Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
The Rushden Echo, 14th May, 1920, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
The Municipal Housing Scheme
Building Tenders Accepted
Speeding Up The Work
What is “Luxury” Building

Wednesday, present Councillors J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., (chairman), W. Bazeley, J.P., (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., C. Bates, J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, T. Swindall, C. W. Horrell, L. Perkins, B.Sc., C. E. Bayes, T. Wilmott and J. Tomlin, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. Piper).

Plans, &c., Committee

A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 28th April, 1920, when there were present:- Messrs. J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, C. W. Horrell, T. Swindall, and T. Wilmott.


It was resolved that Mr. Claridge be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.


The following Sub-Committee was appointed:-

LIGHTING AND FIRE BRIGADE – Messrs. C. E. Bayes, J. Spencer and T. Wilmott.


were presented for:-

Motor garage for Mr. G. H. Groome in Lime-street and no exception taken.

Motor garage for Mr. F. Corby in John-street and passed.

Additions to scullery to No. 12, Portland Road, for Mr. Horace Wright and passed.

Extensions to factory in Harborough-road for the Tecnic Boot Co., Ltd., and passed subject to the drainage arrangement being modified to the satisfaction of the Surveyor.

Photographic studio at the rear of No. 29, Crabb-street, for Mr. C. F. Chapman and no exception taken.

Workshop for Mr. Bob Jarvis at the rear of No. 13, Church-street, and passed subject to provision being made for roof water.

Motor house for Mr. A. Pack on the Higham-road and no exception taken subject to provision being made for the roof water.

Store shed for Mr. A. Bailey at the rear of No. 94, Harborough-road, and no exception taken.

Motor-house for Messrs. Sanders and Sanders off the Hayway and no exception taken subject to provision being made for roof water.

Tractor shed and barn for Mr. A. Sanders off Court Avenue-road and Bedford-road and no exception taken.

Surface Tarring

The Surveyor submitted a letter from the County Surveyor agreeing to the estimate of £281 5s. for surface tarring in respect of 30,000 square yards on the main roads subject to a space of five feet being left on each side.

Motor Lorry

The Surveyor reported that the floor of the motor lorry was showing signs of wear and would require renewing in the near future.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to give instructions for the purchase of a new floor at an estimated cost of £31.

Upper Queen-Street and Allen Road

Attention was called to the state of these roads and the Clerk was instructed to communicate with the principal of the abutting owners with a view to them being repaired.

Public Conveniences

The plans of the proposed public conveniences at the north-west corner of the Green were submitted to this Committee.

The report was adopted.

Housing Committee

A meeting of the Housing Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Friday the 30th April, 1920, when there were present – Messrs. J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, F. Knight, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.


It was resolved that Mr. Knight be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.


Letters were received from the Housing Commissioner authorising the Council to accept the tender of Messrs. G. Henson and Son, Limited, at the sum of £20,566 5s. 7½d. for the erection of 24 houses and that of the Rushden Master Builders’ Association at the sum of £15,145 for the erection of 18 houses subject to such modifications and omissions as might be required by the Commissioner. A list of these modifications was submitted which the Architect informed the Committee were of a minor and unimportant character.

The Architect informed the Committee that Messrs. Henson and Son, in Consequence of the great difficulty in obtaining bricklayers, suggested that reinforced concrete be substituted for the brickwork for a certain number of the houses and that he and the builders had seen the Housing Commissioner and discussed the matter with him and he saw no objection to the proposal.

The Committee authorised the Architect to agree to reinforced concrete being substituted for bricks above the first floor where the walls were at present proposed to be rough cast. The Rushden Master Builders’ Association to have a similar option.

Lay-Out Scheme

A letter was also received from the Housing Commissioner stating that the Ministry of Health were at present dealing with the lay-out scheme, and that he hoped to receive a decision from them in the course of a few days, when he would communicate further with the Council.

The report was adopted.

