Rushden Salvation Army Band travelled 1,020 miles during 1948, fulfilling engagements at Leeds, Birstall, Manchester, Uxbridge and March. It conducted two hundred Open Air Services.
A large lock-up wooden garage, containing two five‑ton lorries and a motorcycle, was completely gutted by fire within 150 yards of Rushden’s new water tower. Three brigades attended and had to fetch water from Rushden in tenders because the new tower was not yet in service. Even if the tower had been commissioned, the pumps would have been out of action because the fire burned down some transmission lines.
Doubt was expressed at Rushden Query Club’s Annual Meeting as to the Yelden course being used for future scrambles. The Sports Secretary, Mr Eric Roe, said the Club was looking for a new ground in the district.
Rushden Urban Council, under the chairmanship of Mr J.H.J.Paragreen, offered the use of Rushden Hall and financial assistance for its adaptation in the event of a Community Association being formed. A Committee was elected to further the idea. This was a factor in favour of the Hall’s restoration.
“You need have no fear regarding the future of this Hospital” was the assurance from a Ministry of Health representative, as the large house in Hayway was dedicated and handed over as part of the National Health Service.
Some of Rushden’s oldest property was to be demolished. Succoth Place, just off the High Street and one of Rushden’s blackest spots, was having a spring clean. Numbers 4 to 16 had had a demolition order on them since 1934. Other houses to be demolished were two in George Street, three in Rectory Road, one in Bedford Road and three in Woburn Place.
Rushden Urban Council asked for the freeing of a Park which had been given over to cultivation for food. The Council Parks Committee was asked about the possibility of arranging to free Jubilee Park and for it to be restored to meet the demand for more playing fields.
Following a petition from Rushden and Higham Water Board against their being pitch-forked into Mid-Northants Water Scheme, the Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament had allowed the Board to continue to hold its identity which it had held since 1902.
Rushden was likely to benefit by the proposed transfer of the Ordnance Survey Department to Northamptonshire, according to a Board of Trade letter read to Urban Council members at their meeting. The letter was in reply to the January resolution of the Council calling for Government help to bring new industries to the town.
Mr Aneurin Bevan, the Health Minister, had scrapped his Order for the Mid‑Northants Water Board. He did not like the way in which it was altered by the Joint Parliamentary Committee. He intended to bring the Water Board into being in the form he wanted it.
When the ten-year lighting ban was lifted, it would not mean that Rushden would suddenly become a town of flashing lights, brilliantly illuminated windows and vividly bright streets. Anyone who was expecting a radical change was in for a big disappointment.
John Hyde, 18 years old captain of Wellingborough Grammar School Rugby Team who also played for Northampton Saints, had been picked to play against Wales at Cardiff in the All England Schools Team.
The Rushden Operatic Society’s venture, “Masquerade” opened at the Ritz Theatre. The author, Mr Eric Maschwitz, and the composer, Mr George Posford, were amongst the audience. The production was well received and its creators praised the Rushden Society.
The newly-formed Rushden Photographic Society held a meeting at which Officers were elected. Mr B.J.Clowes, who was the instigator of the Society, became its first treasurer. The meeting was held in the Grafton Studio.
Rushden Park Road Methodist Players enacted a three‑act play, “Barnet’s Folly”, an excursion into comedy, by Jan Stewer, in the Schoolroom.
Four modern prefabricated school buildings had been gradually growing in Tennyson Road, Rushden, adjacent to the town’s most up-to‑date infants’ school. Two buildings had already been handed over to the County Council and it was expected that all would be opened at the beginning of the next term. Eventually there would be 280 scholars from all over Rushden and Higham Ferrers on the books. When the four white buildings became “Tennyson Road Boys’ Secondary Modern School”, the headmaster would be Mr S.Howitt the current headmaster at Rushden North End Secondary Modern. He would probably have seven male assistants.
