|The Rushden Echo and Argus, transcribed by Jim Hollis.
Rushden Prepares for the War
3rd November 1939.
Rushden Will S.O.S. The County - 300 “Casualties” in A.R.P. Trial
Facing the Worst - Mock Air Raid Next Sunday Morning
Rushden people, though vitally concerned in what will be going forward, are asked well, to keep out of the way next Sunday morning, when the town’s A.R.P. services will hold their first full exercise. Seven or eight hundred of them will be participating in a mock air raid, and the rest can best assist by leaving the streets as clear as possible.
It has been deliberate policy in Rushden to delay anything in the nature of a full A.R.P. rehearsal until each branch has obtained thorough training, secured its full equipment, and undertaken its own practical exercise. The course of the war has been kind to this policy, and now the plans are prepared for a try out of more than local importance one which will test the means of co-operation between one town and another.
There is no lack of imagination in the scheme drawn up by Capt. J. Marshall Bailey, M.C., the Chief A.R.P. Officer, and every branch of A.R.P. in Rushden wardens, casualty service, report staff, rescue and decontamination squads and firemen will be called upon for a realistic effort.
Umpires Will Watch
So many “casualties” are contemplated between three and four hundred that it may (which means that it will) be necessary to flash an S.O.S. for outside assistance. It is quite possible (quite certain, in fact) that towns as far away as Desborough will hear of Rushden’s plight and send what help they can afford.
“The idea,” says Capt. Bailey, “is to see how well our own services can work, and how quickly we can get co-operation from neighbouring places.”
Commencing at nine o’clock and continuing until past midday, the operation will be watched by umpires and observers from other towns, and county administrative officers will attend.
“Incidents” involving casualties galore will be staged throughout the town. They will be reported by the wardens, and the necessary services will be called into action from the report centre at the Council Buildings.
The moment it becomes clear that the damage is too great for the local services to cope with, the County Controller will be informed, and he, through sub-controllers, will warn the districts from which help is required.
No sirens, gas rattles or whistles will be sounded, but in all other respects the operations will be as realistic as possible. The fire engines, for example, will be driven at speed, and a lot of other vehicles will be engaged.
Capt. Bailey therefore asks that people will avoid leaving their cars on the streets and will refrain from congregating around the raid “incidents” or near the first-aid post at the Alfred-street Schools.
The “patients” have been recruited during the week. More than 300 adults are required, many have been secured from the factories more particularly from the factory casualty services, because it is obvious that anyone taking part as a “casualty” will pick up some useful knowledge.
10th November 1939
Three Hundred “Casualties” In Mock Air Raid - Eight Towns Help Rushden in Realistic A.R.P. Rehearsal
County Officer Watches Operations - Rescue Scenes at Railway Station, Factories, School and Cinema
After a test remarkable for its severity and the strain imposed on all participants, Rushden’s A.R.P. organisation is considered to have established its ability and keenness beyond all reasonable doubt.
The scenes last Saturday morning were unique in the experience of the town, and the staging of a mock air raid on an extensive scale was a spectacular intrusion on the normal routine of life. About 700 people were directly engaged, and their duties took them to every quarter of the town. Fire engines, rescue lorries, ambulances and cars passed through or operated in almost every street.
This grim rehearsal had further repercussions in the county. It tested the arrangements of the A.R.P. County Control and brought speeding along the main roads a host of vehicles, each with its trained crew, from eight towns. Tin hats, gas masks, protective clothing all the trappings of modern “civil defence” were paraded as never before in the district.
The lively imagination of Capt. J. Marshall Bailey, M.C., Chief A.R.P. Officer for Rushden, had conceived a vivid picture in which enemy ‘planes were to bomb Rushden at ten o’clock and return for a second attack at 10.45 long before the rescue work entailed by the first raid could possibly have been completed. Even the bringing-in of neighbouring A.R.P. squads and the ultimate summoning of help from a much larger area could not be supposed to have ensured immediate attention at every scene of trouble.
Capt. Bailey’s own statement of the case is that “we tried to get through in three hours what would have taken a day.” In the three hours, therefore, all concerned were working at high pressure, and everything was conducive to a full revelation of any faults in the organisation.
The schedule envisaged a most flagrant case of indiscriminate bombing, though it must be admitted that industrial objectives had the worst of the deal. The first “attack” occupied four minutes and caused 115 casualties; the second lasted six minutes and added 193 to the roll of injured. How many deaths might have occurred was left open to popular conjecture.
Twenty-nine “incidents” were staged, and eight factories, the railway station, the Royal Theatre, the Newton-road School and the Masonic Hall were among the places “bombed.” Twenty buildings or locations were presumed to be hit by high-explosive bombs, seven by incendiary bombs, one by both kinds, and one by a mustard gas bomb. Eight “fires” broke out, and in only one case was the “bomb” scheduled as unexploded.
Before the second bombing the report centre at the Council Buildings had asked for aid from Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough and Raunds, and after the second disaster the S.O.S. went out immediately to the County Control, bringing help from Wellingborough, Corby, Desborough, Kettering and Thrapston.
