|The Rushden Echo & Argus, transcribed by Gill & Jim Hollis
Wartime in Rushden - November & December 1940
1st November 1940
“Jim Crow” Looks Out On Rushden
“Jim Crow,” complete with binoculars and telephone, will soon be perched aloft in Rushden. His nest believed to be the first of its kind in the town is almost ready for him, and can be seen high upon the roof of a three-storey factory in York-road.
The crows nest represents the enterprise of Messrs. Bignell’s, Ltd., boot manufacturers, and is intended to safeguard 600 workers in their Rushden group of factories and offices. The York-road factory occupies one of the highest points in the town, to which its own height adds about 40 feet, so that the spotting post commands a clear view in all directions and should be ideal for the detection of any raiding plane.
Built across the ridge of the roof, “Jim’s” residence is approached by ladders and through narrow openings in the third floor ceiling and the roof itself. It is larger than would be supposed, and a wonderful place for fresh air, though one portion is covered for shelter in rough weather.
The alarm system not yet installed will give instant warning to the York-road factory at the pressing of a button and to the central offices in Carnegie-street by special telephone line. The pressing of another button at the central switchboard will then complete the signal, enabling the employees to take shelter in a few moments.
Mr. Oswald Lawrence, who is in charge of the scheme, told the “Echo and Argus” that it is intended always to have two men on duty in the crow’s nest while the factories are open. They will work in two-hour shifts, one on the look-out and the other standing by, and as far as possible a young man and an older man will be teamed together, thus combining the alertness of youth with the steady judgment of mature years.
Having taken a roof-spotter’s course at Northampton, Mr. Lawrence is now training about 20 employees for the work, and finds them keen and receptive.
An “Echo and Argus” reporter who visited the nest on Wednesday looked out on a magnificent view of the town.
A slight haze limited the vista to the town itself, but on a clear day it is possible to see both Irthlingborough and Wellingborough.
Messrs. Bignells will introduce similar measures in the other towns where they have factories, and the building of the Kettering crow’s nest has just begun. Messrs. Swindall and Sons have built the one at Rushden.
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th November 1940, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Benefits of Cheap Milk Scheme - How the System Operates in Rushden and Higham Area
The National Milk Scheme is no more a charitable organisation than is the education system of this country. Every child under five years of age, together with every expectant and nursing mother, is entitled, as a right and not as a charity, to receive daily one pint of milk for twopence, whilst those whose parents’ means do not exceed 40s. a week (27s 6d. if only one parent) plus 6s for every person entirely dependent upon them, are entitled to receive the same quantity free of charge.
Unfortunately, such a scheme must involve some form filling, but so far as the public are concerned, this has been made very simple. One of the parents or prospective parents should obtain from the Milk Officer at the Food Office in the district in which he lives a form of application. Having filled up this form and obtained one necessary signature of a responsible person, he has merely to drop it into the nearest post box.
In due course he will receive by post a form headed “Permit for the supply of milk.” He will be directed thereon to hand one portion of it to his milkman; on the Sunday after he has complied with this direction his supply of milk at the reduced charge will commence. Once a month the milkman will ask him to sign a receipt for the quantity of milk he has received during the previous month. That is all that is necessary to secure the valuable benefits of the scheme up to the end of the quarter. Two or three weeks before the end of the quarter he should obtain and complete a fresh application form for the continuance of supplies during the next quarter.
Selecting the Grade
At its inception the National Milk Scheme, which provides milk on advantageous terms for consumption by the very young, extended only to the supply of ordinary milk. It was soon recognised, however, that many people sought greater benefit to their children by using only special grades of milk, and these children were, therefore, debarred from receiving any benefit under the scheme. In order that any child, under five years of age, may derive the full benefits of the scheme and still have the grade of milk to which it was accustomed, the authorities now allow parents to make special arrangements between themselves and their suppliers whereby they undertake to pay the difference in price themselves.
In organising the National Milk Scheme it was realised that some children under 12 months of age could not assimilate ordinary cow’s milk.
