|The Rushden Echo & Argus, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Wartime in Rushden - April 1940
12th April, 1940
Rushden Has 1,500 Victory Gardeners
In view of recent comment a detailed report on the cultivation of land in the town was given at Wednesday’s meeting of the Rushden Urban Council, and on the strength of the figures 1,500 allotment workers and 156 acres of allotment ground the Housing Committee submitted that the Council’s remaining housing sites need not be broken up for the present.
Mr. Roe resisted a proposal to remunerate the Sanitary Inspector for the extra work he is doing in the inspection of meat which is now slaughtered at Rushden for a wide area, but the rest of the business was uneventful, the meeting closing with compliments to the outgoing Chairman, Mr. Ernest Sugars.
Reporting that the spare portions of the Newton-road and Irchester-road housing estates would not be forked up for cultivation at present, the Housing Committee stated that in view of the quantity of land about 146 acres already under cultivation in the town in small plots it was thought unlikely that many more applications for allotments would be received.
Councillor Paragreen supplemented the report with some particulars of allotment land in the town. Belonging to the Allotment Association, 19,200 poles (120 acres), Council’s cemetery allotments, 2,240 poles (14 acres); Bedford-road allotments, 1,080 poles (6¾ acres); adjoining Highfield-road Schools, 830 poles (5 acres); adjoining public baths, 17 poles; Spinney Close, 24 poles, total, 23,358 poles (156 acres).
Plots to Spare
Assuming, he continued, plots average 15 poles each, there were 1,557 cultivators of garden allotments in Rushden. The Allotment Association had six acres of land unlet, and there were quite a number of spare Council plots on the Newton-road and Bedford-road fields. Eight hundred Council house tenants were cultivating their gardens of about 10 poles each.
For a town of Rushden’s size this was a good record, and it explained why few applications for plots were received in response to the Council’s advertisement. In view of the circumstances the committee felt that the other land need not be offered at present, especially as Mr. John White had intimated that his field of 10 acres at the rear of the Newton-road housing estate could be utilised as allotments if required.
Councillor Roe said that at a previous meeting he had simply asked that the estates should be staked out and cultivated if required. He was pleased to think that so much land was being cultivated, and he thought it was very creditable. Still, they were being urged to plough and cultivate every piece of land they could, and he had hoped the Council would do a little more; but if the committee considered that everything possible had been done, he was satisfied.
Councillor Waring : Short of coercion there is nothing we can do.
The Health and Sanitary Committee reported that neither the Ministry of Health nor the Ministry of Food could make a grant towards the cost of meat inspection at the slaughterhouse. The Sanitary Inspector, who does this work, has asked for extra remuneration; the duties occupy him about 25 hours per week, mostly in the evenings and on Sundays. A sub-committee has been asked to consider the position.
Councillor Roe said he felt bound to refer to this report. The sub-committee had tried the two Ministries; now they were going to try the poor rate-payers.
Rushden did not get many bouquets, but he thought it was a great honour that they had in the town a building capable of dealing with the slaughter of animals for a very large area. Instead of trying to see what extra remuneration they could get, he felt this was a time when they could “put something extra into it.” They all had to do extra work without extra pay at this time.
“I think,” added Mr. Roe, “the committee should not go into the question of making the ratepayers pay more, but of what they can put into it.”
Councillor Capon: I should like to know what Mr. Roe means by “putting a little more into it.” I may be a bit dull.
Councillor Weale said they were to some extent in honour bound to give some further remuneration for the extra work which was entailed. The members of the committee had seen meat inspected day by day and week by week by their Inspector. It had entailed a large amount of work additional to his ordinary duties. They felt that although it was a great honour that Rushden should have this work thrust upon it, it would be a duty as well as an honour to pay for the work. They would do the right thing in remunerating the Inspector reasonably for what he did; they would not ask the ratepayers to pay anything that was unreasonable.
Councillor Roe said he was quite prepared to wait and see what the sub-committee brought forward, and he would have the opportunity of opposing it if necessary. He was quite sure their officials were quite prepared to do what they could. Only recently Mr. Lloyd said he did not want special pay for his work as Fuel Overseer, and he was sure Mr. Piper was of the same opinion and prepared to do his bit the same as anyone else.
Councillor Spencer said that if a man did extra work he should be paid for it.
The report was adopted.
Later in the meeting Councillors George and Waring were re-elected as representatives to the Guardians Committee and Councillor Green was appointed in place of Councillor Spencer who retired. Mr. Green made a little speech and was told when the meetings were held.
“Mr. Chairman,” said Councillor Capon, “may I suggest that when Mr. Roe goes down there he is treated very generously by Mr. Green?” (Laughter).
