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Seeking Urban Status

Wellingborough & Kettering News, January 1st, 1881, transcribed by Kay Collins

Proposed Urban Powers for the Parish of Rushden

The Clerk read a letter from the Local Government Board, accompanying which was a copy of the following correspondence that has taken place between the Local Government Board and Mr. H. Packwood, of Rushden:

Rushden, Near Higham Ferrers,
12th Nov., 1880.

Sir,—To form a Local Board in any given place is it necessary that there should be any particular number of inhabitants? Would the powers of a Local Board be granted to a rising place with 3,500 inhabitants, providing, of course, all the regulations of the Public Health Act were complied with.— Your reply per return will much oblige, yours obediently,

(Signed) H. PACKWOOD.

To the Secretary of the Local Government Board.

Local Government Board, Whitehall, S.W.,
18th November, 1880.

Sir,—I am directed by the Local Government Board to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, and to state that their general policy is opposed to the formation of separate sanitary districts with small populations, but that there is no fixed rule as to the population necessary for the constitution of such a district. The Board could not express any opinion as to the number which they would consider proper in any particular case, unless all the circumstances were before them. —I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Assistant Secretary

To Mr. H. Packwood, Rushden,
Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.
Rushden, Near Higham Ferrers,
26th Nov., 1880.

Sir,—I beg to thank you for your letter, dated 18th November, 1880, and for the information therein contained, that the Local Government Board does not, as a matter of policy, encourage a multiplicity of Local Boards or Health. I wish to write you, and ask information in respect to Rushden being placed under some other authority (than at present Rural Sanitary and Highway Board) or management, for the purpose of carrying out the Public Health Act of 1875. Rushden is peculiarly circumstanced. It lies between two railways, both of which are outside the parish bounds. The population, now 3,500 to 4,000, in the last decade has increased more than 50, and probably not less than 75 per cent. Land is being cut up for building purposes, and houses in large numbers are constantly being built. No control is exercised in the laying out of new streets, nor in the erection of new buildings. The maintenance of public roads being a district charge, the Highway Board also discourages the expenditure of money on footpaths. The Lighting Act is found unworkable, and the parish lamps remain unlighted, and the parish is now confronted with the additional difficulty of having to provide increased burial accommodation, the churchyard being full. It is improbable that any attempt would be made to obtain a Local Board if the ends in view can be otherwise obtained, for the simple reason that all the roads in the parish to be thrown on a Local Board would work a great injustice. The railways being the chief users of the roads would not then contribute anything whatever to their maintenance. Clause 276 of the Public Health Act of 1875 appears to indicate that increased powers may be obtained without forming a Local Board. Will you kindly inform me of the general policy of the Local Government Board in this respect, and if it would be practicable to obtain increased powers for all or any of the following objects: 1. To take to the footpaths, leaving the roads a district charge. 2. To obtain control in the laying out of new roads, and in the erection of new buildings. 3. To provide for the lighting of the parish. 4. To control the draining. 5. To provide a cemetery. Your very early reply will greatly oblige.—I am, sir, your obedient servant,

(Signed) H. PACKWOOD

Local Government Board, Whitehall, S. W.,
13th December, 1880.

Sir,—I am directed by the Local Government Board to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th ultimo, and to state that they frequently invest Rural Sanitary Authorities with such urban powers as may appear to be necessary, and if they receive from the Rural Sanitary Authority of the Wellingborough Union, or from persons rated relief of the poor, the assessment of whose hereditaments amounted at least to one tenth of the net rateable value of the parish of Rushden, an application to declare in force in the parish any specified provisions of the Public Health Act, 1875, which are actually required there, they would give the matter them consideration. As regards the particular objects mentioned in your letter I am to state that the Board would have no authority to enable the Sanitary Authority to take to the footpaths of the district. They could, however, invest the Sanitary Authority with the power of making bye-laws with respect to new streets and buildings, and they could also empower them to contract for the supply of gas, and to provide such

Lamps and other materials and apparatus as may be necessary for lighting the streets. The Board would not, however, be willing to enable the Sanitary Authority themselves to provide gas works. I am to add that the Rural Sanitary Authority already possess full powers with respect to the control of the sewers in the district, and as regards the provision of a cemetery, I am to point out that under the Public Health (Interments) Act, 1879, the provisions of section 141 of the Public Health Act, 1875, with respect to a mortuary, are extended to a cemetery. A copy of a circular letter issued by the Board on the subject of the Act of 1879, is enclosed herewith.—I am, sir, your obedient servant,

(Signed) J. F. ROTTON,
Assistant Secretary.

