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Lighting the Village

Wellingborough & Kettering News, December 4th, 1880, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden in Darkness
On Thursday evening last a vestry meeting, convened by the Rector (the Rev. Canon Barker), who presided, was held in the Vestry Hall. There were about a hundred parishioners present, including Mr. W. Wilkins, Mr. Edwin Knight, Mr. Fred Knight, Mr. Wm. Claridge, Mr. Daniel Dickens, Mr. Mortimer, Mr. George Denton, Mr. Charles Denton, Mr. Foskett, Mr. D. Rice, Mr. Chas. Barker, Mr. Chas. Bradfield, Mr. John Cave, Mr. Haydn Packwood, Mr. Charles Hewitt, Mr. Charles Bayes, Mr. Thomas Tailby, Mr. Thomas Burton, Mr. Thomas Wilmott, Mr. Samuel Parker, Mr. William Colson, Mr. Paul Cave, Mr. Jabez Colson, Mr. George Perkins, Mr. Chas. Sanders, Mr. Henry Skinner, Mr. William Radburne, Mr. Samuel Knight, Mr. J. T. Colson, Mr. John Smith, Mr. C. J. Cunnington, Mr. James Sargent, and Mr. Fisher.

The Chairman said the meeting was called to consider the lighting question. The fact that the lamps in the village were not lighted, was not only a very objectionable thing, but it was a very foolish and silly thing (applause); and their business tonight was to take steps to get the lamps in the parish lighted without delay. There were two broad general ways of proceeding; the one was the legal way, and the other was the voluntary way, and it was for this meeting to consider which of these two ways they would like to follow.

Mr. S. Knight said the lighting inspectors took proceedings against one of the ratepayers who refused to pay the lighting rate, and the magistrates refused to enforce the rate, consequently the inspectors were left without funds, and the lamps were not lighted.

Mr. Wilkins said the magistrates had acted in an extraordinary manner in declining to enforce the lighting rate. At the conclusion of Mr. Wilkins' remarks,

The Chairman said he expected Mr. Wilkins would conclude with a motion that this meeting should proceed against the magistrates.

Mr. Wilkins stated that there was a feeling in the parish that if they could not get the lamps lighted in any other way, they should form a Local Board, and then they would have the management of all parochial affairs in their own hands.

Mr. Wm. Clarke expressed himself in favour of the voluntary system, for getting the lamps lighted at once. He could not understand Rushden being set down in the manner it was. If nothing else could be done he would suggest that the money subscribed for missionary work in the parish should be devoted to lighting the village lamps; it was a monstrous piece of hypocrisy to send money to enlighten the heathen when Rushden itself was left in such gross darkness.

The Chairman suggested that urban powers should be applied for, and, on the motion of Mr. Charles Bayes, seconded by Mr. T. Wilmott, the following resolution was carried unanimously: "That in the opinion of this meeting, the best means of lighting the streets would be by Rushden possessing urban powers, and this meeting resolves that the Parochial Sanitary Authority take immediate steps for the obtaining of such powers."

Mr. Foskett, seconded by Mr. Thomas Tailby, proposed "That this meeting instructs the lighting inspectors to light the lamps as usual, and the collector to proceed to collect the lighting rate as usual, to receive any portion of the rate from persons who refuse to pay the whole, and to report those who refuse to pay the rate to this vestry."

This resolution was carried with four dissentients, and the meeting further guaranteed to reimburse the inspectors the amount that they expended in lighting the village with gas this season over and above the sum they received in rates. About £20 was guaranteed in the room, and ratepayers who are desirous of adding to the guaranteed sum are requested to send in their names to the Rector.

Wellingborough & Kettering News, September 24th, 1881, transcribed by Kay Collins

