|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 4th June 1948, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Old Hall May Become a “Showplace”
Views Sought On Big Rushden Plan
The future use of Rushden Hall will be discussed by Rushden Rotarians at their meeting on Friday, following the recent appeal of the Urban Council for the views of local organisations.
All organised bodies in the town have been asked to make their suggestions before July, and the report outlined at the Council meeting in May has been circulated as a basis for discussion. Restoration of the Hall, including internal adaptations and equipment for public use, is estimated to cost up to £6,000, and allowing for possible grants and decorations, a loan charge of about £300 a year is anticipated.
As to the possible use of the old house, the Clerk to the Council (Mr. A. G. Crowdy) finds it unsuitable for Council offices or a lending library. He thinks a small museum might be established there by a suitable society, and that youth work and an art society might be fostered in the building, and that a refreshment service for people using the grounds might be provided.
The idea already adopted in principal, however, is for the establishment of a community centre embodying these and other activities. It is felt that the centre should be developed and managed by a voluntary body, on which the Council would be represented, and which would be responsible for paying the rent.
A community centre would enable citizens to meet on an equal footing, and enjoy social, recreational and educational activities, the concept of “education” including “putting people in the way of making their own entertainment and bringing out latent abilities.”
The report suggests that a kitchen and canteen, a common room and rooms for group meetings and classes could be provided at the Hall, and that the outbuildings could be converted into workshops and a gymnasium.
It is expected the financial grants would be obtained from educational authorities, and that a whole time warden or secretary would be needed.
Through the interest of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, the Hall has been inspected by Mr. Marshall Sisson, F.S.A., F.R.I.B.A., in whose opinion it is definitely suited for community centre purposes, and has “great possibilities,” possessing “just the atmosphere and character needed.”
Mr. Sisson adds: “If simplified in plan and redecorated the house would have great character and might, in fact, become a most attractive ‘show-place’ while at the same time fulfilling a modern need against a background of historic tradition.
“Rushden can be considered most fortunate in possessing a building with such tradition, charm and character in an admirable setting in the centre of town, and it is much to be hoped that the Council will be able to repair and adapt it for some such purpose as that now suggested.”
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 18th June 1948, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Hall Plan is Backed
Rushden Trades Council approves the suggestion that Rushden Hall be utilised as a community centre providing the Urban Council puts “the house in order” first.
This was decided at Wednesday’s monthly meeting, when Mr. H. Bailey (secretary) read the committee’s recommendation.
He told the delegates it was felt that there was a great need in the town for small meeting rooms and for other cultural facilities which had been recommended by the Urban Council.
The chairman (Mr. E. G. Dodd) and Mr. H. Wills supported the suggestion of the amalgamated bands of the town for a floral hall.
Other delegates were keen too, on the idea of a swimming pool in the place of the outlying buildings “The one in use is like a duck pond for a town the size of Rushden,” observed Mr. W. Brown.
The secretary pointed out that a swimming pool would of necessity come under the heading of a long-term policy, and the Council wanted to know what could be done now.
Another opinion was that any military compensation for the use of the grounds should be put towards the cost of the Hall renovations.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st January 1949, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Rushden Hall As Social Centre?
Whether the restoration of Rushden Hall was the motive of the project or only a convenient factor in its favour, was debated on Tuesday when a Rushden town’s meeting declared for a community Association and elected a committee to further the idea.
The Urban Council, whose chairman (Mr. J. H. J. Paragreen) convened the meeting and presided, had offered the use of the Hall, and financial assistance for its adaptation, in the event of an association being formed.
Several speakers had addressed a crowded meeting in the Council Chamber on the pros and cons of a Community Centre when Mr. J. M. Bailey, M.C., M.B.E., declared that the Council might have given “a closer lead.”
“May I ask,” he said, “what the Council intend to do with the Hall if they don’t get a Community Centre?”
The Chairman: We haven’t got as far as that.
“It looks to us,” resumed Mr. Bailey, “that because you have got a derelict building and don’t know what on earth to do with it you are trying to create an organisation to use it.
“We would never have had this meeting if we had not had the Hall. But we know full well that if sufficient money is forthcoming there will be dozens of organisations who will be glad to make use of the Hall, and at the same time we shall be preserving something which is more beautiful than anything we shall ever put up.”
“Mr. Bailey is definitely wrong,” replied A. F. Weale, the chairman of the Parks Committee. “When we found the building going into decay we were determined to repair it, but it was no good doing that work and then finding that we had done it along the wrong lines. It is logical to find out first of all to what purpose it should be put.
“If you say definitely that you do not want a Community Centre we shall find ways and means of reconstruction. I can assure you the Council will not allow the old building to become a mere ruin.”
