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Northampton Advertiser page, Rushden Echo, 2nd April 1971, transcribed by Kay Collins
Rushden Hall - 1971

At Last They Make it a Hall for All

Handing over the key Lord Spencer declares the Hall open.
Handing over the key.
Lord Spencer declares the Hall open.

A 23-year tale of slow progress is about to reach a milestone for people who regard Rushden Hall as one of the major potential amenities of the area.

As long ago as 1948, the Urban Council were discussing how to turn this handsome 16th century building in their midst into a modern attraction, a meeting place for the town.

But a mixture of bad luck, apathy and government intervention means that only now is the dream starting to come true.

The council, in the words of a report by clerk Mr. A. G. Crowdy, anxious “to ensure that any scheme for restoration should be linked with some plan for the beneficial use of the premises”, adopted a plan by a London architect, Professor A. E. Richardson.

But by 1952 they had only got as far as implementing the first two of his recommendation – general restoration of the main structure and repair of the roof and the removal of the conservatory and other dilapidated buildings. Also they had provided a flat and a tea-room.

Restored

Ambitious plans to turn the other rooms into meeting places, kitchens and other amenities have been frustrated over the years, although Rushden Pensioners Parliament used one of the rooms for a number of years.

First there was the post-war government’s “squeeze” on public expenditure outside absolutely necessary items.

Then the government said they would be prepared to help the council out to the tune of £1,000 if a proper conservation society could be formed in the town.

But no flourishing society sprang up, and the chance went begging. Since then, two more flats have been provided, but it was only in 1966 that the council became alarmed about the condition of the hall again.

Since that time, things have been moving more quickly.

A restoration scheme costing £33,500 has now so renovated the hall that an official opening will be made tomorrow by Earl Spencer, former Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire.

The hall has been restored with great faith to the original Elizabethan look of the place, and, although not yet furnished, its delightful woodwork and well proportioned rooms are there to be appreciated.

Apart from the attractively modernised kitchen and tea room, there are two rooms downstairs and one upstairs plus the entrance hall which will be used for purposes largely chosen by the people of Rushden through the societies and clubs to which they belong. There are other rooms in the building whose future has not yet been decided.

Society representatives will be able to look around the hall after the official opening and suggest to the council the uses to which “club” rooms should be put.

Whatever they recommend and whatever the council eventually decide the activities in those rooms will be more pleasant for the charm of Rushden Hall.

When the hall gets into full swing at last the far-sighted policy of the council in 1930, buying the hall for just £5,000 will begin to pay off.


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