When the last children of Beeches County Council Hostel for evacuees left Rushden they each took with them a small sack full of Christmas presents.
Between 500 and 600 dancers were at the Windmill Hall on New Year’s Eve. There were old and new dances to the music of the Lido Players, under the direction of Mr R.Hart.
A photograph appeared in the ‘Rushden Echo and Argus’ showing the house in Hayway which was to become Rushden’s own Home Hospital and War Memorial. It was declared to be highly suitable for the purpose.
An exhibition of plastic material for both uppers and bottoms was staged at the annual prize giving of the Rushden Boot & Shoe School.
An exhibition, ‘Boots at War’, at the Ritz cinema enjoyed a week of success with thousands of visitors. It presented a boot town with a fascinating summary of the industry’s wartime labours.
Helpful recipes for cakes and puddings using no eggs had been produced and issued by the Ministry of Food.
Mr S.Howitt, headmaster, reported that forty-four old scholars of the Intermediate School gave their lives in the war.
Mr Walter Hawkins, of Succoth Place, was found unconscious at the foot of the ladder on which he had been glazing a window at the Windmill Club, at Rushden. He was taken to Northampton General Hospital.
Mr Albert George Crowdy started work as Rushden’s new Clerk to the Urban Council. He was born at Rugby.
At the Welcome Home Party for ex-prisoners of war at Rushden Windmill Hall, one man in khaki scowled at the menu and said “What! No Rice?” There was no mistaking where he had spent some of his previous years.
Rushden Query Club, formed 18 years ago and already prominent in sporting and social work until the war came along, was to resume activity and intended to be in full swing by 1947.
Bananas were on sale at a few Rushden shops one afternoon, drawing large queues and by teatime ‘Sold Out’ notices were displayed.
Mr S.A.Lawrence, headmaster of Alfred Street School, was a new member for the West Ward of the Rushden Urban Council. He represented Labour.
Crepe rubber shoes, bootees, high-heeled shoes and toeless and backless sandals were all returning to the shops.
Private Peter Salisbury, Northamptonshire Regiment, of 37 North Street, Rushden, had developed a talent for crooning during his Army service and broadcast with a dance band over the Austrian radio. He was previously employed by Messrs C.W.Horrell Ltd.
For the first time in history, Rushden had a woman as Chief Citizen. Mrs Alice Unwin Muxlow, a native of Yorkshire, was elected as Chairman of the Urban Council. Twenty‑four years ago her husband became Manager of the Midland Bank at Rushden and they had belonged to the town since that time.
Rushden Town Football Club were beaten 90 by the Cobblers, who ran away with the Maunsell Cup replay at the County Ground. Several hundred Rushden people had welcomed the trip to Northampton as an Easter amusement.
Messrs B.Denton & Son helped the Joint Hospital Appeal by giving a successful Gay Nineties Ball at the Windmill Hall.
Two Rushden Scouts, one from the 6th Rushden (Alfred Street) troop and one from the 2nd Rushden (St.Mary’s), attended the St.George’s Day service and march‑past at Windsor.
At a meeting of Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board, the plans announced included that a water tower would be built on the site of the present service reservoir in Bedford Road.
A horse, breaking loose from an RICS milk trolley near the Waverley Hotel, trotted off down the High Street dragging the shafts behind it. The driver was unhurt apart from shock.
Delegates at a meeting of Rushden & District Football League at the Waverley Hotel unanimously decided to reform the League which had been in abeyance during the war years.
The Rushden Home Hospital Committee decided to go forward “cutting out all wavering, wobbling, worry and half-heartedness” in the words of ‘Mr Cobbler’. The hospital would be established, and even if the Government stepped in and ran it later on it would still be a hospital in Rushden and the town’s official War Memorial.
Roses’ Fashion Centre advertised that the reduction in clothing coupon values was only temporary and was due to cease. Only eight coupons were required for wool frocks.
At the Rushden branch of Boots the Chemist, an allocation of penicillin was expected in a few days. [It was in the form of powder and could be obtained only on a doctor’s or dentist’s prescription.]
At a meeting of Rushden UC, it was agreed to ask the Parks Committee to consider the removal of the large military buildings still standing in Hall Park. The dying elm trees were reported to be in some need of attention. Mr Lawrence felt that the best way to preserve the Hall was to use it.
