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Rushden Echo, Friday, August 15th, 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins.

The Chairman said that a letter had been received from the Ministry of Health with regard to the purchase of Rushden House as a Sanatorium for tuberculosis patients.

The Clerk read the letter which stated that the Ministry of Health were advised that there was no ground for considering that a properly conducted institution would be a menace to health. They were advised that no risk would be incurred in living in the neighbourhood of such an institution, and that such an institution would not in any way be a source of danger.

Mr. Hornsby: In view of the number of doctors who say that it is not detrimental to health, I do not think that we need trouble further about it. Mr. Swindall: In theory it is right, but not in practice.

Mr. Bazeley said that Brompton Hospital was right in the centre of a populous district, and that that would not be allowed if such institutions were a source of danger. He could not see one iota of danger. Seeing the prevalence of consumption something must be done. The boot industry knew the serious menace which consumption was to their trade.

Mr. Claridge said he was of the same opinion as he was before. He did not like the idea of a sanatorium being placed so near a town. He had always understood that it was dangerous. He did not think that the soil at Rushden House was suitable for a sanatorium. The Government Inspector ought to have examined the soil and everything connected with the house but he did not. He had always understood that a light and sandy soil was needed for a sanatorium. He was very sorry the County Council came to the conclusion they did. It was all done in a hurry. He did not know until a week or two before the question came up at the County Council meeting, and then there was no time to do anything. It seemed to him like legislation in a hurry. He thought that it was a mistake to dump down an institution like this so near a town.

The Chairman said he agreed with some parts of Mr. Bazeley's remarks. It was quite necessary, he knew, to provide for the people who were suffering from this malignant disease, but he thought the County Council might have paid them the compliment of asking whether they approved of a sanatorium so near one of Rushden's most frequented promenades or not. Surely there were in the county other places to which no exception could be taken. Even if no danger from infection existed, yet to have a, lot of people in that condition up and down .the roads and on the railways and 'buses must be depressing to the inhabitants. He thought it was, and he believed any reasonable man would think the same. As far as the purchase of the house and grounds was concerned, the County Council had made no big bargain, because they could have got something equally good at a great deal less cost. He understood that Rushden House would not be used for the patients, but for the doctors and nurses, and that the patients would be treated on the open-air principle. The County Authority did not ask the Urban Council to give an opinion on the-matter. The County Council had never done anything for Rushden worth a "thank you." When they had to appoint an alderman in place of the late Mr. George Miller they chose one from a village in the south of the county instead of one from Rushden. Rushden was a populous place, and paid something towards the county rate, and he thought the town ought to have fairer treatment from the County Council than they had had in the past. There were plenty of other places in the county more suitable for a sanatorium than Rushden, and the people of Rushden would much rather it should be elsewhere. Rushden had nothing to thank the County Council for in placing the sanatorium in their midst. It would have been much better if the County Council had taken the Urban Council into their confidence. The Urban Council could do nothing further in the matter, but he did not think they should let the question pass without a protest. The subject was then dropped.

The Rushden Echo, 16th January, 1920, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Northamptonshire County Council
Rushden House as a County Sanatorium

The Public Health Committee reported that they had had under consideration the question of the probable cost of internal alteration at Rushden House, and the provision of accommodation in the grounds for the reception of cases of tuberculosis, and were of opinion that provision should be made for 66 patients. The capital grant by the Government of three-fifths of expenditure, provided the cost per bed did not exceed £150, has been increased to allow of the total expenditure not exceeding £300 per bed. It was proposed that for the accommodation of cases of tuberculosis outside the main building use should be made of the material which the Government has for disposal. The committee recommended the Council to approve the adaptation and equipment of Rushden House and grounds for the provision of 66 beds for the treatment of early, middle, and advanced cases of tuberculosis at an expenditure (including the purchase money already approved) not exceeding £20,000.

Mr. A. Webb (chairman of the committee) explained, with regard to Rushden House, that the 66 beds at £300 a bed would cost about £20,000, of which the Government would pay £11,880, leaving the County Council to provide £8,120. Of the latter sum the Government would contribute in maintenance grant 50 per cent., leaving the County Council to find about £4,000. Allowing a margin, the sanatorium, which would be a credit to the county, would cost only a rate of about three-farthings in the £. It would be the wish of the committee to make the sanatorium as homely and comfortable as possible. The surroundings were all that could be desired. The land was well timbered; there was a good floor for light recreation; there was a very large kitchen garden, where, he hoped, the patients would be able to put in a certain amount of light work which would be a benefit to them; there was a big orchard, and everything which a sanatorium required. The after-care of patients would be a subsequent task. Forty per cent. of the tuberculosis patients were boot operatives; the next were the tailors and tailoresses, but they numbered only six per cent. He hoped the shoe manufacturers would be able to formulate some plan for providing workshops where former patients could be employed.

Mr. Claridge (Rushden), speaking against the proposal, said he wished to urge the same reasons as before. There was a decided objection on the part of a number of Rushden people against this site being used. He was not opposed to the provision of a sanatorium, because they all felt it was important that one should be provided, but they considered the soil was altogether unsuitable. This was a nasty heavy clay soil, whereas a light soil would be more suitable. The site was near the main road and the Wymington road, which were much used; there was a rather large elementary school near, where 400 or 500 children were educated; and many Rushden people felt it was not a suitable place for a sanatorium. As Rushden House had now been purchased he should prefer it being used for another purpose. He understood that very shortly a Secondary School would have to be provided for Rushden, and he thought Rushden House would be very suitable for that, and give plenty of land for playing grounds. The people of Rushden would much prefer Rushden House being used as a Secondary School than as a Sanatorium. He thought the Rushden Urban Council should have been consulted before the County Council arrived at a decision. He thought the Public Health Committee ought to have visited the place and report to the County Council, but only the Chairman of the Committee, as far as he knew, had visited Rushden House. The purchase had now been made, but he wished the place could be used as a Secondary School. It was a very nice house, but the nature of the soil and the proximity to the roads made it unsuitable for a sanatorium.

Ald. Thornton, replying to Mr. Claridge, said that the members of the sub-committee visited Rushden House and came to the conclusion that it was most suitable for a sanatorium. The special advice of their tuberculosis officer was that it would be no source of injury to the town of Rushden, but rather a benefit, because Rushden was a place where there was a higher percentage of tuberculosis than any other part of the county. They would have a dispensary there, which would help the people of Rushden to combat this terrible disease. Far from being detrimental to Rushden, the sanatorium would be a great help to the town in getting rid of the disease.

Ald. Barlow also stated that the members of the sub-committee visited Rushden House and thought it very well suited for a sanatorium.

Mr. Claridge : Does the £20,000 include furnishing?

Mr. Webb : Yes.

The proposition was carried.

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