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Belgian Relief Fund Reports

We will not produce all the reports here, merely a selection.


The Rushden Echo, March 26th 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Another £100 to the Belgian Legation
Over £1,000 Raised in Rushden

A meeting of the Rushden Belgian Relief Committee was held on Tuesday evening at the Council Buildings, Councillor J. S. Clipson presiding. There were present, among others, Mesdames H. J. Horn, W. Robinson, E. Norman, Hall, Woodward, Marriott, Greenfield, and Bishton, Father O’Gorman, Messrs. W. M. Hensman, F. Knight, J.P., J. S. Mason, J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., J. T. Colson, C. Cross, C.C., W. Durham, Bishton, W. W. Rial, with representatives of various organisations subscribing to the fund. In the absence of the secretary, Mr. R. F. Knight, through indisposition, the assistant secretary, Mr. W. T. L. Flood, officiated, with Mr. A. Clark, secretary to the House Committee.


Mr. Hensman submitted the financial report, which showed that altogether the sum of £1,091/8/1 had been collected. There was now a balance in the bank of £682/9/5. This, he thought, was extremely creditable to the town, to the factory fund, and to the Red Cross Society ladies.

The Chairman moved that another £100 be forwarded to the Belgian Legation in London.

Mr. F. Knight, supporting, said it was most satisfactory how the town had responded. He understood there were 1½ millions of people in Belgium on the verge of starvation, and he thought that by contributing direct to their relief they were doing better work than if more Belgians were entertained here. He hoped they would be able to send a similar amount shortly.

The motion was carried unanimously.


A detailed report of the expenditure for the 18 weeks to the end of February was submitted, as follows:-

Petty cash £12/2/9, wages £18/6/0. Clothing and furnishing, £54/14/1, food £121/4/11, coal £7/15/6, printing and advertising £3/15/9, Belgian Relief £200, total £417/19/3.

Mr. Knight said that the cost of maintenance would be slightly higher this month. To get a clear idea of the average cost, however, it was necessary to compare three or four months. He thought it would amount to nearly 12/0 per head this month.

A report of the factory collections was submitted by Mr. Flood.

In reply to Mr. Rial, the Chairman said that no direct information had been received from the refugee who had returned to Belgium. They understood, however, that he had arrived at Flushing.

Mr. W. Hinde stated that the employees of Messrs. Crick and Patenall wished to forego their Belgian collection this week, as they were making a collection on behalf of a fellow employee. He asked permission that they might do so, and this was granted.

Rushden Echo, 24th December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden’s Fine Response - To Belgium’s Bitter Cry
Rushden Finds Half of Northamptonshire’s Total

A meeting of the Rushden Belgian and Allies Relief Fund Committee was held on Friday evening last in the Council Chamber, Mr. J. S. Clipson presiding.


Mr. W. M. Hensman (treasurer) said: Since the new fund started there has been paid in the sum of £49/14/3. I should like to point out that the sums received now are on a very different level from the sums received last year. This is perhaps quite natural. In the first place, the keen interest in the Belgians has more or less vanished. In the next place it is the wish of the Council that as far as possible Rushden should continue during the coming year to retain the extraordinary position – even the unprecedentedly good position – which Rushden holds with regard to its contributions to the War Funds, but seeing that the money is beginning to fall off, I think the committee will have to face the necessity for another meeting of the committee after Christmas and do our best to incite the town to continue in the good work which has been carried on this year. Divided interests never appeal in the same way as concentrated interests. It must be remembered that the enormous needs of Belgium have in no way ceased. You cannot destroy the industries of a manufacturing nation and leave the population without any substance at all. With regard to the Serbians, you have an agricultural population, a sparse population of no enormous numbers – certainly driven out of their country, but the total numbers cannot be compared with the needs of manufacturing cities and a manufacturing country where the whole mechanism of production and wage-earning is smashed and driven off the face of the earth. Think what state Rushden would be in if all the factories were closed and ruined. Our secretary, Mr. Knight, had an interview with the secretary of the National Belgian Fund, who quoted Rushden as an example of what good can be done in an artisan town for artisans. He says there are now in Belgium three millions of people who have to be kept by charity, not counting the 250,000 refugees in our own country. Every precaution, he said, is taken – and successfully taken – that the money gets into proper hands. The whole of the money contributed by England and the United States goes to the relief of the population in Belgium. I hope that when Christmas is over we shall take all the steps we can to keep the organised charity of Rushden going on the lines on which it has gone in the past.