A man, given a job by Mr H.A.Crane at the Higham Road Bakery, was believed to have been the “Mad Parson” otherwise John Edward Allan who had been certified as insane and committed to Broadmoor after he had been sentenced to death in Oxford in 1937 for the murder of a 17 months‑old girl. He escaped in 1947 and had recently been recaptured after he took a job as a baker in New Kent Road, London. After having lunch with Mr Crane and family in February, he had returned to London. He had then written three letters pleading that he was unable to take up his job because of flu. Mrs Crane said, “He seemed very nice.”
Rushden’s former Salvation Hall, which for many years had created a bottle‑neck in Rectory Road, was to be demolished, and received its death sentence at the Urban Council Meeting.
Tributes were paid, at the Town F.C. Dinner, to the late Cyril Freeman, who had recently died. He had laid the foundations of “Rushden Town Football Club” following the First World War.
Rushden Town cricketers were guests in the beautiful gardens of “The Granary” at Little Chart. The visitors were guests of Mr H.E.Bates, the famous author, after a cricket match with the Kentish village side. Little Chart claimed a victory by two runs. The spectators included his parents Mr and Mrs A.E.Bates, and his wife and four children Ann, Richard, Jonathan and Judith.
Rushden Community Association Committee had completed its initial review towards the proposed establishment of a Community Centre at Rushden Hall. Interest in a Community Centre was less keen than the desire to see the Hall restored and in good use.
When 550 women from ten Townswomen’s Guilds gathered at a Rally at Rushden Windmill Hall, Mrs O.A.H.Muxlow, Rushden President, announced that not only had the women the “New Look” in clothes, but also a “New Look” in outlook to life.
Rushden Hall provided a back‑cloth for a performance of “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, by Northampton Drama Club. A portion of the grounds near the Elizabethan front of the mansion made a convenient and lovely theatre.
Rushden Swimming Club, which had 220 members, had won every team race so far. They had beaten Kettering, Northampton Amateurs, Wilby and Billing.
A “juke box” made itself heard in the town. It provided those who paid three-pence and those who had no intention of paying three‑pence with “music” to go with their meals at a Rushden Café.
A big crowd of about 4,000 saw Northamptonshire’s Cricket Team’s great win over Sussex at Rushden. Sussex fast bowler, Jim Cornford, took all but one of the Northants wickets in the first innings.
One of Rushden’s oldest houses, believed to have been built about three hundred years ago, was demolished. Made of stone and with a thatched roof, it stood in Bedford Road, opposite the opening to Harborough Road.
There were more that 12,000 names on the new Voters List for Rushden.
Rushden Town Cricket Club, who visited Little Chart in Kent for a match with Mr H.E.Bates’ XI, received an invitation from Mr Bates to repeat the visit.
A beautiful feature of Rushden’s Irchester Road, the avenue of thirty‑seven elms at Knuston, was doomed to destruction. Experts had declared the two-hundred year-old trees to be unsafe and the nineteen on the right-hand side of the road from Rushden were already in the process of being felled. Mrs Wilmott said the row of trees was the responsibility of Knuston Home Farm, although actually outside the farm boundary.
The season’s total attendance at Rushden Swimming Baths was expected to exceed 40,000. July was the busiest month so far, with a total attendance of 15,596. This included attendance from schools in Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire and Bedfordshire. 1,622 children got in for a penny, and another 6,459 children paid three‑pence.
A new canteen was being built for Messrs Eaton & Co., boot manufacturers, in Graveley Street, Rushden. According to floor space it would be the second largest hall in the town.
Rushden Industrial Co‑operative Society advertised the famous CWS football boots available. Stanley Matthews, the brilliant soccer star, had placed his experience on the field of play at the service of the designers. The best football boot buy of the 1949/50 season ranged from 17 shillings per pair to 25s.3d. per pair, depending on size.
Mrs Kitty Bailey of Higham Ferrers, who celebrated her 90th birthday, remembered the toll‑gates at Irthlingborough, Chelveston, Rushden and Wellingborough, eighty years before. She assisted her father on the Chelveston Road toll-gate and used to let horses, cows and sheep through on payment of a halfpenny to three halfpence a head, by their escort.