Mr. Bazeley reported that the Housing Commissioner had visited the site of the new houses in company with the Clerk and the Surveyor. After Mr. Mason and Mr. Madin had explained to the Commissioner the difficulties experienced by the Council as a result of the Ministry of Health holding up the work, Mr. Bazeley believed that the Commissioner was most favourable to all the Rushden Council’s suggestions. The Commissioner himself was not responsible for the delay and probably a favourable reply would soon be received from the Health Ministry.

Health and Sanitary Committee

A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 5th May, 1920, when there were present :- Messrs. J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, J. Hornsby, F. Knight, L. Perkins and J. Tomlin.


It was resolved that Mr. Bazeley be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.


The following sub-committees were appointed:-

Cemetery:- The Chairman, Messrs. Bates, and Tomlin.

Farm:- Messrs. Knight, Hornsby and Perkins.

Health and Sanitary Reports

The report of the Medical Officer for the month of April was received.

The Sanitary Inspector reported that since the last meeting 16 preliminary notices had been issued, calling attention to nuisances and other matters, all of which were receiving attention.

Three applications were received for compensation in respect of bedding destroyed after cases of infectious disease. It was resolved to recommend the Council to replace part of the bedding destroyed at a cost not exceeding £1 7s. 6d. in each case.

The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the month.

Disinfecting Apparatus

The Inspector of Nuisances and the surveyor were requested to make enquiries with regard to the provision of a disinfecting apparatus and report to the next meeting.

Petroleum Acts

The Inspector reported that on visiting the Wargate Motor Engineering Company’s premises he found that their licence to store petrol expired in December last and had not been renewed. An application had since been received for a renewal to store 250 gallons.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to grant the renewal of the licence and the Inspector was instructed to caution the Company, pointing out the penalties they were liable to through their neglect.

An application was also received from the Lightstrung Cycle Co., for their licence to store petrol to be increased from 40 gallons to 250 gallons, and acceded to.

The Inspector was instructed to prepare a return of the various storers of petrol in the district and supply a copy to the Fire Brigade for their information.


The Inspector of Nuisances also reported that as instructed he had purchased a Remington Typewriter for use in his office at the price of £11 10s.

Collection of House Refuse

The Surveyor submitted a statement of the comparative cost of the collection of house refuse as now undertaken by the electric vehicle and as previously collected by hired team labour and to the difficulties which had to be surmounted in starting the new system. He believed these difficulties had now been overcome and that the new system would shortly be working smoothly and efficiently. The present difficulty was that many of the houses had not proper refuse receptacles, thus causing great delay in collection. The Committee were of opinion that the time had now arrived when the property owners should be required to provide proper receptacles, and instructed the Inspector of Nuisances to report all cases where none were provided, with a view to the necessary order being made.

The report was adopted.


Mr. A. F. Weale wrote on behalf of the Rushden Cenotaph Committee, asking the Council’s permission to erect a town war memorial monument on the Green.

Mr. Swindall said he did not think there were two opinions about the suggested site. But he thought that the Plans Committee should deal with the application.

Mr. Bates proposed, Mr. Knight seconded, and the suggestion was adopted.

Food Control

The Ministry of Food wrote thanking the local committee for informing the Council that the work of the Committee would terminate on June 9th.


In reply to an offer of the Council of a further 24 houses to be erected by the Rushden Master Builders’ Association on the same scale as the 18 they had contracted to put up, Mr. W. G. Wilmott (Secretary of the Association) wrote stating that the Association had decided to accept the offer, and were prepared to sign the contract (words missing) commence work as soon as possible.

Mr. Knight: As Chairman of the Housing Committee I am very glad that the Association fell in with our suggestion. It is very satisfactory and looks more like progress than at any other time during which the scheme has been planned. I propose that the Rushden Master Builders’ Association be asked to sign the contract and proceed with the work.

Mr. Bazeley seconded and agreed with Mr. Knight and said it was favourable to more speedy progress. He hoped the contractors would go heartily into the work. He believed that the workmen would do the same, as they all recognised that it was work of national importance. It was as necessary to find houses now as it had been to provide shells during the war. A number of the plans passed at the meeting previously should have been set aside so that the houses could be erected sooner.

