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Hall Park 1940s & 1950s
Rushden Echo and Argus, 25th March 1949

Remains of Rushden’s elm tree avenue in the Hall grounds are facing the modern equivalent of the woodman’s axe, a giant bulldozer.

Contractors are clearing the site left desolate after occupation by the Forces during the war.

Slabs of concrete are being smashed by a lump of iron slung at the end of an excavator.

elm trees axed

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th July 1949, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Sees “Merry Wives”

The actors

Shakespeare in the open air was a delightful experience for an audience of 600 at Rushden Hall on Tuesday.
Northampton Drama Club gave a splendid performance of
“The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Rushden Hall and its park have provided many problems for the local Council, but on Tuesday evening one of their potentialities was made very clear. A portion of the grounds near the Elizabethan front of the mansion made a convenient and lovely theatre for a performance of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Six hundred people, most of them seated comfortably in deck chairs, enjoying what was to all intents and purposes the first Shakespearian evening the town has experienced in recent times.

Once during the war “Twelfth Night” was offered in the same place, but an air raid warning and heavy rain combined to cut the production short.

On Tuesday the Northampton Drama Club came again, and this time found nearly everything in its favour, the one exception being the cool nip in the air during the last hour.

Headed by Mr. John Parkin as a thoroughly robust and rascally Falstaff, the company gave a splendid presentation, and every phase of the play’s gaiety and humour was brought out to the full.

The reception was most enthusiastic and the final “curtain” a triumph for the visitors. Members and officers of Rushden Urban Council attended the performance, which was made possible by the good officers of the County Drama Committee whose chairman, Mr. Don Bugby of Rushden, made the local arrangements.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 10th March, 1950, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Hall Park Will Be Re-Planted - Flower Beds to Grace Avenue

Crocuses and celandines merging through the Spring sunshine into golden carpets over the Rushden Hall grounds have heralded yet another reformation at the town’s favourite park – the rehabilitation of the grounds from their war-time devastation.

The old avenue of elms, at the base of which used to cluster thousands of daffodils, need no longer be mourned for its untimely death – suffocated by the concrete bed of American Army transport. It is to have a new lease of life.

On either side of the road there will be two rows of cypresses and red chestnuts – 70 in all – to back up 17 flower beds containing, on both sides, 3,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs. The trees are from eight to ten feet high when they are dug in.

The flower beds will be laid to season, with grass verges. There will be additional seating, too.

Other improvements at the park are to include facilities for the kiddies and the bowling fraternity of the town.

A children’s playground is planned on the left-hand side of the Hall Avenue entrance and will contain £500 worth of equipment – slides, a rocking horse, see-saw, merry-go-round and swings.

Two bowling greens will be laid out in what is at present known as the kitchen garden.

The restoration of the ground and planting, alone, will cost an estimated £2,900. The bulk of the money will come from the Government as compensation for war-time damage. The playground and bowling greens will be constructed at the Rushden Urban Council’s own expense.

Mr. C. Davenport, foreman in charge of the five men now working on the restoration for the London contractors, J. Burley and Sons, said that the work will include the setting of levels, then the excavation and make-up, and finally the road.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th April, 1950, transcribed by Gill Hollis

‘Lock Hall Grounds at Night’ - Council’s ‘Moral Responsibility’

Rushden Hall grounds should be locked after dark, in the opinion of Coun. J. Allen, who, at the Urban Council’s meeting on Wednesday, said there was a possibility of undesirable people getting into the park at night.

Mr. Allen said he took it that the Council had a moral responsibility to see that the grounds were not used by all and sundry after closing time.

There was a report from the special sub-committee appointed to consider the restoration of Rushden Hall. One suggestion reviewed was the provision of a large hall by the adaptation of the West wing. This, however, was reluctantly turned down because the work and expense involved would be disproportionate to the results obtained.

£5,000 Scheme

After an interview Professor A. E. Richardson, who has been engaged as architect, was asked to prepare a restoration scheme on the assumption that the Council would be willing to spend about £5,000 at the present time.

Suggestions include general restoration of the main structure and repair of the roof; removal of the conservatory and certain old buildings in the courtyard, rooms to be adapted as a kitchen service room, tea room and cloak-room, other rooms to be renovated for use as meeting rooms for cultural and educational purposes; upstairs rooms to be restored as a repository for local records and articles of historical interest, and the provision of a caretaker’s flat.


The chairman (Coun. W. E. Capon) said he understood the architect had already made progress; he maintained that the Hall could be ready for the Festival of Britain celebrations next year.

Coun. E. A. Sugars, for the Parks Committee, withdrew a minute recommending the construction of a concrete cricket pitch in Spencer Park. He said the committee would now endeavour to provide grass wickets.

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