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Rushden and Higham Trades Council

The Rushden Echo, 21st March, 1919, transcribed by Gill Hollis

The Local Municipal Building Schemes

A meeting of the Rushden and District Trades and Labour Council was held yesterday week at the Trade Club. Mr. W. H. Marriott, the newly-appointed chairman, presided, supported by the secretary (Mr. J. Jackson) and a good attendance of members, including several lady delegates.

Mr. W. Bazeley, J.P., gave an address on the proposed new housing scheme for Rushden. He said a great deal was heard about the disadvantages of the site selected. The Council had tried several places in the district. Quite a number of land owners had not even replied to the application for quotations. Those who had replied, including the Rushden Co-operative Society, Mr. A. H. Sartoris for a part of the field on the left-hand side of the Wellingborough-road between Duck-street and Fitzwilliam-street, and another owner for small lots on the Oakley Estate, asked more than the Council felt justified in paying. The new houses could not be built at a reasonable cost. The 7s.houses would cost £390, and, apart from having two large bedrooms instead of three small bedrooms, would be similar to the houses in King’s-road let for 4s. 9d. There would be a subsidy of over £2,000 a year from the Government in regard to the houses. The rents would include all the rates. No working man could afford to pay 17s. a week, which would be charged for six of the houses. They would be on the deep plots of ground near the Newton-road. He believed that managers of future industries would occupy those houses and might perhaps wish to purchase the houses from the Council at some future date. Mr. Woodward, the Council’s rent collector, had over 100 applications for houses. That did not represent the whole demand for houses in Rushden, because so many people knew it was hopeless to try for one. Some people doubted that the Government would pay over £2,000 a year to Rushden, but he would say that in a few years the Labour Party would be in power in the Government and they would not mind subsidising the housing schemes for the people. Better to spend the nation’s money in that way than use it in such a way as the present Government were evidently trying to do. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Bazeley was prepared to back up the Urban Council in their action of having purchased the suggested site.

Mr. T. E. Wigginton said the Co-operative Society were not asked to give a price for their land on the Bedford-road. He would not say the Society would have sold the land. He was afraid the new houses being built near the Newton-road would mean the overcrowding of the Newton-road Schools, whereas if the site belonging to the Co-operative Society in the Bedford-road had been used that would have been avoided. He criticised the placing of six or seven high-rented houses amongst the workmen’s dwellings. The higher-priced houses would be depreciated in value as – owing perhaps to snobbery – the people who could afford 17s. a week would not be likely to go and live among workpeople. He further objected to the idea of having small shop-fronted houses in the scheme. He thought such a venture would not be a success. A large handsome Co-operative Store in the vicinity would look much better than the little out-of-the-way sweet shops that one saw in various parts of the town. (Laughter and applause.)

Mr. Bazeley said it was due to the Government, and thanks largely to the Labour Party, Mr. W. R. Smith in particular, that the rents all over the country were not going to be raised to a prohibitive amount for poor people. As exorbitant as the rents of the new houses must be, he was certain they were at the rock-bottom figure.

In reply to Mr. W. W. Rial, Mr. Bazeley said there were only 16 of the 120 houses with only two bedrooms, and he did not think it would be advisable to press for the addition of an attic to the houses.

Mr. F. Walker gave an outline of the Higham Ferrers housing scheme.

Rushden Echo, Friday, August 15th, 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Monthly Meeting
Co-operative Society and Conscientious Objectors

The monthly meeting of the Rushden and District Trades and Labour Council was held last night at the Trade Union Club, Rushden. Mr. W. H. Marriott (chairman) presided, supported by the secretary (Mr. J. Jackson), and there was a good attendance of members.


Arising out of the minutes. Mr. G. Hunt protested against the Council making the grant of 10s. to conscientious objectors. The funds of the Council, he said, came from many different societies, and if any members wished to make a grant a collection should have been made amongst them.

Coal Shortage

Mr. E. Coleman objected to certain people in the town being allowed to buy large quantities of coal while most poor people were without and could not get any. He gave an instance of where a Rushden boot manufacturer had bought several tons and had distributed it amongst his employees.

The Secretary read a letter from the Fuel Overseer stating that the Committee Lad no statutory power to use up stocks of coal on hand.

Mr. Bazeley said there was a great idea of muddling in enforcing regulations. The Rushden Urban Council had done their utmost to get supplies. A large quantity was promised to the town, and when it arrived he suggested that the authorities call a parade headed by the band to welcome the coal. (Laughter)

Mr. W. W. Rial said it was unexplained why Rushden had suffered so much more than neighbouring towns. He was certain that Higham Ferrers had not sufferecd so badly as Rushden.

Mr. J. Mould corroborated, and said that as far as he knew no one in Higham had suffered to any great extent through shortage of coal.

The Chairman said that as the local authorities were doing all they could in the matter he thought nothing could be done by the Trades Council.

Cottage Hospital

Mr. C. Lingard introduced the subject of the proposed Cottage Hospital as a war memorial for Rushden, and moved that the Council support the scheme.

