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Hall Park - news & notes

drinking fountain
The drinking fountain and footpath to the Hall Avenue gates

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 4th August, 1944, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Hall “Vandalism” - Concerts Spoiled and Bandstand Damaged

(To the Editor, “Echo and Argus”)

  Sir, - In view of the events of the coming week and the programme of sports, music, etc., being held in the Hall Grounds, I feel I would like to add my protest to the many others that have been made before, upon the conduct of the children around the bandstand whilst concerts are being rendered.

  I am not a native of Rushden, but as all my life my family and I myself have been interested in and fond of music, I feel that something should be done to prevent this unseemly behaviour.  There is not the slightest possibility of anyone getting pleasure from the music, and no consideration whatsoever is shown to those who wish to do so.  It would appear to me that there is not the slightest effort made to control this behaviour.

  I have visited many of the most popular of our seaside resorts and have enjoyed the music there, but never have I seen such conduct as is allowed around this bandstand.  Then again, what is even more distressing is the damage being done to the bandstand itself.  I have never seen anything so shameful.  Children are allowed to climb all over this at any time of the day.  The beautiful stonework surrounding the balustrade is worn completely out of shape.  With care, it would have retained this for hundreds of years.  In the words of a high ranking American officer who stood near to me during one concert, “This is sheer vandalism and amounts almost to desecration.”

  This beautiful piece of architecture, designed by an R.A. and built of the best materials available by one of the best builders in the neighbourhood, is esteemed of no more value than the cheapest possible structure that might have been erected.  In the words of the officer again, “Are not the Council, or should not they regard themselves as being custodians of this valuable and generous gift?  That so little regard is paid to this must, to say the very least, cause the donor pain.”  Do not the people of Rushden realise that this is their property and that they in some part should endeavour to see that it is preserved and thereby express the appreciation which I know is generally felt?

  Perhaps my protest is strong, but I am only voicing the feelings of the majority of people who attend these concerts, and in my opinion it is high time that they whose duty it is should accept their responsibility and take stronger action unless they are prepared to see this beautiful structure permanently defaced.


Extract from Council Meeting June 1949

The Parks Committee recommended that a further attempt should now be made to secure Government approval for the restoration of the Hall Park as nearly as possible to its pre-war condition.

The Surveyor (Mr. A. Millar) submitted an estimate, amounting to £5,600, for the restoration of the pasture and the planting of an avenue. His further scheme for development, which would include tennis courts and car parking facilities, was deferred, pending a decision on the general principle of restoration.

The Rushden Echo, 4th October 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

An Unfair Test for Picnic Area

Rushden’s Urban Council’s picnic area in Hall Park is, or has been, closed. The last time I heard – on Saturday – it was due to close within a “few days,” about time too.

Basically I always thought the idea was a waste of time anyway, although I agree that this summer (I should have used inverted commas) was hardly an ideal season to give it a fair test.

Rain, rain and more rain hardly induced people to take picnics anyway, and although I never once saw a picnic party in the park, the chewed up grass and bog like mud provides plenty of evidence that cars did drive into the area.

But that is by the way, the point I want to make is that something ought to have been done before now to stop cars going into the park.

The heavy rains caused the inevitable – cars getting stuck. Mine, for instance. I was able to drive in, but I couldn’t get out. There were two things I could do – leave it or drive towards the other entrance and get out via Skinners Hill.

I took the latter course, much to the annoyance of one of the park keepers. The way he flagged me down you would have thought he was directing a jet with damaged wheels on to an aircraft carrier.

All right, he was doing his job and when I pointed out the alternative – one I had no intention of taking – I passed on and was able to get home.

And I bet on Monday morning that park keeper was pleased he let me through. What should I see as I walked through the park? A car, similar make to my own, stuck.

There were old tree branches, pieces of wood and a couple of what looked like car mats beside the muddy pits the spinning back wheels had churned out.

By the time I went home for lunch the car had disappeared – but not the muddy pits, the old tree branches, pieces of wood or old mats.

The marks my wheels left on the grass where I entered the path were hardly visible by Monday lunch time. It will take more than a couple of days for nature to cover up the mess left by the other car. In fact Mr. Park-keeper will have to give nature a hand.

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