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Rushden Echo and Argus, and the programme of events
Rushden Hall & Grounds Open

The hall in 1931 Xmas card 1931
A postcard photograph from Xmas 1931

Rushden Urban District Council - Public Opening of Rushden Hall & Grounds
On Saturday Sept. 20th 1930.
Fire Brigade, Bands and School-children to assemble in Spencer Park. Insp. Knight in charge assisted by the Police, Scouts and Guides.
Procession to leave Spencer Park and proceed via Washbrook Road and High Street to the Hall Grounds where space is allotted near the Platform.
Band to play the National Anthem. Opening remarks by Dr Greenfield.
Mr Geo. W. Coles J.P. to formally declare the Hall, Park and Grounds open to the Public.
Tea to be served to the children in the Avenue.
Note. If wet the tea will be served in the children's own Schools.
Punch & Judy Entertainment for the Children, and also during the evening.
Helpers tea in the Marquee.
Councillors tea in the Hall.
After tea in the Hall
Mr Coles' Welcome to the Visitors and thanks to Helpers. Reply by the Chairman of the Raunds U. D. Council.
Reply by the Chairman of the Irthlingborough U. D. Council. Mr C. W. Horrell to propose a Vote of Thanks to Mr. Coles.
Mr James Roe to second.
4.30 to 8.00
Selections by the Temperance and Town Bands.
Liberation of Balloons.
The Hall Park and Grounds to be closed for the day.
Geo. S. Mason, Clerk.

Rushden Echo and Argus

Opening of Rushden Hall & Gardens

Many Visitors Brave Inclement Weather

Eventful Day in Picturesque Setting

Spot of Wonderful English Beauty  

Rushden Hall and Grounds, about which so much has been said and written since the purchase of the property by the Urban Council, a short time ago, was formally opened to the public by the Chairman of the Council, Mr. G. W. Coles, J.P., on Saturday, success attending the whole of the ceremony. Rain which threatened to mar the proceedings especially the procession, fortunately ceased just in time, and consequently the programme was carried through without interuption.

Both the Chairman of the Council and Dr. Greenfield, who presided at the opening ceremony emphasised the fact that the Park belonged absolutely to the townspeople, although it would be administered by the Council, and they appealed for the property to be respected and cared for, so that it might be handed to future generations as a wonderful heritage in an excellent state of preservation.

At two o’clock rain poured down and it  seemed as if the procession, which was forming in Spencer Park, might have to be disbanded. At two-fifteen the rain ceased, the heavy clouds parted and the weather relented of its threat to spoil such an historic day later described as the greatest seen in Rushden.

Ably marshalled by Inspector Knight and the police, the procession was formed, several hundred children making a brave turnout, while Girl Guides and Scouts also participated. The Rushden Fire Brigade were present on the steamer, and four bands, the Town Mission, Temperance and the Salvation Army, played selections on route to the Hall, via Washbrook-road and High-street. The "Temps'" headed the procession, which stretched over a considerable distance.

There were, of course, not so many spectators or visitors as there would have been had the day been fine, but many lined the route, and the crowd near the Hall entrance was a large one.

On a platform erected in front of the Hall the opening ceremony took place in picturesque surroundings, a large crowd being present.

Dr. D.G. Greenfield, who occupied the chair, said : "It is my very great pleasure to take the chair upon this most auspicious occasion, because this is one of the greatest days seen in Rushden with this place open to the Public for its enjoyment and pleasure. I have always been a great supporter of the movement for acquiring thisplace for the benefit of the town, not only for the present, but for the future. There are one or two things I should like to say this afternoon, that this place has grown up and become beautiful, having been here for centuries of time, and that the house has become almost as beautiful as the surround­ings. We shall own one of the most beautiful parks that any town in the county, or anywhere else could possibly possess. It is going to be a treasure for us, and I want you to treasure it. This place is passing into the possession of the town, not into the possession of the Council—although we shall have to look after it—into the possession or everyone living in Rushden. Great care has been taken of it in the past, and unless we take care of it, and hand it on to our successors in the same beautiful state as it is now, we shall have failed in our trust.'