It was therefore arranged that when a doctor recommended that liquid milk should be replaced by a “dried milk” parents should be able to obtain such milk under the scheme. A standard preparation named “National Dried Milk” was produced, and in recommended cases this will be supplied by milk officers direct to the parents. For full particulars of the national scheme for both liquid and dried milk application should be made to the local milk officer at :
Swanspool, Wellingborough, for Wellingborough and Rushden Districts.
7 Market-square, (back entrance), Higham Ferrers, for Higham Ferrers District.
The Rushden Echo & Argus 6th December 1940, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden’s Busy Needleworkers
Work For Hospitals, Troops and Civilians
Wonderful Record of Red Cross Supply Depot
This is an appropriate time for a survey of the work of the Rushden Red Cross Hospital Supply Depot (in connection with the Women’s Voluntary services), the number of socks made for the Services has lately passed 1,000 pairs; garments made for the Services and civilians have topped the 500, and last week the number of hospital swabs and bandages soared into five figures.
Here is the depot’s war work in figures:-
Hospital supplies :- 5,886 gauze swabs (in sizes up to 9in. by 17in.), 2,530 theatre swabs or “snowballs,” 512 eye pads, 260 theatre dressings, 252 surgeons’ masks, 496 many-tailed bandages, 109 triangular bandages, 117 roller bandages; total 10,162.
Knitted articles: 1,140 pairs of socks, 410 helmets, 171 scarves, 7 cap comforter scarves, 124 pairs of gloves, 380 pairs of mittens, 5 pairs of cuffs, 4 pairs of seaboot stockings, 17 cardigans, 31 pullovers with sleeves, 82 sleeveless pullovers, 23 civilian pullovers, cardigans and vests, 26 knitted quilts, 16 pairs of bedsocks, 35 pairs of operation stockings; total, 2,471.
Sewn articles: 98 pairs of pyjamas, 4 dressing gowns, 39 day shirts, 12 night shirts, 39 nightdresses, 9 pairs of drawers, 32 tropical vests, 37 bed jackets, 6 surgeons’ coats, 3 “helpless case” shirts, 133 hospital treasure bags, 91 ambulance pillows, 11 hot bottle covers; total, 505.
The depot held its first working meeting on September 26, 1939, having appointed Mrs. W. Robinson as honorary organiser and Miss D. M. Putman as honorary secretary; and Tuesday afternoon at the B.W.T.A. Hall has since become a regular feature in the life of most of the members of the Women’s Voluntary Services.
Supplies of wool and material are received regularly from the county headquarters through the Area Correspondent, Mrs. A. S. Campbell, of Wellingborough, but these supplies have had to be supplemented week by week by many bales of wool and rolls of material bought in the town itself. Almost all the gauze, cotton wool and calico used for the swabs and bandages has been purchased in this way.
The making of swabs and bandages, and such special articles as eye pads and surgeons’ masks, is under the skilled supervision of Mrs. Strudwick. The cutting out of all garments to be sewn, which vary from small children’s nightdresses to large men’s pyjamas, is superintended by Mrs. M. Walker. These nightdresses and the small boys’ shirts and pyjamas are sadly needed at the moment for civilian casualties, and the depot is now making nightdresses and blanket bed jackets for injured women.
Help From The Home
Welcome gifts have been received and money has been raised in many devious ways, but a word of mention must be given to the members of the Tea Committee, led by Mrs. S. Clark, who, by selling tea and a bun at 3d. a head, have made over £21 profit for the funds. A tribute is also due to the numerous workers at home who every week knit a pair of socks, a helmet, and sometimes a pullover, or make up a pair of pyjamas and bring it or send it in by a friend with unfailing regularity. In this group fall many workers, young and old, connected with the churches and chapels of Rushden. The Rushden Intermediate School has done splendid work, and the articles knitted by the senior girls, under Mrs. Hensman’s direction, are often used as models of how things should be done.
The vast majority of the work done goes, of course, to headquarters for redistribution to Northamptonshire regiments and Northamptonshire men in other branches of the Services; but in answer to a recent special appeal from a searchlight regiment composed mostly of local men, whose work exposes them to severe cold and strain, 72 pairs of socks and smaller quantities of gloves and mittens have been sent, and it is hoped to send other knitted comforts as soon as possible.