A Thorough Test
On this broad framework the exercise continued until one o’clock, testing the efficiency of the wardens at their six permanent and 27 auxiliary posts, the report centre staff, the local mobile parties working from Alfred-street, the rescue and decontamination squads (under Mr. F. S. F. Piper) working from the depot in Portland-road, the fire brigade and auxiliary fire service (Capt. A. P. Timpson) based on the station in Newton-road, and the entire staff of doctors, nurses and ambulance men at the first-aid post in the Alfred-street School.
Mobile parties which came in from other towns reported at depots in Pightles-terrace (Mr. Beetham in charge), and Spencer-road (Mr. White), thus obviating unnecessary congestion in Alfred-street, where a one-way traffic system was operated.
As no alarm was to be sounded, the practice differed from genuine experience in an important essential the personal were completely assembled before (in theory) the first bomb had been dropped.
Another point to note was that, although about one hundred of the casualties which passed through the first-aid post were cases for hospital, they were merely liberated; and to this large extent the transport was relieved of the burden it would have borne in a real raid on the scale depicted.
Late in the morning, however, the congestion at the F.A.P. was recognised in a call to the County Control for ‘buses, one of which took about ten patients to Rushden House Sanatorium, where Dr. J. H. Crane was in charge’.
No Gas Cases
It was assumed that, in spite of the finding of mustard gas in Hall-avenue, no gas casualties had arisen, and this department of the F.A.P. was not troubled, though the staff had reported and stocks of new clothing were laid out in readiness for re-dressing patients after decontamination.
Zero Hour - Big Turn-Up Of Volunteers For Casualty Jobs
An “Echo and Argus” reporter who set out to see as much as possible found first of all that the casualty volunteers, who had been recruited as far as possible from the factory A.R.P. staffs, had turned up greatly in excess of requirements. They met at the St. John Ambulance headquarters in Station-road and were sent off to the many scenes of destruction wearing labels prepared by Dr. D. A. McCracken (Medical Officer of Health) describing their injuries.
The wardens, distributed in all parts of the town, carried sealed particulars of the cases they were to investigate and report, and Capt. C. H. Clark, the Chief Warden, drove round to see that all the posts were in order. The police, under Inspector R. E. Valentine, and the special constables, under Commandant L. G. Roberts, were on duty at many points.
Before ten o’clock the staff of the first-aid post was in complete readiness under the medical command of Dr. D. G. Greenfield, Ambulance Officer M. O’Connor having general charge of the personnel. Drs. R. W. Davies and O. B. Lean wore their white overalls and were on duty in the treatment rooms. Scores of nurses, under Nursing Officer Miss M. Priestley (in the absence of Supt. Miss W. M. Clipson, who is indisposed), were waiting to begin work. All windows were shuttered, and electric light had to be used throughout the building.
Outside the transport was superintended by Mr. W. Peck. Many of the lady drivers and attendants wore trousers.
Squads Move Off
Just after ten o’clock the first mobile party consisting, like most of the others, of a sitting casualty car, a mobile party car containing first-aid men and equipment, and an ambulance drove away to the L.M.S. Station, where 19 casualties were reported.
Three minutes later there was “something in Moor-road,” and another mobile squad left for duty.
The third call was to a garage in High-street South 14 casualties and then an extra ambulance was dispatched to the railway station.
Soon five ambulances were out, and the first a converted horse box returned before 10.30, bringing two young women. The patients, already bandaged, were carried into the schools by stretcher bearers, and were soon in the hands of doctors and nurses.
From that moment the stream of arrivals was continuous, and as each car or ambulance unloaded it was needed again immediately.
At the report centre, where Capt. Bailey was directing operations, with Col. H. N. A. Hunter, County A.R.P. Officer, observing the communication system, the lady telephonists were busy, and Boy Scouts assisted as messengers. It was then 10.50, and at that moment, the schedule showed, a bomb was falling on the new boot factory of Messrs. John White in Lime-street, causing nearly 50 casualties.
An Hour’s Wait
To this big set-piece, the star event of the day, the reporter hurried rather unnecessarily, as it proved, because although the disaster had been reported there was not yet any sign of rescue work.
The casualties, all on the upper floor, amused themselves as best they could until past 11.30,when two “light” rescue squads of Wellingborough men marched in, to be greeted with cries of “Where the ------ have you been?”
No first-aid party arrived until 11.55, when ambulance men from Desborough and Wellingborough began the long job of clearing up the casualties, their first patient groaning realistically as they handled him.
This long wait of 65 minutes seemed to indicate a serious hitch in the arrangements, but it must be realised that in a raid on the scale conceived in this exercise the delay could hardly have been avoided. The return of the enemy 45 minutes after the first raid would have confounded any plan.
In the last hour of the exercise some strange things happened, and patients who complained of being asked to jump into ambulances, taking their broken legs and fractured skulls with them, must put it down to the exigencies of the time-table. At the first-aid post, in fact, new arrivals were liberated from stretchers and released from service.
A few patients scheduled to die on the way to the first-aid post were delivered to the appropriate quarter.
In the Station-road stone yard of the Urban Council some casualties, mercifully represented in the first place by sacks of straw, were extricated from beneath a mass of masonry and timber. A dug-out at Messrs. M. M. Drabble’s sandpit was “blown up.”
In most cases, of course, the rescue parties could not be provided with practical work, but the mustard gas incident in Hall-avenue was rehearsed in thorough-going style by one of the decontamination squads. In the case of the unexploded bomb in John-street a warden and the police went on guard, and the incident was reported to the county authorities, who have special men in training for removing fuses.
