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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th January 1955, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Hall’s Future: How About This Idea?

Another relic of Rushden Hall’s great days is this group of trophies of the chase which still look down upon the great staircase. Examining them are members of Rushden Pensioners’ Parliament, allowed the use of rooms in the Hall by the Urban Council. The eighty members pay a penny a week each, and their activities include an annual outing and a Christmas meal.
One of the finest things Rushden Urban Council has done is to preserve the Hall and park surrounding it.

In the midst of workaday Rushden, the park lies like a bit of old England, quiet and serene. Often the stillness is only broken by the song of birds in the stately trees and the babble of the stream.

The Hall itself, home of Rushden’s Squires since it was built in the sixteenth century, is a fine mellow stone building, distinguished by the circular bay windows of the east front.

The Sartoris family bought the Hall in 1849 and lived there until 1929, when it was put up for sale.

Fear for Trees

The furnishings were sold, and at one time it was feared that all the timber would be felled by a prospective purchaser of the park.

Older Rushden people say that the trees had been marked ready for felling when the Council stepped in and bought the land, the Hall going with it.

A museum was the suggested use, but this idea had not come to fruition when, with the war, the Hall was used to billet Americans, who also had huts in the park.

£10,000 Cure

Nativity carving
This unusual carving of the Nativity is one of the few interior objects of note that still remain in Rushden Hall. The wood is almost black with age, and the carving compels attention, although some authorities do not praise it. One critic, in fact, said that it is composed of various pieces collected from different sources. However, as part of the Hall when it
was a squire’s home, the carving is of lasting interest.
Now the scars in the park have been healed, and at the cost of some £10,000 the Council has restored the time-ravaged structure. In this it has had the advice of Professor Richardson, president of the Royal Academy.

Now the Council is again considering the use to which the Hall should be put.

Basically, the idea is that the interior should be restored, and that the whole town should have the use of this fine old building.

Novel Museum

How? The Council has not yet got down to details.

But if an outsider may make a suggestion, how about making at least part of it into a museum run on entirely novel lines?

Rushden contains many bodies with distinctive histories and aspirations.

What about offering each a room or part of a room to set up a permanent display of their own intended for posterity?

For example, the Manufacturers’ Association could well set up a shoe trade exhibit that would at least equal that in Northampton Museum.

Family Tableau

It could include a complete tableau of one of the old shoemaking families who laid the foundations of Rushden’s prosperity, busy in their back garden shop.

The Union, too, has its memories and its message, basis for a first-class display in which, perhaps, the head office at Earls Barton would take a leading part.

The churches, the bands, the clubs, the pubs, transport, and the social services might all make their contribution to a museum that would call forth the co-operation and local pride of the whole town.

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