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The Rushden Echo, 11th July, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Peace Celebrations in Rushden
Revised Programme
Returned Soldiers and the Children to be Entertained

The Rushden Argus, 25th July 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins
passing the Succoth Chapel
Rushden gave her ex-service men a promise at place in the day’s programme, and here we see them taking part in the great processions with which the day commenced.
A meeting was held at the Council Chambers on Tuesday evening to re-consider plans for celebrating peace, the original suggestions of a two-days’ function being upset through the Government setting aside only one day – July 19th.

Mr. Fred Knight, J.P. (Chairman of the Rushden Urban Council) presided, supported by members of the Council together with a large number of representatives of most of the public, religious and philanthropic organisations in the town. Members present included the Revs. P. E. Robson (Rector), Ion Carroll (Vicar of St. Peter’s), and R. C. Law (Baptist).

The Chairman reminded members that the original committee had formed plans for celebrating peace on the semi-official understanding that two week-days would be set aside for the purpose. They were now officially informed that only one day would be recognised as the day for celebrating peace. He did not know whether the sub-committees could still go on with plans they had formed. Personally he was very glad that only one day would be set aside for peace celebrations because he understood that some authorities were of the opinion that the celebrations could not well be carried over two or three days.

Mr. T. F. B. Newberry, reporting for the Sports Committee, said that 25 events had been arranged besides two in the parade. The committee estimated that the expenditure would be £75 as far as they could see at present.

Mr. W. E. Capon reported that the tea sub-committees had merely settled minor details for the ex-service men’s and the children’s and old folks’ teas.

The Chairman said he had heard opinions expressed in the town that made it seem unnecessary to have a meal on a large scale in the town as the clubs would be getting dinners for their own members and members’ families. That would meet the case as far as club members were concerned.

Mr. F. Elmer said that the Discharged Soldiers were of the opinion that the plans should be carried out with all enthusiasm or not at all. The Federation were quite willing to withdraw so that the children and old people could be the better catered for. (Hear, hear.)

The Rector suggested that before any definite plans be decided on the Committee should express an opinion as to whether the celebrations be confined to one day or more.

Mr. S. C. Brightwell moved, and Mr. Capon seconded, that only one day – July 19th – be observed as a holiday and all the celebrations be held on that day alone.

This was carried nem con.

The Chairman pointed out that sports could be held on the one day, the children’s sports in the morning and the adults after dinner. Mr. A. H. Sartoris was willing to allow the use of the Home Close for the occasion, but the occupier, Mr. C. E. Knight, was in difficulties in regard to his cattle, “keep” being so scarce.

Mr. J. Spencer, J.P., suggested that the Spencer Park be used.

Mr. Newberry said the steam roller should go over the racecourse if the Park were used, on account of the unevenness of the ground. It was not the Committee’s wish to deprive Mr. Knight of his only field for his cattle. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Bazeley said that the Council had greatly improved the Park during the past few days. Soil which had been taken from the bed being formed for the place for the tank had been used to fill up holes in the ground.

The Rev. Ion Carroll said he did not consider it was fair to ignore the soldiers, who had brought the victory. In London and other places the returned soldiers and sailors received public recognition and were treated very kindly by public bodies. In Rushden they had received no recognition in any way. Speaking on behalf of ex-service men in the town, they would feel it a slight if they were not the first in the people’s minds. He suggested that public recognition be given to returned soldiers. Although he was in favour of giving a treat to old people and children, he felt that on this particular occasion returned soldiers should stand first.

The Rev. R. C. Law thought the Rev. Ion Carroll was not more concerned about the returned soldiers than were the rest of the committee. (Hear, hear.) The Committee were perfectly willing to concentrate their energies in entertaining them. The peace celebrations were transient, and he hoped the committee would do something substantial for the soldiers that would be of a permanent nature. It would help the Committee if the soldiers would indicate the nature of their ideas of a good entertainment.

