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The Rushden Echo, 30th June, 1911, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Mr. George Skinner
Rushden During Six Reigns - Interesting Recollections of Mr. Geo. Skinner
Rushden’s Veteran Church-Warden
The King and The Working Woman

Mr. George Skinner, of Rushden, who for so many years has occupied the honourable position of churchwarden at St. Mary’s, and who reached the advanced age of 94 years on March 10th last, has lived under six British monarchs – George III., George IV., William IV., Victoria, Edward VII., and George V.

In view of the coronation of King George V., Mr. Skinner’s recollections – given to a “Rushden Echo” representative – will be read with interest. In the course of a very pleasant chat with our representative, Mr. Skinner, who was born in Rushden and who has lived in the place during the greater part of his life, spoke of the wonderful progress and growth of Rushden during the last two or three decades.

“I was born,” said Mr. Skinner, “in a house near the Green. The house stood on the ground which is now occupied by the shop of Mr. Keller, fruiterer. As a young man I moved from Rushden, but I returned when I was about 25 years of age, and have lived in the place ever since. I recollect when the

Population of Rushden

was only about 1,000 or 1,100. Most of the present buildings in the town have been erected since I was a lad. I remember when the only brick house in Rushden was the one which is now occupied by Mr. Geo. S. Mason as an office. The next house to be built of bricks occupied the site on which Mr. George Miller’s shop now stands, and then two more were built by Mr. John Packwood in High-street near the New Inn.”

Asked as to his recollections of previous coronations, Mr. Skinner said that his most vivid impression was of the crowning of Queen Victoria, under whose gracious reign he has spent the greater portion of his long life. In his younger days there were not so many festivities as now, but he distinctly remembers sheep being roasted in the village “pound” on the occasion of one coronation. The “pound” occupied a position near the Green, and the festivities in question took place in the summer time, because he remembers that the currants were ripe at the time.

A Good Story

George on his tricycle
George on his tricycle
of King George III., was told by Mr. Skinner. His Majesty travelled a good deal up and down the country. One day a woman was working in the fields, alone, all her fellow workers having gone to an adjoining town to see the King. A gentleman who was driving past saw her as she was busily employed.

“Why haven’t you gone to see the King like all the rest of the people?” he asked.

“Because I couldn’t afford it” replied the woman, whereupon her questioner – King George himself – gave her £5 and told her she could see the King without leaving her work.

“During these six reigns in which I have lived,” continued Mr. Skinner, “I have seen a vast improvement in the condition of the working people. When I was a young man the farm labourers were only receiving 8/0 or 9/0 a week, and at that time bread was seldom under 6d. a loaf and sometimes much more. Perhaps some things were a little cheaper than now – milk, for instance, and eggs. I knew one man who always used to eat three or four eggs at a time when they were a halfpenny each – though that was the way to make them dear again, wasn’t it?” added Mr. Skinner with a merry twinkle in his eye.

Mr. Skinner still

Gets About The Town,

in spite of his advanced age, though, unfortunately, a stiffness in his right leg prevents him running around on his tricycle as he used to do a year or two ago.

“My eyesight,” he added, “is pretty good, and I can still read my Bible and Prayer Book without spectacles, though, of course, I can read better when I put my glasses on.” By the way, Mr. Skinner once said that the “Rushden Echo” was the only paper he had been able to read for years, the print being so much clearer than its contemporaries.

“I still get to church sometimes,” Mr. Skinner added, “and I went there on Coronation Day.”

Rushden Echo, 19th April 1912

At the Vestry Meeting, Mr George Skinner was re-elected Warden in his 96th year.

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