A BENIGHTED VILLAGEA correspondent writes: —A meeting of disaffected lamp posts, summoned by gasaphone, was held outside the vestry-hall the other night, to consider the lighting question. Being called upon to preside, the vestry-hall lamp-post said he was not surprised to find them so impatient under their present neglected state. He had occupied a prominent position for many years; had seen the place rapidly extending, and had the best opportunities of learning the public opinion as expressed beneath its shadows. What with monster warehouses, new villas, big shops, coffee taverns with Latin signs, brass bands, volunteer fetes, cricket clubs, and tricycles, the people were looking with contempt upon a neighbouring borough, were thinking but little better of Wellingborough and Kettering, and were rapidly aspiring to be the third town in the county, with a Local board and Mayor and Corporation, if not even their own M.P. But here they were, he said, within a few days of the Feast, the dark evenings had already set in, and yet not only were the lamps in darkness, but from what he had heard there was every reason to fear that they would remain unlighted throughout the winter. (Murmurs) The fault was not theirs. (Hear) He had listened to what had taken place, both inside and outside the vestry-hall, and would try and explain matters. Frightened out of its wits, last year, by a decision of the magistrates, the vestry dropped the Lighting Act as inoperative, and failing to obtain "urban powers," had to fall back upon a voluntary rate. That was how the parish was lighted last winter, but so many had refused payment of the voluntary rate that no attempt would be made to repeat the experiment. He had heard the names read at a vestry meeting of those who had refused payment, and he was sorry to say they included a large number of tradesmen, publicans as well as sinners, a good number being within a stone's throw of where they were assembled. (Shame) The vestry was in favour of "urban powers," but for immediate uses had suggested the re-adoption of the Lighting Act. Months had since passed, and they had waited and waited, hoping for something to be done, but in vain. Their masters, the Lighting Inspectors, had met, and although admitting that something ought to be done, they had, wrongly, he thought, left someone else to make the first start. They had left it to others; others had left it to them; and thus everybody's business had proved nobody's. It was for them to consider whether anything could be done to promote their own usefulness. (Cheers)—During a long conflab that then took place, opinion was pretty equally divided between a Local Board and the Lighting Act, the supporters of the voluntary system being very few and feeble. The presiding lamp-post hoped they would not look upon him as a Tory, or even as a Whig, for what he was about to say, but he thought they knew but little of Local Boards, while they all had some knowledge of the Lighting Act, and therefore he was inclined to stick to the latter. Their masters, the Lighting Inspectors, were the best informed upon it, and he should therefore suggest a resolution recommending them to take the initiative for the re-adoption of the Lighting Act without further delay. A resolution to that effect was carried unanimously, and the lamp-posts retired to their respective spheres of uselessness, but resolving, while kept in darkness, to knock up against as many people as possible, trusting by such means to promote the objects of their meeting.

Wellingborough News, 25th November 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

LIGHTING VESTRY—On Thursday, the 16th inst., the annual meeting was held for the purpose of passing the accounts of the Lighting Inspectors, and for other purposes under the Act. In the absence of the Rector, Mr. W. Wilkins was voted to the chair. Mr. Willan Jackson, of Wellingborough, was also present as legal adviser to the Inspectors. The Chairman stated that the books and accounts were on the table for any ratepayer to examine, and it was open for anyone to move a resolution on the accounts. The statement of income showed that £8 had been received from the overseers and £23 17s. 4d. from Mr. T. Sanders for the engine attending his fire; also £2 6s. 6d. from Mr. Praed, for the engine at the Higham Fire. Among the items of expenditure were—Gas Company, £45 5s. 6d.; expenditure at Mr. Sanders's fire, £23 17s. 4d.; Higham fire, £7 10s.; gas fitting, &c., £5 1s. 9d.; repairs and restoring lamps, £5 1s. 9d. The total expenditure was £103 0s. 3d. The accounts, as presented, were passed without a dissentient. The following inspectors retired—Messrs. C. Denton, F. Knight, and T. Taiiby, all of whom were eligible for re-election. The two former were re-elected, and, Mr. Tailby declining, Mr. Charles Sanders was elected in his stead. Mr. S. Knight moved that the sum of £120 be called for for the Lighting and Watching Act for the next year. He said there was some little outlay required for the engine, and more lamps were necessary; consequently there would be more gas needed, and more expense for lighting. It was found necessary that the Inspectors should have a little money in hand, to pay the pumpers and helpers in case of fire. Mr. C. Bayes seconded the motion. The Chairman said they had a balance in hand, and that, with the sum they proposed to raise, would be adequate. The increase in the rateable value was such that the amount would be raised by a three-halfpenny rate on land, and a 4½d. rate on houses. The resolution was carried unanimously, Mr. C. Bayes asked what was paid for the rent of the place to keep the engine in. Mr. S. Knight said it was £2 10s. Several gentlemen were of opinion a place should be provided to keep the engine and lamps in when not required for use. The Chairman thought they were hardly in a position to build a place at present, but if the Inspectors could see a suitable place it was open to them to rent the same, but he thought they should wait a few years and try to accumulate a part of the sum before building. Mr. W. Packwood made application for a lamp to be placed in Rice's-field, and another in Backway. Some conversation ensued as to the lamp in Rice's field. Mr. Knight, on behalf of the Inspectors, said they had made it a rule not to put up lamps on private property, but if the proprietors put up the lamps, and the Inspectors thought they were necessary, they found the gas. Mr. Foskett thought that the extremities of the village should be lighted, and he asked that a lamp be placed against Four-roads. The Chairman said that Mr. Praed had engaged to find the gas if the Inspectors would put up a lamp. It was suggested that the inhabitants on Higham-hill required some lamps but there was no one present to make any application. There being no other business, the meeting terminated.

Wellingborough News, 10th November 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wellingborough Police Court.
Friday, November 2nd.—Before Mr. C. J. K. Woolston.
[After some cases were heard, Mr. H. M. Stockdale arrived and took the chair.]

THE LIGHTING OF RUSHDEN—The Lighting Inspectors of Rushden—Messrs. H. Packwood and Claridge—attended and presented their accounts. Mr. Willan Jackson appeared on behalf of the Inspectors, and after the usual formalities, the accounts were passed.

