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Evacuees — The Beeches
Government Evacuation Scheme

The Beeches
The Beeches in Higham Road was the home of Mr Fred Corby, a currier. Following his death, his Executor allowed the property to be used by Rushden Urban District Council as a home for evacuees, and was duly paid compensation. A government Circular 2032 gave permission to local authorities to “incur necessary and reasonable expenditure in acquiring hostels for children found unsuitable for billeting on private households”. A weekly return was to be made detailing those admitted and if they were unruly, bed-wetters, had skin disease or other illnesses.

Following a report after a visit on 12th August 1940, it was agreed that it should be staffed by a married couple with a female assistant and a daily help. Cooking facilities were probably not adequate for 16 children and three staff. If fully occupied additional wash basins would be needed but the three lavatories were considered “probably sufficient”. Produce may be removed from the garden for six months from 29th May 1940.

A letter from Rushden & District Electric Supply Co. Ltd written on 1st October 1940, asked Mr W L Beetenson, clerk for RUDC to send the enclosed application “for supply to The Beeches” to be sent to the County Council.

The Matron had been visited periodically by the Wardens and the Inspector of Police regarding black-out, and a request on 5th April 1941 for new black-out, at an estimated cost of £7.9.3, was approved.

Miss E Jones, Assistant Matron, was authorised to attend a course for Hostels Staff, at Benfield, Bingley, Yorkshire, from the 10th to 17th April 1942.

A request to Regional Stores on 24th April 1942 was for two dozen each of hairbrushes, combs, toothbrushes and face flannels. Another request for one bath mat and one coconut mat was confirmed for despatch on 22nd August 1942, and approval for a 30ft ladder was also given. An undated slip for supplies from the stores was for 24 soup plates and 24 chambers, and for local purchase of one dozen each of dish cloths, tea cloths, floor cloths and dusters.

On 21st April 1944 the Medical Officer of Health wrote to the Clerk of the County Council stating that the County Architect reported that the domestic hot water boiler was beyond repair and “as it is essential I have asked him to arrange for a local firm of heating engineers to replace it with a second hand No. 2 Ideal, the cost not to exceed £10,” and he asked him to write to the Ministry of Health for approval.

The Medical Officer of Health declared on 19th December 1945 that “91 Queens Parade, Northampton and “The Beeches” may now be closed as hostels under the Government Evacuation Scheme”.

A survey of the property was made on 25th March 1946.

Northamptonshire County Council Government Evacuation Scheme – Hostel Accommodation — “The Beeches”

Outgoing Record of Condition taken on Wednesday March 20th 1946.

The Ingoing Record of Conditions taken by this Department and dated 4th June 1940 has been made the basis of this Report of Conditions and only where the description differs from the 1940 Record has any note been made. Where this is no note, it is to be taken that the 1940 Record is a correct description of the condition at the present date.

Front Bedroom – North Several small patches of plaster to be made good in walls.
Wallpaper torn and badly stained, ceiling and cornice poor, requires relining and distempering.
White paintwork fair but chipped on external orifices.
Front Bedroom – South Wallpaper in very poor condition, stained and torn.
Cream paintwork marked, but in fair condition.
Ceiling, fairly good but cracked in several places.
Central Bedroom – South Wallpaper in fair condition but torn & marked in small patches.
Cream paintwork, fair to door, poor to window and marked & chipped to skirting.
Ceiling fair, but lining paper torn in one place.
Rear Bedroom – South
Wallpaper, fair generally, but torn in places.
White paintwork badly chipped.
Ceiling, fair condition.
Rear Bedroom – North

Wallpaper, fair condition generally, but torn in small places.
White paintwork in fairly good condition except to window.

Hall, Staircase & Landings

Lincrusta dado good, but slightly chipped in places.
Wallpaper in good condition.
Brown paintwork, generally good, but badly chipped on external angles.