To Mr. H. Packwood, Rushden,
Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.

The Clerk also read the following communication from the Rev. Canon Barker:
Rushden Rectory, Higham Ferrers.

Dear Sir,—At the last meeting of the Rushden Local Sanitary Committee, it was unanimously resolved that immediate application should be made for the issue of urban powers for the parish of Rushden, such powers specially to include lighting the streets and providing a fire engine under sections 161 and 163 of the Public Health Act, 38 and 39 v., c. 55, and powers to make bye-laws for controlling the erection of new buildings, and laying out of new streets. I beg, therefore, to prefer this appli¬cation to the Rural Sanitary Authority. I have also to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3rd inst., together with draft of bond required by the Rural Sanitary Authority before levying a rate for the proposed improvement to brook in Duck-street. These have been laid before the Local Sanitary Committee, which decided to defer their consideration till the willingness of the principal ratepayers to sign the guarantee can be further as-certained.—I am, dear sir, yours faithfully,


To M. R. Sharman, Esq.
Dec. 28th, 1880.

Mr. Denton said the Medical Officer of Health had advised that urban powers should be obtained for the parish of Rushden and other populous villages in the Union, and he begged to submit to this Authority that they should apply to the Local Government Board for urban powers for the parish of Rushden.

Mr. Brent considered that in a place like Rushden it would be much better if there could be a body of men on the spot who could control the building of houses, the sinking of wells and sanitary matters generally, and the establishment of such an authority would, he thought, be a very great blessing to the village.

Mr. Maxwell thought this was a very important question, which should be very fully and carefully considered before this Board took any decided action. There was the question of lighting to be considered, and if a lighting rate were made for the whole parish of Rushden, he knew there would be opposition to it. He thought it was unfair that farmers should be rated for the lighting of a village when they derived no benefit from it.

Mr. Gross was in favour of urban powers being applied to populous villages. Country parishes must be lighted, and the parishioners chosen to exercise authority ought to have power to make rates to meet all the expenses necessary for the proper government of the places in which they lived. At Wollaston ten or twelve houses had been built, and the builders had actually taken in some of the parish property by building on the roads, and if the village had urban powers that would be stopped.

The Clerk: Whether you have urban powers or not, that can be stopped; they build at their own peril on the public roads.

Mr. Denton said roads were being made at Rushden, and nobody seemed to have any control over them; and if the owners made them to the satisfaction of the Highway Board, the Highway Board would not take them. It was very necessary in a place like Rushden that some control should be exercised in the laying out of roads and the construction of buildings. With regard to Mr. Maxwell's remarks about the lighting rate, he thought rating all round should be considered before objection were made to the payment of any particular rate. The land tax they might fairly expect would fall upon the land, but the fact was that buildings throughout the country contributed towards the payment of the tax, and if there was no objection to property paying for land, why should there be any objection to the land paying something towards the lighting of the streets. He proposed "That application be made to the Local Government Board for the Authority to be invested with the urban provisions of the Public Health Act, 1875, ss. 157 and 158, and also to be empowered to contract for the supply of gas, and to provide such lamps and other materials and apparatus as may be necessary for lighting the streets, and to provide and maintain fire engines and apparatus belonging thereto, as specified in ss. 161 and 163 of the Act."

Mr. Gross seconded the resolution.

Mr. Coales moved, as an amendment, that the consideration of the matter be adjourned until the next meeting of the Authority, in order that the ratepayers of Rushden may have an opportunity of expressing their views on the subject.

Mr. Maxwell seconded the amendment, and it was carried.

