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Orchard Place

looking towards the CWS factory
1937 Coronation celebrations in Orchard Place

Orchard Place between the two rows
View from Rectory Road - two rows of cottages - looking
towards the junction with Queen Street
Between the two rows looking from Rectory Road
Above the roof tops the top of the Co-op Offices

The Rushden Echo, 31st January 1969, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Welcome News for Five Worried Householders
Payment For Their Homes Next Week

When five Rushden householders appealed successfully against the town council’s classification that their homes were “unfit” it meant that they would receive hundreds of pounds for their property instead of just site value.

Now six months later these same householders from the condemned Orchard Place area are still waiting for their money. And one or two of them have made bitter complaints to the “Echo.”

After making various checks we can assure these five people that they have nothing to worry about. According to our inquiries, everybody should have received all that is owing to them within the next few days.

It all started back in June when a Ministry of Housing inquiry upheld the householders’ appeal that their homes were fit to live in. The inquiry did agree with the council’s redevelopment plan for the area.

The “Echo” contacted Rushden Urban Council to find out the facts.

Negotiations have been completed, said a spokesman for Rushden Council, and all that remains to be done now is for letters to be written to the people concerned notifying them that they can collect their money.

The spokesman said that the whole affair had gone through the normal channels. First the district valuer had to assess the value of each property. This usually takes a little time, he explained.


“All the information was given to the solicitors in December so they have taken less than five weeks to draw up the documents. That is not too bad, is it?” he said.

We were also informed that to avoid any confusion all the agreements have been drawn up so that the payments can be made all together rather than paying out in dribs and drabs.

The spokesman emphasised that there had been no deliberate delay.

For two old age pensioners, who are now living in council flats, the money will be welcome indeed. Seventy-five-year-old Mr. Henry Rowthorn, formerly of 11 Orchard Place and now living at 19 Dell Place, a smart modern flat, is paying 50s a week rent compared with 5s a week rates at his old place. He also has a home help in twice a week plus a gas bill to pay every quarter. All this has to be found from his old age and disability pensions.

And Miss Gladys Windsor (70), Mr. Rowthorn’s former next door neighbour and now of 2 Cherry Orchard is also finding it difficult to make ends meet. From a pension of £4 10s she has to pay £1 19s rent plus television and other bills.

Mr. Jack Cave, a strong campaigner in the fight against the council, first brought this matter to our attention.

When we broke the news to him that the council had assured us that they would be getting their money he was far from overjoyed – he looked upon it as just one more promise.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” exclaimed Mr. Cave, who now lives at 84 Queen Street.

Courtesy of the late Colin Bryant's Collection
Orchard Place
View from High Street, with Orchard Place on the right.
In the distance the entrance to CWS Factory Offices

Orchard Place demolition
Demolition of Orchard Place in the 1960s
The rear of the Wesleyan Church, and the old School rooms
in the background. Now a car park.

The Warren's 1962  in Orchard Place
Left: Bernard & Doris Warren c1950s and (right) daughter in-law Julia
in the garden at 16 Orchard Place in 1962

The Rushden Echo, 10th May 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Veteran fights for ‘unfit’ home

A 75-year-old veteran of World War I is battling today to save his Rushden home from being classified as “unfit to live in.”

He is Mr. Harry Rowthorn, who lives alone – his wife died recently – in a comfortable, although not luxurious, home; a home which is tasteful if not lavish.

And he is not alone. He is only one of five people living at Orchard Place, Rushden, who feel the same way. They were all represented at a public inquiry to object to Rushden Urban Council’s order classifying their homes as “unfit.”

They are objecting to the council’s compulsory purchase order – merely the fact that their homes have been called unfit.

Mr. Rowthorn lives at number 11 and has done for the past 12 years. He now waits for the result of the public inquiry, as do Mr. Jack Cave at No. 3, Mr. Leonard Robinson No. 4, Mr. Albert Thornton No. 19 and Miss Gladys Windsor No. 10.

Miss Windsor is, in fact, moving into an old person’s bungalow owned by the council but she is still determined to fight the council’s right to classify her home as unfit.

Mr. Rowthorn has spent £150 on alterations to his house and he feels that if the council takes it while classified as unfit it will leave him very little money to equip a council flat or other accommodation.

Mr Rowthorn His home the terrace
Mr Rowthorn, his house
and the terrace comdemned

He said he had been offered a flat in the Newton Road area but had declined the offer because with a bad leg he had difficulty in walking. Plus the fact that the rent was much greater than the 6s a week rates he pays now.

It is obvious why the people concerned are fighting against the “unfit for human habitation orders.” Without it the council would have to pay higher compensation.

The question of whether they are fit or unfit will be decided by the Minister, who set up the public inquiry.

For the householders, Mr. Julian Paine, of Wilson and Partners, estate agents, said at the inquiry that the properties were fit to live in for a considerable number of years at a reasonable cost.

Mr. H. W. Ellis, Chief Public Health Inspector for Rushden Council, said in his opinion the only way to deal with the area was to demolish it. The buildings were not fit to live in, even after repair.

There were 16 houses involved altogether – three others are derelict now. Seven owners have agreed to sell, there has been no response from four and the other five objected.

The Rushden Echo, 14th June 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Victory in fight for homes

Only a month ago five Rushden householders looked at their possessions and counted their savings for soon they thought that they might have had none at all; that their homes would be taken from them for virtually nothing.

Now the Rushden Urban Council’s classification of these houses as unfit to live in has not been accepted by the Ministry of Housing. The householders in Orchard Place can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this has saved them several hundred pounds and probably safeguarded their old age.

It was on May 1 that they went to the public enquiry at the Rushden Town Hall not to object to the council’s compulsory purchase order for the properties but against the “unfit” classification.

The finding of the Ministry of Housing Inspector was that the five houses, numbers 3, 4, 10, 11 and 19, were not unfit although it was said that the council were justified in obtaining the whole area for clearing and redevelopment.

This means the District Valuer, when making his estimate if the value of the houses will do it on what he feels is the market value of the property instead of just site value – which could have been well under £50.

The property must now be worth several hundred pounds to the owners.

What was the reaction of the residents?

The “Echo” broke the good news to 75-year-old World War I veteran Mr. Henry Rowthorn, at number 11 Orchard Place, on Monday afternoon.

Mr. Rowthorn had been sent the result of the inquiry but could not understand the local government jargon and the various references to housing acts and their sub-sections.

After we explained that he had won his fight together with the other householders he said he was very pleased if this was the case and felt it was “a great relief.”

“At the moment I only have the rates to pay on this house but if I went into a council flat it would mean moving expenses and things like new carpets which would take all my savings.

“If they had taken my house for just the land value I would have had nothing for my old age. Living on just a pension would mean that I could only just get by, skimping on things to save for a holiday or a new suit,” he said.

A number 19 Mr. Albert Thornton was another relieved man. He was very pleased at the decision and said that it seemed a long, long time waiting for the result of the inquiry.

Mr. Thornton is the only householder on one side of Orchard Place who objected and at first he was not going to bother. He changed his mind, however, and is now very pleased he did.

Of the other residents concerned, Mrs. Gladys Windsor has already moved from her house at number 10, and Mr. Jack Cave is away on holiday, no doubt relaxing now he knows the good news.

Also as a result of the inquiry the Minister has decided that numbers 13, 14, 15 and 18 Orchard Place should receive good maintenance payments in addition to site value and number 9 may receive this payment although this decision will be made later as the inspector was not able to see inside the house at the time.

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