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Donated to us, 2015, source unknown, but probably written in the mid 1970s or early 1980s
Remembering Rushden in the 1930's
by Freda Parker

St. Peter's Sunday school Pantomime in January. Stars included Nan Keys, Topsy Levy, Joan, Marjorie and Muriel Knighton, produced by Mrs Levy.

Saturday evening dances in St. Peter's Church Rooms, Epilogue at 10. 45 pm. No dances during lent, but on Shrove Tuesday a special one when the men brought their "bib and brace" overalls to wear when they scrambled for the largest piece of pancake which the vicar had tossed in the air.ln April the town collection of eggs for Northampton Hospital where they were preserved for use during the year. Eggs were then sold in scores. It's strange that now when most commodities are in "10's" eggs are sold by the dozen. Good Friday and Easter Monday were Bank Holidays, also Whit-Monday. There was not a May Day holiday or a Late Spring Bank Holiday.

One Thursday in July was the Annual Sunday School Treat. We met in The Rec (Spencer Park) assembling behind our Sunday School banners and after singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" we walked along the High Street to our churches where we had tea and cakes. I remember the roads had recently been tarred and if it was a hot day the tar was very sticky. After tea we from St Peter's walked up to a field behind Mason's house in Hayway where we had sports. I wonder how many children or adults would do this amount of walking mileage nowadays.

The Towns' bands, Temps, Town, Mission and Salvation Army, took it in turn to play in the Hall Park bandstand on Sunday afternoons. When the concert was over and they struck the first chords of the National Anthem the folk sitting on the grass or seats immediately stood up to attention.

The first week in August was factory shut down and Rushden station would be crowed with folks catching the special train to Blackpool. Others would be on Irthlingborough station to travel to Great Yarmouth. Higham Feast was mid August and Higham Hill on the Sunday evening was a mass of folk walking to Higham Square to listen to the "Temps". Rushden Feast followed the 19th September. The ground in the Rec was very often muddy and Marriotts carpenters shop supplied sawdust to Thurstons to put down.

In the winter months Tommy Essam moved onto the site where the Ritz is and his amusements were open at weekends. After Saturday night at the pictures, Fish and Chips, mushy peas and a bottle of spruce could be bought for 6d from Bates shop at the top of Puns Lane. The cinemas were the Palace and the Royal Theatre.

Guy Fawkes Night was a few fireworks in our own back garden.

The CWS Boot factory had a siren which sounded at 12 noon when the dinner hour started and again at 12.55 to warn the workers that they were soon due back to work. Marrriotts built the white tiled building at the bottom of Shirley Road for Birch Bros, and an hourly coach service to London was well used. (the first one at 6 am.)

The Salvation Army band played in the streets on Sunday mornings and afternoons.

The "Russians" played football on the Town Ground in Hayden Road and in the summer the Cricket Club played on the adjoining pitch. Both successful clubs in local leagues.

The Wymington Road Hospital housed TB patients in open fronted huts. Many patients came from London. Mrs Hensman taught the patients leatherwork and sold handbags etc. for them. Patients well enough to walk around, used to stand at the gate (where we now walk into Parklands) and chat to people walking in Wymington Road. This was the era when the After Care Committee was formed. Money was raised by an Annual Whist Drive at the hospital and various other events. Milk and eggs were provided for local families of the patients. The British Legion offered clothing grants to give girls and boys who won scholarships to Wellingborough High and Grammar Schools.

The Jarrow Boys March stopped overnight in Rushden and local cobblers mended their boots whilst some local manufacturers gave new ones.

The year ended with Carol Singers collecting for After Care and bands playing in the High Street on Saturday afternoons. We had Christmas Day and Boxing Day holidays but worked on New Years Day.

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