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Shops - High Street traders

The Rushden Echo, 29th March 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Two Traders are Calling it a Day

Two Rushden traders who have conducted their businesses from adjoining premises in Church Parade, Rushden have both announced their retirement to take effect from tomorrow.

Mrs. A. M. York, joint managing director of the furnishing and nursery equipment store of J. S. Taylor Ltd, has been with the firm for fifty years.

Mr Knight & Mrs York
Mr Knight & Mrs York
The business was first started by Mrs. York’s aunt and uncle Mr. and Mrs. W. McDonald in Newton Road, and dealt mostly with second-hand goods. The business then moved to Church Parade and was later run by Mrs. York’s father, who bought up premises on either side of the original shop and extended the scope of the business.

Ten years ago the nursery department was opened.

Mrs. York is a member of the Rushden and District Chamber of Trade and was its president from 1964-65. She also worked for the Rushden TB After Care Committee, and a member of the Rushden Business and Professional Women’s Club. She is also a worker for the Institute of Directors for about fifteen years.

Mrs. York will spend her retirement with her husband at their home at 17 Park Road, Rushden. Her brother Mr. C. S. Taylor with whom she had been joint managing director, will take over as managing director, and her son-in-law, Mr. F. A. Newell, will become a director.

Next door, Mr. Jim Knight – one of Rushden’s best known personalities, especially among angling enthusiasts – is also planning his retirement tomorrow.

Mr. Knight, who owns his own business as a tobacconist and fishing tackle dealer, first started at the shop as a lather boy for his father in 1914. The shop was then a barbers founded by his father in 1888. It was only a year ago that Mr. Knight decided to close the barbers department because of his difficulty in getting suitable staff.

Mr. Knight is able to recall shaving customers until 11 pm on Saturday nights, and the days when a haircut was sixpence a time.

Angling is Mr. Knight’s favourite pastime, and he is looking forward to devoting some of his free time during his retirement to his hobby.

The Rushden Echo, 30th August 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

‘Echo’ Survey in The High Street
Town shops: ‘Value for money’

Most people in Rushden do the majority of their shopping in the town. They find the service variable but mostly good and find they get good value for their money.

Surprising or not, this was the result of a survey the “Echo” carried out in the High Street this week.

Many shoppers have said that they cannot understand people going to Northampton or Bedford when they can get the goods at the same price and at times cheaper in their own town.

But we found that those who go out of town only do it for a change of surroundings or perhaps a wider variety of shops but NOT because they think they can really get better bargains or because Rushden is unattractive as a shopping area.

Last week we reported on the front page of the “Echo” that a magazine had recently said that shops and the whole concept of shopping in the town needed a shake-up.


That was the magazine’s opinion after they had done a survey on the opportunities in the town for businessmen and investors. Perhaps the shopkeepers could do more for their customers in certain aspects but the general opinion of the shoppers is that they are quite satisfied with their “lot.”

What many would like to see – and who would not – would be such stores as Marks and Spencers, C and A, Littlewoods and others. But naturally such concerns do not find it a worthwhile investment in such a small town.


The overall impression we gained from the Rushden public was that they felt they could shop as well in Rushden as almost anywhere and perhaps better than in many towns of a similar size in other parts of the country.

As for value for money, most people found that the shops not only in the High Street but in Church Street and other smaller streets gave, on average, good value for money but that as always the extra pennies were saved by the discerning housewife who shopped intelligently looking for bargains. Many people of course, do not have the time to price one shop against another.

As for the service, most people thought it was good but slow on occasions and some felt the younger shop assistants were a little impatient with you if you took time choosing something.


One woman went as far as to say that the young shop assistants seem to think they are doing you a favour to get you out of the shop as soon as possible, but this was far from the general opinion.

As the magazine for businessmen and investors says, shop investment in Rushden looks a snip. With shop rents low there is money to be made in Rushden, but people in the town are not very partial to any “city slickers” who open up in the town.

The locals prefer to shop with the family businesses which have served them well over the years, so although shop investment may be a good thing in Rushden we doubt if they will change the face of the town.

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