"We want you," continued the Chairman, "to look upon it as your property, not to do damage to it, but to help the Council to maintain it and to see that no one else does any damage to it. If the birds living in these woods are driven away, or the trees are broken, this place will not be the same as it is now. We want it to be more beautiful for us to hand it over to our successors, and we want it to be n glory to the town in years to come."


Mr. Coles prefaced his remarks by thanking the Council for having appointed him to open that glorious park, and he said he greatly appreciated the honour. Mr. Coles said he would also like to congratulate the Council upon their foresight, and also the town upon having a Council which had the foresight to purchase the park.

"I do not intend to talk about the architectural beauty and history of the house," said Mr. Coles, "but there are one or two things to which I think I should call your special attention. Every one of you will have an opportunity of going through the house this evening, and there are one or two special features to be seen." Mr. Coles referred to the glorious oak panelling, with its magnificent carving, all the more glorious when it was remembered that it now belonged to them. Another feature of the rooms was the massive fireplaces, for the fires for which it took two men to carry the logs of wood. As far as the history of the house was concerned, there was very little Mr. Coles said he would tell, but he referred his hearers to a namesake of his, but no relation as far as he knew, who wrote the history of the district, including Rushden Hall about a hundred years ago. [John Cole - in 1838] There had also been the excellent contributions of Dr. Fisher, and the late Mr. J. Enos Smith to the local Press, who had both dwelt on the history of the place.'

Mr. Coles said there was one point he would especially emphasise. That was that they had not taken over a tumble down old house, but that it was in a splendid state of preservation. With regard to the grounds, Mr. Coles said they were thirty five acres in extent, and were well wooded. "They are all yours to take care of, yours to use and enjoy," said Mr. Coles, who also drew attention to what he described as one of the finest avenues of trees he had ever seen, a walk that was two hundred yards long. "A special feature in the park," he said, "is the stone wall, built a hundred years ago, and the stones were cut so perfectly that no mortar or cement was used, and not a fly could get through the wall. Part of it is in a splendid state of preservation”.

0f the park itself, Mr. Coles said "I think we have in our possession, one of the finest parks that any public body ever had." (Hear, hear) “It is one of the finest I have seen, and I hope each one will feel that it is his or her duty to treasure it, and take care of it for those who come after, and certain Rushden men and women will impress on the boys and girls what a wonderful heritage they will have when they grow up. They have a better heritage than we had, and we sincerely hope they will appreciate it”.

"I am not going to say,” continued Mr. Coles, "a single word to commit the Council in any way with regard to the future of the park, but such a place as this cannot possibly stand still. There must be developments, and the Council are fully alive to the developments, so far as the park is concerned. We have to go steadily. The park is a great attraction in itself, and will be appreciated for itself. Several things will be desired, however, up here, but I do hope the town will not attempt to rush the Council in any way. It is better to go slowly and surely than to hurry and be sorry for it afterwards."

With regard to the future of the house, a more serious problem arose, and the Council would have to decide what was going to be done with it. A house that was left uninhabited very soon deteriorated and in his opinion the problem of the house would have to be the first thing to be tackled. Many suggestions had been received on the subject from townspeople, and be could assure them that those suggestions would receive consideration.

Concluding, he congratulated the public upon their ownership of the estate. "I hope it will bring great pleasure and happiness to you all," he said. The new facilities, be thought would not only help to maintain the already high standard of health, but would improve upon it. He sincerely hoped that the park would prove a blessing. "It is the greatest honour I have ever had in my life, to declare Rushden Hall, park and grounds open to the public, for you and you alone, under the sole control of the Urban District Council." (Applause)

Councillors Entertained

Members of the Urban Council, their wives, and others, were entertained to tea in the Hall, an excellent repast being provided. Mr. G. W. Coles presided, and he extended a welcome to the chairman of the Irthlingborough U.D.C., and the chairman of the Raunds U.D.C., also to the Councillors and their wives, and the ministers of religion, who were present, while thanks were extended to the helpers in connection with the hall opening. "Everyone has done his or her level best, and I am delighted with the result," said Mr. Coles.

