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Article by Kay Collins, 2008
J S Clipson & Clipson Bros.

built around 1885 Oak Lodge in about 1950
Built about 1885
Oak Lodge - No 10 Church Street
Hakkers Hair Salon & Oak Lodge - 2008

John Samuel Clipson was born in 1858 at Glendon and he married Mary from Kettering, where they lived for about six years and their daughter Mary and son John were born, before moving to Higham Ferrers. Whilst living in Higham Ferrers John had established a business in the High Street at Rushden.

In 1888 John and his family moved to Oak Lodge, 10 Church Street, and bought the adjoining plot on the corner of Alfred Street.

The shop he built on the plot in 1889 was very large and eventually had several outbuildings, together with a new residence for his growing family. Son Harold was born in 1886 in Rushden, followed by Helen in 1888, Winifred in 1890, James in 1893 and Frances in 1896.

The house shop built in 1889 The shop in 1950
The house & shop on the Corner of Alfred Street & Church Street in 1905 (left) and about 1950 (right)
Photographs courtesy Mr Copperwheat

John built up a good business doing engineering and maintaining the machinery that was being rapidly introduced into the boot and shoe making trade here. He also was sole agent for Jones Sewing Machines and for Otto Gas Engines. His large, three windowed shop displayed his wares very prominently, and included perambulators and bicycles.

Apprentice in 1893 - Ernest Pack

Rushden Echo 6th August 1915

Boot Closers please note.
The Jones’ machine
is unequalled for
Army closing.
Enquire terms at
J. S. Clipson’s, Church St.


An advert from 1930 - note the telephone number is No 1 extension

J S Clipson
Mr John S Clipson
Council Chair 1904-6, 1914
By 1901 his two eldest sons were also working as engineers, daughter Helen was a school teacher and daughter Mary was a book-keeper. (The 1905 photograph shows the family outside)

In 1914 Clipson Bros. & Co. were trading at 131 High Street as ironmongers, electricians and motor cycle agents.

A member of the Wesleyan Church, where he was also choir master, John was also active in public service. He was chairman of the Rushden Urban District Council in 1905 and in 1914, and also joined the Rushden and Higham Ferrers Water Board, to bring water from Sywell into Rushden, in 1906. He was also involved in the bringing of the telephone to the town and was the proud owner of telephone number one.


Rushden Echo and Argus, 22nd January 1954, transcribed by Kay Collins

First Car and First Phone

Fifty years ago driving licences were being issued for the first time, and pictured above is one of Northamptonshire’s earliest drivers—the late Mr. John Clipson—in the very first car to appear in Rushden.

first car
The first car in Rushden
Besides being the owner of Rushden’s first car, Mr. Clipson, a man of initiative, was also the first owner of a telephone—his number was Rushden 1.

Miss W M Clipson, of Alfred Street, a daughter of the late Mr. Clipson, told a reporter that this car—photographed in 1900, before they had to be registered—was of French make, similar to the early De Dion.

In 1904 the Motor Cars Act came into force, and cars—restricted to 20 m.p.h.—had to carry driving licences for the first time.

The Clipsons were among the first to carry the BD registration number on their next car, an Oldsmobile.

Postcard of an early car in High Street, Rushden
Postcard of an early car in High Street, Rushden,
believed to have belonged to Mr J. S. Clipson
Notes by Mr H Packwood in 1988:

Clipson's - Earliest agent for Gas Engines and all tools used in the Boot and Shoe Trade. Wood pulleys for line shafting. All types of thread, needles, pincers, knives etc. At this period the JONES sewing machines were very good, they would machine heavy leather uppers. Personnel were Mr. Clipson, Mr. Bob Clipson, and Miss Irene Clipson - in charge of the shop.

Apprentices - Mr. D. Smith joined B.U.S.M.Co. and Mr. Carl Nichols joined "K" Shoes as engineer in charge at Kendal.

Apprentice in 1893 - Ernest Pack


By the 1950's one part of the shop (window right) was being used by Bates & Leyland Ltd, cabinet makers and upholsterers. The next window is a building between the Clipson's shop and Oak Lodge. It was a high class millners shop from about 1914, owned by Mrs Ada Buttling, and in about 1950 Ada retired her daughter Helen began trading there as a hairdresser. When Helen retired in about 1980, the salon then became "Snippers" and they later moved into 69 Newton Road, and have recently moved again and now trade in the High Street (2008). Another hairdresser is now in the Church Street premises, called "Hakkers", and Oak Lodge is now the offices of Spoor & Co.


The Wellingborough News, 23rd September, 1887, transcribed by Gill Hollis

ACCIDENT—On Wednesday morning, as a painter in the employ of Mr. W. Spencer, was engaged in painting the upstairs window of the premises in High-street in the occupation of Mr. J. Clipson, the ladder upon which he was standing slipped out at foot, precipitating the young fellow to the ground and spraining his ankle badly. The end of the ladder also fell upon the shop door, destroying a large square of plate glass.

Rushden Echo, 1st January 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

To Boot Closers—The machine without equal for the present heavy work is the JONES. Will take all sorts. Cash price £6. 10. 0., or easy terms. A few good second-hand machines.—J S Clipson, Church Street.


Rushden Echo, 2nd August 1918 [part of a longer article]

Rushden Military Tribunal - A Number of Exemptions
National Service Representative to Appeal

Tuesday, present Messrs. T. Swindall (chairman), C. Bates, C. Cross, C.C., and C. W. Horrell, with Mr. G. S. Mason (clerk) and the National Service representatives (Mr. H. Dulley and Mr. J. S. Mason).

Mr. J. S. Clipson, engineer, etc., supported an appeal for John Robert Clipson, 35, Grade 1, and stated that they were responsible for between 50 and 60 factories, doing the repairs, etc.  Five or six of his men had gone.  Mr. C. W. Horrell said the factories were badly served at present, there being only two firms of engineers for the whole district.  It would be quite a calamity to the boot trade if the engineering firms were further depleted. – Exemption until October 31st.


The original shop in Church Street was Mike Neville's estate agency for many years and is now a sports equipment shop, McGuire's.
The rear of the premises is in poor state and the house where John brought up his family is now boarded up (2008).

More of his cars


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