The proposal was carried.

“Luxury” Building

Mr. Bazeley raised the question of the provision of a public convenience referred to previously that evening. He noticed that there was no resolution on the subject, so he proposed that the Clerk be instructed to apply for a loan of £2,000, and that the scheme be proceeded with.

Mr. Spencer seconded.

Mr. Bayes: Don’t you call it “luxury” building? It will take men off the houses.

Mr. Swindall: How will you get a loan of £2,000?

The Chairman: It is a very unfortunate time to spend that sum of money.

Mr. Perkins moved an amendment that the matter be referred back to the Sanitary Committee in order that something of a less expensive and elaborate nature might be brought forward. For a long time, he said, they would need all the builders they could get on the houses – and he was pleased to see that progress was being made. They ought either to defer the scheme or get out a less elaborate one.

Mr. Knight seconded the amendment and expressed surprise that the resolution should have been brought forward. They had not got far enough to do as Mr. Bazeley said (to apply for a loan), as they did not know what amount to ask for.

Mr. Madin, in reply to a question by Mr. Knight, said that in January 1920, he had presented an estimate of £1,750, but since then there had been a 15 per cent advance.

Perhaps the Council would need £3,000, Mr. Knight proceeded, and with the prospect of the rates going up, they ought to be extremely careful how they increased the rates for luxury buildings. He thought that grave consideration was needed as to whether they should spend so much money at the present time.

Mr. Wilmott said he wished to see public conveniences erected, but they had selected only one site, and that in his opinion was not the best. He thought they should erect two or three places in different parts of the town as a temporary expedient. Meantime he should support the amendment.

Mr. Bates said he was astonished at the Council taking up the attitude they had done over the question. They were going back to the tactics of 18 years ago. He brought up the question when he was first elected to the Council, but still the town had only one, and that was used almost entirely for one of the public houses.

Mr. Tomlin opposed the resolution.

Mr. Spencer said that the question had, to his knowledge, been discussed by the Council for 20 years. He noticed that none of the members had opposed the luxury buildings such as motor garages, etc. Public conveniences were not luxury buildings, but an absolute necessity.

Mr. Bazeley, replying to members who opposed the resolution, said that in regard to the labour that would be entailed, a large amount would be unskilled, for excavating. There would not be a large amount of brickwork, and the whole job would be carried out under the supervision of the Surveyor who could get his materials outside any ring or combine. By direct labour, the scheme might be carried out for £1,300. He quoted the case of Newbury, where, he said, the surveyor had erected houses for the Council for about £600 instead of the contractors’ £800. He moved the present resolution only because he regarded it as an absolute necessity. With a town like Rushden, of 15,000 inhabitants, it was no credit to the Council that there was only one public convenience. If he thought that in 12 months it would be more opportune for the scheme he would defer it, but he was sure the town would be in no better a financial condition than they were at present.

Mr. Hornsby said that whilst there was an absolute need for a public convenience, and had been for a long time – and many opportunities to carry out a scheme when the conveniences could have been erected for the quarter the cost – the question was whether they ought to spend the £2,000. He believed the Council would be best studying the wishes of the inhabitants if they centred all their energies on the housing problem. When they decided to erect conveniences he would be in favour of places for both sexes.

The resolution was lost, Messrs. Wilmott, Tomlin, Bayes, Perkins, Swindall, and Hornsby voting against, and Messrs. Bazeley, Spencer, and Bates for.

Finance & Estates Committee

A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 5th May, 1920, at 10 a.m., when there were present – Messrs. J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, J. Hornsby, F. Knight, and T. Wilmott.

It was resolved that Mr. Claridge be appointed Chairman of this Committee for the ensuing year.

A number of accounts amounting to £934 14s. 7d. were examined and passed for payment.

The report was adopted.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the History index
Click here to e-mail us