|The Rushden Echo, 18th February, 1898, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Athletic Club
The columns of the Echo have from time to time shown the progress made by this club, and we have already given a full description of the new club buildings which have been erected in the Newton-road, and which were formally opened on Saturday last. The premises are spacious and convenient, and are most suitable for the purposes of the club. The site is just opposite Grove-street, and there is a frontage of 48 feet to the Newton-road. Messrs. Preston and Wilson were the architects, and the builders were Messrs. Hacksley Bros., of Wellingboro’ and Rushden, the cost being £3,000. The club has 500 members, 300 of whom joined since Christmas.
On Saturday afternoon a meeting of the Northants branch of the Affiliated Clubs Union was held on the new premises, when a number of delegates attended. Mr. Wareing presided, and Mr. B. T. Hall, secretary of the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union, attended. All the principal affiliated clubs in the district were represented.
The chief function of Saturday was a dinner in the concert-hall, excellently served by Miss Cox, of the Coffee Tavern. The dinner committee comprised Messrs. J. Blundell (chairman), Hart, W. Oliver, R. Cook, J. Whiteman, H,. Clayton, H. Billingham, W. Freeman, W. Willey, W. Clayson, and J. Fletton. The premises had been
DECORATED WITH EXCELLENT TASTE
by Mr. Geo. Ellis, of the Central Furnishing Warehouse, High-street. The hall, on entering, presented a very pretty appearance, the doors being draped with muslin and fans. Flags, &c., were placed on the walls in artistic positions. The large room on either side, used as billiard and smoke rooms, received the same treatment. The corridor and staircase were covered with crimson cloth and festooned with blue muslin. Evergreens covered the banisters, and plants and palms were placed in the available spaces. The large hall was very artistically decorated, the windows being draped with various coloured muslins, and the walls hung with Japanese kakemos, fans, screens &c. The seats were covered with maroon cloth, surmounted by a festoon of blue drapery. The platform was decorated in the same style and on the front were placed shrubs and palms, which added to the effect. These, together with the choice plants on the tables, were supplied by Mr. F. Betts, florist, of Queen-street. There were seven tables, and the guests numbered 300.
Mr. Paul Cave occupied the chair, and in appropriate terms proposed “the Queen,” which was loyally received.
The guest of the evening, Mr. B. T. Hall, who was received with cheers, then gave an address, at the outset of which he congratulated the members, and especially the earlier members, on the magnificent building erected to their fame and the credit of the club. He spoke especially of the early members, because it was they who had been content with a loft as a room until they could have a club worthy of the town, and he hoped that
THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT
which had led to their having such a club would continue to urge them to further progress. Eighteen months ago the club movement was said to be at death’s door, for then the Rev. Stiggins and Mr. Boniface for once forgot their differences and joined hands to defeat them, but this anomalous alliance had reckoned without two things, viz., the facts of the case and the clubs themselves. The sentiments upon which their clubs arose were, however, not ephemeral sentiments, and so long as they kept their escutcheons free from vice or immorality no power on earth would be able to extinguish the movement. Theirs was a strong union in many ways, and when the attempt to extinguish it failed many politicians awoke to the fact that Working Men’s Clubs existed in their own district. He had no reason to doubt
MR. CHANNING’S LOYALTY TO PRINCIPLE
but be thought that gentleman would in future not fail to think once, twice, or even thrice before giving a vote against their interests. That building spoke for itself, and he was glad to offer congratulations. They must not, however, remain contented, but must go on improving their club or they were not fulfilling the aims for which the club existed, namely, to show men not the squalor and filth of a badly kept institute, but the adjuncts of happiness and order. Perhaps the club movement suffered because of its humble origin, but it was a movement to be judged by its ideals, and if this measure were used they had nothing to fear. The union now embraced 600 clubs, and over a quarter of a million members, a number which could make itself felt even at the ballot. Their great strength was, however, that
THEIR CLUBS WERE OF GOOD CHARACTER
and the union did not depend wholly on its numerical or financial strength. They were dependent on each club, and the club on each member, and, therefore, as the Union reposed every confidence in the clubs, and the latter in the members, it behoved each member to see that the character of the movement should not suffer. The root factor of a club was that a man should have those things he required under his conditions of life. As soon as a man joined a club he ceased to be an individual, and became a member of a body, the real aim of the clubs being that each should strive for all. In conclusion, in the name of fraternity, sociability, and independence on democratic lines, he declared the club formally opened. Mr. Hall’s speech was loudly cheered.