A supposed fire in St. Margaret’s-avenue was “put out” quickly by a stirrup-pump from the nearest warden’s post, and in the fire cases generally the rehearsal extended to the running-out of the hose lines, but not to the actual use of water.
Mobile parties were supplied by Rushden (four), Wellingborough, Corby, Desborough, Raunds, Kettering, Irthlingborough and Higham Ferrers; rescue parties by Rushden (three) Kettering (three), Wellingborough (three), Irthlingborough (one) and Thrapston (one).
All the operations were timed and full records were made. The work was umpired by Col. Hunter and Messrs. Holgate Smith (Wellingborough), T. E. Pope (Finedon), Whittam (Raunds), E. Hales (Higham Ferrers) and B. Brightwell (Irthlingborough).
“Patients” Thanked - Capt. Bailey on Practical Value of Experience
In a statement to the “Echo and Argus” on Wednesday, Capt. Bailey said : “I want first of all to thank the “patients” who had an extremely trying time and showed great enthusiasm and willingness to take part. About 320 were wanted and over 400 turned up.
“A lot of these had a very trying time waiting about, and some would be of the opinion that things did not go off as they should. We set off, however, with the opinion that it was going to be a very difficult job for instance, we multiplied our casualties and mobile parties, but we could not multiply our first-aid post.
“Some very useful information was gathered as regards times, the improvements we can make in general communications, and other matters. I think we can improve out of all recognition after this first try-out.”
List of Incidents
These were the incidents, with casualties or other circumstances shown in parenthesis:
First raid (9.59 to 10.03). L.M.S. passenger station (12); B. Ladds’ factory, Moor-road (24); Hall-avenue (mustard gas); Royal Theatre (14); 40, St. Margarets-avenue (fire);17, North-street (fire); 43, Harborough-road (fire); Walter Sargent and Co’s factory, Glassbrook-road (fire); T. Swindall and Sons’ woodyard, Washbrook-road (5); Seamark’s garage, High-street South (15); C.W. Horrell’s factory, Fitzwilliam-street (10); John White’s factory, Shirley-road (35 and fire); John-street (unexploded bomb).
Second raid (10.45 to 10.51) Strong and Fisher’s factory, Irchester-road (10); W. Green and Son’s factory, Queen-street (25); Asher Abbott’s premises, Bedford-road (9); M. M. Drabble’s sandpit, off St. Mary’s-avenue (5); Masonic Hall, Wellingborough-road (25); Council stoneyard, Station-road (5); Rushden Hall stables (7); Spencer Park shelter (7); Newton-road Schools (20); Victoria Hotel stables (9); Wadsworth’s garage, Newton-road (5); John White’s factory, Lime-street (45); Tecnic factory, Park-road (24); 7, Carnegie-street (fire); Talbot-road (fire); Upper Crabb-street (fire).
Message from “Dead” - Unlucky Reporter Describes His Sad Adventure
On Sunday I “died,” writes another “Echo and Argus” reporter. At least, I should have done, assuming that it would prove fatal to suffer from internal stomach haemorrhage for more than two hours without treatment of any kind.
I was one of the three or four hundred Rushden casualties and one of about thirty who had been injured as the result of an explosion in Messrs. John White’s Shirley-road factory. Most of us were at the scene of the disaster at nine o’clock, and whiled away the next hour chatting in small groups.
The first sign that anything was happening was the arrival of a motor trailer pump which apparently dealt successfully with a small fire at the rear of the factory. A little later two wardens appeared, and while one stood at the door talking to we casualties the other was directed (by a man who had had his leg “shot off”) to the factory telephone, which was apparently unscathed despite the fact that the factory had been practically demolished.
It was not long after these two wardens had disappeared that another one turned up and asked us all what we were suffering from. He, too, went away, and we came to the conclusion that things were about to happen.
A Bad Case
It was about a quarter past ten when ambulance men and members of a rescue party entered the factory. After the person in charge of the group had noted that I was labelled “Internal haemorrhage in stomach, patient vomits,” my instant removal was ordered. A green stretcher was placed on the floor, and, having climbed on to this, I was carefully tucked up by a pleasant young lady and told to place my head on one side. Then commenced a delightful up-and-down movement as I was carried into Shirley-road.
As I expected, the crowds surged round to see who the “casualty” was, but I was soon placed safely in an auxiliary ambulance. I did not have long to wait before I was joined by another patient, and we then whiled away the time by joking with the pretty ambulance attendant who had been placed in charge of us.
The ensuing journey was not exactly comfortable, but it might have been a lot worse. There was a large crowd outside the first-aid station at the Alfred-street schools, and all seemed delighted when they saw the “casualties” suffering from ghastly wounds, sitting up and looking around. “You poor dear,” said one old lady as I was carried into the schools.
Nurses Were Nice
The nurses in the treatment room were most pleasant, both to look at and speak to, and one young lady asked me if I were “quite comfortable” as she bent over me and labelled me on the doctor’s instructions an “urgent case for hospital.” I was then taken into the central hall and hidden behind a screen. It was at ten minutes to eleven.
I lay there, thinking that it would not be long now before I was given expert medical care, but that was not to be. It was whispered throughout the building that there were not enough stretchers or blankets, and everyone but myself was told to go home. Men with no legs and many unmentionable wounds rose and left me lying “bleeding to death.”
