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Jim Knight - Hairdresser & Fisherman
Jim Knight's shop Another view
Postcards showing Jim Knight's shop next to the Green, was later part of Peter Crisp's

Charles Knight (son of Saby & Elizabeth) was born in Rushden in 1832, and learned shoemaking. He left the town and at sometime married Elizabeth of Wentworth, Cambridgeshire. They started a family at Arlesey, Bedfordshire, where Charles Herbert and Urban Walter Knight were both born, before the family returned to Rushden in the 1880s.

The business at 1 High Street was started as a hairdresser's by Charles Herbert Knight in 1888. In 1891 he married Maria Wheeler at St Mary's Church. Their son James Edward was born in 1904.
C H Knight
C H Knight 1906 when he played for the 2nd XI Thursday Cricket Club
The label on the rod
James also became a hairdresser and tobacconist and eventually took over the shop in the 1930s. His hobby was fishing and he also started to sell fishing tackle and bait. He supplied all the local lads and their fathers with bait and rods. Jim was very well known in the district as an excellent fisherman.

A Jim Knight fishing rod
Rushden Echo, 23rd October 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

Making Soldiers Happy - What Rushden People Have Done

Mr. C. H. Knight, of Rushden, has received the following letter from the Rev. C. M. Chavasse (chaplain of H.M. Forces), in acknowledgement of a parcel of cigarettes, which were subscribed for by Mr. Knight’s customers. He writes: “Dr. Greenfield has handed to me the big box of cigarettes you sent. I am the chaplain to the hospital, and it is one of my jobs to give out cigarettes. I cannot tell you how grateful I am, as English cigarettes are hard to come by, and yet more appreciated by the wounded soldier than anything else. He comes to us in great pain and with no money, a really pitiable sight, but so cheerful and brave, and crying out for an ‘English fag.’ You will know then that every box has made a soldier happy for a day, and you may be sure that I shall tell them from whom they come, and this thought for them by those at home does much to comfort them for their sufferings. I thank you on behalf of the wounded Tommy.”

Rushden Echo, 17th May 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Military Medalist KilledLance-Corpl. Fred Rayner, who for nearly six years was assistant to Mr. C. H. Knight, hairdresser and tobacconist, of Rushden, has been killed in action. Deceased, who resided in the house with Mr. and Mrs. Knight, and who was highly respected by them and by the customers frequenting the saloon, left Rushden about two years ago to join the Colours. The “Bury Free Press” of May 11th has the following:- “In our issue of the first week in December last, it was our painful duty to record the death, after being severely wounded, of Pte. (Lance-Corpl.) Fred Rayner, of the 6th Buffs, East Kent Regiment, youngest son of Mrs. Rayner, of The Auction Mart, Bury.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 20th January 1950, transcribed by Kay Collins

Caught 12 Pound Pike
After a ten-minute battle, Michael J Howes, a 13-year-old schoolboy, who lives at 135, Irchester Road, Rushden, landed a 12lb pike while out fishing on Sunday.

Thin ice, which covered the lake, had to be broken before the pike was brought to the surface.

Michael, in his third season as an angler, was out for the day with Mr Jim Knight, the well-known Rushden fisherman.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 20th January 1950, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Man’s 21st Birthday
A Rushden hairdresser, Mr George Thomas Wills, younger son of Mr and Mrs H Wills, of 71, Highfield Road, celebrated his 21st birthday on Friday with a dinner party at the Central Cafe.

Fifty guests joined in the celebrations and the main toast of the evening was proposed by Mr Fred Rich, a friend of Mr Wills, who replied.

There was dancing and games, with Mr A pack as pianist.

Mr Wills, who is employed by Mr Jim Knight, is a member of the Y.M.C.A., Rushden and District Amateur Photography Club and Rushden Thursday CC.

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.

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