Mr. R. F. Knight (hon. Secretary): The under-secretary of the National Belgian Relief Committee was in the district and came to Rushden. He said he was greatly pleased with what Rushden had done, and he has mentioned Rushden as an example in the places he has visited. Out of £1,623 sent from Northamptonshire to this fund, Rushden raised £700, besides between £200 and £300 sent up from Rushden to the fund of the Belgian Ministers in London. He told me the National Fund was one of the most economically-worked funds. With regard to the food which is sent across, none of it gets into German hands, and they adopt most business-like methods.

Mr. F. Knight, J.P., said he thought it would be necessary to canvass the town again. He hoped, for the credit of the town, that now Rushden had won such a good name they would not let the fund drop, particularly at a time when the scope of the committee had been enlarged in order to help the other Allies.

Mr. F. Corby suggested that contributors should be asked if they would renew their subscriptions for another year. It would stimulate the employees if the employers subscribed heavily.

It was decided that the committee should be called together in the new year.


The Chairman moved on the recommendation of the Finance Committee that £50 be forwarded to the official Serbian Fund.

Mr. Corby seconded, and it was carried.

It was also resolved that the Finance Committee have power to forward another £50 as soon as money is in hand.

On the motion of Mr. T. Swindall, J.P., seconded by Mr. John Claridge, J.P., C.C., it was decided to add the name of the Rev. C. J. Keeler to the committee.

The Rushden Echo, 1st December 1916, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Belgian Relief at Rushden - Trouble With Regard to Finances
An Anxious Time - Decreasing Income

A meeting of the Belgian and Allies Relief Committee for Rushden was held on Tuesday in the Council Buildings.  Councillor J. S. Clipson presided, supported by Mr. W. L. Sargent (secretary), and Mr. W. M. Hensman (treasurer).

The Chairman said that owing to the lighting restrictions and the difficulty of obtaining speakers the matter of getting special speakers for Rushden had been dropped.

The Treasurer in his report said that in their No. 1 account they had £51/14/1 and in their No. 2 account they had £65/3/10 in hand.  The subscriptions were coming in rather slowly and he did not think they would come in any quicker in the future.  The House Committee had had a meeting on the subject of expenses.

The Chairman said it was evident that all of the amount in hand would be needed for the upkeep of the house, and therefore they would be unable at present to send any away to the larger funds.

Mr. F. Knight, J.P., gave a report of the meeting of the House Committee, and said that the expenses had been causing them an anxious time just lately.  The cost of managing the house amounted to something like £36 or £37, and the income was less than that.  If that continued, the House Committee thought, they would soon be out of funds, and they had two suggestions to make – either that they should ask the refugees who were working to pay more for their upkeep, or accept a proposal made by the refugees themselves, this proposal being that the 19 refugees be formed into three families to keep themselves with the exception of a little assistance for those who were unable to work.  He (Mr. Knight) thought the offer of the refugees a very good one.  They were prepared to take over the whole management of the house, and he himself would much prefer to see them stay on those conditions that have them sent away.  He suggested 7/6 a week for those not working.

After discussion Mr. Hensman proposed and Councillor T. Wilmott seconded that the offer of the refugees be accepted, and it was carried unanimously, Mr. Knight remarking that the sleeping accommodation would be as usual.

The committee discussed an appeal received from the National Committee for Relief in Belgium for the 2,575,000 oppressed children in Belgium.  This was a special Christmas appeal, and the National Committee would supply envelopes for contributions so that they could have them on every table in the district on Christmas Day.

Mr. Sargent said that a body of the Girl Guides had undertaken to deliver the envelopes, and as the appeal was urgent they could not disregard it.

The meeting unanimously accepted the offer of the Girl Guides with thanks.

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