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Memorial Hospital 1945-1949

Sketch of Rushden Memorial Hospital by Grace Claridge

The Rushden War Memorial Appeal

Cleavers' Chambers,
High Street, Rushden.

To All Individual Contributors

You are probably aware that the Town's meeting held in June, authorised a War Memorial Appeal for the Northampton General Hospital Extension Fund and the Rushden Home Hospital.

The Northampton General Hospital Appeal is to build a new block of wards to accommodate 150 beds and to provide an adequate out-patient department so as to eliminate the long period of waiting by those requiring in-patient treatment and loss of time by out-patients.

The Rushden Home Hospital will be mainly for the treatment of medical cases, and will be staffed by skilled nurses with the local Doctors attending their own Patients. Physio-therapy (electrical) treatment, will also be given, and it is hoped to widen the scope of its usefulness in collaboration with Northampton General Hospital. Surgical cases will continue to be treated at Northampton, therefore our liability to the General Hospital will not be in any way lessened.

The estimated cost of a Home Hospital of 16 beds is approximately £3,000 per annum, and it is expected that most of the money will be collected by weekly contributions, and that the majority of the contributors will be the present members of die Rushden Hospital Fund. Members in the factories have been contributing an additional 3d. per week since the 1st July. Will you please contribute 3d. from the 1st January?

The money raised by the contributions will be used for the Joint Appeal of £20,000 until the target is reached and afterwards will be used for the maintenance of the Rushden Home Hospital. This is the Town's WAR MEMORIAL and what more fitting memorial could be made to com¬memorate the sacrifices of our Town's men and women.

Please Do Your Part In The Appeal

Contributions should be to the Secretary, Cleavers' Chambers, who will be pleased to give you any further information concerning the Appeal.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 28th May 1948, transcribed by Kay Collins

Memorial Plan Can Go Ahead
At long last Rushden Home Hospital—the town's war memorial—is in course of preparation.

As a direct result of the appeal made by a deputation which visited the Ministry of Health in London a month ago, a licence issued by the Ministry of Works arrived on Wednesday.

It authorises structural alterations to the value of £1,000 at the premises acquired in Hayway.

Electrical work authorised by a local licence had already begun and the main contractors, Messrs. Robert Marriott, who had every detail planned out, are now able to go straight ahead with their work.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 28th May 1948, transcribed by Kay Collins

Hospital Can Be Prepared
Good news travels slowly, and on Thursday morning Rushden's future hospital still had the deserted look which has been a constant irritation to the committee for the past year. There were only four people on the premises. None had heard of the granting of the long-awaited licence.

Mr. J. Minney, of 3 Queen Street the hospital's only full-time employee, was busy in a blue apron clipping away at a privet hedge in the front garden. He stepped forward briskly to move a lump of stone and open the battered gate for our reporter.

As a faithful employee Mr Minney is something of a crusader. He took on the role of gardener in 1945 when he left the Royal Artillery and decided to play his part in the Scheme by keeping flower beds lawns and trees ship-shape.

"I would not have taken the job on if I had known that the thing would be hanging about like this," he said "When I started full-time in the summer of 1946 we thought that it would be a hospital that August." But Mr Minney stuck to his task and it is a safe bet that when the first patients sit out in the sun they will say a big "Thanks" to him. The large lawn at the front and a smaller one on the east side are as smooth if not as level, as a bowling green; there are no weeds among the main flower beds underneath the ash, lime and chestnut trees.

In the kitchen garden at the back there are all kinds of apple trees and new rows of vegetables between the narrow smooth grass paths. The kitchen garden and Mr Minney between them added about £25 to the Memorial Fund last year.

When he finds out where the contractors are to dig trenches he will then set about the task of reorganising the garden. "I should like to make a bit of a show in front," he said "You can't beat roses; we shall have to see what they are willing to do."

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th September 1949, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Clinic Service for Hospital

Rushden Memorial Hospital, opened early this year in Hayway, is soon to offer a greatly increased service.

Up to the present the hospital has been used only for physiotherapy under a visiting surgeon and staff from Northampton General Hospital.

Now, however, the Kettering and District Hospital Management Committee have decided to add a clinical service of wide range for the benefit of Rushden and Higham Ferrers patients. Though there will be no in-patient service, it is believed that the new arrangement will obviate from 60 to 70 per cent of the visits now paid to Northampton Hospital by patients from the two towns.

The service will comprise general medicine general surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics, dermatology, urology and ophthalmology. It will be tried out initially for a period of six months.