At twenty-five minutes past eleven, just over half-an-hour after I had been placed on the floor, rumours became rife that eight stretcher cases were needed to be taken to the sanatorium. I cheered up on hearing this, and turned over on my side in order to see what was happening.
At five minutes to twelve I was moved about five yards and was placed on the floor once more. After another ten minutes’ waiting my stretcher was finally lifted and carried to a single-deck ‘United Counties’ bus. I looked round and noted that two young ladies were already lying there. Every now and then another stretcher arrived, until, at twenty minutes past twelve, there were nine “casualties” lying in the bus.
Then They Walked
At long last we moved, and crawled into the Sanatorium at half-past twelve most of us having been lying “seriously injured” for two and a half hours. Dr. Crane made notes regarding our conditions and also took our names after which the bus returned. At the far end of Alfred-street our conveyance ran into a traffic jam, stretching the whole length of the street. Needless to say, all nine of us decided to hike the rest of the journey, for it was one o’clock and we were still “bleeding to death.”
Among those who watched the operations were Mr. E. A. Sugars, J.P. (Chairman of the Council), Police Supt. Williams (Wellingborough) and Supt. G.W. Timpson, of the Rushden St. John Ambulance Division, who was on leave from R.N.S.B.R. duties.
Factory A.R.P. in Rushden
Five Hundred Employees Train for Emergency Work - Special Courses
Thanks to co-operation between the A.R.P. authorities and the Rushden and District Boot Manufacturers’ Association an advanced stage has now been reached in the training of men and women for emergency duties at the Rushden factories.
Ever since the outbreak of war the training of first aid workers, factory wardens and fire parties has been in progress on co-operative lines, enabling the proprietors of the larger businesses to meet the demands imposed on them by the Government.
Today factory A.R.P. in Rushden involves 488 men and women, trained or in training, and these volunteers are all additional to the hundreds belonging to the town services. They are grouped as follows:
First-aid; 38 women and 40 men trained; 47 women and 107 men in training.
Wardens; 56 in training.
Fire parties; 126 trained, 37 in training, 37 awaiting training.
The totals are; First-aid 232, wardens, 56, fire parties 200. All necessary equipment for the three branches of work is provided by the employers.
Women candidates for the first-aid work are trained at the Ambulance Room by Dr. R. W. Davies and Nursing Officer Miss M. Priestley, and the course occupies eight weeks. The men are trained at Rushden House Sanatorium.
Captain J. M. Bailey, M.C., is instructing the wardens at the Moor-road School, and this course will spread over five weeks. The fire parties attend the Fire Station and are brought to efficiency in three weeks by Captain A. P. Timpson. The actual handling of fire bombs is part of their training.
All these training classes are organised by Mr. S. C. Brightwell, secretary of the Boot Manufacturers’ Association, who takes a keen personal interest in the work.
Forty-five factories are participating in the schemes, and a few other firms have made their own arrangements for training their employees.
Army’s Advice To Sister Susie
Details And Measurements of Comforts For Soldiers
The War Office publish the following list of woollen comforts, etc., required for issue to soldiers serving at home and with the B.E.F., together with specifications of colour, shape, size, etc.
Knitted Gloves: Colour, khaki or near shade; width across palm, 4 to 4 ½ inches; overall length, 10 ½ to 11 ½ inches; material, three ply wheeling or double knitting.
Mittens : Colour, khaki or near shade; width across palm 4 ½ to 5 inches; overall length, 9 inches; length of rib cuff, 4 inches; thumb opening, formed by a row of stitching 1 inch deep; material, three ply wheeling or double knitting.
Cap Comforters: Colour, khaki or near shade; width, 8½ inches; length, 32 inches; knitted tubular and closed at each end ; material, three ply fingering.
Jerseys: Colour, khaki or near shade; width of body, 18 to 20 inches; length of body, 25 to 26; length of sleeves, 22 to 23 inches; knitted with V neck; material, three or four ply wool fingering.
Socks: Colour, Army grey or khaki grey preferred; length of leg, 14 to 15 inches; length of foot, 10½ to 11 inches; width, 4½ inches; knitted with rib top and plain leg and foot; material, three ply wheeling of four to five ply fingering.
Scarves: Length, 48 inches; width, 9 ½ inches; circular neck; colour, khaki or near shade.
Gifts should be sent to the Officer in Charge, Army Comforts Depot. 12, St. Mary’s Butts, Reading.
1st December, 1939
8th December, 1939
None Better Than Rushden
Walthamstow’s Opinion of Reception Areas for Evacuees
A Walthamstow journalist who accompanied the Mayor and Mayoress of Walthamstow on last week’s tour of reception areas has published the following account of the visit to Rushden:-
Of all the places visited, none created a better impression than Rushden, where nearly 300 Walthamstow children are really having the time of their young lives. Here our party was literally swept off its feet by the contagious enthusiasm of Mr. W. E. Taylor, headmaster of Forest-road Junior Boy’s school. Several Walthamstow schools are billeted in the vicinity, but time only permitted contact with junior boys and girls of Forest-road School.
