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Taken from the Rushden Echo and Argus, 1936
The Opening of the Bandstand in Hall Park, 1936
Photograph of the opening ceremony of the Bandstand in Hall Park showing Cllr Richardson and other local dignitaries
Photograph of the opening ceremony of the Bandstand in Hall Park showing Cllr Richardson
and other local dignitaries
In the 1950s
In the 1950s

In perfect sunshine at Rushden Hall on Saturday afternoon a beautifully designed and well appointed bandstand, built to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the late King George V was presented to the town by Councillor John White and declared open by Sir Leonard Brassey, Bart., of Apethorpe Hall. Professor A.E.R. Richardson, A.R.A., the distinguished architect who designed the bandstand to harmonise with its old-world setting in Rushden’s principal park, was among the company at the opening ceremony which was attended by thousands of townspeople.

Standing in a natural hollow within a short distance of the Hall, the bandstand is inscribed "Erected to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the reign of His Majesty King George the Fifth 1935. The gift of Councillor John White 1936."

Photograph showing the crowd at the opening ceremony in Hall Park
Photograph showing the crowd assembled at the opening ceremony in Hall Park
Meeting at the Station approach, the bands of the town played through the High St. before the ceremony, the Temperance and Town combining and the Salvation Army and Mission following in separate formations. At the park they found a large crowd waiting, the official guests including relatives and friends of the donor.

The platform party was led by Mr J.T. Richardson, chairman of the UDC, and comprised numerous other councillors and local worthies from the town.

Welcomed “with unbounded pleasure” by the Chairman of the Council, and greeted warmly by the audience, Mr
Photograph showing Cllr Richardson shaking hands with John White as he handed over the Bandstand
Photograph showing Cllr Richardson shaking hands with John White as he handed over the Bandstand
John White fulfilled his part with characteristic modesty as he declined to make a speech but told the assembly that he was there just to formally hand over the bandstand and he asked Councillor Richardson to accept it on behalf of the town. Rounds of applause gave the Council Chairman his cue for declaring that Mr White had made the speech of the afternoon. Councillor Richardson went on to thank Mr White for his gift and said he was very pleased that it had taken the form it had because a bandstand had been a long felt need. The council had been perplexed for a number of years as to how they could get one. It had not been possible to provide one as they could not have paid for it without the rates going up. Now they had a work of art which should be cherished by generations to come. He ended by introducing Sir Leonard Brassey who made an entertaining speech, concluding by saying that he had promised to give the architect, an old friend of his, an honest opinion of the design of the bandstand - “of all the bandstands I have ever seen, I have never seen one which fits so charmingly into its surroundings. It is dignified, built of county materials………………. I cannot imagine in these dignified surroundings any bandsman playing a wrong note or coming in when he isn’t wanted. It is very charming.” He then declared the bandstand open.

Dr Greenfield, ex-chairman of the Parks, Baths and Hall Committee proposed thanks to Sir Leonard and said how fortunate they had been in Rushden to have a firm such as Sir Robert Marriott who were capable of building such a beautiful stand. When he saw Mr Marriott's craftsmen at work he felt what a good thing it was that they had in the town workmen who were able to build such a work of art. He praised the design by Professor Richardson as having grace, charm and gaiety, and being perfectly adapted to its surroundings where it would take its rightful place in an august assemblage of beauty.

A slightly later view of the Bandstand
A slightly later view of the Bandstand and benches
Professor Richardson, seconding the vote of thanks, said that the bandstand was a symbol of the progress and prosperity of the town. He said it was at the suggestion of Dr Greenfield that the bandstand took the form of a pavilion and that it should be reverent to the church spire, respectful to the Hall and neighbourly to the trees. He referred to the sounding spaces beneath the floor and above the ceiling which meant that the bands would play in a sort of drum which was the nearest approach they could have to perfect acoustics. The chief material was English oak; there was no concrete or steel in the design. He drew attention to the carvings, by Mr Percy Bentham, of animals such as rabbits, squirrels and dogs, the kind of creature everyone liked.

Detail of some of the animal carvings
Detail of some of the animal carvings

Mr White was then presented with an illuminated and framed address recording the gratitude of the Rushden bands and the rest of the day was given over to music played by the various bands.

Professor Richardson, the architect, spoke to the reporter from the Echo and Argus about the design and construction of the bandstand:

Temperance Band playing near the bandstand in the late 1950s
Temperance Band & Bandstand in the 1950's
bandstand c1970
and as it fell into disrepair around 1970 - Photo by Michael Martin
The stand is of a unique design, resting on a base of Ketton stone and for the main part built of English oak. Massive oaken pillars support a conical roof which is covered with Stamford tiles and surmounted with a handsome weather vane. The ceiling is of teak, and other features are the folding and sliding weather screens, a fine conductor’s rostrum, an up-to-date and almost hidden system of electric lighting and the old-style ornamental rain pipes.

Distinction is added by a series of delightful carvings representing the falcon, shooting dogs and other animals and birds which in the course of history have been associated with the hall.

Professor Richardson said that the stand was more or less in sympathy with the old market crosses but was not a copy of anything.

The rostrum and the lead work were made in Rushden.

The illuminated address from the bands reads as  follows:

"To John White Esq.

We, the bandsmen of the various brass bands of Rushden, respectfully desire to place on record our appreciation of and hearty thanks for your generous and beneficent act in the gift of the magnificent bandstand which you have recently erected in the Rushden Hall ground to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of our late beloved Majesty King George V. The structure will stand as a tribute to your public spirit and will for ever be appreciated by the inhabitants of our town. We ask you to accept this address as a small token of our gratitude to you."

On behalf of the bands, the address is signed by the conductors and secretaries:

Messrs Thomas Young, F. H. Abbott (Temperence), M. F. Clark, A. E. Panter, (Mission), M. J. Roberts, R. H. W. Fairey, (Town) Wm Giles and A. P. Oliver (Salvation Army)

Mr Horace Wills supplied the loudspeaker installation for the opening ceremony.


The programme The programme
The programme

In winter
A winter view of the bandstand

Below is the refurbished bandstand:
About 1988 - the bandstand in the snow
Photograph of the Bandstand in the 1980's
The rebuilt bandstand in the 1980s

The newly roofed Bandstand - photo by Roy Garfirth


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