|Reprinted from "Rushden Argus" in the Fire Relief Fund Balance Sheet
A meeting of the general committee of the Rushden Fire Relief Fund was held on Friday evening in the Vestry Hall, Rushden, when there were present: Mr. G. Denton (chairman), the Rev. W. R. Morse (Rector), the Rev. M. E. Parkin, the Rev. W. F. Harris, and Messrs. W. H. Wilkins, F. Knight, J. Claridge, Paul Cave, J. W. Ashdowne, J. Spencer, T. Swindall, C. Bates, G. Skinner, A. Willmot, J. T. Colson, A. Wright, J. Farey, T. Linnitt, J. Hornsby, and C. White, with the hon. Secretary (Mr. G. S. Mason).
A letter was read from Mr. J. Lichfield (greengrocer) asking for a grant from the fund through loss of trade occasioned by the fire. The Chairman pointed out that if they acceded to this request they would be opening the fund to tradesmen all round who had suffered loss, and therefore they would be hardly justified in dealing with it. Mr. J. Claridge Expressed himself in similar terms. It was stated that Mr. Lichfield was insured, although he was not probably fully covered. There was no motion forthcoming, and the letter was allowed to lie on the table. Three applications were received for loss of watches. The Chairman explained that these implications came before the executive committee, but they thought the kit fund committee should deal with these claims. It appeared, however, that this fund was exhausted. It was stated that the applicants claimed £4 and £5 in respect of the watches. (Laughter.) Mr. Claridge thought that they were entitled to consideration, and Mr. T. Swindall proposed that the claims be entertained. Mr. C. Bates seconded, and it was carried, with the understanding that the executive fixed the amounts.
A letter was received from Messrs. Cave and Sons, calling attention to a case of distress by the death of William Church, who left five children, two of whom were unable to work. The Chairman remarked that it was a very deserving case, but he doubted if it came under the category of fire fund. Mr. Farey said that the family got into low water owing to the fire, and he thought the fund could be exercised in this case. Mr. Cave remarked that the illness which proved fatal was increased through the fire. He moved that the executive committee deal with the case. Mr. C. Bates seconded, and it was carried. It was decided to make final payments to James Adams, £1; Wm. Ives, £1; Thomas Sargent, £2 10s.; and Mrs. John Clarke eight weeks' further assistance at 14s. 3d. per week.
The Fund Closed
The Chairman said that they had now dealt with all the cases, and could consider the desirability of closing the fund. He formally moved that the fund be forthwith closed. Mr. J. Spencer seconded and it was carried without discussion.
How to Apply the Balance
The Chairman then remarked that at the last meeting he suggested that the proper purpose to apply the surplus to was the fund being raised for practically rebuilding the Northampton Infirmary, and after having given further consideration to the matter he was still of opinion that would be the best object to devote the funds to. Considering the large area over which the funds were subscribed and the great interest shown in other parts of the county in this fund, it would be only the proper thing to devote the balance to a purpose outside their particular locality. He felt, however, that they could scarcely do this without consulting those who contributed to the fund. Mr. Skinner thought that the money should be kept in the town in case of distress next winter. They might, he added, have a bad winter next year and get another fire. (Loud laughter.) The Chairman called Mr. Skinner to order. (Laughter.)Mr. Cave: If the insurance companies get hold of that we shall not be able to insure. Mr. W. H. Wilkins said that they had no power to decide what should be done with the surplus. The subscribers were the only ones who should state the object to which the money should be devoted. Mr. G. S. Mason stated that the circulars sent out specifically states that the fund was for relieving distress occasioned, and particularly for the wives and children of the men thrown out of work. He had no hesitation in saying they would act dishonestly in saying how the money would be disposed of without bringing it before the subscribers. The people who found the money should say how it should be allocated. He mentioned the Northampton Infirmary as a noble object, and remarked that there might be a difficulty in limiting local charitable objects, saying that besides the Nursing Association, and Ambulance they might include the distress among the managers of the National Schools. (Laughter.) Some of the subscribers came from a long distance, and would like the balance of their subscriptions to be placed to the credit of one of their local charities. For instance a subscriber of £20 from Wellingborough would perhaps desire to place the £5 to the Wellingborough Cottage Hospital funds. He moved a resolution to the effect that subscribers to the funds of £1 and upwards be consulted, as to the application of the balance and that they be informed that in the opinion of the committee the Northampton Infirmary was a worthy institution on the ground that the benefits conferred were co-extensive with the areas from which the funds were received; that if they indicated any local charitable object to devote the surplus the committee would meet their wishes; or if they required a proportion of the subscriptions refunded this would be done. The Rev. M. E. Parkin did not think they should emphasise any special object. They could say there were three objects, and ask the subscribers to choose. Mr. Cave was in favour of leaving the money at the bank for twelve months in case of distress. The money was sub¬scribed for the town's benefit. Mr. Spencer: No, no. Mr. Swindall objected to any comments being made as to the merits of any objects. The Chairman said that if subscribers were to be consulted they should be approached at once. The Rev. W. F. Harris pointed out that some of the local charities had suffered from the fire. The Nursing Association had lost £10 from failure of subscriptions from Messrs. Cave's workmen, and this, he considered, was a legitimate claim on the funds. After further discussion, Mr. Mason amended his resolution as follows: "That subscribers to the fund of £1 and upwards be consulted as to the application of the unappropriated balance, and that they be informed that in the opinion of the committee the building fund of the Northampton Infirmary is a worthy and proper object to which to devote the balance, on the ground that the benefits conferred by that institution are to a great extent coextensive with the area from which the subscriptions were received. That the subscribers, however, be informed that the committee have no wish to dictate to them the object to which their subscriptions should be appropriated, and that if they will indicate any local charitable purpose to which they would prefer their proportion of the balance to be devoted the committee would have pleasure in meeting their wishes. The committee in this respect recommend the Rushden Nursing Association as a worthy object of support. That the subscribers be further informed that the proportion of any subscription would on the request of the subscriber be refunded." Mr. J. Spencer seconded. Mr. J. Claridge thought that as the money came out of the county it should be devoted to the Infirmary. (Hear, hear.) Mr. J. Spencer said that a great many cases were sent to the Infirmary from Rushden during the year, and the subscriptions which came from the town were very small in comparison. It would be very selfish if they did not support the resolution. The resolution was then carried nem. con.
Further discussion followed, and it was eventually decided on the motion of Mr. Skinner, seconded by the Rev. W. R. Morse, that where the subscribers failed to mention the allocation of the balance, the money should be devoted two-thirds to the Infirmary and one-third to the Nursing Association. A hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman and secretaries, moved by Mr. J. Spencer and replied to by the Chairman, concluded the meeting.
Printed at the Argus Office, Rushden.