Wellingborough News, 22nd March 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins

DARKNESS AT RUSHDEN Sir,— We in this most enlightened of all enlightened villages, were placed in temporary darkness on Sunday evening last, and with your kind permission, Mr. Editor, I would like to acquaint you and your numerous readers of the circumstances under which this (at the time), most unaccountable state of affairs occurred. Well, Sir, our lamplighter (devout man as he is), was so anxious it would seem to attend a special service at the Union Chapel (I hope the band was not the attraction), that he hit upon a very ingenious, and as it proved, very successful plan to carry his wishes into effect. He waited upon that august personage, the Chairman of the Lighting committee, who is also the "ruling spirit" (I use the term for lack of a better), at the Union Chapel, and represented his case with such force that that gentleman, anxious no doubt for the poor lamplighter's good, invested himself with the authority of the whole committee (I don't know who could possibly do this better), and gave the poor lamplighter a holiday, and what is more told him the lamps need not be lighted that night.

Now it appears, Sir, that the assistant lamplighter (or rather the colleague of our hero), went out on Sunday (wicked man as he is), but came home on purpose to perform his duties. A message, however, awaited him it would seem, that the urbane Chairman of the Lighting Committee, &c., &c., had left instructions for the lamps not to be lighted. These, rumour seriously assures us, were the circumstances under which we were placed in darkness on Sunday last. It is to be hoped that those functionaries whose duties were so considerately spared will consider this action of the Chairman of the Lighting Committee a kind one, for my own part I certainly fail (whether by reason of my limited vision or not I cannot say) to see, Sir, why the rest of the place should be put in darkness in order that one man may have a chance of getting enlightened. With apologies for my verbosity, I am Sir, yours &c.,

March 19th.

[Our readers will do well to suspend their judgment until they have heard the other side of the story.]

Wellingborough News, 11th October 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins

LIGHTING INSPECTORS' MEETING — The usual monthly meeting of the above was held on Monday last, Mr. H. Packwood presiding, and the inspectors present were Messrs. F. Knight, P. Cave, and E. Claridge. It was proposed by Mr. F. Knight, and seconded by Mr. E. Claridge, that the Chairman order three additional lamp columns for increased lighting purposes. Bills were submitted and ordered to be paid, and an application from the lamplighters for increased salary was ordered to stand over. The meeting was then adjourned for the purpose of examining the year's accounts.

Wellingborough News, 25th October 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins

ADJOURNED WATCHING AND LIGHTING INSPECTORS' MEETING—An adjourned meeting was hold on Monday evening last, at the Vestry Hall, when there were present: Messrs. H. Packwood (chairman), F. Knight, C. Cunnington, and E. Claridge. The business of the evening was to present the statement of accounts for the year ending Oct. 19th 1884, which was as follows:—Receipts: Balance in hand of the treasurer, Oct., 1883, of £1 19s. 11d.; precept £155, showing a total of £156 19s. 11d. Expenditure, £115 9s. 3d., leaving a balance in the hand of the treasurer of £41 10s. 8d. (Signed), GEORGE DENTON, treasurer.

Wellingborough News, 8th November 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins

LIGHTING INSPECTORS' MEETING A meeting of the Inspectors was held in the vestry hall on Monday last, when there were present, Messrs. W. Colson (in the chair), C. Sanders, E. Cunnington, P. Cave, and F. Knight. Mr. Baker's bill for £6 8s. for a new break to the fire engine was ordered to be paid, as was also Mr. G. Fountain's account for the repair of the lamps, and the amount due to the lamp-lighters, Messrs. West and Thompson. The chairman was instructed to pay to the captain of the Fire Brigade the expenses attending the recent fire.

Wellingborough News, 6th December 1884, transcribed by Kay Collins

LIGHTING INSPECTOR'S MEETING — The first meeting of members since the annual election was held in the vestry-hall, at noon, on Monday. Present: Messrs. P. Cave (in the chair), E. Claridge, W. Colson and P. Knight. It was proposed by Mr. Knight, and seconded by Mr. Claridge, that Mr. H. Packwood be re-elected chairman for the ensuing year. This was carried unanimously. Some small amounts were ordered to be paid, and the meeting was adjourned.

Wellingborough News, 28th November 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

LIGHTING INSPECTORS—The annual meeting of the Lighting Inspectors was held at the Vestry Hall on Tuesday evening. There were present: Mr. Geo. Denton (chairman), Mr. Charles Bayes, Mr. J. Margetts, Mr. Paul Cave, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Wm. Sanders, Mr. C. Barker, Mr. Hooper, and Mr. Ernest Bayes.—The annual statement of accounts, which showed a balance in hand of £7 10s. 4d., was presented and passed.—On the proposition of Mr. Margetts, seconded by Mr. Barker, it was decided that Mr. Franklin be appointed a lighting inspector; and on the proposition of Mr. Bayes, seconded by Mr. Wm. Sanders, Messrs. W. H. Darnell and John Bush were also elected.—The Inspectors decided, on the proposition of Mr. Chas. Bayes, seconded by Mr. Margetts, to ask for a rate of £220 to meet the requirements of the current year.

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