Some of the necessary consultants are already available, we are informed by Ald. H. R. Patenall, a member of the Kettering committee, and it is hoped to complete the staff at an early date.

The specialists will come from the Kettering and Northampton hospitals. Equipment is being assembled, and the work will start at the earliest possible date.

In cases where X-ray work is necessary the hospital and the public it serves will benefit greatly from the co-operation of Dr. G. B. Lord, Medical Superintendent of Rushden House Sanatorium, whose very up-to-date equipment will be utilised as occasion arises.

Evening Telegraph, 21st December 1949, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Hospital New Service

Town Will Have Six Types of Treatment

RUSHDEN Memorial Hospital win soon offer out-patient facilities equal to those enjoyed by any town of comparable size in the country.

Mr. George W. Marriott, who represents the town on the House Committee of the hospital, made this point when reporting on Tuesday to the local committee that carried the hospital scheme through.

Since the opening last January, he said, the hospital had been used solely for physio-therapy treatment, giving service five days a week to an average attendance of 40 patients. The district served extended from Burton Latimer at one extreme to Doddington at the other.

Early in 1950, the first floor of the hospital would be equipped for three important new out-patient services—ear, nose and throat, gynaecological work and treatment of the eyes—and top specialists from Northampton and Kettering would attend. Lighting, heating, partitioning, furnishing and equipment for the specialists had all been planned.


Mr. Marriott said the treatment given would equal in every way that which wag now offered at Northampton General, Hospital.

In addition the County Council were providing dental treatment at the former Cottage Hospital in Griffith Street, and a general X-ray service would be available at Rushden House Sanatorium. "This will make six types of treatment In Rushden early In the New Year," said Mr. Marriott. He produced plans of the new installations, and the committee expressed great satisfaction with the developments.

It was stated that a board displaying the name of the hospital is soon to be erected near the entrance, and there will be a directing sign at the foot of Hayway.

Coun. W. E. Capon mentioned that a board bearing the names of the chief subscribers—both individuals and organisations—will be placed in the hospital.

Dr. O. B. Lean is being nominated to act as deputy on the House Committee during the illness of Dr. D. O. Greenfield.

Held at the hospital, Tuesday's meeting was presided over by Coun. A. H. Bailey.

Evening Telegraph, 31st January, 1949, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Has Done a 'Great Job'

Gift of Hospital to the Nation

"You need have no fear regarding the future of this hospital; it is here to do the work that you desire to be done." With this assurance from the Ministry of Health's representative, the large house which Rushden has purchased as its war memorial Home Hospital was on Saturday afternoon dedicated and handed over as part of the National Health Service. Relatives of the 138 men, women and children whose names appear on the memorial panel were among the large crowd which faced the building when, alter the singing of "O God, our help in ages past," Sir John Brown. K.C.B., D.S.O., the architect who has supervised the alterations, handed a silver key to Mr. J. H. J. Paragreen, Chairman of Rushden Urban Council.

"I know how the people of Rushden have looked forward to this opening," said Sir John. "I know they would have liked much more work to be done to the building; but here is a start."

Welcoming the townspeople and visitors, Coun. Paragreen spoke of the hospital as a worthy offering by the residents to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Second World War.

"It is a gift from the town to the nation," he said, "but it will still be for the benefit of Rushden and district residents."

Bless The Day

Unlocking the main door, Mr. Paragreen expressed the hope that "all who come here as patients will live to bless the day that Rushden townspeople made such excellent provision for health and well-being."

Relatives of the fallen were then invited to enter the hospital and stand in the hall near the large bronze plaque of handsome design, on which the names are inscribed.

An act of remembrance With responses from the people, was led by the Rector of St. Mary's (the Rev, E. A Green), and a Union Jack which veiled the panel was removed by Mr. Don Chamberlain, president of the Rushden branch of the British Legion.

"I unveil this plaque," said Mr. Chamberlain, "with humility and reverence on behalf of the inhabitants of Rushden and local branch of the British Legion to perpetuate the memory of all those who gave their lives for freedom in the World War 1939—1945. May this hospital, freely given by the people of Rushden in their memory, prove a blessing to all those who have need of its services." Many were in tears as the Last Post and Reveille were played by a bandsman stationed near the door.

An act of dedication for "this House of Healing," with prayers for those who will staff the hospital, was conduced by the Rev. R. Percival Jones, minister of Park Road Baptist Church, and the second hymn was "From Thee all skill and science flow," the ceremony closing with the National Anthem.

A section of Rushden Salvation Army band accompanied the singing and the bugle calls were played by Mr. J. O. Wildman.