Mr. L. Baxter seconded.

The Chairman said he was sorry the matter had cropped up. He did not think it advisable for them to tie their hands a there was such a volume of detail on both the Cottage Hospital and alternative schemes. The town would have to find the money and consequently all the residents of Rushden were entitled to have voice in stating what the memorial should be.  It would be quite possible for supporters of either scheme to fill any hall in and carry their own particular scheme. Therefore, the Council would not be helping matters a great deal by voting on one scheme until the whole facts of alternative schemes are known.

Mr. Hunt moved as an amendment that the matter be adjourned.

Mr. Rial seconded.

By seven votes to six it was resolved to support the hospital scheme.

Mr. Weal’s Motion

With reference to Mr. A. F. Weale's notice of motion at a recent meeting of the Rushden Co-operative Society, to the effect that the Society sever its connection with the Trades Council on account of the latter making a grant to conscientious objectors, it was decided to have a full discussion at the next meeting of the Council.


The Northants Federation of Trades and Labour Councils wrote enclosing a resolution protesting against the Government compelling unemployed people to go away from home for employment when local work could be given to them.

The Council unanimously supported the resolution.

The Land Nationalisation Society asked for the support of the Council in the Society's propaganda in advocating the Nationalisation of Land.—It was decided to ask the Society to send down a speaker to address a meeting at Rushden.

The question of amalgamation with the local Labour Party was left for discussion by a joint meeting of the committees of the Rushden and Higham Labour Parties and the Trades Council.

A resolution protesting against the inequalities of payment of school teachers in the county was passed, and the Secretary was instructed to forward a copy of the same, to the Education Authority asking that equal pay for equal work be given, irrespective of the date of appointment.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 28th August, 1942, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Unfinished Houses - Rushden Trades Council on Use of Bricks

Although labour and bricks can be found to build front walls where railings have been removed, several houses in Rushden which would have been used by evacuees or bombed-out families have been left in a half-built state.

This position was the subject of criticism at the August meeting of the Rushden and District Trades Council, when Mr. J. H. Cole, of Kettering, presided.

As Rushden has no ’bus barriers and drivers do not always draw up opposite the head of the queue, it was urged that queue lines should be painted on the pavements for the guidance of drivers.

Stumps of walls left after the removal of railings were said to be dangerous to pedestrians in the black-out.

Complaints were received concerning sanitary arrangements, drinking water facilities and the lack of canteens at ironstone mines to which local boot workers have been transferred.

Mr. E. Horn was appointed to represent the Trades Council on the Higham Ferrers After-Care Committee, and a donation of £1 1s. was voted to Higham Ferrers Market Day.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 23rd April 1948, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Sunday Pictures for Rushden?
Trades Council Seeks Opinions

Having started a campaign for Sunday cinemas in Rushden the Trades Council feel that it is up to the young people to get things moving.

Mr. Harry Bailey, the secretary, however, told the “Echo and Argus” yesterday that he is willing to receive comments for and against.

He explained: “The Rushden Trades Council was unanimously for it, but I have not received any outside representation in support or against the scheme. As secretary I have a completely open mind and I am willing to receive comments.

“As far as the Trades Council is concerned, it is not our particular pigeon; we were just willing to start the ball rolling.”

Here are a few comments gathered by “Echo and Argus” reporters.

Staff View

Said a cinema employee: I don’t know what it is to do with the Trades Council, it’s all right for them; they have not got to work. I don’t think it will keep young people off the streets, they go on the streets because they enjoy it.”

Spending their afternoon walking up the High Street two 17 years-olds, one a mechanic, the other a hairdresser’s apprentice.

Said the first: “There is very little to do on a Sunday night. Of course there is always the Christian Youth Association, you can go there. But the majority of chaps don’t want to listen to somebody spouting all night.”

Said his pal: I always go to Wellingborough, but the buses are always crammed full. It would ease the situation there.

Youth Leader

“If people don’t want to go to church they still won’t go anyway. It won’t make any difference there.”

Miss Margaret Neal, the Rushden Youth Organiser, commented: “They have got six evenings a week to go to the cinema. Why bother with Sunday?

“The keen members of the Christian Youth Organisation will still attend their meetings, and the committee will know that they have the support of those who are really interested.”

Mr. J. A. Brawn (chairman of the Young Conservatives) said: “In so far as they would take the youth off the streets and provide them with something to do, they would not be so bad but I would not personally wish them to take young people from pursuits of a religious nature. I don’t think it would normally affect people who go to a place of worship.”

Fought On Sunday

An ex-R.A.F. warrant officer said: “If people want to go to the cinema facilities should be provided for them to do so. If cinemas open after church hours then it cannot possibly affect church attendances. After all people fought on Sunday.”

“Well it would keep the folk off the streets,” an 18 year-old typist: “It would save a lot of Rushden people who now have to go to Wellingborough quite a bit of money, and it would not affect the churches.

“People who want to go to church would go there in any case, whether there were Sunday cinemas or not.”

