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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 4th July 1952, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Mr. Samuel Ball
Helped to make Rushden grow
For nearly three-quarters of a century the hands of Mr. Samuel Ball, of 261, Wellingborough Road, Rushden, were his means of livelihood as a bricklayer, and on Tuesday those same hands, though not quite so supple, were pulling and shelling peas for his 90th birthday celebration dinner.
Samuel Ball
Samuel Ball
Mr. Ball, at 90, still retains all his faculties and a keen interest in activities going on in the town.

He has seen, and helped to make, Rushden grow from a village with four streets to its present size.

“I think I must have laid millions of bricks during my work as a bricklayer,” mused Mr. Ball, who began his apprenticeship at Woodford in the 1880’s. He was born at Great Addington, came to Rushden in 1885 at the age of 23, and was married in Surry in 1887. Mrs. Ball died seven years ago.

“I remember that first winter I was married,” he said. “I was off work for nine weeks because of frost. It was so bad they were skating on the river from Northampton to Peterborough.”

Building Work

Among the buildings Mr. Ball has helped to erect are Rushden St. Peter’s Church and Hall, the old Post Office – now Midland Bank – over which he was foreman, Rushden Memorial Hospital, of which he was also in charge, the Palace cinema, Higham Ferrers Methodist Church, Higham Ferrers Parish Rooms, and numerous houses and factories. He was also in charge of the scaffolding erection during the Parish Church tower restoration about 50 years ago. [working for Robert Marriott Ltd]

“Pay in those days was 6½d an hour for a skilled craftsman, and 4d for labourers, but we were just as well off then as they are to-day,” he declared, “and, I think, happier.”

Never tired of his job, Mr. Ball set about building his own house in 1904, and except for the installation of a new fireplace a few years ago, which he put in himself, and a bathroom, the house stands to-day as it was 48 years ago.

This veteran has also been a keen gardener all his life and still tends his old-world garden.


His past associations with organisations in the town include membership of Rushden Choral Society before the First World War and Rushden Parish Church choir for more than 50 years. On his 50th anniversary with the choir in 1944 he was presented with a clock.

At present he is a member of Rushden Darby and Joan Club, which he joined soon after its inauguration three years ago, and up to last year he was still cycling about the town.

Mr. Ball lives with his two daughters, Miss Elizabeth Ball and Mrs. N. Bennett. He also has a son. Mr. Harold Ball, and one grandchild.

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