committee’s report was very satisfactory.
Building plans for the month were as follows: House, Kimbolton-road, for Mr. J. F. Hollis; house, Park-avenue, Messrs. A. Sanders, Ltd., house, Higham-road, Mr. Chas. Ette; house, High-street South, Mr. F. Barker; improvement at 6, Prospect-avenue, Mr. J. C. Turner; garage, Wentworth-road, Messrs. T. Swindall and Sons; switch room at factory in Park-place, Messrs. John White, Ltd; wooden garage, College-street, Mr. A. E. Walton; wooden garage, Wymington-road, Mr. W. Coult; wooden shed, Newton-road, Mr. S. Parker; house, Birchall-road, Mr. W. Timpson.
The Housing Committee reported that tenants had been selected for the remainder of the houses in Highfield-road.
In consequence of rent arrears it was decided to serve notice to quit on three tenants and send warning letters to others.
The Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper) reported that a further specimen of water from the public swimming bath had been submitted for bacteriological examination and chemical analysis, with satisfactory results.
In his quarterly report the Veterinary Inspector stated that he visited 18 premises and inspected 181 cows, the whole of which were clinically normal, and the majority in good condition. The report was considered very satisfactory.
The Farm Sub-Committee reported that the sale of crops, which took place on October 2nd, realised £114 12s. 6d a considerable increase on last year.
Tenders for daywork carting were accepted from Messrs. Holley and B. Folkes.
The Council agreed to the erection of a telephone kiosk in College-street by the Post Office authorities.