|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 17th October, 1952, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Young vandals smash restored hall
“If it wasn’t for us, this place would go to rack and ruin,” asserted a Rushden pensioner, referring to the vandalism at The Hall, where restoration of the centuries-old building has just cost the Urban Council nearly £5,000.
Seventy pensioners use the building every day for their reading, card games and darts, and they feel it is only their presence, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, that is a deterrent to worse damage being committed.
As quickly as window panes are replaced, youths smash them again with sticks and stones. The improvised games room is one example; it would be cosily warm with its stove for heating if it were not for the continual draughts from the shattered windows the majority composed of small diamond panes.
Most of the damage is inflicted by mischievous hands and senseless heads at the week-ends. Last week-end another half-dozen panes, a globe and two gas mantles were wrecked.
“On Sunday morning there were four or five boys, aged about 14, playing about in the next room,” one of the pensioners told us (he was referring to the room near the main entrance containing valuable wood carvings). “and we asked them to be quiet. The next thing we knew, they had smashed the globe and were running across the park.”
The globe was one of the new gas fittings only installed this autumn.
Two mantles over the dartboards they were purchased 10 days previously from the pensioners’ penny-a-week fund were found smashed on Saturday morning.
The men remonstrate with the boys when they find them fooling around the premises, but the boys show little respect.
The incidents described show that appeals and warnings from the Council have little or no effect, for it was at last week’s meeting that Coun. E. E. Newell, as chairman of the Parks Committee, announced serious vandalism and said that offenders would be prosecuted.
To the “Echo and Argus,” Mr. Newell said that the trouble began after new windows were put in two months ago as part of the restoration scheme.
“The Council takes a strong view of the matter,” he said, “and is prepared to take the necessary steps to quell it.”
Townspeople who deplore these depredations may well imagine that when so much is known about the culprits and their habits the protection of the Hall will soon be effective.
Although Rushden Urban Council has just footed a bill for nearly £5,000 for restoration of Rushden Hall, windows are continually smashed by boys. The vandalism is viewed with grave concern by the Council. In the picture one of the pensioners who use the premises points out the latest damage.