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Permanent Benefit Building Society

Rushden Echo, Friday October 7, 1898 transcribed Sue Manton

Shall Rushden have a building society? That there should be formidable catalogue of improvements and suggestions urgently needing attention is inevitable in a place like Rushden, which has sprung from a small and insignificant village into a town of considerable proportions in the course of a few years. We have time to time called attention to various prominent items in this list, which, however is by no means exhausted up to the present. To all interested in thrift and in social progress – and their name surely is Legion – there can be few questions of more pressing importance at the present juncture than the establishment in Rushden of a Permanent Benefit Building Society on a thorough sound basis. Most places the size of Rushden have already such a society, and we are anxious to impress upon the business men of the town the importance of taking steps without delay in the direction indicated. It may be argued that in Rushden we have already two building societies. These however, are ballot societies, and although they have questionably served a useful purpose in the past, we cannot be accused of disparaging their work in the slightest when we affirm that these organisations do not meet the requirements. Rushden is increasing its population at the rate of a thousand souls a year. Some provision must of necessity be made for the housing of these people, and the question arises, “Who shall make the provision?” In hundreds of towns less progressive than this the working men are becoming their own landlords on easy terms. Through the beneficial agency of local Permanent Benefit Building Societies they are becoming the owners of the house they occupy, paying rent to themselves instead of putting the money into the pockets of the landlords. With the help of these societies any man who is willing to exercise thrift and economy for a while is able to save sufficient money to purchase a site for a cottage, and then he can borrow from the building society such a sum as will cover the cost of erecting a house which will fully meet the requirements of himself and his family. Immediately the house is built, although the man has been able to save only, say, a quarter of the money which it has cost, he enters into occupation and is his own tenant. By paying in monthly instalments a mere trifle above what he would otherwise be paying to a landlord as rent he will in the course of a dozen years or so find that the entire cost of the building has been defrayed and that the property becomes actually his own. On the other hand many a workman has been paying rent for the same house for half a century. This means that he has paid the landlord about three times the original cost of the house and yet the property is no more his than it was fifty years ago. Ten minutes earnest consideration of this question would lead most folks to confess that the wise course would be for any worker to become his own landlord if the means are placed within his reach; and we are firmly convinced that if our suggestion be carried into effect a Permanent Benefit Building Society in Rushden will have no reason to complain of a lack of supporters. 

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