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The Evening Telegraph, 11th April, 1969, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Plan for a Face-Lift
Traders could benefit
High Street 1969
Part of Rushden High Street which could be in for
a complete overhaul in the not too distant future.

A massive plan to give Rushden a complete face-lift is being prepared by Rushden Amenities Society.

Their idea is to introduce a town colour scheme and in theory all the town’s shops and houses would be painted in colours which blend together and so “beautify” the place.

Talks within the Amenities Society have been going on for 12 months but it is only within the last seven days that they have revealed their plans.

The plan is still in its infancy but it has got past the discussion stage and concrete steps are now being taken.

Photographs of business properties and housing estates have been taken from which lined drawings are being made.

Exhibition

These are to be submitted to a colour specialist, in this case Mr. Osborne Robinson, who is an outstanding scenery designer at Northampton Repertory Theatre. His task will be to create the harmonious colour effect.

Once this has been done the Amenities Society plan to hold an exhibition at which traders, councillors and householders can judge for themselves the merits of the scheme.

The plan is not a new one but one which has been successfully carried out in Windsor and Faversham and other towns all over the country.

In these towns they have apparently been concerned with boosting the town’s trading potential and have had far more financial resources to call upon.

Rushden Amenities Society say their prime aim is to beautify the town. However, they are convinced that traders will benefit greatly if they are prepared to invest in the scheme.

Mrs. May Knight, last year’s Chamber of Trade president and a member of the Amenities Society, is all in favour of the idea but admits that it can only be done in stages at least as far as shops are concerned.

“If we can get a group of shops to have their fronts painted to a specific colour plan then I am sure other traders will be so impressed they will want to follow suit. But even so I do not think we shall get 100 per cent response. You always get the wreckers,” said Mrs. Knight.

She also pointed out that shops would only be willing to repaint when it was necessary to do so and that the cost would be fairly substantial.

Clive driving along High Street Arthur atop the van
Arthur atop Clive's van, taking photographs from which Clive did his sketches
compilation
Compilation of photographs by A J George from which Clive Wood did the artwork below

Artwork - Clive Wood - colours by Crown Paints
Title for the proposed scheme
N S S Ltd Newsagents - Abingtons - Express Dry Cleaners - Top-Value - Jan’s - Boots
The Rushden Echo office - centre
Currys - Evening Telegraph & Rushden Echo - Saxby's - G & M Briggs
Rose & Crown area
The Shoe Tree - Bovans - E J Dunkley - Rose & Crown
Artwork for the new shopfronts
His Clothes - The Gift Shop - Bugby - James Bros - A F Keech - Amos Horsborough
High Street north end
Marjorie's - Cox's - Art Centre & Gallery - Brown & Shouler - R K Wilbur & Son

The Rushden Echo, 18th April 1969, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Traders Divided Over a Face-Lift

Traders in Rushden’s High Street have mixed views over the plan being prepared by the town’s amenities society for a face-lift.

The society’s idea is to introduce a town colour scheme in which all the shops and houses would be painted in colours which blend together and so “beautify” the place.

A survey was carried out this week in the High Street to find out what the traders views were on the subject. Thirty traders were interviewed and asked four questions.

The results were as follows:

Question A: Do you think this face-lift is necessary? Yes, 17; No 13; Don’t know, 0.

Question B: Cost aside, would you support the scheme? Yes 14; No, 7; Don’t know, 9.

Question C: Could you afford this face-lift? Yes, 23; No, 2; Don’t know, 5.

Question D: Do you think it would help trade? Yes, 9; No, 21; Don’t know, 0.

The feeling of the majority of traders was the plan for a mere colour scheme for the High Street was only part of a complete change that had to come about.

Desirable

They felt that shop fronts and buildings would need to be altered to make the scheme wholly successful.

Many of the 43.4 per cent who felt that the scheme was not necessary did, however feel that it was desirable, so tacit support for the idea was slightly better than figures suggest.

The others thought that individuality was better than uniformity.

As far as actually supporting the scheme, 46.6 per cent said they definitely would and 23.3 per cent said they would not.

The remaining 30.1 per cent felt they were unable to commit themselves. Many of them thought that the scheme would never get off the ground.

Certainly there would, it appears from the survey, be no difficulty as regards cost. Some of the traders said they were already in the process of arranging to have their shops painted.

Beneficial

The cost of painting an average size shop is about £250 to £300.

One of the most interesting points revealed during the survey was that nearly all the traders felt that the face-lift would be beneficial to the town though not to themselves.

Seventy per cent said it would not help their trade but felt that it would “smarten up” the town. Shoppers are not interested in what the shop looks like but in the goods sold and the service provided, they said.

Some thought a face-lift would give the town a prosperous look, which would attract more people to the town. Many felt that a market in the town would attract even more.

Certainly the announcement that the amenities society is working on this plan has raised a certain amount of interest among the traders.

The success of the venture would depend a lot on whether or not those who were unable to commit themselves for the survey would eventually support it.

Rushden Amenities Society took another step forward with their proposed face-lift for the town when they decided to apply for a grant from the Civic Trust at their meeting this week.

The Civic Trust is basically an advisory body which has helped many amenities societies all over the country. They do, however, offer certain financial assistance but the sums of money involved are fairly small.

It is believed that Rushden Amenities Society will be applying for a grant of under £100 which is needed for some preliminary work the society are carrying out.

The work takes the form of a survey being done by Rushden photographer Mr. A. J. George, who will be photographing parts of Washbrook Road, Irchester Road, Wellingborough Road, Rectory Road, Bedford Road, Newton Road and High Street South.


 Evening Telegraph, 19 March 1970
New look for High Street
The scheme to give Rushden a gigantic face-lift, the brainchild of the town's Amenities Society, has now been completed and next Tuesday traders will have a chance to judge its merits. The idea is for all shops in the High Street to redecorate their premises to conform to a colour plan drawn up by a firm of experts.

During last summer Mr A J George photographed the High Street and from these pictures the society's secretary, Mr Clive Wood, produced line drawings which were sent to the colour specialists. Here Mr Wood studies a picture of the High Street as it could look in the near future. The plans will be on view for traders and council representatives on Tuesday and for the general public on Wednesday at the Queen Street schoolrooms.


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