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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th October 1959, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Beware One-Way Traffic
Be very careful if you intend to drive through Rushden this weekend. The long-promised one-way traffic routeis in operation and can be a big success – but at the moment there’s a danger of meeting a vehicle travelling the wrong way.

One-way traffic began on Monday, and no one was surprised to observe a few mistakes at the northern end of High Street – key point of the whole plan. The great majority of southbound drivers turned obediently into Station Approach and took the A6 diversion route through Rectory Road. Quite a number, failing to notice the “No entry” discs, went straight ahead.

On Tuesday policemen and zealous pedestrians were still waving warnings to erring drivers.

All through the night, according to High Street residents, the wrong-way leakage continued.

Mistakes have also occurred on Skinner’s Hill, which is part of the secondary “roundabout.”

Biggest surprise for many was the absence of the promised unilateral parking in High Street. This has been postponed for an experimental period – said to be of three months. The no-waiting rule continues, and with only one line of traffic coming through, High Street gets very quiet at times. The Chamber of Trade has a meeting next Monday and may discuss the position.

One observer has counted the signs on or incidental to the one-way routes. He reports that there are 143. The course has also been inspected by highways officials: the result – more signs.

Heavy mealtime congestion occurred at the junction of Rectory Road and Newton Road, with the result that a new waiting place for workers’ buses was found on Tuesday – in Church Parade.

2nd October 1959

Rushden’s traffic re-routed
Before their meeting on Wednesday evening members of Rushden Urban Council were studying the town’s one-way traffic scheme – illustrated on a large plan. During the meeting some of them urged the town to shout against one incidental feature – a bus stop which is to be placed in Rectory Road north of the Queen Street junction.

At a recent conference of officials the local representatives wanted a spot near the CWS shoe factory, but all the others insisted on the more northerly position.

From next Monday southbound buses, like other traffic from the north, will have to take the Rectory Road route, leaving High Street clear for the northbound traffic.

Describing the bus stop as “absolutely ridiculous,” Mr. E. F. Mawson said the people should complain and get it changed. Mr. R. S. Greenwood said that if the public shouted they would get what they wanted.

On the suggestion of Mr. E. E. Newell, a plan of the streets in which the scheme will operate is to be published in a day or two.

Mrs. W. M. lean made a lively protest against criticisms appearing in the annual report of the Nene River Board. These are to the effect that Rushden’s discharges into the river are worse than those from any other town.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 30th October 1959

Rushden Council: More Traffic Plans

Suggestions for improving the one-way traffic system were reported by the highways committee to Wednesday’s meeting of Rushden Urban Council. They included painting “no entry” on the road at the north end of High Street and the bottom of Skinners Hill; displaying signs where one-way traffic re-joins the two-way system and moving the bus stop in Rectory Road to a position south of Queen Street.

These ideas are being submitted to the county surveyor.

It was explained that the expected introduction of unilateral waiting in High Street had had to be deferred until the expiration of the one-way traffic experiment owing to “practical difficulties of arranging for a temporary relaxation of traffic restriction orders.”


Mr. R. R. Griffiths thought it unfortunate that the one-way system had been introduced at a time when the winter period was approaching and said better lighting was needed for Rectory Road and Washbrook Road. He was assured that if the scheme becomes permanent the lighting will be improved.

Mr. Griffiths also had fixed ideas about the danger situation outside the council offices. By the non-operation of the traffic lights at the end of High Street and the heavy traffic on the new route, new hazards had come. “We have gone back five years in traffic regulation and created outside this council building a real traffic danger spot,” he said.

Mrs. A. U. Muxlow backed him up, saying that old people were unsure of themselves and did not know what to do at this dangerous crossing. Mr. R. H. S. Greenwood, the Highways and Planning chairman, did not think the traffic at the corner was consistently heavy although at times it was very heavy but he thought that Mr. C. Freeman’s suggestion of a “halt” sign for downward traffic in Newton Road might be worthwhile.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 4th December 1959, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden traffic talks

Rushden must be the only town in the country which has no-entry signs at both ends of its main street, and the Chamber of Trade is rather concerned about it, Mr. Geoff Knight, the president, told Wednesday’s meeting held to discuss problems of the one-way traffic system.

