|Rushden Echo & Argus, 15th March 1940, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Council Debates "Dig For Victory" Problem
Housing Committee Will Deal with Question of Letting Land Free
Latest Evacuation Plans Also Revealed - Room Must Be Found For 800
At the Rushden Urban Council’s meeting on Wednesday evening there was a spirited discussion on the “Dig for Victory” problem. The Council were urged to give a vigorous lead to those who wished to grow their own produce, and the chairman of the Housing Committee promised to consider the possibility of letting the Council’s land free of charge to those who wished to participate in the national effort.
Councillor Roe stated that he had been told several times lately that the Council was failing in its duty in not giving a bigger push to the grow more food effort. Beyond advertising for applications for vacant plots he believed the Council had done little. In the last war every available plot was used.
He understood that in Newton-road the Council had 365 poles, in Irchester-road 337 poles, in the Bedford-road allotments were ten vacant plots, and in the cemetery allotments 20 vacant plots a large area that should be cultivated.
He suggested that the Council should offer land to the public free of charge during the war for allotments.
Councillor Roe added that one man with some land had offered it free and had been snowed under with applications for it. In Irchester-road and Newton-road many Council house tenants would like the opportunity of having land on their doorsteps, he said.
He appealed to the Housing Committee to arrange to measure the land and let it free, and also asked for the offer to be widely advertised in the Press and by posters.
“Make a shout about it. It is time we did something,” he declared.
Councillor Weale said the Council should be grateful to Councillor Roe for bringing the matter forward. In the last few years they had seen allotments in the town going out of use, and there was a lot of land outside the town also derelict, which once grew crops.
Councillor Paragreen (chairman of the Housing Committee) said only seven had made applications for war time allotments.
The Chairman (Councillor E. A. Sugars): There were two extra, making nine.
Councillor Paragreen suggested that with spring in the air it was a more opportune time to press the matter, and he would bring it forward at the committee meeting.
After inquiring how big a pole was, Councillor Capon said the County Council were allowing the use of land in Tennyson-road as allotments and plots had been taken up.
Long Tenancy Suggested
Councillor Waring urged that the use of the land should not be restricted to the duration of the war, as that might not be long. He suggested a three years tenancy, to allow for getting the ground round.
Councillor Sawford asked the Council to go a step further and plough up their grassland, so earning the Government grant of £2 per acre.
Councillor J. Spencer said that if a three or five years tenancy was arranged there would be no more houses on the sites mentioned, and children were using the Irchester-road ground as a playground.
The Chairman reminded the Council that the matter had been brought forward in December, but there had been no demand for land. He was pleased to see the demand that had become apparent in the last week or fortnight. The Allotment Association had several acres that had been cultivated, and he did not think there was any need to plough up grassland.
The Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) said that if only people would send their applications to him he could arrange for them, and there was no need to break up new land.
He added that he had not been prepared for a debate on this subject, but gave details from memory showing that already many poles of land had been taken up, and something was definitely being done.
Councillor Roe said he did not suggest that nothing had been done, but that something more should be done. “It is not sufficient to advertise these things. You must make a shout about it,” he said.
If Raiders Come Rushden Will Take Another 800 Evacuees
Emphasising that the further Government evacuation scheme depended on the development of air raids, the Clerk said that it involved the sending to Rushden of an additional 800 unaccompanied children.
The scheme would be similar to that of September last, but all the children would be medically examined before leaving or on arrival, to see that they were medically fit and free from vermin.
Speaking of the circular sent to householders requesting them to put their names on a roll for the purposes of billeting, the Clerk said only 72 had replied, and of these only 12 who had not already had children had stated their willingness to have them.
Arrangements had already been made for the reception of the evacuees, and he hoped that householders would take them voluntarily. If not, he said that the use of compulsory powers would have to be considered.
Instead of having four centres in the town, he had booked only one, the B.W.T.A.U. Hall, as a reception centre for the children, who would again come from Wellingborough station by ‘bus. He had yet to arrange for sick-bay accommodation for them.
Councillor Waring asked if it was right that if the 800 children came the town would still have fewer evacuees than it did in September.
The Clerk : Yes.
A letter from Mr. Walter Elliott, Minister of Health, read by the Chairman, stated that Queen Elizabeth was anxious to send a personal message of appreciation to householders for their great public spirit in taking in strange children to their homes. The letter asked for details of householders who had had children with them for a period of not less than four months. The Clerk was asked to compile a list of the Rushden householders qualifying.
Another letter read by the Chairman was from the Lord Mayor of London, who appealed for books for members of the forces. The appeal was passed on to the Library Committee. Councillor Mrs. Muxlow said that one parcel of books had already been sent to the County Council for this purpose, and one Rushden lady had made a donation of 10s. to the same cause.