North End School was to operate as a school for older girls. Boys would move into the new school of four prefabricated temporary blocks in Tennyson Road.
The Wicksteed Park was the venue for the John White annual employees’ children’s outing. Buses took 481 children and 430 adults to the Park for a happy day in ideal weather.
The Council agreed to pay £582 compensation to the owners of the High Street premises formerly used as the British Restaurant.
The Council agreed to engage an architect to prepare a scheme for the restoration of the main parts of Rushden Hall. Hall Park land near the Wymington Road entrance, which had been under cultivation, was to be brought back into use with a view to its development as a children’s playground.
Some of the “Wheelers” took part in the Northampton & District Cycling Association’s thirty mile cycling championship. Later in the day, members met for tea at the “Rose and Crown”, Denford.
Rushden tradesmen were completing their arrangements for the Chamber of Trade’s big Shopping Week, to be held throughout the week of Rushden Feast. Increased prestige for Rushden as a shopping centre was their goal.
H-shaped television aerials were becoming as common as wireless aerials. It was the beginning of a Midland boom in the newest form of home entertainment. To serve the Midlands, the most powerful television transmitter in the world was due to start up at Sutton Coldfield on December 17th.
Trunk road traffic was a problem in Rushden High Street. At a public inquiry, alternative routes for north-bound traffic were put forward. Mr King-Hamilton, cross examining, asked if they had considered the idea of making the High Street a one‑way road in the other direction and making south‑bound traffic come down Rectory Road. Mr E.A.Black, surveyor of Northamptonshire County Council, said the idea had been considered but had been rejected mainly because of the condition of the road.
Rushden Park Road Baptist Bowling Club had a good season which saw the opening of a new green at Easter.
Arrangements were being made for a ballet vote on staggered holidays to be taken in the Rushden and district boot factories.
At a Rushden Urban District Council meeting, Councillor A.H.Bailey asked how much longer they had to wait for the demolition of the old Salvation Army Hall. “It is not only a danger spot it is an eyesore.”
Dr P.X.Bermingham (Medical Officer of Health) confirmed that a Rushden child was suffering from infantile paralysis. “The case was progressing favourably and there was no cause for alarm,” he said.
Science stepped in to help Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society office staff to count the “divi” (dividend). A ‘mechanical brain’ involved punched cards which could be placed on a sorter so that all members’ cards ended up in one neat pile.
A piece of old Rushden, a horse‑drawn “Brougham”, once used as the town’s smallpox ambulance, was offered for sale by the Council. If any far-sighted taxi driver visualised the day when brides would want to ride to church in a stately horse‑drawn Brougham, he was urged get in touch with Rushden Urban District Council.
The engineer, Mr A.Millar, reported at the monthly meeting of the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board that there was less than half the amount of water in the storage reservoir at Sywell than there was a year ago, leaving an estimated quantity of 45,000 gallons.
Mr John Thomas Scott, of “Homefield”, 3 Hall Avenue, made his way to St.Mary’s Church just as he had done every Sunday for the last forty years and rang the bells. He was ninety years old, and was born at Wollaston.
Rushden people saw the Northern lights both on two consecutive nights. On the first night, the sky was bright red going on dull red with flickering white streaks. On the following night, for quarter of an hour, a green light hung in the sky, surrounded by red and blue lights.
The organ at Rushden Park Road Baptist Church was being modernised and enlarged. It was built in a barn at Knuston by the Austins about fifty years ago.
Celebrations for the Golden Jubilee of the CWS factory at Rushden were being planned. The factory was the largest and most solid monument to the boot industry in Rushden. In 1899, the Co-operative Wholesale Society purchased a factory that stood at the corner of Portland Road and Rectory Road. A large extension was built along Portland Road and was opened in 1901. The original factory at the corner was subsequently demolished and in its place rose the impressive Rectory Road office block, with large showrooms and stockrooms. The factory stretched far along Portland Road.
