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The Rushden Echo, 5th April, 1907, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden B.W.T.A.
Opening of The New Hall

Lady Dorothy Howard Performs The Ceremony

  A new chapter in the history of the active branch of the B.W.T.A. at Rushden was opened on Tuesday afternoon, when the members took part in the opening of their new hall in Newton-road.  For some years the work of the branch has been carried on in an iron structure on land belonging to Mr. Geo. Denton opposite the Public-hall, but more accommodation has been needed for some time past.  The building just opened became available and was purchased from Mr. John Newman, of Kettering.

An early picture
The Hall in 2007

  The new hall occupies a bold position at the corner of Park-road, on the Newton-road opposite the Municipal Offices.  Erected originally as a Temperance Hall, it formed the local centre of temperance work until twenty-five years ago, when the Coffee Tavern and Public Hall were built.  It then became in turn a school, Salvation Army barracks, a leather warehouse, and a carpenter’s shop.  It is now a handsomely appointed place, with a very cheerful looking interior, comfortably seated, and with a neat platform.  Hanging round the walls are framed enlarged portraits of some of the founders of the hall – now all deceased – including Mr. John Cave (who laid the foundation stone), the revered Rev. R. E. Bradfield, Mr. John Sargent, Mr. Ebenezer Knight, Mr. W. Colson, the Rev. M. E. Parkin, Mrs. T. W. C. Linnitt, Mr. T. Wilmott, Mr. T. Burton, Mr. John Jaques, and Mr. Charles Bayes.  The portraits have been presented to the branch by the sons of the late Mr. T. Wilmott, in accordance with the expressed wish of their father.  They are the work of Mr. S. Powell, who has presented other framed pictures to the branch.  An illuminated card, the work of the Rev. R. Shorten, sets forth the circumstances under which the pictures were presented.

  The renovation of the hall, which has been of a most thorough character, has been carried out under the direction of Mr. H. Adnitt (architect) by Messrs. Harrison and Winsor (builders) and Mr. A. T. Nichols (decorator).

The Opening Meeting

  There was a crowded attendance at the opening ceremony and hundreds were unable to gain admission.  Mr. J. Kidner, J.P., of Kettering, presided, supported by Lady Dorothy Howard, of Castle Howard, Mrs. Jaques (president), Mrs. Michell (secretary), Mrs. M. E. Parkin, Mrs. Tailby, Rev. R. Shorten, Rev. H. J. Atkinson, Mr. D. Darnell, Mrs. Vorley, Mrs. Knight, Mrs. White, and other members of the committee.  Among those also present were Mr. John Claridge, J.P., C.C., Mr. and Mrs. George Smith (Thrapston), Mr. J. Jaques, and other well-known temperance workers.  Miss Green was the pianist.

  Mrs. Michell, the secretary, presented a report in which she stated that the total estimated expenditure was £760.  Towards that they had in the bank in January 31st £29/15/-, and since that time had paid in £149 – (applause) – and after deducting certain small cheques they had a sum of £174.  (Applause.)  Subscriptions and donations had totalled £184, and adding the sale of the old hall they had a total of £301.  The hope of the committee was to reduce the debt to £500 before the end of the year.  She mentioned that one shilling had been earned by needlework by a woman in receipt of parish relief, and a donation of £5 had been received from Mr. and Mrs. N. Crick in celebration of the 40th year since they signed the pledge.

  The Chairman said it was a pleasure to come again to Rushden.  He congratulated the British Women upon their forward movement, for which they deserved every credit.  (Hear, hear.)  He was glad to hear that the funds were coming in well, and hoped they would not long be burdened with debt.  They knew the good work that was being done by the temperance women, and in view of the great amount of drinking still going on they were entitled to ask what the position would have been without their efforts  He was sorry that at the recent licensing sessions another licence was granted for Rushden.  The town stood best with regard to the population for each public-house in the county, and the brewers had been seeking to alter that.  He was thankful, however, that even with the new licence, they would still stand first in the proportion of inhabitants to public-houses.  But when they were told that in the Royal Commission’s report the proportion should be 750, and they had only about 500, it was a pity that another licence was granted.

  Mrs. Arthur Taylor gave an excellent rendering of the song “Waiting,” Mr. T. T. Clarke accompanying.

