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Anne Cooper

Queen Victoria Hotel
Later the Rilton Hotel

Telephone Rushden 189



Bedroom and Breakfast, per person per day
Luncheon served at 12.30 p.m.
from    4/-
Dinner served at 7 p.m., to order
from   5/-
Lock-up Garages, per night per car

Visitors would help the Management if they would please :
I.   Sign the Register as soon as possible on arrival.
II.  Turn off all Taps in Bedrooms.
III. Switch off Lights on leaving Rooms.
No Night Porter
Hotel Closes 11.30p.m. Late arrivals ring "Night Bell"

Notice of vacating apartments must be given before 12 o'clock
mid-day, otherwise another day will be charged.

The Management do not accept or cash cheques, so please do not
ask, then a refusal cannot cause offence.

Intoxicating liquors can be obtained at any reasonable hour by
Hotel Residents. It is forbidden by Law for any person NOT staying
in the Hotel to consume liquor except during permitted hours.

The Proprietor will not hold himself responsible for Property lost
in the hotel, unless deposited at the office for security.

(Vide Act of Parliament. 26 & 27, Vict. Cap. 41, Sec 1/).

At the end of the 19th Century Rushden had many licensed public houses and lodging houses but no commercial hotel.

With the expansion in trade and industry, and access by railway it was considered that an hotel was required.

The Northampton brewers Phipps and Company decided this was a project they could take on.

There was violent opposition from the Temperance Movement within the town, especially the voice of Mr. George Denton. They had a very strong following in the town at the time. However they lost the argument and Phipps obtained a licence and land next door to the Railway Station for the erection of an hotel.

Plans were drawn up by Mr. F. Dorman of Northampton. The ground floor contained two bars, commercial room, coffee room, billiards room, kitchen and offices. Upstairs; 25 bedrooms, large drawing room and dining room. It was fitted with all modern electrical appliances and telephonic facilities by a Mr. Smith of Northampton.

The contract to build the hotel was given to Mr. George Henson of Wellingborough at a cost of £12,000, this figure did not include the outbuildings and stables.

The formal opening took place in April 1899. Later in the week Phipps invited distinguished guests to a grand dinner at the hotel and most responded to partake of the wonderful meal provided by Messrs. Osborne and Co of Northampton". (I am not sure if the kitchens, chef etc of the hotel were functioning at this time.)

Mr. Pickering Phipps himself hosted the dinner.

The list of worthies attending is extensive, I am giving just a few that I have heard of. Mr. J. T. Parker (solicitor) Mr. Paul Cave, Dr. C. R. Owen, Dr. J. Crew, Mr. J. M. Sharman. Mr. A. C. G. Vann, Dr. Baker, O. Claridge, R. Marriott, G. H. Skinner, W. Spong, F. Brazier, George Fensome, H. H. Bletsoe. In all the list amounted to 85 names from all parts of the County.

The toast was to "The Queen and Prince and Princess of Wales" proposed by Mr. Phipps.

Speeches then followed from Paul Cave and J. W. Ashdowne, who both mentioned the rise and progress of the town of Rushden. "Success to the Queen Victoria Hotel".

The rest of the evening was spent in 'harmony'.

Bowling at the Queen Victoria Hotel
An early photograph shows Mason's Farm house on the left.
The land opposite was yet to be developed.
From an advert in 1924, shows the bowling green on the land to the north of the hotel, when C W Evans was the proprietor.

In November 1908 Messrs Phipps & Co. of Northampton applied to the Council to build a "2nd class bar & urinal".
see: Planning applications 1888-1938
Rushden Argus, 22nd May 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

VICTORIA HOTEL—Mr. William Alfred Evans, who has just been appointed manager of the Queen Victoria Hotel to Messrs. Phipps and Co., is well known in Freemasonry. He has been, associated with the licensed trade for the past 33 years, and it is hoped that the Rushden Bowling Club will be resuscitated under his direction.


Rushden Echo, 20th July 1923

When in Rushden make a point of having Tea at the Queen Victoria Hotel. Popular prices. Large or Small Parties Catered for.

The Rushden Echo 6th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Bowls – A handicap concluded on the Queen Victoria green on Monday was won by J. Rawson (5 start), 21, the runner-up being E. Linnitt (8 start), 18.

Rushden Echo, 5th April 1918

OBITUARY – Mr. W. S. Betty, of Bristol, a boot factor who was well known in Rushden, died here yesterday week.  About a fortnight ago he was taken ill while staying at the Queen Victoria Hotel at Rushden, and was removed to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cunnington.  Two trained nurses were engaged, and his wife and other relatives were sent for, but in spite of every care he died on March 28th.  Death is attributed to the effects of an attack of blood poisoning some time ago.  The body was removed to Bristol for interment, Mr. T. Swindall making the local arrangements.

c1925 advert
c1925 advert

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th April 1954, transcribed by Jim Hollis

The beer is moved from Rushden’s ‘petrol hotel’
Hit by two bombs in 1940, Rushden’s Queen Victoria Hotel was again “in the wars” this week – and had to be evacuated when petrol from an unknown source flowed into a drain beneath the cellar.