At an exhibition and sale of work at Alfred Street Schools, visitors gazed in fascinated admiration at the nimble fingers of seven blind people skilfully dealing with the intricacies of basket and mat‑making, chair re‑caning and sock knitting. One worker was from Rushden home sock‑maker Miss Gwen Neal from Glassbrook Road. The proceeds of the exhibition went to the recently opened Darsdale Home for the Blind at Raunds.
A witch on a broomstick maintained a flying position, suspended from the girders of “Imperial House” at Rushden, for the Halloween Party organised by office staff of Messrs Bignells Ltd, who invited their friends.
Mr D.Pollett, of Crawken, said that the “Brougham” Rushden’s “fever chariot” was purchased from Mr Asher Abbott as a hospital ambulance about twenty years before when there was an epidemic in the schools. It was drawn by a high-stepping black horse of Wollaston ancestry. At an earlier stage it may have belonged to the Lord of the Manor of Stanwick.
Plans for the work for the restoration of Rushden Hall were to be prepared by Professor A.E.Richardson MA.
Badminton, a game which had almost sunk into obscurity, was creeping into the news. Within the space of just a few weeks at least two fresh clubs had been formed in the Rushden area, and others were being revived. It was sometimes spoken of by the uninitiated as “battledore and shuttlecock”.
One of the most disastrous fires at Higham Ferrers in the last fifty years gutted the greater part of the three-storey factory of Messrs Borough Shoes Ltd. Afterwards the factory was only a quaint blackened skeleton with gaping windows. One hundred employees were out of work. Architects were already making plans for a new building.
Mr Sidney Hawkes, a principal of the Rushden engineering firm of Messrs Fred Hawkes Ltd, completed a round-the‑world business tour in nine weeks, in which he travelled 28,841 miles by air. He visited countries where shoe machines made by the firm were in operation. At Honolulu the wife of a customer hung the traditional flowers around his neck.
Demolition workers were removing the last few bricks from the old building in Queen Street which for years had been the centre of Salvationalism in Rushden. The old Citadel jutting out into the road at a blind junction had meant a slowing up of Rectory Road traffic for many years. Rushden’s surveyor, Mr Alexander Millar, said, “It would mean we shall be able to have a full‑width road. The traffic will be able to go up that part of Rectory Road both ways and make the spot less dangerous.”
Mr Charles Jones, a forty-two year old boot worker, was Rushden’s professional “life and soul of the party”. He was born with a gift to be a successful MC.
A Rushden engineering firm, Covallen Engineering Co., had just constructed what was believed to be the biggest self-propelled percussion drill in the world. It could be used for prospecting and water well boring.
The 32 victory over Northampton ‘A’ took Rushden Town to the head of the United Counties League for the first time this season. It was number six in a row of successive wins.
Two grass tennis courts in Spencer Park had been de‑turfed and new hard courts would be laid. Two other grass courts remained, but they were in poor condition.
St.Peter’s Church room Rushden had been closed for ten days for fumigation since it had been confirmed that a boy attending kindergarten there had infantile paralysis. No other schools in the town were involved.
Rushden shops were very busy with a seasonal choice of Christmas gifts, almost double the amount of Christmas cards and calendars usually sold had already passed over the counters.
For more than sixty years, Mr William Norwood Ginns, Rushden’s tenor blacksmith, had sung in St.Mary’s Church Choir. He had died, aged 68. For more than half a century, he had the task of winding up the Parish Church clock. His smithy was closed until further notice. An announcement in the local paper stated:- “Owing to the death of Mr W.N.Ginns all business at A.T.Ginns & Sons, General Smiths, Rushden, has been suspended until the future of the business has been decided”.
Rushden Memorial Hospital would soon offer outpatient facilities, equal to those enjoyed by any town of comparable size in the country. Since opening it has been used solely for physiotherapy. Early in 1950 the first floor would to be equipped for three important new outpatients’ services gynaecology, treatment of the eyes, and an ear, nose and throat clinic. Dental treatment was provided at the former Cottage Hospital in Griffith Street and a general X-ray service would be available at Rushden House Sanatorium.