Wellingborough & Kettering News, January 29th, 1881, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rural Sanitary Authority

Present: Mr. J. W. Watts, in the chair; the Rev. Wentworth C. Roughton, the Rev. G. H. Rigby, Messrs. Siddons, Gross, Coales, S. Parsons, Parker, Austin, G. Parsons, Denton, Wylds, Walker, Wykes, and C. Matthews (acting-clerk).

Urban Powers for the Parish of Rushden
The Board again considered the application of the parish of Rushden for urban powers.

Mr. Wykes wished to know if a majority of the ratepayers of Rushden were in favour of urban powers being applied for?

Mr. Siddons: Do the parish of Rushden require urban powers?

Mr. Gross: They have held a meeting about the matter, and decided to ask for urban powers.

Mr. Denton: The application for urban powers came to this Authority through the Parochial Committee of Rushden, a vestry meeting having previously been held, which was very numerously attended, at which a resolution was passed that urban powers should be applied for. I do not know of any ratepayer who wishes to object to the application—three or four people may object—but any ratepayer who disapproves of the application can come before this Authority, and state his objection. It is only right that we should have all the information upon the question that can possibly be obtained.

Mr. Wykes: I understand there are several objections to the application, but I do not think that the persons who object will appear here to-day.

The Chairman: Do you think it is pretty well known at Rushden that this application is to be made.

Mr. Denton: Oh, yes, sir, it is perfectly well known.

Mr. Wykes: Too well known among some of them.

Mr. Maxwell: I think the case is fairly before us now, and that we are in a position to deal with it, though I do not wish to interfere with Rushden affairs.

Mr. Wykes: I have no wish to interfere at all, but it does seem to me very unfair that a man living at a lodge, far away from a village, should have to pay a rate for lighting the lamps of that village when he derives no benefit from them.

Mr. Coales: I do not think we need go into that.

Mr. Wykes: You would think very seriously about it if you lived at the lodge and had to pay.

Mr. Siddons: If you give a village urban powers do you necessarily compel the village authorities to charge every rate upon outside ratepayers?

Mr. Wykes: No doubt about it.

Mr. Siddons: Then it is a very serious matter, I can tell you.

Mr. Roughton: You live at a lodge, don't you, Mr. Siddons?

Mr. Siddons: Yes, sir. If Mr. Denton does not wish particularly to press the matter, I think we should defer this matter until another meeting, so as to give outsiders an opportunity of coming here and stating their objections. I propose, therefore, that the further consideration of the question be adjourned until our next meeting.

Mr. G. Parsons seconded the proposition.

Mr. Denton: I hardly think the course proposed is courteous towards the Parochial Committee of the parish of Rushden. They wish for urban powers, and look to the Authority to ask the Local Government Board to grant them, unless some tangible reason is given why the application should not be granted. I move, as an amendment, that application be made to the Local Government Board for urban powers, as requested by the Parochial Committee of Rushden.

Mr. Gross: I see the necessity of some additional power being given to villages to manage their own affairs, especially with regard to building and drainage, and I shall therefore support Mr. Denton's amendment.

The Chairman: I think we ought to consider this matter carefully, and I quite agree with Mr. Gross that authority is needed to control building and drainage operations in villages. In the absence of such authority houses are erected irregularly and other things are done which are very objectionable.

Mr. Maxwell: Coming to lighting purposes, the burden, of the lighting rate is felt in many parishes; it is a point that stings several ratepayers in Rushden, and I do not think it was contemplated by the Act that the whole of every rural parish should be rated for lighting purposes. The good that the lighting of Bozeat affords does not affect me.

Mr. Parker: It does when you go down to chapel.

Mr. Wykes: The lighting rate, you know, is not a tax for once, it is a tax on the land for ever, and there is too much put on the land already.

On the proposition and the amendment being put to the meeting, five votes were recorded for and the Chairman was left to give a casting vote.

The Chairman: I won't say I am against powers being applied for in this case, but I want the consideration of the question deferred; I not want to enter upon a serious matter like this lightly, and if there is & feeling of objection against the application I should like it to be expressed; this is not a matter which need be decided upon immediately.