Mr. Bazeley supported Mr. Carroll’s suggestion, and hoped the Committee would provide a good “knife and fork” tea.

Mr. J. Garley supported the suggestion and said he knew the soldiers and sailors particularly wanted a feed by themselves.

Mr. Brightwell moved that the returned soldiers be given a luncheon and the school children a tea.

Mr. Elmer seconded.

Mr. J. Hornsby said the whole of the suffering had not been felt on the battle field. Wives and mothers of soldiers had suffered at home, and he wanted to see them entertained, and perhaps the children could be given a treat later on.

The Chairman felt that the numbers thus entailed would be more than the Committee could deal with.

After further discussion it was agreed to give the returned soldiers a luncheon and the children a tea; sports to be arranged for both children and adults.

It was left to the Committee to see if it was possible to get the Home Close, if not, then to hold the sports in Spencer Park, which was to be rolled for the occasion.

The following were appointed a Committee to arrange the soldiers’ luncheon: Mr. W. Lack, Miss Packer, Mrs. W. Robinson, Mrs. Dyke, Messrs. J. Spencer, J.P., C. W. Horrell, F. Sharwood, F. Corby, J. Bailey, C. E. Bayes, A. Ansell, W. Bazeley, Sharpe, Harlow, and S. C. Brightwell, with, in addition, three representatives from each of the clubs, Mr. Sharwood and Mr. Brightwell to be convenors.

Mr. S. C. Brightwell, Mr. F. Corby, and Mr. B. Ladds were added to the Finance Committee.

The tea committee for the children was left as at present appointed.

It was resolved not to hold a fancy dress parade, but on the motion of Mr. Elmer, it was agreed to ask the ex-soldier guests to assemble in Spencer Park and from there to march behind the bands to the various places of holding the luncheon. A similar suggestion was adopted in regard to the children.

In reply to a question, Mr. Newberry said that to do without the fancy dress parade, the sum required would probably be reduced to £60.

It was unanimously agreed not to have a bonfire.

Details were discussed and agreed on, so that at the close of the meeting arrangements were well advanced.

Rushden Echo, 18th July 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Peace Celebrations

Should there be any soldiers or sailors who are serving or have served, who have not received a card, will they please accept this as a cordial invitation to the luncheon at one of the clubs or Co-operative Hall at 12 o’clock on Saturday. As preparation has been made for all who joined up in Rushden, the Committee earnestly hope that everyone will avail themselves of this invitation.—Yours faithfully, F. Sharwood, S. C. Brightwell (Joint hon. secretaries of the Luncheon Committee).


The Rushden Echo, 25th July, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Peace Rejoicings at Rushden
Celebrations in The Various Streets
An “Umbrella” Tea.

Had the weather on Peace Day frowned less and smiled more, practically every inhabitant in Rushden not catered for by the town’s committee would have been entertained to tea in fine style, the novel idea of placing tables down the centre of streets in various parts of the town having been generally adopted. Unfortunately, rain spoilt the programme and the ‘street’ tea was abandoned by most of the committees formed to make the arrangements.

Crabb Street

The Crabb-street residents and their friends, however, not to be defeated by the weather, defied the rain and sat down – about 130 in two sittings – to a capital spread on tables occupying most of Upper Crabb-street, and afterwards held sports and dancing, the whole proceedings lasting from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Invalids and others who were unable to have tea out of doors had their fill of the good things in their own homes. The participants at the tea tables held up umbrellas to shield them from the rain. They were addressed by Mr. F. Wrighton in appropriate terms. The arrangements were made by Mesdames R. Dickens, W. Law, R. Farrer, and others. Donations towards the expenses were made by Mr. J. Cunnington, Mr. F. Wrighton, Mr. G. Line, Mr. White, Mrs. H. Linnitt, Mrs. Ball and Mrs. Chettle, and collections were made at the tables. The street was very nicely festooned with suitable decorations by Mr. R. Farrar and Mrs. G. Sail, and the War Shrine had been appropriately decorated by Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Partridge. The tables having been cleared, sports were carried out, every child winning one of the prizes, which had been contributed to by Messrs. H. Linnitt, A. Chettle, S. Cox, F. Partridge, and F. Sheffield. Dancing also took place to music provided by Mrs. Farrar and piano by Mr. S. Cox.

