Rushden was greatly saddened by the news received during the evening of the 22nd of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. The annual meeting in aid of the Wesleyan Home Mission Fund in the Park Road Wesleyan Church was interrupted with the news and brought to an end.
Mrs Sartoris, of Rushden Hall, sent a cheque for £5 to the Wellingborough Board of Guardians to provide tea and entertainment for the inmates of the workhouse. The Board thankfully accepted the gift. A very plentiful tea was provided, after which the men were given tobacco, and the women and children oranges and sweets, while an entertainment followed.
A Rugby firm was awarded the contract for the construction of the local electric tramway scheme and work on the first section of the line was expected to proceed almost immediately.
In view of the serious nuisance occasioned by the frequency of chimneys on fire in various parts of the town, the Urban Council agreed to adopt the course taken in other towns where a fine of 2s.6d. was inflicted by the Sanitary Authority.
The attention of the Urban Council was drawn to the badly lit road on Rushden Hill and the unsatisfactory lighting of the High Street. It was explained that the present gas lamps were not suitable for incandescent burners, but the Committee were agreed that an improvement in the public lighting was desirable and that the whole matter should be taken into serious consideration before the commencement of another lighting season.
Mr Middleton, the water expert appointed by the Council to investigate the provision of an adequate supply of pure and wholesome water for Rushden, reported that trial operations at Sharnbrook indicated that was an unlikely source and that the Council may be forced to consider the alternative proposal of the Harrowden scheme involving the expenditure of many thousands of pounds.
Persons in the bar of the Feathers Inn, High Street, saw flames bursting from the windows of a stable loft at the rear of the building and a quantity of hay was quickly removed. Damage to the amount of £10 was done, and was covered by insurance. The driver of a miller’s waggon, with a team of three horses, was so interested in the proceedings attending the fire that he failed to notice he was driving close to a pony and cart. His attention was suddenly called to this when the wheels of the waggon and the trap became locked. A lady in the trap escaped with a fright but the trap was damaged somewhat.
A porter of the Midland Railway Company, G.W.Perkins, met with a serious accident while engaged in shunting when he fell and a coal truck went over his arm. Dr Owen was summoned and the sufferer was removed to Northampton Infirmary where the arm was amputated.
The total cost of the new police station at Rushden was reported to be £3,870.2s.6d, and plans were made to install a telephone.
A complaint was made to the Urban Council by the Rushden Tradesmen’s Association regarding the annoyance caused by the great quantity of dust on the roads. The Surveyor reported that watering of the street had begun by getting water from the Moors [site of Rushden School]. As the carting of this water was very expensive it was only possible to water High Street from that source.
A gentleman was driving a waggonette in Oakley Road, when suddenly a child ran across just in front of the horse and vehicle, not seeming to notice them. Fortunately the driver had the animal well in hand and succeeded in pulling up before reaching the child. This was only accomplished, however, by pulling the horse on its haunches, and the animal slipped along the ground grazing the hair off its hocks.
The Local Government Board sanctioned a loan of £3,750 for the erection of a commodious fire station and town depot in the Newton Road to replace the barn in High Street which was rented by the Rushden Urban Council for the storage of the fire engine, the escape, and the usual accessories. Mr Madin, the town surveyor, prepared the plans. £2,050 was allowed for the depot buildings and roads, and the remaining £1,700 to be spent in the building of the fire station and cottage.
Further cases of scarlet fever occurred in Co-operative Row and on Spencer-park [estate].
The most serious fire which had ever broken out in Rushden occurred at the High Street factory of Messrs John Cave & Sons on July 19th. In a very short space of time the whole of the factory was in flames. The occupants of the Rose and Crown Inn and nearby shops removed as many valuables and other articles as possible from their premises. Carts and wagons were lent by tradesmen for the removal of boots rescued from the factory and stored in the grounds adjoining The Cottage, the residence of Mr John Cave. Shops on the opposite side of the High Street, and houses at the rear in Alfred Street, caught fire owing to the heat. Workers and other helpers toiled hour after hour under a blazing sun in an attempt to prevent the spread of the fire. Looting took place on a considerable scale. Damage was estimated at nearly £200,000, and hundreds were thrown out of employment. Mr James Bugby, fish merchant, distributed free 700 lbs of fish to the sufferers from the fire.