Rushden was getting a new landmark. Rising to a height of 90 feet, a steel skeleton at the gas works was believed to be the tallest structure in the town with one exception St.Mary’s Church. By the end of the year it would be a retort-house and coke-plant making gas for the district. The Shirley Road site is fairly high and the completed building would make a definite mark on the local landscape.
Despite the weather, Victory Day would go down in local history as a truly memorable celebration. Celebrations at Rushden included a V‑Day parade ending in Rushden Hall grounds. The entertainment was opened with a children’s fancy dress parade across the Park and the winners posed for a photograph in the conservatory. A service was held at St.Mary’s Church.
St.Cecilia Singers confirmed their high reputation by winning the Leamington Festival Championship, a notable event against well-known Midlands broadcasting choirs. Each choir sang two test pieces a motet “I know my soul hath power” and a madrigal “As Vesta was from Latmos Hill descending.”
Several people interested in establishing an amateur operatic society for Rushden and district, with prospects of a production next winter, met informally at the Waverley Hotel. A theatre would be available. B.R.Palmer and G.W.Marriott were among those attending.
Rushden UC discussed the removal of old elm trees, believed to be several hundred years old, and to replace them possibly with lime trees bearing brilliant flowers. A branch from one of the dead trees had already crashed on to a corrugated iron building.
Of the forty prefabricated bungalows at Southfields, Rushden, thirty‑two were completed and occupied, and the remaining eight were expected to be ready for occupation very soon.
The Rushden Joint Hospital Fund was well over the £6,000 mark. The Hayway premises had been paid for and the scheme was in a very interesting and promising position.
In the House of Lords a Royal Commission consisting of the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Lucan and Viscount Mersey, signed the Royal Assent to the Rushden District Gas Act.
As a United Counties bus, setting off to take people for a day’s outing to Felixstowe, was being driven from the Rushden garage, flames were observed coming from the engine. The Fire Brigade was contacted. The bus was replaced and the trip was carried out as arranged.
For the second successive year and the eighth time since the competition started in 1932, Rushden Intermediate Girls’ School won the Rowell Swimming Cup at Rothwell Council Swimming Bath. Members of the winning team were:- Sheila Spear (captain), Greta Burt, Ivy Barker and Barbara Lichfield.
Five women from Highfield Road found a tiny creature they described as ‘an insect with ten legs, two horns and a tail’. They filtered the water through layers of muslin as it came out of the taps. [Note: the “Supermarine Sywellii” was already known to the Water Board. It was said to inhabit the ‘dead-end’ of the water pipe system. Close investigations were promised.]
Mrs E.M.Hensman retired from the teaching profession. Rushden Intermediate School lost its head lady teacher who had been on the staff since the opening. She had been a teacher for more than forty years. For many years she had been a keen worker (and a regular visitor) for Rushden House Sanatorium.
In the opinion of the contractors Messrs M.M.Drabble Ltd, the food rations for bricklayers and other manual workers were insufficient. Food permits might help to speed up the construction of Council houses on the Rushden and Higham estates.
One of the buildings at the rear of Rushden Hall burst into flames. It was a shed with an open front and slate roof, and contained eleven old barrels of tar and a pile of old ARP beds ideal materials for a blaze. It was thought that children at play in the vicinity might have caused the fire.
Mr and Mrs John Milburn, and some of their family who were ordered out of a farm cottage, were saved from being homeless when the rector of St.Mary’s offered them a hut his church had bought from the Army. The Nissan hut, off Robinson Road, was used for recreation in connection with the Church Institute.
The names of those who gave their lives in the war would be inscribed on the panels in the Memorial Chapel of St.Mary’s Church. Donations towards the cost could be sent to the Rector Rev E.A.Green, Dr Greenfield or Mr R.Denton, the chairman of the British Legion.
Rushden’s eight-legged animals were brought to the Trade Council’s notice. It was reported that a man put the plug in his sink and there were thousands of them. The animals were about an eighth of an inch long. Lack of water pressure was also criticised.
Fifty or sixty people put their names down as interested parties in the operatic project. There was the usual preponderance of ladies.
