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Sally Cooper 1994
Sally Cooper - A Level Study - Chapter 3

This work was done by Sally Cooper as her A Level History ''Personal Study''. Sally entitled her project
'' The growth of the shoe industry and its effect on the growth of Rushden''.

Rushden in 1850 was a small village situated on the Northamptonshire/Bedfordshire border, the population was 1460 and there were 320 houses which were mainly built of limestone with thatched or tiled roofs.

The principle occupation of the 777 people who worked at this time were shoemakers 30 per cent, lace making 20 per cent and agriculture 20 per cent and many of the other jobs were agricultural support trades such as blacksmiths and carpenters. See chart Fig 1 and Fig 1 A.

The 1851 census also showed that 66 per cent of the population were born in Rushden and only 34 per cent were born elsewhere, of these 16 per cent were born within a five mile radius of Rushden.

In 1833 Rushden had 2 Infant schools which taught 32 children of both sexes and 1 Daily school which was funded by parents and had 26 male and 4 female pupils, there were also 2 Sunday schools, the first taught 57 males and 40 females, the second had 66 males and 80 females. By 1898 the number of Sunday schools had increased to 3. One each connected to the Baptist, Methodist and Parish Churches. In the 1851 census 89 children were described as 'scholars', most of which were children of farmers or better paid villagers or children under 7.

As an administrative town Rushden has been described as "always overshadowed by its' neighbour Higham Ferrers". One thing that must be remembered is the fact that Higham Ferrers was a Duchy of Lancaster holding and therefore no land was for sale for manufacturers to buy to build factories. However the town did still stand on a major coaching route which brought a great deal of trade to the town especially as the Royal Mail came through the town. However this soon dwindled by 1839 when the London to Manchester railway was opened. In 1843 much of the mail and coaching trade went on this route. The effect of the railway was even more acutely felt when the Northampton - Peterborough line opened in 1893.

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