A large and interesting part in Rushden’s development as a town had been played by Mr. John Samuel Clipson, who died peacefully on Sunday afternoon at his residence in Church-street.
Mr. Clipson was 84 years of age, but had retained his physical vitality in a remarkable degree until the last few months, although for some years his memory had been sadly affected as the result of a street accident. Since the end of January he had been confined to bed, and from Thursday he was for the most part unconscious.
Born at Cherry Hall, near Kettering, Mr. Clipson was a scholar at the Duke of Buccleuch’s School at Weekly, and absorbed firm principles under the guidance of Mr. Charles Wise a schoolmaster of character who was also noted as a writer of local history. From his mother’s father, James Brains, a veteran of the Peninsula Wars, who became schoolmaster at Burton Latimer, he acquired a knowledge of the Spanish language, and the old Irish tongue was equally familiar to him.
When working days arrived, he set out with determination on the hard road to success, being first employed by Squire Booth, of Glendon Hall, who was a talented amateur engineer. After that he was apprenticed to Mr. Owen Robinson, of Kettering, the inventor of many machines for use in the boot and shoe trade, and from this source he obtained a great deal of valuable knowledge.
In 1877 he broke his apprenticeship in order to marry, and his wedding to Miss Mary Woodcock took place at Kettering Parish Church. They moved to Higham Ferrers in 1879, and opened the first boot machinery repairing service in the district.
In 1883 Mr. Clipson toured the U.S.A. and Canada, demonstrating a new heeling machine in the boot factories there. When he returned he moved to Rushden to establish what is now probably the oldest shop business in the town, with its record of 62 years’ service. His first Rushden shop was in the High-street, on the site now occupied by Messrs. Horsley, and in 1888 the business was moved to Church-street.
In those days practically all the local boot factories depended upon Mr. Clipson for the installation and upkeep of engines and machines, and the industry owed much to his skill and progressive ideas.
He was a man of great energy and enterprise, and his outlook was well illustrated by his quickness to take up the telephone he was the second subscriber in Rushden, and afterwards secured No.1 phone. He was the first local rider of safety bicycles (after many adventures on the penny-farthing type), and the first local owner of a private motor car.
While still making his way in business life, Mr. Clipson found time to play his part in public affairs, in which he served with distinction for many years. Elected to the Rushden Urban Council on its formation in 1895, he was appointed chairman in 1904, when the Free Library opening was the year’s great event, and reappointed in the following year.
His Great Hobby
His third and last term as chairman was in the memorable year 1914-15, when he attested hundreds of the Rushden men who rushed to volunteer for war service. He also served the Water Board and School Managers, and was on the Library Committee from its formation until 1937. At one time or another he held all the offices of the Rushden Liberal association, and throughout his life he was a total abstainer.
Mr. Clipson’s great hobby was music, and there were few in the town who contributed more happily to the cultivation of the art as amateurs. As a child he learned the violin somewhat under difficulties, as his parents preferred him to do his exercises in the garden, out of earshot. At the age of nine he was fiddling at dances, and in his Higham Ferrers days he sang in the Higham Parish Church choir.
He had an excellent baritone voice, and became the first choirmaster of the Rushden Mission Church, continuing the work for many years. Early in life he secured an old 'cello from Podington, and this became his favourite instrument, which he played in most of the local orchestras and in Choral Society concerts. Mr. Clipson was made a vice-president of the Rushden Choral Society.
Mrs. Clipson passed away in 1934. The sons and daughters are Mr. J. R. Clipson, Mr. H. A. Clipson (Northampton), Miss Helen Clipson, Miss W. M. Clipson, S.S.St. J., Mr. J. L. Clipson, A.R.C.O., Miss F. I. Clipson. There are five grandchildren, and Mrs. E. Everett, of Wellingborough, is a sister.
Solid Work as Pioneer and “a Builder of Rushden”
A tribute to the late Mr. Clipson as “one of the builders of Rushden” was heard at the interment ceremony in the Rushden cemetery on Wednesday morning.
The first service was held at the house and was conducted by the Rev. T. S. Kee, minister of the Independent Wesleyan Church, assisted by the Rev. E. E. Bromage, pastor of the Mission Church, and the Rev. Edwin Hirst, Vicar of St. Peter’s. The committal ceremony was taken by Mr. Bromage with the assistance of Mr. Kee, the vicar also attending.