Mr. S. Norris gave the toast of “The Rushden Athletic Club Officials.” He said he hoped the members, and especially those on the Committee would see that the club was conducted on rules of order and discipline. Many of their members had
NEVER BEEN TO PUBLIC HOUSES
and they would find better accommodation at the club, while there they were not forced to spend much money. He had never met with better treatment from any club.
In responding, Mr. Ainge (the secretary of the club) said he had been asked to give a brief outline of the club’s history. The club sprang from a band of athletes who used to meet at the Oakley, kindly lent by Mr. Lovell, who had always been a member of the club. As time went on they wanted a larger place, so they banded themselves into a club under the Friendly Societies Act, and formed the Rushden Athletic Club. They began in a small way until they had reached the present stage. (Cheers). They had a fine building and had doubled their membership within the last two months. (Cheers). The members should endeavour to maintain the
HIGH CHARACTER OF THE CLUB
and to be considerate of others. At a recent meeting of the Rushden Temperance Society it was stated that 400 men were seen to come out of the club on a Sunday morning. Another had said 562 a difference of 162. Those statements had been published in the town, and he could not see how the one who had made the statement had arrived at such a conclusion. He hoped the members would work with the committee and obey the rules. (Hear, hear).
Mr. F. Tear (president) also made a suitable reply.
Mr. W. Ekins proposed “The Architects, Furnishers, and Contractors,” and said he thought they might all be proud of the successful conclusion to their efforts. (Hear, hear).
Mr. Hacksley responded, and thought the curtailing of the original plans was a mistake, and hoped an extension would soon be necessary.
Mr. Wareing (President Northamptonshire branch) gave “The Club and Institute Union, Officials, and Affiliated Clubs,” and said their building was a fine one for a town of the size of Rushden, and he congratulated them.
Mr. Dorrell (executive of Union) replied. He was not at all surprised at the strides the movement was making in Northants, for many London clubs had been started by the sons of St. Crispin. He complimented them on the club and its management, and hoped they would be
TRUE TO THEIR PRINCIPLES
and to one another.
Mr. Bond submitted “The Topic and Town of Rushden,” and wished it every prosperity.
Mr. Cave in replying spoke as a Rushdenite, and urged the necessity of up-to-dateness in all things. He thought it was this that had caused the population of Rushden to grow from 2,000 to 11,000 during his experience.
In complimentary terms Mr. West proposed “The Press.” - Mr. R. Langford gave “The Dinner Committee,” Mr. Hart responding.
Mr. Ainge submitted “The Caterers,” and the concluding toast was “The Chairman,” given by Mr. Green, and replied to by Mr. Cave.
Cheers for the Chairman and the club were then given with much heartiness.
A remarkably good concert was held in the evening, Mr. Paul Cave again presiding. Mr. F. Tassell was at the piano, and Messrs. G. Allcroft (Leicester), Harry Bennett (Northampton), and Ted Trivell (Leicester), Mr. Pentelow (Rothwell) was vice-chairman. Programme :- Overture, Mr. F. Tassell; comic song, “I’m still alive,” Mr. H. Bennett; descriptive song, “Fighting for liberty,” Mr. G. Allcroft; comic song, “Giving ‘em all a turn,” Mr. T. Trivett; serio comic song, “That’s what I’m weeping for,” Mr. H. Bennett; descriptive song, “Master and man,” Mr. G. Allcroft; comic song, “Mr. Gratton,” Mr. T. Trivett; overture, Mr. F. Tassell; descriptive song, “Thirst for gold,” Mr. G. Allcroft; comic song, “That job would suit me,” Mr. H. Bennett; “Daisy’s song and dance,” Mr. T. Trivett; comic song, “Staring me in the face,” Mr. H. Bennett; descriptive song, “Going home to wife and nipper,” Mr. G. Allcroft; comic song, “Johnny Wright,” Mr. T. Trivett.
On Sunday evening there was a large company. Mr. J. Green presided. Programme : Overture, Mr. F. Tassell; song, “In cellar cool,” Mr. Newman Willis (London); trombone solo, “O rest in the Lord,” Mr. Abbott; song, “The holy friar,” Mr. Willis; song, “Why do the nations,” Mr. Willis; overture, Mr. F. Tassell; song, “The wolf,” Mr. Willis; trombone solo, “The star of Bethlehem,” Mr. Abbott; song, “I fear no foe,” Mr. Willis; selection on fairy bells, Mr. Campbell; song, “Hybrias the Cretan,” Mr. Willis.
The opening celebrations were continued with vigour on Monday evening, when a very successful ball was held. The large room was very tastefully decorated with plants, flowers, and fairy lights, by Mr. George Ellis. There was a large number present, and the proceedings were very enjoyable.