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Rushden Echo, 28th November 1913, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Rushden and District Electric Supply Company
Formal Opening of The Works
Rushden and Higham Ferrers Councillors Entertained

The formal opening of the works of the Rushden Electric Supply Company, Limited, took place yesterday, when shareholders, together with members of the Rushden Urban District Council and the Higham Ferrers Town Council were entertained by the directorate at the works.

Mr. J. H. Thornton, J.P., C.C., of Northampton (chairman of the directors), in welcoming the visitors, said that the directors had invited to the inaugural opening of the Rushden Electric Light works not only the shareholders but the members of the Rushden and Higham Ferrers Councils because, as the welfare and government of the two towns was entrusted to them, they would naturally be interested in anything that would conduce to the further progress and prosperity of the two places. He had received a letter from the Mayor of Higham Ferrers regretting that he was unable to attend that afternoon owing to a prior engagement. The idea of bringing electricity into that district was first suggested to him (the speaker) through reading a report of a meeting of the Rushden Urban District Council, at which the question of providing new industries for the town was discussed. He felt sure that

New Industries

could not be introduced into Rushden unless the town could offer to firms proposing to build works the latest improvements. He therefore consulted the directors of the Northampton Electric Light Company, and they looked into the matter and came to the conclusion that there was a reasonable prospect for the success of such an undertaking as the establishment of an electric supply at Rushden. The works had been built, the machinery installed, and the undertaking was proving successful. When the Rushden and Higham councils were approached on the matter they naturally discussed whether they would carry out by themselves a scheme for the supply of electric light and power, or entrust it to a private company, and they very properly, in his opinion, came to the conclusion that it would be best to leave the matter to be carried into effect by a company. They were quite right for two reasons: (1) because it was much easier for a small body of directors to manage a business successfully than for a committee who had always to consult the members of their Councils; (2) because in that particular instance the two companies working together, viz., the Northampton and Rushden Companies, were able to purchase large quantity of cable, lamps, etc., at much better terms, the advantage of which would be reaped by the customers.

The Price

charged for current for power purposes was within five per cent. of the price charged at Northampton. When they considered the difference in the population of the two places it appeared to be a very fair price, and when they also considered the difference in the rates of the two places, Rushden would be able to compete on very fair terms with Northampton. Practically the whole of the shoe manufacturers in Northampton used electricity for power, its advantages being so obvious, and the fact that electric light did not vitiate the air added to the health and efficiency of the workpeople.

After describing the machinery, Mr. Thornton said the directorate had always met with cordial and friendly treatment from both the Rushden and Higham Councils, and he hoped they would do their best to support an undertaking that he felt would conduce very much to the progress of Rushden and Higham Ferrers.

Councillor C. Bates (chairman of the Rushden Urban Council), in response, expressed pleasure at having been invited to the inaugural opening. As Mr. Thornton had stated, the Rushden Urban Council had had the question of a electrical supply before them on more than one occasion, and so far as they were concerned there was no opposition to the formation of a private company at Rushden. The Rushden Gas Company had treated the Council fairly well, but as the chairman of the directors of the Rushden Electric Supply Company had stated if any new industries were coming along Rushden should have its share of them. He (the speaker) was one of those unfortunate individuals who had no shares in either the gas or electric light companies. As chairman of the Rushden Urban Council he was very glad to see the establishment of an Electric Supply Company at Rushden. He wished the directors every success in their undertaking.

Councillor Frank Walker (Deputy Mayor of Higham Ferrers) said that

The Higham Town Council

opposed the scheme, and he was one of the deputation who visited the Board of Trade offices in London to voice the Council’s opposition. The reason for the Council’s opposition was the stipulated length of time in which local authorities could purchase. When he could see that the Council was defeated he showed his confidence in the company by taking up shares. He recognised that any up-to-date firms contemplating settling in the neighbourhood would need electric light and power. He congratulated the directors on the fruit of their efforts and wished them every success in their undertaking.

The machinery was then started, and the visitors made a thorough inspection of the works under the supervision of Mr. G. H. Jackson, M.I.E.E., M.I.M.E. (chief engineer), being subsequently entertained to tea, the beverage having been brewed and the comestibles baked by electricity. The new works were in their entirety designed and carried out under the supervision of Mr. Jackson.

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