A dazzling display of cars in the vicinity of Fitzwilliam Street made a profound impression on those who witnessed it. Tucked away in the British Legion Hall, the boot chiefs belonging to the Rushden and Raunds Associations sat in a semi‑circle of five or six rows. The topic was the new price control regulations in the boot industry.
Seventy employees of the Rushden Heel Company enjoyed a trip to Skegness in two buses. Stamford and Spalding were visited on the outward run.
Rushden & District Query Motor Club held motor bike scramble races at Castle Hill field, Yelden. Riders from the Cambridge Centaur MCC swept the board.
Two young sergeants of the Air Training Corps lost their lives as the result of a triple road collision at Rushden. A motor cycle, a saloon bus and a bicycle were involved. The smash occurred at 10.40pm at the Harvey Road corner in Wymington Road. The motor cycle pillion passenger, was killed outright and the driver of the motor cycle, died at Northampton General Hospital.
Rushden St.Cecilia Singers promoted a concert at the Ritz on Rushden Feast Sunday. Soloists included Isobel Baillie, Norman Walker and Joyce Riddle, a young pianist.
The 835th group of the Young Conservatives was formed at Rushden at a meeting at the Masonic Hall. The first President was Captain Richard Parsons. The subscription for the first year was one shilling.
At a meeting of the Rushden Home Hospital Committee, Ald George Lindgren MP brought an important letter in which the Minister of Health spoke of ‘misunderstanding’ and gave hope that an established hospital would continue as such, at any rate for some years, under the operation of the National Health Services Bill. Hope was expressed that it could still be dedicated as a War Memorial.
Mr Ben V.Page retired after forty‑two years employment as a handyman at the CWS boot factory His colourful style of speech and his cheerful good humour were familiar.
Experts from the Royal Academy of Dance explained and demonstrated the art of Ballet at Rushden’s Co‑operative Hall.
The millionth packet of “Lady’s Maid” washing powder was filled at the Rushden factory of the Kelro Chemical Company. The firm acquired the Polygo Works in Wollaston Road, Irchester, as another factory.
There was a grand line-up of thirteen turns at the talent spotting contest in the Windmill Hall, Rushden, which was attended by crowds of people and was enjoyed by young and old alike.
Opinions about Rushden’s tap water vary from week to week. The latest opinion was that it was satisfactory. When asked about the bugs, the Chairman of Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board, Mr F.Green, assured Ald F.Walker that the bugs were all dead.
The Rushden Operatic Society was about to commence rehearsals for the presentation of “Blossom Time” in April. The need for additional male members was expressed.
A speaker at Rushden Highfield Men’s Fireside said that the opening of cinemas on Sundays was a lot of humbug.
Forty passengers, many of them Rushden people, escaped unharmed when a double-decker bus belonging to Messrs Birch Bros. on the London to Rushden route caught fire at Clapham near Bedford. Fire broke out beneath the body in the neighbourhood of the diesel oil fuel tank. The fire was extinguished in about half an hour.
A thirteen year old Rushden school boy was seriously injured by shrapnel after leaving home for a bicycle ride. He was found near the Wollaston Waterworks, after an explosion had been heard. There were roadside dumps of explosives in the Wollaston district.
110 members of Rushden “B” Company Home Guard Old Comrades Association attended their annual re‑union dinner and social at the West End Club.
250 children, from five schools, daily took advantage of Rushden’s school canteen for a hot midday meal and about 250 meals were sent out to five other schools. Formerly a factory, the building is situated in Portland Road.
Rushden Congregational Church held its final service. The church was established in 1888 and had been without a minister since 1938. The church building, in Church Street, was opened in 1894.
About twenty-six houses on the Rushden and Higham Ferrers joint boundary estate had their roofs on. Names had not yet been chosen for the streets.
Mr Harry Afford sent some interesting recollections to the “Echo and Argus” of boyhood days with H.E.Bates, now famous as a short story writer. ‘We spoke the queer leather‑tanged tongue of Northamptonshire together.’
A broadcast service was held at Rushden Baptist Church which was packed almost to capacity. The choir master was Mr Bayes. The programme was sent out by BBC Midland Region with the Christmas theme.