Ultimately it was decided by a majority of two that the consideration of this matter should adjourned until the next meeting of the Board.

Wellingborough News, 19th September 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden as an Urban District
An inquiry has been held to-day by Mr. E. P. Monckton, Mr. C. J. K. Woolston, and Mr. Ryland Adkins, on behalf of the Northampton County Council, into the demand of Rushden to be constituted into an urban district. This village has increased in population from three to seven or eight thousand during the decade, and now needs a local authority for various sanitary purposes. This is one of the earliest instances in this district in which the powers of the Local Government Act have been brought into operation for the purpose of obtaining local autonomy for an overgrown village community. In the shoe manufacturing area are many villages which have increased enormously of late years, such as Finedon, Desborough, and Rothwell (each with a population of from 3,000 to 3,500), Earls Barton, Irthlingboro’, and others. In the case of Desboro', the sanitary condition of which is deplorable, notice has already been given, and doubtless many others will soon ask for an inquiry as to the need for forming them into urban districts. The powers which County Councils possess in these matters cannot be too generally known, as overgrown villages where increased sanitary powers are urgently needed abound in Northamptonshire and the adjoining counties. At the Rushden enquiry overwhelming evidence was adduced in favour of the demand, and the Commissioners will doubtless recommend that it be granted.

Copied from the Document confirming Urban Status:


To the Guardians of the Poor of the Wellingborough Union, partly within the County of Northampton, being the Sanitary Authority for the Rural Sanitary District of that Union.

To the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of the Parish of Rushden, in the said District.

To Matthew Reid Sharman, of Wellingborough, Solicitor.

And to all others whom it may concern.

WHEREAS the County Council of the County of Northampton, at their Meeting held on the 31st of July last past, being satisfied that a prima facie case had been made out for a proposal for converting the said Parish of Rushden, now forming part of the Rural Sanitary District of the Wellingborough Union, into an Urban District, caused an Inquiry to be made as to such proposal in the Locality, in accordance with the Provisions of 51 & 52 Vic., cap. 41, Section 57.

AND WHEREAS the said County Council is satisfied that such proposal is desirable, and that it is expedient the said Parish should be constituted a Local Government District.

NOW THEREFORE, in pursuance of the powers given to the said Council by the Statutes in that behalf, the said COUNCIL DOTH HEREBY DECLARE AND ORDER that the said Parish of RUSHDEN shall be a LOCAL GOVERNMENT DISTRICT.

AND the said Council doth hereby appoint MATTHEW REID SHARMAN, of Wellingborough, Solicitor, to be Returning Officer, for the purposes of the first Election of a Local Board for the said District, in pursuance of this Order.

AND the said Council doth hereby further order as follows:-

ARTICLE I.—The notice of the first Election of the said Local Board shall be published on or before the I4th day after the date when an Order of the Local Government Board confirming this order shall come into operation.

ARTICLE II.—The number of Members of the Local Board to be elected for the said Local Government District shall be Nine.

ARTICLE III.—If the Election be contested, the Voting Papers shall be collected on the 35th day next after the date of the publication of the notice of Election of the said Local Board.

ARTICLE IV.-—On and after the day of the first meeting of the Local Board for the said Local Government District, all the rights, liabilities, obligations, and property which are attaching to, or vested in the Guardians of the Poor of the Wellingborough Union, acting as a Rural Sanitary Authority, shall so far as regards the said Parish of Rushden, pass to and vest in the said Local Board; but until such day the powers, rights, duties, capacities, liabilities, obligations, and property of the said Rural Authority shall continue to be exerciseable by, attached to, and vested in the said Authority.

GIVEN under the Common Seal of the said County Council of Northamptonshire this Seventh day of November, 1890.

Chairman of the said Council.

Clerk of the said Council.

Rushden Echo, Friday July 15, 1898 transcribed Sue Manton

New Rate:- the seal of the Urban Council was on Wednesday affixed to a general district rate of 2s in the £.

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