The house and grounds were thrown open for inspection, and hundreds of people crowded into the building. They found that the £1,000 which the Government has allowed to be spent on adapation has been devoted mainly to the lower rooms, some of which contain the physiotherapy apparatus recently transferred from the old Cottage Hospital in Griffith St. Clinical work had been in progress during the week.

Many Difficulties

Coun. Paragreen and his wife entertained the committee and visitors to tea, and then in one of the upper rooms, the ceremony of presenting the deeds went forward

Presiding as chairman of the committee which has handled the scheme. Coun. A. H. Bailey thanked all who had contributed to the project.

"It amounts to saying, 'Thank you Rushden' " he observed, "because I am certain there is scarcely an individual or organisation that has not contributed In some way to the establishment of the hospital."

Mr. Bailey traced the history of the scheme to January. 1944, when members of the Trades Council and Rushden Hospital Fund met to discuss the need for a local hospital or clinic. The ultimate appeal, he explained, was made jointly with the Northampton Hospital War Memorial Appeal, with a total target of £20,000.

Of the many difficulties which had to be overcome, that of obtaining permits from the various Ministries was the greatest. The hospital was now to be taken over as part of the National Health Service, but in Dr. Greenfield and Mr. George Marriott the town would have two splendid representatives on the House Committee.

For The Best

Mr. John White spoke as chairman of the Joint Appeal Committee when he thanked all who had supported him in the raising of the money.

"It is hardly likely," he declared, "that without this appeal being made Rushden would ever have had a hospital of its own."

Referring to the complications which had arisen from knowledge that the hospital would eventually be taken over by the Government, Mr. White said: 'Whatever form of Government we had, this would undoubtedly have been the case, and I think it would be a very foolish person indeed who would think this could not have happened or that hospitals could carry on, trusting for their very existence upon income from purely chartable sources. I have no doubt that in the long run this change will prove to be for the best, as, of all social services, surely hospitals and health services should be the last to suffer from lack of funds to enable them to improve and give of their best."

People's Effort

Representing the works employees who had contributed systematically to the fund, Mr. Ernest Panter expressed appreciation of the scheme and of the work which had been put in by the committee. He urged that in addition to rehousing the Griffith Street equipment, the hospital should provide new amenities, especially X-ray facilities and the visit of consultants at least once per week, so that Rushden people would be spared visits to Northampton and the long waiting periods.

"I speak," he added, "for 6,500 employees who contributed £11,000 to the joint funds through their weekly wage packets".

Mr. W. H. Imison (treasurer) said that three and a half years ago Rushden set itself the task of raising £20,000, and the total raised was £21,320. The building was purchased for £5,000, and £1,000 had been spent on conversion.

"It has definitely been a peoples' effort," said Mr. Imi-son, who paid tribute to the work of Miss D. E. Robinson (Joint secretary), Mr. Minney (the caretaker), and the Press "from 'Mister Cobbler' downwards," saying that the Press had often acted as a spur to progress.

Introduced as "the real father of the Rushden Home Hospital scheme," Dr. D. G. Greenfield said that on the advice of a senior officer of the Ministry of Health the committee first contemplated a hospital with from 15 to 20 beds. That plan was abandoned because of the staffing problem, but members of the Oxford Regional Hospital Board had said that in the near future it might be possible to run an out-patient department under the supervision of specialists from Northampton Hospital. The town's representatives would do everything they could to see that Rushden's wishes were eventually carried out and that in years to come the premises served the purpose for which they were originally intended.

Mr. Walter C. Tarry, donor of the physio-therapy equipment which has been transferred from Griffith Street, was thanked for his generous gift.

Invited to speak, Mr. Tarry recalled that when the first penny-a-week scheme was launched in the town it was hoped there would be a hospital one day. The committee, he said, made a very shrewd and wise choice when they bought the Hayway building, and he was glad to know that the electrical equipment was proving so useful. The idea behind its provision was to save difficult journeys to Northampton and expense that some could ill afford.

A Great Job

The deeds of the house were produced by Mr. A. Norman Groome and handed by Dr. Greenfield to Mr. A. M. Lee. Chairman of Kettering and District Area Management Committee, who said that Rushden had done "a great job."

Mr. J. M. Bailey. M.C., M.B.E., thanked the Chairman.

Among those attending the meeting was Aid. H. R. Patenall, Chairman of the House Committee. The Mayor of Higham Ferrers (Coun. P. O. Felce) attended the earlier dedication ceremony.

Coun. W. E. Capon (Joint secretary) look charge of the day’s arrangements.

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