Cost of housing repairs arising from the severe weather early in the year was shown to be £178. The Council had to spend £87 on water pipes, £70 on lavatory repairs, and £21 on rain water gutters.
Arrangements with the bands for two concerts each Sunday at the Hall between March 24 and October 6 were approved.
The Baths and Parks Committee reported that the spare land near the baths had been let to an applicant for cultivation.
It was decided to have the Spencer Park children’s amusement devices inspected before opening them for the season.
The Housing Committee reported that a Chester-road house has been let to a tenant dislodged form Succoth place by a demolition order.
Tenders for the renovation of Council houses were accepted as follows :- Newton-road estate, H. Freeman £127; A. W. Jacques £438; A. T. Nichols Ltd., £435; Irchester-road estate, Prickett and Dunkley £58; H. Freeman £570, A. T. Nichols Ltd. £545.
The Housing Manager (Mr. H. C. Allen) reported that an almost 100 per cent. cultivation of tenants’ gardens was expected this year. The gardens of the Council houses averaged at least 10 poles. A piece of land in Spinney Close had been stumped out in three parts and let as allotments to three of the bungalow tenants.
Councillor Paragreen maintained that the rent arrears were the lowest for many years.
Building plans were as follows ; Electric sub-station, Lawton-road, Rushden and District Electric Supply Co; electric sub-station, Allen-road, Messrs. Wm. Green and Son; store, Irchester road, Mr. C. Freeman; additions to “Ferrers Mere,” Kimbolton-road, Mr. John White; additions to 42 Robinson-road, Mr. C. Espin.
Under the Clean Milk Production Scheme seven samples were reported “satisfactory” and four “bad.”
Asked to support the Kettering Town Council in a resolution on tuberculosis after-care provision by the County Council, the Health and Sanitary Committee is seeking the views of the Rushden After-Care Committee.
Mr. Weale and the Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) were appointed to attend a Leicester conference on the salvage of waste materials. The Surveyor reported that the collection of waste paper was proceeding satisfactorily, and it was announced that the Co-operative Society had lent two cottages in George-street, free of charge, for the storage of paper.
Mrs. Muxlow complained that boys had thrown paper all over the Hall Park, where a shed had been used for storage, and she was afraid people were talking about it and that it was having a very adverse effect on their campaign.
The Surveyor: Other arrangements have been made and the nuisance will in future be avoided.
Members of the Lighting Sub-Committee, with the Surveyor, were appointed to attend a conference at Leicester on the low-density war-time street lighting.
It was decided to continue the payment of the 3s. cost-of-living bonus to the Council workmen and to pay an additional three-farthings per hour for all time worked over and above 48 hours per week.
Higham Ferrers Town Council asked for a 200 per cent. increase in the fee paid by Rushden to Higham for the drainage of certain properties into the Higham sewer. The claim was considered excessive, but the Council will agree to a 100 per cent. increase.
A resolution was carried for the sealing of a district rate of 6/2 in the £ for the next half-year. The Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) said the present rateable value was £85,511, and at 6/2 in the £ the amount of the half-year’s rate was £26,365.
A Good Chairman
At the close of the business Councillor Allebone proposed thanks to the outgoing Chairman. Those who had been through the chair, he said, prided themselves that they had tried to do the business in a manner fair to every member. The opinion of every member was that Mr. Sugars had been fair to all and some of them also thanked him for the fact that no time had been wasted. It had been a fairly arduous year with regard to public engagements, and Mr. Sugars had carried out these duties very well indeed. The town would appreciate what he had done.
Mr. Allebone added that when the war started in Mr. Sugar’s year of office they hoped it would finish in the same year. This was now beyond hope, but they hoped it would finish during the period of the present Chairman’s successor.
Councillor Weale, who seconded, said they were agreed about the Chairman’s impartiality and good nature.
Replying to a hearty vote, the Chairman said he was well aware that the Council had a tradition to live up to and he had certainly tried to do his part but his thanks were largely due to his colleagues for making the work easy. He did not think it was possible to find a better body to work with.
Mr. Sugars said he had tried to face up to the issue brought about by the war. It had made extra work, and of course it had made tremendous additional work for the Clerk especially in the early period. He sincerely hoped that the war would end during his successor’s year of office.
Having thanked the officers and the Press, the Chairman referred to the public appeals he had made and said he had never asked for help in vain. Certain organisations in the town had been exceedingly good.
A vote of thanks to the Vice-Chairman was moved by the Chairman and seconded by Councillor Spencer, who spoke of Mr. Allen’s ability, good character courtesy and attention to duty. Councillor Cox supported.