Harborough-Road and Bedford-Road

Arrangements had been completed for holding a tea for the Harborough-road district, the tables to be placed at the top on the Bedford-road. Mesdames Bishop, Leach, Bochy, Lovell, and Clayton were the chief organisers. In view of the wet weather, other plans were hastily made and the tables were placed in a barn kindly lent by Mr. C. E. Knight. About 200 were entertained to tea. Old people and widows were given a free tea ticket. After tea, sports were arranged by Mr. Kent, Mr. H. Durham, Mr. Sargent, and Mr Warr, and resulted as follows:- (women’s races 50 to 60 years of age) 1.Mrs. Clayton, 2, Mrs. Bishop; 40 to 49, 1. Mrs. Childs, 2. Mrs. Leach, 20 to 29, 1. Mrs. Freeman, 2. Mrs. Maddams; walking race, 1. Mrs. Leach, 2. Mrs. Lovell; race for 1-lb tea given by Mr. Newberry, 1, Mrs. Clayton; women’s skipping, 1. Mrs. Crouch, 2. Mrs. Wright; girls’ skipping, 1. Doris Line; Boys’ Races (12 to 16). 1. Robert Twelvetree, 2. Herbert Denton; 10 to 12, 1. P. Clayton, 2. J. Tebbutt; 7 to 9. 1. F. Durham, 2. J. Bayes. Girls’ races (13 to 15), 1. Olive Dennis, 2. A. Percival; 10 to 13, 1. A. Bailey, 2. M. Tebbutt. All the old people and the widows were given a bag of sweets and a quarter pound of tea. Sweets were also distributed to all the children. Mrs. H. Durham, on behalf of the committee, thanked all the donors of the prizes, also Mr. Knight for placing his barn at their disposal, and everyone who had helped to make the gathering such a success. Fireworks were let off at intervals and dancing followed, but was stopped owing to the weather.

High-Street South

Mr. and Mrs. F. Knight, of The Old Rectory, had generously offered the use of their grounds to the committee who were arranging a tea for the people living in High-street South. Owing to the rain the tea was served in an outhouse, about 60 participating. The organisers were Mesdames Windsor, Hollis, Morris, and Stapleton, and the Misses Windsor. During the comparatively fine intervals games and sports were held on the lawn, Mrs. Ingram and Mr. Windsor being respective winners of the ladies’ and men’s races. Mr. and Mrs. A. Jaques afterwards provided musical entertainment at their residence.

Brookfield-Road

Elaborate arrangements had been made to provide the inhabitants in Brookfield-road and others in Glassbrook-road with a substantial tea and entertainment in the street, but the tables had to be removed to the Mission Hall before tea could be started, rain threatening to spoil the good things already set out. Over 90 were subsequently served with tea, those in charge being Mrs. J. Garley, Mrs. T. Surridge, and Mrs. Waller.

Denmark-Road

Denmark-road residents had a tea and social in one of the inhabitant’s houses. Provisions had been given, and a substantial sum was raised by a collection which will be distributed amongst the soldiers whose names are on the Roll of Honour and have not yet returned to civil life. The War Shrine was specially decorated for the occasion.

Manton-Road and Grove-Road

Mr. and Mrs. C. Dixon, of the Unicorn Inn, kindly offered a large room and made arrangements for tea for residents of Manton-road and Grove-road, which would, but for the rain, have been held in the road. A capable committee of ladies assisted Mr. and Mrs. Dixon with the work, and Mrs. W. Robinson, Mr. W. Clayton, Messrs. Knight and Lawrence, and others gave donations towards the expenses.