The chairman of the Raunds Council, Mr. J. Coles, J.P., in reply, said he brought congratulations from Raunds on the wise purchase of the beautiful grounds. "We cannot aspire to your heights," he observed, "and the only possible way we can share in these things is, for Raunds to amalgamate with Rushden." (Laughter) Of late years said the speaker, a civic sense had developed in the public generally, for years ago, there would have been no respect from the public over such a purchase as this. Its beautiful grounds, he said, had never been, enjoyed as much as they would be in the future  under the ownership of the people of Rushden." I am sure I bring the congratulations of Raunds to you," said Mr. Coles, "and I hope you will go on from strength to strength. There was a time when Raunds and Rushden were nearly equal in population, but why Rushden should have outstripped us, I am not going to say at the moment." (Laughter)       

Congratulations from Irthlingborough were voiced by the chairman of the Irthlingborough Urban District Council, Mr. George Langley, J.P. "I think that Rushden in doing this is well abreast of the times," he said "and has done the right thing. Coming from a progressive Council—we regard Irthlingborough as a progressive Council—I want to congratulate Rushden on its provision of parks and public recreation grounds for the children and general community." Mr Langley said he could remember the time when the playground of children was the street, but owing to the rapid development of motor traffic and transport that was now practically a thing of the past, and it was a dangerous thing for children to play in the streets. Surely then, it was the function of the public bodies, said Mr. Langley, 'to provide places where children can come away from dangerous places, to play without fear and to their hearts content.

The development, of the staple trade continued Mr. Langley, had caused the massing of people in factories, and in the best of factories there was an atmosphere inseparable from such work and from people being crowded together. It was therefore a splendid thing from the point of view of the health of the town that the Council should provide such recreation and pleasure spaces. Rushden, he thought would be better in health, although perhaps the Hall and grounds would not  be appreciated to-day  as they would be by the generations to come.

At the invitation of the chairman the Rev T. S. Stoney, Rector of St. Mary's, voiced some well applauded remarks on behalf of the ministers of the town. "I can say, on behalf of my brothers here," he said, "that we of the churches take a great interest in the children, in their bodies as well as in their minds. We come across many invalids, and also mothers to whom this is just the place. Invalids in Rushden have been just longing for this day. They cannot get very far but they can get this far, and come an enjoy the quietness and peace which we need in these rushing and nervous days. I congratulate the Council on taking this courageous step. Rushden may  grow faster but it will always have in the heart of the place this spot of wonderful English beauty.

A vote of thanks to Mr. Coles was proposed by Mr. C. W. Horrell, C.A. who hoped they might have the pleasure of meeting in the Hall again in other circumstances.

Mr. J. Roe seconded. He said he had been closely connected with purchase of the park, the first offer for which was very kindly given to Council by Mr. Sartoris. They knew the appointment of the committee consider the matter, and the decision that the scheme was too vast for them to entertain. The estate was sold and re-sold, and the acquisition of the Hall and grounds alone was discussed with the owner, Mr. Wheeler with the result that the sum of £5,000 was mentioned and subsequently accepted. He knew Mr. Sartoris was disappointed at not being able to be present on the occasion, for he had remarked to him shortly before leaving: “Although we shall not be with you, our thoughts and wishes will be with you on opening day."
    Mr. Roe thanked the chairman for the hospitable way he had entertained the councillors, and their wives, and others, and referred to the hard work accomplished by Mr. Coles in connection with the opening. Mr. Coles, responding, said: “It has been a very pleasant day, I will only say, if you are satisfied, I gratified."

