Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 20th February, 1942, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Mr. Wm. Ladds Recalls Old Times
Rushden Veteran Looks Back

A Rushden veteran, Mr. William Sanders Ladds, who celebrated his 90th birthday on Tuesday, can remember when there was only one house in Wellingborough-road.
Mr W S Ladds
Mr W S Ladds

Mr. Ladds, who lives with his unmarried daughter at 65, Queen-street, has just recovered from a touch of rheumatism and is quite well in body though totally blind. He rises from his bed just before dinner-time and spends his hours sitting beside the fire in a cosy little back room, thinking of “the old days.”

“I was born in Rushden,” said Mr. Ladds, “in a house in what used to be the old Post Office Yard opposite Mr. Warren’s shop. The house had one room downstairs, and after my birth the whole of the Post Office work was done in that room. This was when Mr. Packwood was postmaster.”

Mr. Ladds said he recollected the time when the Duck-street brook opened in two sections, the horses and carts having to go through the water, and when there was only one house in Wellingborough-road, this being the Windmill House, which was owned by Mr. Thomas Moore, the miller. This was situated where the Windmill Club now stands. The first “row” in Rushden was South-terrace, built by John Sherwood. In those days many houses stood near the railway, but they have since been pulled down to make room for new buildings.

Hard Times

“We live in better days,” he continued. “I can remember the time when the cotton industry was very bad owing to the Civil War in America. I was about nine or ten then, I expect.”

Another memory is of Mr. Benjamin Denton going to the rescue of some boot craftsmen, when a firm at Higham Ferrers had failed in business, by letting them have a pair of boots a day to make at 1s. 7d. a pair.

All his life Mr. Ladds has been in the shoe industry, and consequently he has seen it grow from the time when only outside labour was needed. “I can remember the day” he said, “when a shoeman only wanted a knife and a pair of pinchers. When I was a boy we never had any half-holidays, and when we started work we were there on Saturday nights till nine or ten.”

Sunday School Record

Mr. Lads has lived in Queen-street for the last 50 years, although not always in the same house, and has interesting connections with the Independent Wesleyan Church. He was formerly a Sunday School teacher, and he and his wife, who died 30 years ago, were caretakers of the church for about 26 years. For eighty-one years he has never missed a Sunday School anniversary, and he is looking forward to keeping up the custom this year. In a place of honour on his wall is a small diploma which he was given when he had attended for 80 consecutive times.

For over 70 years Mr. Ladds has been a staunch Rechabite, and all his life he has been a non-drinker and non-smoker. To this, and the fact that he has lived a quiet life, he attributes his great age. His blindness has been coming on for about twelve months, but he has been totally blind for only three or four months. “I have had a good innings – not out at ninety – and I don’t expect to have many more anniversaries,” he said.

Mr. Ladds can only recall two other natives of Rushden of greater age than himself – one Mr. Harry ???, and another Mr. John Maddock, of Peterborough.

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