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st May 1948, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Sunday Cinema Talk Dropped

As the public have not come forward to express their views on Sunday cinemas, Rushden Trades Council have decided to drop the matter.

“There does not seem to be much enthusiasm or we should have been swamped with letters,” said a member on Wednesday.

At last month’s meeting, the Trades Council invited members of the town’s organisations to give opinions, but the secretary, Mr. Harry Bailey, had to report: “I have had no representations either one way or the other. We don’t know whether people are interested or not.”

The chairman (Mr. C. T. Smith) said that the matter had now been put before the public and there was nothing more that the Trades Council could do.

Mr. H. Wills, agreeing, said that the question was now up to the cinema proprietors.

Mr. Rowthorne: “There does not seem to be much enthusiasm, or we should have been swamped with letters.”

Rushden Urban District Council will receive a copy of the Press report of one of their meetings as a result of another discussion over representation on the Food Control Committee.

The Trades Council claimed that Mr. W. Ainge was elected as a Trades Council delegate, and the Council maintained that he was on the committee as a consumer. Mr. Ainge has now ceased to be a member of the Trades Council.

Said Mr. E. Tagg: “I propose that we appoint another delegate.”

“No you see,” said the secretary, “no one has resigned.”

“I propose that we point out the appropriate minute and demand that our delegate be reappointed,” said Mr. Tagg.

Holiday plans for 1949 were talked of, and it was decided that the matter should be dealt with as an area problem and that the County Trades Union Committee, representing all the Trades Councils in Northamptonshire, should be asked to take the responsibility of organising a stagger plan.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st April, 1950, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Woman Calls for 6 p.m. Shop Closing

Grievances of a shop assistant were aired at Rushden Trades Council meeting on Wednesday evening, when, after a question relating to shops closing had been raised, a member stated that if the shops stayed open until 9 p.m. there would still be people who arrived “breathless and in a hurry” at five minutes to nine.

The matter arose when Miss Doris Tassell pointed out to her colleagues that many shops in the town closed at 5.30, making it very difficult for women at work to do their shopping.

“They have either to leave their factory early, or go shopping on Saturday morning, when most of them want to get on with their housework,” she said.

Miss Tassell emphasised that as the women were being urged to go to work, shops should co-operate with them and help them by staying open until 6 p.m.

Answering Miss Tassell, a representative of the union concerned said that people were given every facility. “There is nothing to prevent them dropping their order in the door, so that it can be prepared, and collected, or delivered, later,” he said, “With the present rationing system they can be assured of a fair distribution, with nothing under the counter.”

He added that there were always people who could not find time to do their shopping. “Women work on an average 37 hours a week and there should be enough time over to get it done,” he said.

It was agreed that a move should be made to organise shop assistants in the town into a union, although two previous efforts had failed.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 11th January 1957, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Cars parked on grass verges

Rushden, at night, is strewn with motor cars left without lights on grass verges and in all sorts of odd places out-of-doors. That is the evidence of Trades Council members, who are going to tell the Urban Council about it.

Mr. R. F. Hirons told the Trades Council on Wednesday that too many people were parking their cars without lights in side streets.

“At the top of Upper Queen Street,” he said, “a car has stood for three months and has never moved –the tyres are flat. There are others in Balmoral Avenue just the same.

Mr. Hirons complained of damage to grass verges which had cost much money to lay and said that ruts a foot deep had beenmade in front of the Baptist sports ground.

Mr. J. Tear, who presided, said that at least a dozen people left their cars out in Trafford Road.

Mr. G. Richardson said there were cases where footpaths were obstructed.

Mr. A. S. R. Oram said there was a shortage of garages as there were a lot of council houses.

“In a lot of cases,” said Mr. W. Hawes, “the Urban Council are to blame because they will not allow a garage to be built in front of your house. You can’t have a neat garage, but you can have a car with a tarpaulin over it standing there every night.”

‘All Over The Place’

“There are cars on bits of ground all over the place,” testified Mr. W. O. Rowthorn, who also complained that in the “Co-operative” car park the path for pedestrians was frequently obstructed by overlapping vehicles.

Mr. B. Perkins spoke of people who parked their cars after dark on the wrong side of the road “but never get pinched.”

Members agreed that they did not wish to put direct complaints to the police, and the secretary (Mr. L. Parkinson) said he would communicate with the Urban Council.

After complaints about the fouling of pavements by dogs, Mr. Parkinson said he would inquire whether there was any by-law in force against this nuisance.

Health Charges

There was also a debate on prescription charges under the National Health Service. It was agreed to support other local protests on this matter, though two members said the present position had been brought on by people who took every benefit they could possibly get.

The meeting endorsed a Typographical Association resolution calling for an increase of old age pensions, and copies of the local resolution will be sent to the T.U.C. and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“Put them on the cost-of-living index like the boot trade” was the advice of a woman member, Mrs. E. E. Brown.

Mrs. Brown was nominated for membership of the Kettering Local Appeals Tribunal (Wellingborough Employed Persons Panel). Mr. Parkinson was deputed to attend the annual conference of Trades Councils at Bath in May.

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