Members in attendance were Councillor E. A. Sugars, J.P., (Chairman), J. Allen (Vice-Chairman), Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, Dr. R. W. Davies, A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., T. W. Cox, F. Green, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford, J. T. Richardson and H. J. H. Paragreen.
12th April, 1940
Land Girls Needed
Lady Spencer Appeals for Local Volunteers
(To the Editor of the “Echo and Argus”)
Sir, - The Women’s Land Army in this country is now in need of more volunteers who will be prepared to undertake whole-time agricultural work wherever they may be needed. Upon enrolment they will be placed in training on farms or at Agricultural Colleges for one month. After the successful completion of their training they will be given employment at the appropriate rates of pay on farms in this or other counties. Their uniforms will be provided free.
Volunteers are also needed for the Women’s Land Army Auxiliary Force. Girls who are prepared to give one month or more of consecutive work at some part of the year will be enrolled either for local seasonal work or for work in any part of the country.
Volunteers for either the regular Land Army or the Auxiliary Force are asked to apply to the secretary for details or instructions. Food production is vital for the successful conduct of the war, and I do ask the help of any women or girls not already engaged in National Service.
19th April, 1940
New Chairman and A.R.P. Volunteers - Confident of Their Efficiency
All went according to forecasts at the Rushden Urban Council’s meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Joseph Allen entering the chair for the second time in his career and Mr. T. W. Cox securing election to the vice-chair. The members were unanimous in their decisions.
Mr. Allen referred to A.R.P. measures and expressed confidence in the town’s organisation. On the question of war-time economy he said that no service affecting the people’s health must be neglected.
The Council adopted with enthusiasm the Query Motor Club’s proposal to organise a town charity fete this summer, and it was agreed to call a meeting and set up committees.
Councillor Sugars, who presided when the meeting opened, proposed Mr. Allen’s appointment. The members, he said, were all aware of Mr. Allen’s ability to fill the position they were satisfied that he would fill it with credit both to the Council and himself. Having held the chair six years ago, Mr. Allen was in possession of all that was needed for the duties.
Councillor Waring, who seconded, recalled that he moved Mr. Allen’s appointment to the vice-chair twelve months ago. They would all have the fullest confidence in Mr. Allen, he continued.
Supporting, Councillor Green said that Mr. Allen would make a very good man for the job and would fill the chair with dignity and ability.
Welcoming his successor with a handshake, Councillor Sugars wished the new chairman and Mrs. Allen good health and expressed the hope that the war would cease during Mr. Allen’s year of office.
Having assumed the chair of office, Mr. Allen said he greatly appreciated the honour that had been conferred upon him a second time and sincerely hoped that he would carry out the duties to their satisfaction. He hoped to be fair and impartial in the chair so that the work of the Council might be carried on as harmoniously as it was carried out last year. If he could only get through his year of office with the same ability and distinction of Mr. Sugars he would be amply repaid.
“This Council, I suppose,” said Mr. Allen, “has a tradition of disinterested service, and when following the long line of chairmen who have gone before one feels a little nervous in case one might not live up to the reputation of former chairmen with regard to ability and service to the town.”
Echoing the wish of the ex-chairman, Mr. Allen said he sincerely hoped that this year would see the end of hostilities, and that before he relinquished the office their young men who were now serving with great danger on the sea, in the air and on the land might be back with them.
The work of the Council in war-time was concerned chiefly with those things that went towards the safety of the citizens the A.R.P., the fire service and the A.F.S. and they rejoiced that they had many men and women who had willingly volunteered and were rendering efficient service to their fellow townsmen. They hoped and trusted that their services would not be required, but if hostilities reached the town he did not think Rushden would be behind-hand in protecting its citizens.
“In these times,” continued Mr. Allen, “we have to consider the question of wise economy. I do not think the Council wants to overstep expenditure in various directions, but I think it is the duty of the Council to maintain the services which are essential to the town and not allow them to get behind so that we have to catch up at the end of the war with the things that have regard to the health of the people. The services in which we cannot economise are the health services I do hope they will be kept in efficient condition, as they have been in the past.”
Proposing Councillor Cox for the vice-chair, Councillor Capon said that Mr. Cox was well known in the town, particularly for his tremendous enthusiasm in the cause of the hospital and kindred organisations. His nomination would find favour not only in the Council room but among the citizens of the town at large.
Councillor Sawford, seconding, said he had had the good fortune to sit under Mr. Cox on several committees and had always found him a fine, able and genial chairman.