The meeting was convened by the County Council highways committee and was attended by representatives of several interested parties.

Mr. Knight said that the Rushden and Higham Ferrers Chamber of Trade were very much concerned in the matter of traffic. “We want High Street to be more in the picture,” he declared. Under the present arrangement, all south-bound traffic was diverted clear of the shopping centre and a lot of north-bound traffic also missed the area by going along Wellingborough Road.

taken from the Church tower
Streaks of light along the carriageways indicate the course of traffic at the crossroads near St Mary’s Church, Rushden. Under the town’s experimental scheme the traffic in three of the streets is one-way and in Newton Road (right) two-way.

It moves left from the junction into Church Parade (left of the picture), approaches from Church Street (next) and recedes into High Street. Mr G Parnell, of Commercial Street, Higham Ferrers, secured the picture from the church tower at 5p.m. on Saturday, giving an exposure of 60 seconds, which registered the bright lights but not the moving vehicles that carried them.

The reduction in the flow of traffic along High Street makes a tremendous amount of difference, said Mr. E. G. Tompkins, a newsagent. “I have lost orders of 600 papers a week apart from periodicals,” he stated. “This one-way system has hit us hard. One man in High Street has lost £600 in two months. If you can help us with parking then for heaven’s sake do so.”

The meeting was told that the hope for unilateral parking would not be allowed unless High Street was to become “detrunked” by the Ministry of Transport, passing into the control of the local authority. The only parking for the time being will be in two places – between College Street and Queen Street on the east side, and unilaterally between Victoria Road and Station Road.

It was stated by the police that to push a cycle against the flow of traffic was illegal and that anyone doing so in High Street would be doing it “at their own peril.”

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 15th January 1960, transcribed by Gill Hollis

‘One-way’ criticism by the Co-op

One-way traffic may well mean the end of Rushden High Street as the town’s main shopping centre, according to a magazine distributed by Rushden Co-operative Society. The writer accuses Rushden, Higham Ferrers and District Chamber of Trade of “starting all this” and suggests the Chamber has gone headlong into something that can have fatal effects on its own members.

“Councillor Allebone,” writes the local edition, “got quite heated about the request made by some of Rushden’s Labour councillors – that the society should be directly represented at the meeting to discuss one-way traffic in High Street.

“If reports in an evening paper are to be believed, Mrs. Muxlow was also amazed at this desire. Sometimes I wonder if the city fathers (or mothers) really know what goes on in the town.

‘Deemed Impertinent’

“The society pays more rates than any other trading organisation in the town; it has more shops than anyone in High Street; most of the townspeople are members of the society, and yet when an important item such as the one-way street is to be discussed, the Chamber of Trade must be there, but the society is deemed impertinent if it says that it should be represented.

“When one talks about the society refraining from participating in politics, antics such as this make one wonder whether we ought not to be even more politically minded.

“In the end it would appear that the meeting was abortive anyway. Most people attending agreed that the one-way street was necessary to enable a free flow of traffic, and it would appear that there was general agreement that parking in High Street should be allowed.

“This parking, in my opinion, will undoubtedly restrict the free flow of traffic in High Street and increase the danger to pedestrians.

‘Have Discussions’

“The Chamber of Trade, who were the motivating force behind the one-way street effort, would be well advised in future to have discussions with other trading organisations before going headlong into something that can, in the long run, have fatal effects on their own members.

“The effect of the one-way street may well be the end of Rushden High Street as the main shopping centre, and I am sure that was not in the minds of the Chamber of Trade when they started all this.”

‘No Mandate’

The writer goes on to assert that the urban council “had no mandate for this dislocation in the shopping habits of the people of Rushden – a matter that might be interesting at the next local council elections.”

The writer declares the influx of “outside speculators” to be a bad thing for the town and confesses: “While I am critical of the attitude of the Chamber of Trade on many things, I would rather do business with them than with the representatives of these outsiders.”

The article is headed: “Why this bias against the society?”

see also Council Meeting Sep 1961

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