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Evening Telegraph, 27th December 1984
Mums plea for museum

the factory
Mrs Dowdeswell outside the Albion Works - one of the shoe factories she wants to see protected
A RUSHDEN mum is so worried the town's historical past is in danger of being swept away she has made a plea for an empty shoe factory to be converted into a museum.

Mrs Joy Dowdeswell believes many people regard the old shoe factories as eye­sores — without realising their historical importance in a few generations' time.

"I think it would be a worthwhile idea if we preserved at least one of the remainder as a museum before it is too late.

"Thank goodness one of the oldest buildings, Albion Works in High Street South, still manages to keep going.

"Firms like this, both management and workers, should be heartily congratulated for upholding our long standing tradition."

Mrs Dowdeswell believes many people see the old shoe factories as eyesores.

"Maybe to most people they are eyesores at the moment — embarrassing reminders of better days to be erased as soon as possible."

"Already two of these splendid buildings have been demolished in Rushden — the Eaton factory in College Street and Jaques and Clark's works in Station Road.

"I am certainly not against progress — but it would be sad to see them all go."

East Northants Council Chairman, Clive Wood, agreed with the sentiment but added the size of most shoe factories was against them being retained as museums.

"If someone was able to preserve one on a practical basis then it would be very worthwhile," he said.

"As it is we are losing the heart of the town which made it prosperous." [Note our project "Hearts & Soles", Ed]

The town's Amenities Society has recently written to the ministry of the Environment in a bid to get listed building status for the town's fire station in Newton Road.

"That is functional and in excellent condition and would be very suitable for use as a museum," said Mr Wood.

A new fire station is being built in Washbrook Road.

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