Reports of the abandonment of the local tramways scheme, due to the cost of street widening, were declared to be unfounded by the Company as the scheme had been handed to the engineers in order that they might proceed with the preliminary work.
An accident occurred late at night on the Bedford Road just outside Rushden when three or four young men were cycling down the hill into Rushden. One of them collided heavily with a horse which was standing, unharnessed, in the road, having escaped from a nearby field. The cyclist was thrown off his machine, and one of the horse’s hind legs was broken.
Seventeen days after the fire at Cave’s factory, dense volumes of smoke again began issuing from the ruins of Messrs Everingham & King, drapers, on the opposite side of the High Street. Mr W.Desborough, who occupied the adjoining shop, directed a large quantity of water onto the heated embers. Large crowds of people were attracted by the smoke.
Concerns were expressed at the apparent inadequacy of the water supply to Rushden, it being felt that firms who contemplated establishing themselves in the town were being influenced to seek other locations. Mr G.Denton, Chairman of the Council, reported that matters were not quite so bad seeing that the Council supplied about 10 gallons of water per head of the population daily.
Several London daily papers reported, incorrectly, that Rushden was suffering an alarming outbreak of typhoid fever. Protests were made that the statements were entirely without foundation and that the epidemic at Raunds had been wrongly ascribed to Rushden, but no retraction was printed.
Rushden School Board proposed a new school to be built in Hayway to take the place of the North Street School. The site would cost £580, and was initially intended to accommodate 200 infants, the remainder of the ground to be used for a mixed school when needed.
A mission tent in Mr Marriott’s field, opposite the Queen Victoria Hotel, attracted good congregations. The missioner, Mr Noakes, of the unsectarian London Evangelization Society, proved himself to be a speaker of considerable power, and his out-spoken addresses were highly appreciated.
A cyclist was riding through Rushden towards Higham Ferrers, with a child on the front of the machine, when the child got its foot in the front wheel. Almost every spoke was broken and the child and cyclist were thrown off fortunately without any serious injury.
The Rushden Feast was celebrated with roundabouts, gondolas, shooting galleries, stalls, shows, swing-boats, cinematagraph, and coconut shies, together with a novelty in the shape of a bicycle track. In addition, two football matches were played and several open-air concerts were given by Temperance and String Bands.
The Old Baptists entered into their new building [having moved from Little Street].
The joint committee of the Higham Ferrers Town Council and the Rushden Urban Council met at the Wharf to consider the generous offer from Mr Fitzwilliam regarding the site of the bathing-place by the side of Anchor Inn.
A fatal accident occurred in the High Street when Hannah Pettit, a widow of 75 from Irchester, was knocked down by a bicycle near Cave’s factory, and subsequently died of her injuries.
A fire occurred at the factory of Messrs W.Green and Son, at the junction of Cromwell Road and Queen Street, just as the workmen had left for breakfast. Prompt action with the fire buckets confined damage to about £150, the floor on the top storey having been burnt through, several bundles of leather were destroyed, and the woodwork protecting the stairs was almost burned through.
The Rushden Urban Council and the Higham Ferrers Town Council decided to acquire the rights of the Higham Ferrers Water Company to utilize the Company’s Sywell scheme for the supply of water to both Rushden and Higham Ferrers.
Alderman Sanders, at a meeting of the Higham Ferrers Town Council, expressed his hope that the town of Rushden would very soon be incorporated with the borough of Higham Ferrers.
A severe gale brought down some of the ruins at Messrs Cave’s factory. Several of the inner walls of a great height fell and other walls were rocked a good deal but no further damage was done.
Plans were submitted by Messrs John Cave and Sons Ltd for a new factory to be erected at the back of The Cottage, the residence of Mr John Cave. It was also proposed to give land from the Cottage Estate so as to make Higgin’s Lane a good wide street worthy of its new name of College Street.
A runaway cob, attached to a four-wheel truck belonging to Messrs Allen & Co, box makers, started from the factory and proceeded at a furious pace up the High Street, and turned down Church Street and along Alfred Street, where it collided with the ruins of Messrs Cave’s factory. Fortunately the horse was not hurt.
Rev W.H.Harris produced a book, “The Romance of a Northamptonshire Baptist Church,” dealing with the history of the Old Baptist Church in Rushden, and also covering much of the history of the town itself.
Town meetings in Higham Ferrers and Rushden received details of the proposed joint water scheme. The resolution to adopt the scheme was overwhelmingly supported by the ratepayers.