Rear Corridor & Stairs Ceilings poor & cracked condition.
Small Bedroom – North Distempered walls, fair condition, but scratched.
Small Bedroom – North Distempered walls in fair condition generally. Paintwork poor.
W.C. & Airing Cupboard Ceiling to W.C. cracked and discoloured.
Ground Floor
Morning Room Wallpaper, fair condition but stained and marked.
Paintwork to bottoms of windows badly blistered.
Dining Room Boarded floor rotten in parts and smoll piece burned by fireplace.
Fireplace, surround badly marked, 15 tiles loose, 4 missing, 5 cracked.
Ceiling & frieze, fair condition but soiled and with a few cracks.
Drawing Room

Fireplace surround, 5 tiles missing, 1 tile loose & 11 cracked.
Wallpaper in poor condition & badly marked.
Frieze, in poor condition and stained, ceiling fair but slight cracks.
White paintwork very poor in parts.

Kitchen Painted walls in fair condition, but marked and soiled with several bad patches.  
Ceiling badly stained and cracked.  

Whitewashed walls & ceiling, very poor condition.
Paintwork blistered and poor in parts.

Boiler House Whitewashed walls and ceiling in poor condition.
Fuel Store No. 2 window panes, approx 15” x 10”, broken.
Greenhouse & Cold Frames Total of 38 broken panes approx 15” x 10”.
Side Entrance Door No. 1 pane obscured glass approx 15" x 12" broken.

External Painting

County Architect.
County Architect's Department, County Hall,
25th March, 1946.


From : The County Architect, County Hall,Northampton.

To : The Clerk of the County Council.

2nd January, 1946

G. E. S. Hostel. "The Beeches", Higham Road, Rushden.
Referring to your memorandum of 10th December the following are particulars of the fixtures, fittings installed by the County Council at the above premises: -

Oct.   1940 New Hot Water Cylinder and repairs to pump, etc. (Replacement)
15. 2.11
April 1941 Black-out Curtains
7. 9. 3
May   1941 New W.C. Cistern & Pedestal (Replacement)
3. 6. 11

Oct.   1942 New W.C. Pedestal to First Floor Lavatory (Replacement)
2. 3. 6
Sept. 1944  Ideal 0.2 Boiler (Replacement)
10. 0. 0
April 1945 New W.C. Pedestal to Outside Lavatory (Replacement)
4. 13. 8
£42. 16. 3

It would be advisable to ask the County Medical Officer to furnish you with a list of any other fittings installed by, or supplied through his Department, of which I have no record.

                                                                                           County Architect

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st November, 1941, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Friends of Evacuees - Busy Working Party at a Rushden School
One of the busiest little war-time working parties in Rushden is the group of mothers – about a dozen – which meets every Thursday afternoon at the Alfred-street Infants’ School and does mending for the evacuee children who are living at “The Beeches.”

Members of the School’s Parents’ Association, the ladies use the head-mistress’s room and ply their needles for about two hours each week.

Perhaps there is a pair of pyjamas, one leg torn away and looking hopelessly beyond repair. A machinist takes the garment in hand and restores it to full working order. Another case may be a pair of trousers with no seat or a stocking containing more hole than “remainder.” It is tiresome work, after all the mending that falls to a woman’s lot at home, but it counts towards the war effort and is done with cheerful efficiency.

Many little extras are pushed into the case each week for return with the mending – perhaps dresses, shoes or children’s coats. Through the holidays as well as the school terms, the work continues. Few people know of it, but its value is recognised by those who run the hostel, and the children themselves are delighted to find such wonders worked upon their clothes.

This window is from the Beeches, in Higham Road, formerly the home of
Mr Fred Corby, a currier.

It was rescued from the house, at the time of its demolition, by Clive Wood and he built it into his own house The Vyne, in 1989.

window from the Beeches detail from the panel
Window panel - right - the whole
window from The Beeches

NRO Ref: LG1/16/286
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