When the chairman asked: “Are you in favour of a Community Association?” many hands went up for the proposal and none against.
The committee members are Mr. A. N. Groome, Mr. J. M. Bailey, Miss Margaret Neal, Mrs. Ferguson (chairman of the Townswomen’s Guild), Mr. P. W. Wills (Rotary Club), Mr. Goodall (W.E.A.), Mr. Cyril Faulkner, Mr. G. T. MacPherson (Toc H), Miss W. M. Clipson (St. John Nursing Division), and Mrs. G. W. Marriott (Rotary Inner Wheel), with the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Clerk of the Council, and the Chairman of the Parks Committee.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 18th February 1949, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Social Centre Scheme Should Grow
Progress of the Community Association scheme on which the future use of Rushden Hall may depend is likely to involve gradual building up, but the committee appointed at the town’s meeting in January is hopeful of ultimate success.
Within the next few days local organisations will receive a circular asking them to state their attitude and requirements, and immediate headway will depend upon their answers.
The committee formed last month has held its first meeting and has appointed Mr. A. Norman Groome as chairman, with Miss Margaret Neal as temporary secretary.
“We are going all out to get something done,” said Mr. Groome yesterday. “We may start slowly, but the movement will probably grow and build itself up.
“If we are to start a Community Centre we want sufficient people who would take rooms and pay a small rent which would make it an economic proposition. That is why we are making a survey of existing organisations and their requirements. I also thought we would make a ‘snap’ survey of private houses as well.
“We are very much in the air at the moment, but we hope, if there is sufficient interest, to widen the committee and bring in the people who would actually use the Centre.”
The question of using Rushden Hall as a Centre is being left in abeyance until the scope of the project takes shape.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 12th March 1948, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Too Much ‘Arranging’ For The Aged?
Pensioners’ Plan Raises Debate
Old people would prefer ease and liberty of choice rather than organised clubs, in the opinion of Councillor A. F. Weale, who said “the world it going mad over organisation” when the question of an “Old People’s Forum was raised at the meeting of Rushden Urban Council.
The C.W.S. Pensioners had requested that a town’s meeting should be called by the Council to consider he establishment of a social centre at Rushden Hall.
The General Purpose Committee suggested that the matter would be best dealt with by the pensioners themselves, but Councillor E. A. Sugars maintained that it was a fine opportunity for the Council to take the lead. He moved an amendment that the chairman should be asked to call a town’s meeting.
Councillor F. E. Brown said that the committee had in mind that the Hall was not suitable, and could not be made suitable without the expenditure of a large amount of money. The opinion was expressed in committee that there would not be a sufficient large number of old age pensioners who would want their life arranged to the extent planned.
“When people reach the age of some of us,” said Councillor Weale, “we feel that organisation has had its day. We have seen enough organisation. If we could give them ease and liberty of choice rather than organising them into clubs, it would be far better for them.”
Councillor Waring spoke of the difficulty of striking a happy medium between regimentation and total neglect of the old people
The amendment moved by Mr. Sugars was carried by eight votes to six.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th July 1949, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Progress on Rushden Hall Problem
Rushden Community Association Committee, on completing its initial review, has forwarded to the Urban Council a report on its inquiries.
Mr. A. Norman Groome, hon. secretary, informs us that all organisations that might be interested in the scheme have been contacted. A list has been made of those needing accommodation for meetings such as could be provided when Rushden Hall is restored.
Interest in the establishment of a Community Centre is less keen than the desire to see the Hall restored and in good use, but it is thought that if the Council will now give a new lead on the basis of the information supplied, the work of the Committee will be strengthened.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 16th February, 1951
Council Seeks Grant for Hall
Meeting in committee on Wednesday night, Rushden Urban Council received new information about the terms on which the Ministry of Education will grant £1,000 toward the cost of repairing Rushden Hall estimated at £4,840.
Desiring to accept the grant, the Council adopted a resolution assuring the Ministry that they will assist any proposal for establishing a Community Association to enjoy the facilities at the Hall.
Application will be made for consent to the raising of a loan, and Professor A. E. Richardson will be asked to advise on the placing of a contract for the expeditious completion of the work.
|The Rushden Echo, 4th May 1962
This plan for the entrance to Rushden Hall Grounds will further erase memories of a controversial subject at several meetings of the Urban Council last yearthe former lodge, which stood inside the present entrance. The council recently decided to surrender 305 square yards of land to the County Council, and it expects that this scheme for a new wall, railings and lawns will materialise from the immediate plan to widen High Street South. The photograph is of the actual drawing which received the council’s consideration.