In an address at the graveside Mr. Bromage referred to Mr. Clipson as a great-hearted gentleman one who was endowed with great and unusual gifts and talents and employed them to the best of his ability. He was a pioneer in every sense of the word, and his achievements were all for the good of his fellow men.
His work for the town was solid and lasting; he was one of the builders of Rushden one of the names that would remain fragrant so long as the town remained. In the Church, with his graces and talents, he found satisfaction and pleasure away from the busy round of public service. His music was the passion of his life. His work for the choir of the Mission Church for 40 odd years would ever be remembered with gratitude, and he was treasurer there, until his death, for 50 years.
“There are many in Rushden, and I am one,” added Mr. Bromage, “who can speak of his personal kindness.”
At The Graveside
The principal mourners were Mr. J. R. Clipson, Miss H. Clipson, Mr. J. L. Clipson, Miss W. M. Clipson and Miss F. I. Clipson (sons and daughters), Mr. and Mrs. E. Everett, Wellingborough (brother-in-law and sister), Miss L. Clipson (granddaughter), Mrs. J. R. Clipson and Mrs. H. A. Clipson, Northampton (daughters-in-law), Mrs. D. Felce, Kettering, Mrs. F. Sismore, Kettering (nieces), Mr. J. Shatford (nephew), Mrs. Baxter (nurse), Miss Fountam, Miss Hazeldine, Miss Tarry, Mrs. J. L. Nichols and Mrs. Meadows (friends).
Mr. H. A. Clipson, Northampton (son), Miss M. Clipson (granddaughter), Mrs. J. Clipson, Kettering (sister-in-law) and Mrs. W. Kyle, Leighton Buzzard (niece) were unable to attend.
Among those at the cemetery were Councillor J. Spencer, J.P., Mr. J. Smith, Mr. A. Prigmore, Mr. and Mrs. Lingard, Mrs. Clifton (Mission Church), Mr. Walter Lack (Independent Wesleyan Church), Councillor T. W. Cox, J.P. (chairman of the Rushden Urban Council), Councillor J. Allen, Councillor J. George, Councillor H. Waring, Councillor F. Green, Mr. W. L. Beetenson (Clerk to the Council), Mrs. F. J. Sharwood, Mr. Arthur Wilmott, Mr. W. G. Pack (Liverpool), Mr. T. Whitby, Mr. R. Cave, Mr. J. Blunt, Mr. F. E. Brown and Mr. J. Bateman.
Inscriptions with the wreaths were as follows:-
To Dad, with all our love, from Nell, Win, Lin and Rene. In loving memory of dear Dad, from Bob and Emily: With all our love, from Harold, Nell and the children, Ruth, Mary and John: In loving memory of dear Grandpa, from Lillian and Mildred: In loving memory from Aunt Annie, Madge, Walter and the boys: In loving memory, from Ern and Florrie to the dearest of brothers: In loving memory, from Will and family (Kettering): With deepest sympathy and love, from Uncle Arthur, Ada, Douglas, Cynthia and Desmond (Kettering): With deepest sympathy from Mrs. W. H. Gadsby and Mrs. C. Allen: With kindest memories from Mrs. Hazeldine and May: In loving memory of Mr. Clipson, Neil Fountain: With deepest sympathy, Margaret E. Tarry: In appreciation and with sympathy, L. V. Elliott: With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. Nichols and family: With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. Baxter and family: Kind remembrance from Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Addison: With deepest sympathy of an old friend, from J. and C. N. Pack (Central Machinery Co.): In remembrance from Mrs. S. Bailey and family: With deepest sympathy from Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Bates, 125, Gold-street, Wellingborough: With sincere sympathy from friends and neighbours of Alfred-street: With deepest gratitude and loving memory, from the Mission Choir: With deepest sympathy, Evelyn G. Kelsey: With deepest sympathy, Marjorie Davidson: In affectionate memory, from Mrs. M. S. Haigh and family: In remembrance and deepest sympathy, from the family of the late Mr. and Mrs. T. Partridge, Alfred-street: In fond memories of Mr. Clipson, from Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Buttling, Church-street: With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. R. Eden: With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. Knott and Mr. and Mrs. Desborough: With deepest sympathy, from 13, Station-road: In loving memory, from Mr. and Mrs. E. Clark, Mr. G. Gross, Mr. and Mrs. Frost: With deepest sympathy, from 17, Church-street, and “Wyndicot” Bedford-road.
Mr. L. Clark, of Rushden, was the undertaker.