The smell of petrol was first noticed on Monday night.

Firemen with an engine stood by on Tuesday because fumes had spread throughout the 30-roomed building.

During Wednesday morning the slow infiltration of petrol became a gush.

The smell increased and with it the danger of fire or explosion.

It was out of the question to heat the building or use the cooking apparatus. By midday all departments were closed down.

Beer from the cellar was taken back to the brewery to avoid contamination. Residential guests were transferred to other hotels in the district.

Manager Stays On
Only Mr. Monty Dards, the manager, and his wife, remained to spend a cold night on the premises. They had to keep windows wide open as an outlet for the fumes.

Their diet, too, was cold.

In the meantime, police and council officials investigated. Samples of the petrol, described by Mr. H. W. Ellis, sanitary inspector, as “looking like cherry cider,” were taken away in gin bottles.

But no evidence of leakage could be found at garages and stores in a wide area.

It was found, however, that the water and petrol passing beneath the hotel emerged into a ditch near the Royal Theatre. The outlet was cleared enabling the stream to pass through the drain at a quicker pace.

Yesterday morning inquiries concentrated on Hamblin’s Garage in Rectory Road, Rushden.

This garage, about 200 yards from the hotel, stocks petrol similar in colour to that found in the cellar.

A tank was emptied and experts began an air pressure test which was expected to last for several hours.

The position at the hotel was then improving, and it was hoped to resume business within a short time.


16th April 1954

Petrol probe ends with well discovery
Fifty years ago a 20ft deep well was closed because its contaminated water was dangerous to health

On Saturday the well was opened again – and so ended a five-day petrol probe by council officials, firemen, police and an Army mine detector squad.

Inside the well was 12 gallons of red petrol – the petrol that had seeped through to a drain which runs beneath the Queen Victoria Hotel, causing the hotel to be closed for thirty hours.

The well is two hundred yards away from the hotel in the back garden of 14 Victoria Road, the home of Mrs. Rose Billingham and her family.

Mine Detectors
Mrs. Billingham had read about the petrol mystery in the evening paper and contacted Mr. H. W. Ellis, the Rushden sanitary inspector, for earlier this year there had been a strong smell of petrol in her house.

The hotel reopened after the 30-hour explosion scare and while residents had afternoon tea on Friday, two Sappers from a Bedford Royal Engineers T.A. unit “swept” the hotel grounds with mine detectors.

Police were working on the theory that the petrol was flowing from a drum of fuel buried somewhere in the extensive gardens.

Made Complaints
This was proved wrong the next day with the opening of Mrs. Billingham’s well. But the complete answer to the leakage had not yet been found.

From what source had the petrol reached the well?

Just behind the well is a garage which was once a farmyard. During the war the yard was occupied at various times by British, American and Canadian troops. They may have had a petrol tank buried underground.

Residents in Victoria Road have made a number of complaints to the council offices about the smell of petrol in their homes during the cold spells of the past two years.

Until the discovery of the well, officials were always unable to find a solution to the trouble. Now everyone is happy.

The doorway of the Queen Victoria Hotel.
The window to the left of the picture is etched and titled Coffee Room.

1964 invoice
An invoice from 1964, for 3 days stay, plus dinners cost £6 6s. 0d

This hotel later changed its name to Rilton sometime ago when it changed hands. I am not sure how many owners it has had in its lifetime, the last time I saw it in the newspaper was in 1998 when it was put up for sale.

It stood in a dilapidated state for a while and now looks as though it is to have a new lease of life as flats. Personally I love the building and Rushden would not be the same without it.     A.C.

Lokking very shabby shortly before the sale
2007 being refurbished into luxury flats by Fernbrook Builders

A 1985 advert tells us Talarico Ltd owned the Queen Victoria Hotel at that date.

Property Direct, 6th March 1998

Sold - Hotel to be Refurbished
The Milton Keynes office of Christie & Co has recently completed the sale of the Rilton Hotel, Rushden, on behalf of Rilton Restaurants Limited.

This prominently located hotel with 23 letting bedrooms plus lounge, bar, restaurant and function rooms has been sold to Draftway Limited who are looking to expand their hotel portfolio.

And Mr R K Agar-Wal, managing director of Draftway Limited, confirmed they intend to carry out a general refurbishment programme to the hotel, starting immediately.

Norman Hardwick, manager of the Milton Keynes office of Christie & Co which covers the Northamptonshire region, commented the sale further demonstrated the strength of the hotel market, and recommended operators considering a sale could be well advised to do so at this moment.

A view in 1974 of the Queen Victoria Hotel After the sale in 1998
The Queen Victoria Hotel, built in 1899 was awaiting refurbishment in 2000

In 2007 the building was refurbished as luxury flats, with second block built on the car park.

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