Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th January 1955, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Part of the ‘Spotlight on Rushden’ series
Memories of Rushden in the Nineties
by Rev. R. E. Bayes
Rushden in the nineties is the setting for reminiscences written by the Rev. R. E. Bayes, printed with a New Year greeting, and sent out to his friends from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Mr. Bayes was born in 1886 – in a Wellingborough Road house originally a grocery shop. Neighbours on one side were named Morris; on the other, Banks. The family moved to Griffith Street in 1892.

Of his grandparents, all of whom surpassed “three score years and ten” Mr. Bayes describes Charles Bayes and William Skinner. Charles was a master builder, Liberal and Baptist. His funeral tea was served in the Public Hall to Baptists and temperance workers from afar.

Grandfather Skinner, a choir and band conductor, and the owner of a Sunday frock coat and silk hat, lived in Handel House, Queen Street, and was timekeeper in the Cave factory.

Ralph Ernest Bayes was the third child of George Bayes and Clara Skinner. His mother died at 34; his father, sanitary inspector for Wellingborough Rural Council and school attendance officer for Rushden, was known as “Kid Hunter” by those who did not relish the attention he gave them.

From his school days, which began at Moor Road Infants, Mr. Bayes recalls Walter Wood, the quiet and patient gentleman who was his headmaster at Alfred Street; George Capon, his favourite teacher there; and Watson his favourite instructor at Newton Road School.

The first headmaster at Newton Road “had tremendous energy, a Welsh name, and an unshakable confidence in the efficacy of corporal punishment. He was not without certain resemblances to Squeers of “Dotheboys Hall.”

Part-Time Job

Two weeks before his tenth birthday, R. E. Bayes took a regular part time job with a dairyman, having previously worked on Saturdays for a clothier and a draper. His first full time job was with a clothier named King near the railway station; two of his colleagues there, Moody and Luck, afterwards went into business for themselves.

Before long he returned to the dairyman. The work “was out of door in all weathers, and I have no doubt it contributed mightily to give me seven decades of radiant health.

Characters in the story are George Harry Parkin reciting “The Absent-Minded Beggar” as part of his training for public speaking; G. W. Button, Archie Sanders and Alma Denton, all reciters of those days; Miss Gadsby, a school teacher who sang “Maggie, the cows are in the clover”; Jimmy Waite, noted for his singing of “bobbing up and down like this”; and Annie Causebrook, giving R. E. pianoforte lessons but not for long.

Sombre Times

Mr. Bayes read “Comic Cuts,” “Chips,” “Pluck” and “Marvel,” but thinks now that the “Gay Nineties” were sufficiently sombre for a teenager who had to earn his keep by working seven days a week.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the People & Families index
Click here to e-mail us