Orchard-Place

Tables were placed down the centre of Orchard-place, and flags and bunting were hung across from side to side, presenting quite a festive appearance on Peace Day. The residents had pooled funds to meet the expenses, and it was hoped to have tea and watch the crowds in High-street at the same time. Rain came before the eatables were put on the tables, and the party was held in one of the houses.

If you have any photos of these street parties we'd be grateful to take a copy.
The Rushden Echo, 25th July, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Celebrates Peace - A Capital Luncheon To The Ex-Soldiers
Sports Marred by Rain - Torchlight Procession and Bonfire

The gloomy prophets who predicted that the Peace celebrations in Rushden would fall flat through lack of enthusiasm were as wide of the mark as were the Germans in pre-war days in settling Der Tag without reckoning on the spirit of the immortal old “Contemptibles.” Rushden people knew what they wanted in the way of festivities, and the capable committees which the townsfolk elected to make the arrangements presented a comprehensive programme which met with cordial approval.

Everyone seemed to have completely forgotten the nightmare of August 4th, 1914 – Nov. 11th, 1918. We had emerged from war’s purgatory broken in a good many ways, but undaunted in spirit and nothing lacking joy and optimism. Yet that kindly thoughtfulness for those who went out and helped to win the peace, but did not return, having given their lives, was not missing.

It was pardonable on such a great occasion – an occasion without precedent, and, it is hoped, unique for all time, that many people, juvenile and adult, should go to extremes to show their ideas of celebrating the peace which took nearly five years of struggling to accomplish. All the pent-up emotions were let loose, one might almost say without leash, muzzle, or harness! There was plenty of lively horse-play, which, in some cases later in the day, amounted to rather alarming proportions. But it is to the credit of the townsfolk that good-natured riotings were the worst that happened. To the great amusement of many and some shock to others, a number of factory girls dressed up as soldier boys and “civvy” boys. So good was the make-up with some that, but for their voices, they could have passed for the genuine “article.”

Determined to take full advantage of the whole day, most residents were abroad quite early on Saturday morning. Huge crowds flocked to Spencer Park. Peals were rung out on the bells before 8 a.m. and at intervals throughout the day. High-street was one long avenue of flags, mottoes, and decorations of Allied colours and emblems. The street was soon teeming with parties of happy young people rending the air with the noise of squeakers, singing, shouting, and laughter.

Returned Soldiers’ Luncheon

The official programme was observed, and several hundreds of the “demobbed” paraded from Spencer Park, via Washbrook-road, Midland-road, and High-street to the Green, behind the Rushden Rifle Band, prior to the splendid luncheon which was given to ex-service men and those on leave. Mr. F. Knight, J.P., and Mr. J. S. Clipson conveyed disabled men in motors. Over 1,300 men were provided for, and were distributed as follows:- Co-operative Hall, two sittings of 240 each; Athletic Club, 270; Conservative Club, 100; Trade Club, 120; Band Club, 120; Working Men’s Club, 220. At each place the whole companies, after lunch, stood for a few moments in silence in commemoration of the fallen.

Mr. Fred Knight, J.P. (Chairman of Rushden Urban Council) in a speech of welcome to the guests at the Co-operative Hall, said that had it not been for such as them, the homes of English people would have been violated the same as were homes in Belgium and Northern France by as villainous and cowardly an enemy as ever lived. He (Mr. Knight) was there to thank the guests from the bottom of his heart on behalf of himself and the residents of Rushden for what they had done. So well had they done their duty that instead of our being under the heel of the Germans, they were under our heel, and he hoped they would be kept there until they had learnt better manners.(Applause). He wished to pay a special tribute to their comrades who had been maimed and had come back again – not as they went out, but with shattered health and lost limbs. He wished to say to such men that whatever might happen, he hoped a generous nation would never forget them, that everything required for their benefit would be forthcoming. It would be an everlasting disgrace to England or any Allied country if the maimed and broken who had returned were neglected. (Applause.) There was no doubt that many small matters would require rectifying, and amongst the first considerations should be recompense to those who had brought victory. To those who had come back in health and strength he wished to offer his congratulations and thanks for what they had done. He hoped their good health would continue and that they would have good trade and good wages. (Hear, hear.) Good employers must think of those who worked for them. (Applause.) If that were done there would be fewer and less trade disputes. It was up to the manufacturers and traders of the country to take their employees into their confidence and to do that which was right, just as much as for the workpeople to act properly towards employers. (Hear, hear.) He was fully satisfied that the men had done their work well.