The children attend their classes in the afternoon, but our party was able to see them in the happiest surroundings. An old Baptist chapel has been placed at their disposal as a play centre, where during the mornings the kiddies romp to their hearts content under the supervision of teachers and helpers. Here the Mayoress, Miss Minards and Mr. Taylor joined the frolicking youngsters in one of their dances!
The people of Rushden have taken the greatest possible interest in the children. Many kind-hearted women have banded together and under the guidance of Councillor Mrs. Muxlow, organiser of the Rushden W.V.S., and Miss D. L. Hill, the “live wire” headmistress of the Alfred-street Infants’ School, who has formed a Parents’ Association, they work unceasingly to ensure that none of the evacuees shall lack adequate clothing.
Rushden is one of the centres of the boot and shoe industry, and the manufacturers have undertaken a twenty-four hours repair service, and supply new footwear, which is frequently in demand. Another good friend is Mr. O. L. Ash, headmaster of the South End School, who has been unsparing in his efforts for the benefit of the children.
The Mayor paid a call on Mr. W. L. Beetenson, the Clerk to the Council, and on behalf of the people of Walthamstow expressed gratitude to the citizens for the magnificent work which they are accomplishing.
Eight or nine Walthamstow schools, states the “Walthamstow Guardian”, are to be re-opened in the New Year to provide a half-time education for the 4,500 remaining in the town above the age of seven years. Eighty school teachers are already at work in the town educating children in their own homes, and with the re-opening of certain schools others will be recalled.
Less that 15 per cent of the children who were evacuated have returned home, and over 7000 remain in town and country billets.
15th December 1939
Why No Window Lights in Rushden?
Council Investigates Puzzle of Delayed Concession - Black-Out Danger at Car Parks
Food Control Move: Caravan Question: Wage Increases: A.R.P. Shelters.
“It is not good enough!” declared Mr. J. Roe at the Rushden Urban Council’s meeting on Wednesday, when he alleged that the police had not been allowing the Rushden shopkeepers to carry out the new official plan of restricted window lighting. The whole question was debated at considerable length, and members showed equal concern about the unlighted street car parks, where, they asserted, many pedestrians had been hurt.
It was a long and lively meeting, and Food Control figured in the discussions. The Council can do nothing about the much-debated representation question, but it hopes that an officer from Wellingborough will attend at Rushden occasionally for the convenience of traders and consumers.
Four A.R.P. shelters are planned for the High-street district. A bonus was granted to the Council’s workmen, and a few members showed concern about a van encampment which has been licensed in the Wymington-road district.
“It is rather dark to-night,” said Councillor Richardson, “and that prompts me to ask a question. Have we power to have a light in a parking place where cars are parked without a light on them at all? People bump into them, and it is something which ought to be remedied, and that right speedily. If someone is seriously hurt there, whose responsibility would it be the Council or the owners of the car?”
The Chairman (Councillor E. A. Sugars) : I understand from the Clerk that it is purely a matter for the police. It is out of our hands.
“I am glad,” said Councillor Spencer, “that there is somebody who wants a little more light. Some of the shopkeepers have been complaining that the relaxation in regard to window lighting allowed in some towns for some cause or other has not been allowed in Rushden. I understand it is at the discretion of the Chief of Police of the County. I have had complaints from shopkeepers who think it is hindering trade, and I think our Lighting Sub-Committee should go into the matter at once and to-morrow morning get in touch with the Chief Constable so that shopkeepers can have a chance of showing their goods at night before Christmas.”
“Waiting For Police”
The Chairman: I am in a position to say that I understand that an opportunity will be given to shopkeepers. There were some cases where lights were put in the windows and the police had to tell the shopkeepers that they were not entitled to do so yet. We have to wait until we have permission from the Chief Constable and the local Inspector.
A copy of the Order in question was produced, and the Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) said that any shopkeeper could see it or buy a copy for two-pence.
Councillor Spencer: Is it due to the Chief Constable of the County? There is a widespread rumour in the town that he is standing in the way.
The Chairman: I think you can rest assured that the shopkeepers will be looked after.
Councillor Weale said they certainly did need a little guidance. He knew several towns in the Midlands where the shops were well lighted.
Councillor Roe said that a good many saw the Home Office circular and attempted to introduce the lighting, but after the first night the police went round and told them they were not allowed to have a light in the windows. It was obviously unfair, if other towns had this lighting, that Rushden could not have it. It was not quite fair of the police to stop them when they went to the trouble of arranging lighting which conformed to the standard allowed according to the circulars they had received.
“Not Good Enough”
“You go to Leicester and other big places,” said Mr. Roe, “and you find shop windows lit up………… It is not good enough.”
The Chairman: Is it you wish that the Clerk should see the Inspector?
Councillor Roe: Some of us have done so; we can get no satisfaction from the police they inform us that we cannot have this lighting. The Order has been in force over a week; we want it now.
The Chairman: It seems that is the best thing to be done to see the Chief Constable.
Councillor Swindall said he understood that Bedford was illuminated.
Councillor Allebone said he thought Mr. Spencer must know that it was nothing to do with the Lighting Sub-Committee at all. It was a statutory Order issued by the Home Office, and it was left in the hands of “someone over the county”. If there was any town in the county better lighted than Rushden, then they had a lot of room for complaint.
Mrs. Muxlow: Northampton!
Councillor Allebone: Don’t let us get this talk about the Lighting Sub-Committee it has nothing to do with it at all.
