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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th August, 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edward Chapman
Lamplighter, Postman, Window Cleaner

Mr. Thomas Chapman’s Golden Wedding Memories

Worthy Rushden Couple

The Walnuts
The Walnuts in 2007
The stone above the porch door reads "TEC 1906"
There are interesting elements in the golden wedding story of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edward Chapman, of “The Walnuts,” Court-avenue, Rushden, for Mr. Chapman has been a man of many parts. Those who cannot “place” him as a window cleaner may remember him as a lamplighter, or they will almost certainly recall him as a postman.

“But,” says Mr. Chapman, “don’t think I did all these jobs separately, or people will think I am 100 years old.”

Mr. Chapman is in fact 70, and his wife 68. Though for the last few years they have lived in quiet retirement on the remote Court Estate they have had quite a busy life. Their marriage was conducted by the Rev. C. J. Gordon at St. Mary’s, Rushden, on August 3, 1891.

Born at Chalk Hill, near Dunstable, Mr. Chapman moved to Earls Barton at the age of two and arrived at Rushden in January, 1887. Becoming an outworker in the boot trade, he was paying his board at the tender age of 11. Later he worked at Cave’s boot factory.

The Rushden Echo, March 26th1915,

Window Cleaning
F. Chapman
(Late A. B. West)
Court Estate, Rushden

Weekly, Fortnightly, or
Monthly orders taken.

All orders promptly attended to.

A postcard to the above address
will ensure a prompt call.

For 15 years he was a familiar figure in Rushden as an auxiliary postman, and for 23 years the lamplighting duties occupied his evenings and early mornings. He continued this all-weather and seven-days-a-week work until about two years before the street gas lamps were clocked. To fill in more of his time he did boot-making at home, and just before the last war he joined his eldest son, who had lately acquired the town’s first window-cleaning round from the late Mr. Arthur West. From this work he retired about six years ago.

An Old Band

Proficient on several musical instruments, Mr. Chapman played in the old National Band at the local celebration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, and later in the Co-operative String Band. His favourite instruments were the clarinet and string bass. For several years he also wore the uniform of the St. John Ambulance Brigade.

Mr & Mrs Chapman
Mr & Mrs Chapman
Mrs. Chapman was born in Derbyshire and came to Rushden as Emma Partridge at the age of 12 months. She declares that she always contented herself with home life, though her husband was “always out.” In their younger days the couple attended the Park-road Baptist Church. They have occupied their present home since September, 1906.

The five children of the marriage are Mr. Frank Chapman, of 121, Park-road, Rushden, Mrs. Berrill, who lives at “The Walnuts,” Mr. Harry Chapman in Australia, Mr. George Chapman, of 157, Irchester-road, Rushden, and Mr. Edward Chapman, of Leicester, who is serving in the Royal Engineers. There are 14 grandchildren.

The couple spent their golden wedding day at home, without any formal celebration, because, as Mrs. Chapman says, “You can’t even buy a cake.” They recall that their silver wedding day during the last war was equally quiet because all their sons were away.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Chapman enjoy fairly good health.

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