Mr. Knight subsequently announced that the Peace Celebrations Committee proposed giving a tea to the people over 60 and to widows. (Loud applause.)

The Rev. J. Phillips, Curate of St. Mary’s, congratulated them on having finished with the Army and its (sometimes) bad food, orderly officers’ reports and complaints. (Laughter.) They could pat themselves on the back and thank God they had come back home to Rushden. He thought Rushden had set a good example to many towns in the way they had catered for the returned men. He would remind them that now they were back they ought to try their hardest to obtain trade supremacy. The Japanese and the Chinese worked for lower wages and we should be in industrial competition with them. Other things he would commend to them were to keep a good spirit in defending themselves, not to do it by militarism, and, secondly, to kill conscription. (Applause.)

The National Anthem was sung at the close.

Speakers at the other luncheons were as follows:- Co-operative Hall, second sitting, Dr. Greenfield and Mr. John Claridge. J.P., C.C., Athletic Club, Rev. P. E. Robson and Mr. W. M. Hensman; Conservative Club, Rev. Father Lockyer and Mr. G. W. Coles, J.P.; Trade Club, Rev. E. F. Walker (Congregational) and Lieut. L. Perkins, B.Sc.; Band Club, Rev. Ion Carroll and Mr. W. Bazeley, J.P.; Working Men’s Club, Rev. R. C. Law (Baptist) and Mr. John Spencer, J.P.

Talking “Shop”

The luncheons provided by the committee for ex-Army and Navy men and those on leave were evidence of the skilfully directed energies of the members of the committee and the caterers. As the men filed into the “mess” it was without doubt a “gathering of the clans.” Everyone was in a good humour with himself and other people. There was that “comrades of the great war” feeling pervading the atmosphere, and it was not long before the lighter side of it was in evidence. The sumptuous meal was a reminder of the Army – by contrast! The jokes that were made at the expense of the Army in general and its rations in particular were both amusing and uncomplimentary. Several declared that they had sufficient on their plates to make a week’s Army rations. “How about this for the sergeant’s mess?” “Not so bad, but don’t wipe your knife on the cloth as you used to,” were reminders of the bad old days. “Pass the pickled walnuts, Bill.” “Pickled walnuts? My dear brother of military acquaintance, you are not in the Army now.” The joke of pickled walnuts in the Army was nearly as bad as the one of ponies down pits. The distribution at the luncheons of free “refreshments” was also a contrast to the Army method. One wag remarked that as it was the anniversary of the British Push he would commemorate it by still “pushing them back,” and suiting the action to the words he raised his glass to his lips. Others recounted incidents of their luck in getting on cook-house fatigue. One man had stalked a batman carrying a cup of tea at 5 a.m., and seeing the man go and leave the tea in the Sergt.-Major’s bunk he had crept in immediately afterwards while the war-lord was still asleep. “What happened?” “I won the toss, and the S.M. was unlucky.” Talking shop was the general order throughout the luncheons, which passed off to everybody’s satisfaction.