Mr Sartoris’s Letter

A letter of apology for absence was received from Mr. Sartoris, Fowey, Cornwall, and was read at the tea as follows: "Will you please thank the Council on behalf of Mrs. Sartoris and myself, for their kind invitation for the 20th. I much regret we shall be unable to accept, as we shall be away from home. They know, I think, how glad we are that the hall and its grounds have passed into the possession of town, and we are sure the present n future generations of the inhabitants, will bless the day when the Council made the purchase on their behalf. Yours faithfully, Hugh Sartoris."

The Chairman, Mr. Coles, commented that it was very pleasing have a letter of this description from the late owner.

On account of the weather, tea was served to the schoolchildren in their various schools, and helpers sat down to tea in a Marquee.

Large crowds were present in the grounds during the day, and in the evening the Hall was open to public inspection for two hours, and many took advantage of the opportunity wander through the rooms and admire the beautiful oak carving. In the grounds the avenue and kitchen garden attracted special attention. The Rushden Town and Temperance bands played selections during the afternoon and evening.

In the evening balloons were liberated in the Hall grounds. A Punch & Judy entertainment was provided for the children during the day and very much enjoyed.

So ended one of Rushden's most memorable days, brought to a successful conclusion by the co-operation many willing workers, to whom thanks are due, and also to the fact that weather decided, at the last moment that it could not spoil such important occasion!

The invitation to Inspector Knight
but he sent his apologies.
Those present during the day

Mr. G. W. Coles, J.P. (chairman of the Rushden Urban Council), and Mrs. Coles, Mr. J. Coles, J.P. (chairman of the Raunds Urban Council), Mr. O. Langley, J.P. (chairman of the Irthlingborough Urban Council), the Revs. T. S. Stoney (Rector of St. Mary's, Rushden), C. J. Keeler (Independent Wesleyan Church), J. W. Brough (Park-road Wesleyan Church), E. E. Bromage (Mission Church), W.R. Leaton (Congregational Church), T. W. Gill (Park-road Baptist Church) Ensign Pankhurst (Salvation Army), Dr. and Mrs. D. G. Greenfield, Mr. and Mrs. T. Wilmott, Mr. and Mrs. A. Wilmott, Mr. and Mrs. J. Roe, Mr. T. F. B. Newbury, Mr. F. Knight, J.P., Mr. J. Spencer, J.P., and Mrs. Spencer, Mr. and Mrs. J. Hornsby, Mr. and Mrs. T. Swindall, Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Richardson, Mr. C. Claridge. Mr. and Mrs. F. Green, Mr. C. W. Horrell, C.A., and Mrs. Horrell. Mr. A. Allebone, C.C., and Mrs. Allebone, Mrs. Perkins, Mr. and Mrs. H. Lack, Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Mason, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Beetenson, Mr. and Mrs. Piper, and Mr. H. Gould.

Apologies were received from the Mayor of Higham Ferrers, Mrs. E. Simpson, J.P., the chairman of the Wellingborough U.D.C., Mr. A. W. Curtis, J.P., while Scouts District Commissioner F. E. Preston, Inspector Knight and Mr J. W. ... surveyor to the U.D.C. and ... ... were unable to attend. [the newspaper copy at Rushden Library is very faded]

“Welcome” to Rushden Hall Grounds
The Army of Occupation Entering

Entering into their “priceless heritage” – Rushden Hall grounds – the children of the town are here caricatured by our artist Mr E G Wood, of Rushden, as they are seen on the march (as an army of occupation). They had been promised a free tea and free use of the town’s new acquisition and by the demeanour of the youngsters, as here shown, they evidently intended to take the fullest advantage of the offers.

The New Rec[reation] ground inside the hall
“The Noo Rec”
The Advance Guard in Occupation

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Police Duty for the day

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