From March 17 onwards closing hours for shops are to revert to the normal times, according to an official circular read by the Clerk.
Effective Gas Lighting
Six of the gas lamps in the “Oakley” area of Wellingborough-road are being fitted with the new type of burner for war-time lighting.
Commenting on the provision of more war-time lighting, Councillor Waring stated that he went out the previous night and was pleased to say the lighting already in use was most effective and had been the subject of many commendatory remarks. The further they went with the scheme the further it would be appreciated.
An offer from the Rushden Industrial Co-operative society, Ltd., to give up a strip of land in Rectory-road for a street improvement provided the Council demolished their houses, 1 and 2, George-street, and clear the site was accepted with thanks.
Provision is to be made in the estimates for the purchase of £70 worth of additional equipment for the Fire Brigade.
The Fire Brigade has been registered as a catering establishment for the benefit of Auxiliary Firemen who may be involved in long periods of fire fighting.
One of the Brigade’s pumps had been used to fill an underground tank at the factory of Messrs. W. Green and Sons, who had paid all the expenses, it was stated.
Plans were passed for an addition to the Allen-road factory of Messrs. P. Collins and Co., Ltd., for a garage at “Endsleigh,” Hall-avenue, for Mr. Hugh Sugars; and for a shed at 32 Bedford-road, for Mr. C. E. Thacker.
Collection of Waste
Noticing that in the Health Committee’s report that arrangements were being made on a regional basis for the collection and disposal of all waste paper and waste material, Councillor Roe asked when the scheme came into operation. He knew of one gentleman who was told by the dustmen that they had had no instructions to take waste paper and had pitched his carefully-tied bundle into the freighter.
Councillor Weale, chairman of the committee, said the scheme was in the hands of the surveyors in the districts concerned.
Mr. J. W. Lloyd (Surveyor) said the scheme started on March 1, and he could not understand the reference to the dustmen. He suggested that they might have pitched the bundle into a box for the purpose in the freighter.
Refuse from the Rushden Co-operative slaughterhouse, which is serving the area under the meat scheme, is to be deposited at the Council’s tip free of charge. The Council’s sludge carts are being placed at the disposal of the slaughterhouse controller for this purpose, the controller finding his own horses.
The cemetery is to be connected by ‘phone with the Council Offices. It was reported that time had been wasted and inconvenience caused to the cemetery registrar and caretaker, and also the undertakers, because of the lack of this facility.
The four 88-foot diameter sprinklers installed at the secondary filters at the sewage works in 1913 are to be replaced by new ones at a total cost of £200.
An application from Mr. F. L. Tysoe, of Higham-road, for a licence permitting him to allow his field to be used as a site for a movable dwelling was not granted, as no particulars were available of provision for sanitary accommodation, water supply, or ashbin for refuse.
Damage caused by the abnormal weather earlier in the year had interfered with ordinary repair work to the Council houses, stated the Housing Committee report.
Up to February 21, 175 burst water pipes had been repaired, 50 new W.C. pedestals provided, and refixing of damaged spouting commenced.
At that time 122 houses remained to be decorated inside, this work having been interrupted by illness among the workmen.
Tenders for the work of internal and external decoration in the houses during the year are being advertised for.
Dr. D. A. McCracken, Medical Officer of Health for Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Irthlingborough, has his office accommodation in the Rushden Council Buildings, and also has assistance from the staff.
The Council decided that a rent of £20 per annum should be fixed for the use of the office and £30 for clerical assistance, the sums to be apportioned amongst the authorities concerned on the basis of the salaries paid by them to Dr. McCracken.
Of the balance of £1,914 in hand on the Housing Repairs and Equalisation Funds, it was decided that £1,000 should be invested in Government 3 per cent. defence bonds.
The Council agreed with a proposal from the National Provincial Bank treasurers to the Council to reduce the interest paid on the Council’s balances over and above a free balance of £2,000 from one per cent to half per cent., as from April. The bank referred to the difficulty they were experiencing in lending their resources to advantage. It was understood that the matter would be reconsidered should general change in interest rates take place.
In view of the expected depletion of staff through clerks being called up, a junior clerk is to be appointed, not exceeding the age of 16.
Timber stored at the Newton-road depot has been bought at 15s. per cwt. load by Messrs. Watts and Son, Podington, to be sawn up and retailed as firewood in Rushden.
The Rating and Valuation Committee reported that there was a net increase in the rateable value of £734. Revised assessments of the public houses largely accounted for this increase.
Having been employed as general foreman for 13 months, Mr. T. E. Harrison’s wages were raised by 10s. per week.
Members in attendance were : Councillors E. A. Sugars (Chairman), J. Allen (Vice-chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., T. W. Cox, F. Green, R. W. Davies, Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. Spencer, J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford and J. T. Richardson.