Rag-Time Procession

At 2.30 the various luncheon parties met at the Green, and here a procession was formed up to march behind the Rifle Band to Spencer Park. The crowds were so thickly congregated that it was almost impossible to carry out the project in anything like military style. Men and youths tailed on to the band, which stood opposite Mr. C. Robinson’s shop, and the end of the procession was near the Green, but as the crowd was jostling it the difficulty was to tell where the edge of the parade left off and the crowd began. A number of women and girls also “formed fours” (fives and sixes, too!) bent on marching with the men. An ex-service man with a rich Irish brogue edged his way along the “parade” shouting in familiar terms “Ease orrff to the left.” So the crowd eased “orrff” to the left until the procession’s tail was so thin it nearly dropped “orrff.” Without any warning the band struck up and the “parade,” which now comprised practically thousands of people densely packed into High-street with a number of ex-soldiers in the middle, went gallivanting in high spirits towards the “Rec.” As long as the music of the band could be heard, the step was kept with true military precision – giving ample proof of training – other than “tapping” in a boot factory. Then the yells and screams of delight drowned the music and some wags on the pavements would shout out “Keep in step that dozey man. Left – Left – I stayed behind and got left – Left!” “Mark time in front” as the procession jammed its head into an obstruction. “Forward.” Turning the corner into Washbrook-road the music was again well audible, and the faithful few (the numbers kept dwindling by unauthorised desertions!) swung round and entered the Park by the main entrance. Not knowing where the route march was going to finish, but determined to see it through to the “Bitter” end, a handful of youths and girls followed the band into the Park, where a halt was called and an “old sweat” gave the order: “Dismiss.” In true Army style the men turned to the right and saluted the “officer” as they broke away. Everybody – sightseers and participants – thoroughly enjoyed the jollification, and the rest of the programme for the day promised well, but unfortunately the weather – until then fairly good – altered and about 3.15 rain came down so fast that the sports had to be stopped and the Park soon became empty, the “peace-makers” having to seek home and shelter.

The hoop-la, coconut shy, penalty-kick, skittles, and other attractions provided by the united clubs suffered in consequence of the rain.

Sports

Of the sports which were carried out the following were the results: Men’s V.C. bicycle race, 1. J. Adams, 2. F. King, 3. G. Smith; men’s bottle race on bicycles, J. Adams, F. King, and G. Smith; slow race on bicycles, 1. Robert Wood; 40-yards walking race for returned soldiers who have lost a leg, 1. Mead, 2. Tiney; 50-yards dash handicap, 1. J. Brown, 2. F. King, 3. J. Bailey; 100-yards handicap, youths 13-18, 1. D. Underwood, 2. A. E. Chettle, 3. H. E. Baker; 100-yards girls, 13-18, 1. M. Weedon, 2. P. Howes, 3. E. Bird; 50-yards Veterans, 1. G. R. Turner, 2. W. Attley, 3. F. Ellis.

The Children

Meantime the children were entertained to tea in the various day schools, and, in spite of the rain and to avoid disappointing the youngsters, both bands turned out again and led the processions from the Post Office to the Railway Bridge, where they sang the National Anthem and “O God, our help in ages past.”

For six hours a large number of people in mackintoshes kept walking up and down High-street, hoping that the weather might improve and the celebrations be continued. By dusk several houses were illuminated. Mr. F. Corby’s house and grounds presented such a pretty appearance with the 400 fairy lamps and flags that hundreds of people stood in front of the house admiring the effect. Mr. B. Coe’s residence was also very nicely decorated and illuminated.

Torchlight Procession

Although the rain had not abated to any appreciable extent, the torchlight procession, organised by and in the charge of the Fire Brigade, was held, thousands following to the field on Bedford-road, where the huge bonfire was lighted, after which the National Anthem was sung and the crowds – very wet but still merry – dispersed, the hour of midnight having struck.

No accidents of a serious nature occurred during the day. The Rushden St. John Ambulance Division, under First-class Sergt. Prigmore, were in attendance on the field with a bell tent and equipment. A man, and later on a boy, made rather sudden descents from the long pole, but neither was hurt beyond being scratched and bruised.


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