  Lady Dorothy Howard said she was proud to declare the hall “reclaimed.” As representing her mother, Lady Carlile, whose health would not permit her to come, she brought the warmest greetings and best wishes for their future. Their work was among the grandest that could be taken up by women, and she was glad that they had places like that to counteract the “bad rubbish” of the public-houses. The making of drunkards was easy, and the making of temperance people difficult.  She looked forward to the day when they would not have to depend merely upon voluntary subscriptions for the support of temperance institutes.  Was it too far to look for the time when their workhouses and gaols would be temperance institutes?  She hoped that the day was coming when the rate-payers would be willing to pay towards their institutes.  People had to shoulder the responsibilities of others, in education, for water, and for drainage, and they had to shoulder the burden of drunkenness and make it a civic question.  The country had to face the question.  She had much pleasure in declaring the hall open in the interests of the work and for the uplifting of mankind by the Rushden branch.  (Applause).

  A handsome bouquet was handed to Lady Dorothy by Miss Hilda Jaques, daughter of the president, and a collection for the renovation fund was taken.

  Mrs. Taylor having sung “Killarney.”

  Mr. David Darnell said that was not the first time he had taken part in opening services in that hall.  He was glad that the women had had the courage to “reclaim” that hall.  In the name of Mr. Wilmott he had much pleasure in presenting the photos hanging round the room to the British Women.

  Mrs. Jaques, as president of the branch, accepted the generous gift.  She also thanked Mr. Shorten for the beautiful inscription he had given, and Mr. Powell for his gifts.

  The Rev. R. Shorten proposed a vote of thanks to Lady Dorothy Howard for her kindness in coming and the message she brought from Lady Carlile.  He also included Mr. Kidner in the vote.

  Mrs. Tailby seconded the vote, which was carried.

  Mrs. Michell, on behalf of Lady Dorothy, who had had to leave, expressed her thanks for the way in which she had been received.

  Mr. Walter Wilmott, on behalf of his brothers and himself, expressed the pleasure it had given them to carry out the project of their father.

  Mr. B. Vorley moved a vote of thanks to Mrs. Taylor for her solos.

  Mrs. White seconded, and this was heartily carried, the singing of the Doxology closing the meeting. 

Public Tea

  A public tea was held in the Wesleyan Schoolroom, a large company assembling.  The arrangements were made by the Tea Committee.

The Evening Meeting

The Park-road Wesleyan Chapel was the scene of the evening meeting. Mr. J. Rennie Wilkinson, J.P., of Addington, presided supported by Miss Agnes Slack, of the National Association. Mrs. Jaques, and Mrs. Michell. The Rushden Adult School male choir occupied the choir seats, led by Mr. T. T. Clarke, and Mr. W.L. Sargent was the organist.

  Mrs. Michell read the report given in the afternoon, and also announced that the collection for the afternoon, including £10 from the chairman and £5 from Lady Carlile, realised £21 6s 5d.

  The male choir sang “Comrades in arms.”

  The Chairman congratulated the association on the acquisition of a good centre for work in the town and district.  He believed that the prosperity of the town had been built upon the temperance principles laid down by their fathers.

  Miss Slack referred to opening a Temperance Hall in that town seven years before, and congratulated the workers upon the progress made.  She moved a resolution welcoming the promised temperance legislation, and hoping that it would provide for the local veto in England and Wales.  Turning to the subject of “Patriotism,” which had been announced as the subject of her address, she pointed out that drink undermined all that made for the greatness of a nation.  And to-day England was faced with the danger that unless she strangled the drink traffic the traffic would strangle the country.  She had the authority of the experts for saying that nine-tenths of crime, poverty, and lunacy came from strong drink.  They were told that they got 40 millions in revenue, but it cost them 300 millions! And as to health, the London Temperance Hospital had proved that all diseases could be cured without drink, whilst science was in their favour.  Lord Kitchener had shown in India that teetotallers made the best soldiers, and in South Africa they found the same truth.  So for the health of the people they might fight the drink and for the wealth of the country the same call came.

  Miss Slack moved that a resolution be sent to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman praying that local option be included in the forthcoming Licensing Bill.

  The Rev. W. F. Harris seconded the resolution, remarking that Sir William Harcourt became a temperance reformer when he became Home Secretary.

  The resolution was carried with acclamation, and the choir then sang “Beleaguered.”

  The Rev. W.F. Harris proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Slack and the chairman, and the trustees of the church, which was seconded by the Rev. J. Bates, and heartily accorded.

  A vote of thanks was also passed to Mr. Clarke and the choir on the motion of Mr. J. Jaques, seconded by Mr. S. Michell.

  The singing of the “Hallelujah chorus” by the Choir concluded the proceedings.

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