Councillor Spencer wanted to speak again, but was ruled out by the Chairman.
Hard On Motorists
Dr. Davies then reverted to the original car-park question and suggested that one or two of the chief parks might have a small light at each end. Many people, he said, were doing voluntary service, and it was hard on them if they had to use their batteries up by keeping the lights on while they were attending to such business. He thought the Lighting Sub-Committee might consider this.
The Chairman: Yes.
Councillor Allebone began to speak, but Mr. Spencer interposed. “I am ruled out of order,” he said, “and Mr. Allebone is speaking again.”
The Chairman: I give Mr. Allebone permission to reply to Dr. Davies.
Mr. Allebone pointed out that the Lighting Sub-Committee had to report to the Highways Committee, and the Highways Committee to the Council, so that a month or six weeks might go by before anything was done. This was a job for the Clerk or Surveyor, or else the Lighting Committee should be given power to do something without having to give a report.
Councillor Capon : The Lighting Sub-Committee is not a lightning sub-committee. (Laughter).
The Clerk said that these black-out regulations were made by the Minister of Home Security, and until they were relaxed neither the Council nor the police nor anybody else could intervene.
Councillor Cox : it looks to me that we are rather splitting words. If there was a hole in the road you would put two lamps there. Is it not just as easy to put two red lamps at each of the car parks without breaking the regulations?
Councillor Waring said he was more concerned with the small minority of people, particularly at ‘bus stopping places, who insisted on standing still in the middle of pavements. Most pedestrians walked in the middle of the pavement and did not expect to come against anybody standing still. He would like to appeal to those who stood waiting for someone or something to stand on the edge of the pavement.
The discussion ended without any apparent decision on any point.
Food Control - Too Late to Secure Increase on Committee
A report from the Finance Committee recommended the Council to support the petition of the Wellingborough Urban Council for two extra seats on the Area Food Control Committee, especially for trade unionists. Letters received from the Boot Operatives’ Union and the Rushden and District Trades Council were detailed.
The Finance Committee also reported that they were asking for an officer of the Food Control Committee to attend at the Rushden Council Buildings on at least one day each week, to deal with local enquiries.
Speaking as a member, Councillor Roe said that the Wellingborough and District Food Control Committee had 15 members; ten were elected by the authorities in the area and five represented the trades. One of these five must be a representative of the Co-operative Society, and the other trades represented were the butchers, bakers, grocers and greengrocers. Rushden had four members three nominated by the Council and one representing a trade.
“We have a letter,” continued Mr. Roe, “from the Boot Operatives’ Union, expressing keen disappointment that no direct representative of the workers of Rushden has been appointed. I don’t think that is a fair statement to make, because when a member of this Council is appointed he represents all parties it doesn’t matter what party he belongs to.
Rich and Poor
“I can assure both the Operatives’ Union and the Trades Council that if a representative of those organisations was elected we should welcome their advice and support on this committee, but I see in the ‘Evening Telegraph’ to-night that the Wellingborough Council have received a letter from the Food Ministry stating that this application has been refused.”
Mr. Roe reiterated that members of the Council represented all classes, rich or poor. When rationing took place, he said, the registered traders would have allotted to them a sufficient supply of all rationed foods for the authorised quantity to be supplied to each of their registered customers no more and no less; and if any registered consumer was not able to get the quantity allowed they asked that it should be reported to the committee, when it would be dealt with.
Mr. Roe added that he was very pleased with the suggestion that a member of the staff should attend at Rushden on certain days.
In view of the Ministry’s decision the Clerk suggested that there was no need to proceed with the Finance Committee’s resolution.
The Chairman : You will agree that it is almost useless.
Mr. Spencer Kicks
Councillor Spencer : It shows our opinion. We are a distinct Council and not dependent upon Wellingborough. This is the opinion of our Council and therefore it should be passed here.
Councillor Capon : I think it is a waste of time and energy to put your hands up.
Mrs. Muxlow said the attendance of the officer at Rushden was most necessary.
The Clerk said he had consulted the Clerk to the Wellingborough Council, who would very willingly comply on this point if his committee agreed.
Showmen’s Camp - Concern about Caravans in Wymington-road
On the recommendation of the Sanitary Committee a licence was granted to Mr. A. J. Waller, allowing him to have caravans on his land near Wymington-road. There are six vans on the site, in the occupation of three families, each consisting of five persons.
Councillor Roe said he would like to be sure that the Sanitary Inspector would have instructions to keep a careful watch on this site. Wymington-road was being rapidly built-up with a good class of houses, and they had seen some beautiful places destroyed by these camps.
Councillor Weale said he could give this assurance. The Inspector knew exactly what the conditions were, and the licences were only for a period they could be discontinued if the conditions were not satisfactory.
Councillor Allebone enquired what sort of vans they were and what was the reason of their being on this land. Were the people local and had they anywhere else to live? “It is one of the worst things that can happen,” he added.
Councillor Weale said the vans were showmen’s vehicles and the occupants were genuine showmen who could not pass on and had to put their vehicles somewhere. The inhabitants of that district were not making complaints at present. The showmen were respectable people and the caravans were of good type.
Councillor Allebone said he had in mind a similar state of affairs near Higham Ferrers, where the people complained seriously. He was satisfied that there were sites further out of the town. It was a thing they did not want to encourage in any shape or form; when they had granted permission to one they could not refuse it to others.