Councillor Spencer said he thought Mr. Cox was an ideal man for the position. A man who had given an immense amount of time for the alleviation of suffering was worthy of the honour.
Mr. Cox expressed his readiness for “any little duties,” and wished the Chairman good health, adding the hope that at the end of the twelve months the Council would be meeting in calmer and happier circumstances.
Her Old Work
In the election of committees Miss W. M. Clipson was appointed to the Library Committee, Councillor Weale referring to the valuable service she gave for many years before the re-organisation of this committee. The other co-opted members, Messrs. E. Freeman and W. C. Tarry, were reappointed.
The new chairman went on to the War Emergency Committee in place of Mr. Sugars, and at the suggestion of Dr. Davies, who thought it would be well to strengthen the committee with more men who served in the last war, Councillor Weale was appointed as an additional member.
Councillor Spencer gave notice to move that the Council committees should revert to their old hour of meeting seven o’clock. He pointed out that 7.30 was not the most favourable time during certain periods of the year under war-time conditions.
When Councillors Roe and Waring were reappointed to the Mid-Northants Town Planning Committee, Councillor Capon said he understood they were both gentlemen of leisure. Mr. Roe, whose exchanges of banter with Mr. Capon are quite frequent nowadays, replied that if Mr. Capon put in the same number of hours as he did, he did well.
Councillors Allebone and Green and Mr. Joseph Hornsby were re-elected as members of the Wellingborough Area Assessment Committee.
A Labour of Love
In view of Councillor Spencer’s recent retirement from the Wellingborough Guardians Committee the result of his wife’s ill-health Councillor Green moved that an appreciation of Mr. Spencer’s work during the last 10 years be recorded on the minutes. The resolution was carried, Councillor Waring testifying that Mr. Spencer’s knowledge of the cases had been most valuable.
Mr. Spencer replied that he had taken a great interest in the work. It was a labour of love a work that needed people with big hearts who had a great feeling towards others.
The new committees are as follows :-
Finance and Estates. The Chairman with Messrs. Allebone, Capon, Cox, Green, Richardson, Sawford, Sugars and Weale.
Health and Sanitary. The Chairman with Messrs. Bailey, Davies, Green, Paragreen, Richardson, Sugars, Weale, and Mrs. Muxlow.
Plans, Highways and Lighting. The Chairman with Messrs. Allebone, Capon, Davies, George, Roe, Sawford, Sugars, Swindall and Waring.
Housing. The Chairman with Messrs. Bailey, Cox, Green, Paragreen, Richardson, Spencer, Swindall and Mrs. Muxlow.
Baths, Parks and Hall. The Chairman with Messrs. Davies, George, Green, Roe, Sawford, Spencer, Swindall and Waring.
Rating and Valuation. The Chairman with Messrs. Bailey, Capon, Cox, George, Paragreen, Roe, Sugars, Waring and Weale.
Library. The Chairman with Messrs. Allebone, Cox, Davies, Spencer, Waring and Mrs. Muxlow, together with Messrs. Freeman and Tarry and Miss W. M. Clipson.
Air Raid Precautions and War Emergency. The Chairman with Messrs. Capon, Green, Sawford and Weale.
Carnival Proposed - Council Supports Motor Club in Charity Enterprise
A letter from Mr. Sidney Hawkes, president of the Query Motor Club, asked the Council to approve and authorise the calling of a town’s meeting on April 29 to consider organising a united charity fete and parade on or about June 22. The object would be to raise money for the Serving Men’s Parcels Fund and several other charities, and Mr. Hawkes mentioned that he had approached several gentlemen of the town, of whose full support he was assured. Under war conditions, he added, the public might be expected to give wholehearted support, especially as the primary war fund would be a beneficiary.
Councillor Capon promptly proposed that a meeting be called. It was, he said, eminently desirable that they should have such a fete and he was quite sure the few hundred pounds they would raise would be very useful, particularly to the funds mentioned in the letter.
Councillor Cox seconded. It might be felt in some quarters, he said, that this was not quite the time to make a flash show, but he was sure they could leave all the details to the Query Club and the committees, and that a fete would be well patronised this summer.
It was decided to call a meeting on April 29.
Mr. Green : I take it that the meeting will be well advertised?
The Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) : The usual procedure will be taken for calling the meeting together.
Mr. Hawkes attended the Council meeting and was welcomed by the chairman, who said the whole town appreciated the work the Query Motor Club was doing in raising money for the various charity organisations.
Members in attendance were Councillors J. Allen, T. W. Cox, E. A. Sugars, A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., F. Green, R. W. Davies, Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. Spencer, J.P., J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford and J. T. Richardson.