Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Nigel Chettle
Allen Road and all that .....

I was born in a little terraced house at number 30 Duck Street, Rushden in April 1952. The house was very basic especially for two adults and three children, later to be joined by my baby sister in 1954.

The toilet was a shed in the back yard, there was no garden, bath time was Saturday night in front of the fire, heating was the coal fire in the back room. The landlord was the butcher Bob Hollis who had a shop on the next corner.

We lived next door to a bridge over the brook which ran from Hall Park to Spencer Park and my sister would take all us youngsters on an excursion through the underground pipes. My parents thought it was strange when we all asked for torches for Christmas. The brook used to run with the colour of the tanning liquids used that day at the local Leather Tannery.

We moved to a brand new Council House in Allen Road at number 84 in 1956 after the birth of my little sister. This was the site of a new Council estate with factories at the bottom and private bungalows in the middle on one side. There was a large front and back garden, inside bathroom and toilet, three spacious bedrooms a sitting room, Dining Room and Kitchen. The Council as Landlord re-decorated one room each year. Our house was in a block of four with an entry which was superb for cricket in the middle. The Baptist field was at the very top of the street comprising of Cricket Field, Bowls Greens and grass and granite Tennis Courts. At the back of the Baptist was a farmer’s field with a double pond. There was also a recreation area at Fosse Green just around the corner. There was also a public footpath through the fields to Caldecott. My dad used to go and pick blackberries from the fields in September so my mum could make delicious pies, jam and chutneys

With my cricket bat
With my trusty cricket bat
We used to play football on winter evenings at the Baptist gates under the light of a street light. Attack against defence and then swap over to get a result. Our front gate was dead opposite the gate so this made a superb cricket patch. This went on until some of the residents started to have a family car and they were not keen on our ball hitting their new prize possession. We all used to go the Ritz Cinema on Friday night with a bag of chips on the way home and a lay in on Saturday morning.

Close to Allen Road were the Rushden Town Cricket and Football grounds which I soon found and went and introduced myself. I helped the Grounds man prepare the football ground for matches on Saturday mornings and sold match programmes at the afternoon match. In the summer I scored for Rushden Town Cricket Club, later serving on the General Committee and taking on the role of Club Secretary for three years. In 1963-64 along with four of my school friends went to every game that Rushden Town played when they finished by winning the Championship on the last but one game. The players had a collection so we could all go to the club’s Annual Dinner at the end of the season and join in the celebrations.

Outside No 84
On the wall outside No. 84 - the entry between the two front doors
was often used as the place to play cricket.

The 'gang' includes : Nigel Chettle, David Robinson, Paul Robinson,
Colin Throssell, Lynn Clarke

After living almost in Alfred Street School playground for my early life we were now nearer to Newton Road School where I spent seven happy years. Mr and Mrs Dyment were the Headteacher and Deputy teacher of the Junior School and they were firm but fair. Mrs Dyment labelled me a growler in a music lesson and along with others was not allowed to sing in lessons. As a special treat all the growlers were allowed to sing in the last lesson of each term. I was in Miss Botterill's, Miss Hooton's (later became Mrs Muncey), Mr Bilsborough's and Mr Whitworth's classes. I did not pass the 11 plus exam, and the excuse we always gave ‘we did not try as the Grammar School played Rugby and not Football’. We used to make the teachers' morning tea in the top class. When we attended the school's 100 year anniversary the school seemed very small amid it seemed strange to be drinking wine in the school hall. Mr and Mrs Dyment were in superb form and I had a long discussion with them about local history which was a passion of theirs.

The town service bus used to make an hourly stop at Kent Road which was only a short walk away. This was handy for the Boys' School as it stopped in Tennyson Road.

Bob Hollis used to deliver fresh meat on Tuesday and Friday, Tilley’s the Bakers delivered bread every afternoon, Co-op delivered milk every day except Sunday. There was a convenience store on just about every street corner with a small Co-op supermarket in Queen Street. We used to get dividend on all purchases our number was 5570. Next door to the Co-op was Sawford's, a newsagents and sweet shop.

When I finished school at the tender age of fifteen in 1967 I became an apprentice, as an electrician, at Central Electric in High Street South.

I moved out of 84 Allen Road in 1977 when I married, heading for Crabb Street. My sister kept the house on for a few years but after my Mum passed away our association with 84 Allen Road ended. Nigel Chettle, 2020

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the History index
Click here to e-mail us