Councillor Weale said there was no comparison between the people in this field and those at Higham Ferrers.
Councillor Richardson suggested that the Council had no power to shift the van-dwellers on.
The Clerk: The Council have power to grant a licence, and without that licence no encampment can be allowed.
Councillor Swindall: Is there a licence for the people behind the “Railway Inn?”
The Clerk: I know nothing about it.
Councillor Cox: It was understood that six caravans was to be the limit on this Wymington-road site
The Chairman: Yes, that will be the limit.
Councillor Cox emphasized that Dr, Davis had visited the van-dwellers. They were now prohibited from moving from town to town, and the committee felt it was only just to grant them some accommodation.
The Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F.S.F. Piper) said he knew nothing about the people behind the “Railway Inn.” “I think this is an annual fair,” he added when members offered information.
Workmen’s Bonus - No Up-Grading, But Extra Wages Granted
As the grading of the Rushden Urban District for wages purposes had been settled by the Joint Provincial Council, the Highways Committee declined to receive a deputation from the National Union of General and Municipal Workers on the up-grading question.
The committee, however, had been asked by the Provincial Council to give their views on the Union’s application for an all-round wages increase of 2d. an hour. Arising from this, they recommended the Urban Council to increase each of the workmen’s wages by 3s. a week, this payment to be called the “increased cost of living bonus” and to operate as from December 1.
Councillor Waring said that as a similar increase had been granted in the industry he thought the concession would be regarded as equitable.
Councillor Green : I have attended a meeting of the Joint Industrial Council at Leicester to-day, and it was resolved that the wages be advanced by ¾ d. an hour, which is exactly the same as we propose.
The recommendation was approved.
Councillor Green asked that the co-option of a new Council member to take the place vacated by Major R. A. Marriott should be postponed until the next meeting, as the Conservatives had not quite made up their minds as to whom they should propose. This was agreed to.
The Clerk mentioned that Councillor J. George, who is recovering from an accident, was “getting on nicely” and hoped to attend the next Council meeting.
The Chairman : We are all pleased that he is progressing, and we look forward to seeing him in the New Year.
The Chairman mentioned that the appeal made locally for the Red Cross Fund was “going along very well” not quite so fast as he would like, but with the probability of Rushden making a good response. He had got in touch with the Boot Manufacturers’ Association, and they had done exceedingly well so far he was anticipating that they would do still better. Mr. Roe was helping to spread the appeal among the tradesmen and had already collected £30.
A week ago, said Mr. Sugars, the fund stood at £310. It ought not to be less than £500, and he would like to see it considerably higher.
Councillor Roe said they were all pleased to do what they could for a fund of this description.
The Surveyor reported that the Spencer Park bowling greens and tennis courts, which were repaired last year, were now in greatly improved condition. He was instructed to continue the work of repair.
A Hall-avenue resident who wished to rent a small paddock near Rushden Hall was informed that no part of the public grounds could be let for private occupation.
Councillor Davies announced that the Parks Committee had been able to supply every football club which had applied for pitches in Spencer Park or Jubilee Park. Their charge, he said, was very moderate, but if, after the war, they had to get other accommodation, they might have to charge higher rents.
The re-housing of the tenants now occupying houses in respect of which pre-war demolition orders were made has been the subject of an inquiry by the Clerk, following the discussion at the October Council meeting. In reply to the Clerk’s letter the Ministry of Health asked for a statement showing the number of occupants in each of the houses still to be demolished, and this information has been supplied.
Terms for the Council’s use of petrol tanks and pumps belonging to Messrs. Wadsworth Bros. were adjusted to include an undertaking by the Council to keep the tanks and pumps in repair, and be responsible for the testing of the pumps and hose.
Taking advantage of powers delegated to Rushden by the County Council, the War Emergency Committee considered the question of public A.R.P. shelters. They felt that as Rushden was a non-vulnerable area it was unnecessary to provide shelter accommodation for the whole of the inhabitants, but the Surveyor in conjunction with the A.R.P. Officer, had been instructed to prepare plans and estimates of four shelters in or near the main shopping centre for the protection of people who at the time of a raid were distant from their homes.
Under the Cultivation of Lands Order the Council has power to enter upon unoccupied land for cultivation purposes and to take possession of occupied land by agreement with the owners and occupiers. The War Emergency Committee is considering what steps to take.
“Have there been any enquiries for allotments?” asked the Councillor Sawford. “I think about half a dozen have applied,” said the Clerk.
Councillor Paragreen said he thought there was a number of people who were interested.
The Chairman said it was well known that a quantity of ground already broken up for allotments was available.
A member: That may be too far away.
The Chairman: I am aware of that.
Mortuary accommodation to deal with civilian deaths caused by war operations has been considered by the W.E.C., which reported that a Ministry of Health Inspector has examined a building proposed to be used. Estimates of the cost of adapting this building were being prepared but as an alternative the erection of a temporary wooden building at the Station-road storeyard was being considered.
Building plans were as follows. Additions to factory in Irchester-road. Messrs. Strong and Fisher; addition to factory in Allen-road. Messrs. P. Collins and Co., garage, Wellingborough-road, Mrs. W. Neville; garage, High-street South, Mr. H. Freeman; garage, Bedford-road, Mr. C. Darnell; open shed, Fitzwilliam-street, British Legion; lobby at “Byways,” Hall-avenue, Mr. E. York.
The Highways Committee reported that if and when any of the workmen are called up for national service the question of making up the pay would be considered, each case separately on its merits.
Two letters had been received by the Highways Committee from the Ministry of Health enclosing copies of complaints made by Mr. A. Knight of Higham-road, regarding outbursts of sewage matters on to private property from manholes and inspection chambers.
The committee referred to their meeting in July when the Surveyor, being of the opinion that a blockage which had been located and removed was not the sole cause of the trouble, was instructed to prepare a report on the whole sewerage system in that area, which he considered unsatisfactory.
The committee has now informed the Ministry that owing to the war the Surveyor had been unable at present to proceed with the report, but that the Council would take the matter in hand at the earliest possible moment.
Owing to the special circumstances arising from the war it was agreed to permit an electric cable to be placed across Hall-avenue for the purpose of supplying three houses. The Electric Supply Co. is required to remove the cable within three months of the cessation of hostilities and to indemnify the Council against all actions and claims which may arise.
A haul of 67 tails during Rat Week was reported.
An order is to be served on the owner of two homes. “Home” and “Nesta” in Avenue-road, Court Estate, requiring him to provide a proper supply of water for domestic purposes.
Up And Down
After the Clerk had reported on the Rent Restriction Act, Councillor Green asked if rate increases could be added to the rents.
The Clerk : Yes; and if the rates go down the rents will be expected to go down as well. (Laughter).
Mr. W. E. Taylor, a Walthamstow headmaster, attended the meeting as an onlooker and was welcomed by the Chairman, who complimented him on the good work he was doing in the town.
The Chairman extended seasonable greetings to the members and expressed the hope that peace would come in the New Year.
Members in attendance were Councillors E. A. Sugars, J.P., (in the Chair), J. Allen (vice-chairman), J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., T. W. Cox, F. Green, Dr. R. W. Davies, Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, T. J. Swindall, J. Spencer, J.P., J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford and J. T. Richardson.
15th December, 1939
“All The Best” From Rushden - Christmas Parcels and Greetings for the “Boys” and “Girls”
Christmas Gifts from the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund have been dispatched during the last few days, and a few replies have already been received from “the boys.”
Three hundred and twenty Service men and women are on Mr. E. Bennett’s secretarial list. Gifts are being sent off each day, and by Thursday 170 had been dispatched.
There are two kinds of parcels. To all servicemen overseas the committee sends 120 cigarettes and a Postal Order for 2s. 6d. Those in England and Scotland receive 50 cigarettes and a Postal Order for 3s 6d. This means that practically the same amount is spent on each gift.
The cigarettes for overseas are sent by a wholesale firm duty free, and the Postal Order is sent by the secretary. The home parcels are sent from Rushden.
With every gift goes a Christmas card emblazoned with Union Jacks and conveying this message: “Greetings from Rushden. Best wishes and the best of good luck from the townsfolk of Rushden.”
29th December, 1939
Christmas Treats For Evacuees
Service Men’s Children Join Them in Merry Parties
The roof of the Rushden “Palace” was nearly, if not quite, lifted off by about five hundred young voices singing in unison on Wednesday morning. The cinema had been placed at the disposal of the Rushden Boots and Clothing Fund, and was practically filled by junior and senior child evacuees and a liberal sprinkling of Rushden children whose fathers are serving with the Forces.
There had not been as much noise in the “Palace” for a long time as there was when, led by Mr. George Delamare, the children roared out “The Beer Barrel Polka,” “The Chestnut Tree,” and other favourites. This community singing came in the middle of an entertainment, the popularity of which evidently exceeded the expectations of those responsible for the arrangements.
The favourite star of all children, William Boyd, or “Hopalong Cassidy,” thrilled the youngsters in the film “Silver on the Sage,” which took up the first half of the programme.
Mr. Billy Bettles, the popular ventriloquist, and his dummy “Charlie” put the children in a good humour with their smart cross-chat, and the Burns Sisters, of Irthlingborough, amused with their “Ferdinand the Bull.” One of the girls was dressed smartly in brilliant red as a picador, who tried without avail to arouse Ferdinand, and bull with a very pathetic expression, to a fighting fury. Mr. Ernest Newell’s conjuring feats were a popular contribution to the programme.
Gifts From London
The entertainment was promoted by the Boots and Clothing Fund. Mr. O. L. Ash was responsible for the arrangements, and Mr. and Mrs. Don Bugby had the task of securing the artistes. Mr. Harold Tear was the able pianist.
Before leaving, the children received gifts which had been sent down by the L.C.C.
The infants were catered for in the afternoon by the Rotary Club, who financed a party in the Independent Wesleyan Queen-street Schoolrooms. Wearing coloured paper hats, the children spent a happy hour at nursery games, after which they were entertained by the dancing pupils of Miss Robinson, Mr. Ernest Newell (conjuror), and Mr. Bettles (Ventriloquist). Mrs. Hart was at the piano.
There was an illuminated Christmas tree in one corner of the room, and after tea presents from the tree were given to each child.
The president of the Rotary Club, Mr. C. A. G. Slater, and other members of the club were present at the party. Mr. O. L. Ash was again responsible for the arrangements.