For the Rushden First Aid Post the depot has made 146 bandages of various kinds, roller, triangular, and many-tailed, and 2,560 swabs. In addition, 91 ambulance pillows have been made and filled for use at the Post, and more hot bottle covers are now being made. Supplies of swabs and bandages have been sent to such outlying districts as the Court Estate and Newton Bromshold. Two reserve stores have been deposited in different parts of Rushden itself, and a third is being prepared for the Irchester-road and Highfield district.
|The Rushden Echo & Argus 13th December 1940, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Council Report on Shelters
Shopping Hours at Christmas
No Decision Yet on Communal Feeding
A further report on the shelters question was received at the Rushden Urban Council meeting on Wednesday, when the business of the evening was completed in eleven minutes.
The War Emergency Committee reported that the plans for three 50 person air raid shelters had been approved and the contract given to Messrs. R. C. Tann, of Finedon, at £493 11s 6d. Permission had been given by the owners for the sites in Wellingborough-road to be used, and the site at the corner of Higham-road and Washbrook-road had been requisitioned by the County Council.
Plans for altering and strengthening basements in High-street and Church-street had been delayed owing to the busy state of the Surveyor’s office, but were now almost complete.
The committee also reported on their scheme for strengthening houses and building domestic and communal shelters, particulars of which have already been announced.
In addition the Surveyor has been instructed to prepare a scheme for the provision of communal shelters.
Presenting this report, Councillor Capon observed that the shelters question had been ventilated in the Press.
On the proposition of Councillor Roe, seconded by Councillor Sawford, it was agreed to ask the County Council for the suspension of the Shops (Hours of Closing) Order on the four weekdays (Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday) previous to Christmas Day.
Councillor Roe said he had made a few inquiries of the shopkeepers, and they all agreed that they should try to get some extension of hours.
Councillor Waring : Would the shopkeepers be able to keep open until midnight if they wished to?
The Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) : Yes.
The Chairman (Councillor J. Allen) : I don’t suppose they would do so.
Some business taken in committee last month was disclosed on the minutes, these revealing that on the advice of the Regional Commissioner the Council decided to recruit seven full-time firemen, whose wages of £3 5s. per week each will be reimbursed by the Home Office.
The Housing Committee reported that a house in Boundary-avenue had been let to Mr. F. L. Dodd, formerly of 5 West-street. Minor repairs had been made to a few houses in Irchester-road.
Rent arrears (£44 16s. 9d.) were the lowest ever recorded.
A serious case of overcrowding at 36 Tennyson-road was reported.
Councillor Capon informed the Council that the proportion of rate collected up to November 30 70.8 per cent. was the best for many years.
A letter from the Rotary Club enquired whether the two pairs of houses partly erected in Wymington-road by the Fleet Construction Co. could be completed by the Council who would be more able to obtain supplies of materials for use by evacuees.
Although the Council has no power to purchase or take over such houses it was agreed to support any application by the owners for permission to complete the work, on condition that the houses would be available for evacuees or persons rendered homeless.
The resignation of the Chief Air Raid Warden (Mr. C. H. Clark), who is resuming military service, was received by the War Emergency Committee. The Clerk was instructed to reply that, while congratulating Mr. Clark on his patriotism, the Council regretted that he would no longer be able to continue in the office he had held so long and with such distinction, and offered him grateful thanks and best wishes.
Subject to approval by the Ministry of Health it was decided to grant £20 towards the expenses of the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Councillor Capon and the Rev. F. E. Bromage were appointed as Welfare Officers, who will be concerned with the welfare of persons rendered temporarily homeless after air raids.
Plots at the rear of St. Mary’s-avenue have been allocated to four applicants for allotment ground.
The W.E.C. consider that there is no great demand in Rushden for community kitchens, but before making a decision they have asked for a Ministry of Food officer to visit the town.
Building plans were : Two air raid shelters at factory in Collage-street, Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Ltd.; garage, John-street, Messrs. F. Corby, Ltd.; addition to Boy Scouts’ headquarters, Skinner’s-hill; addition to cowhouse, off Hayway, Mr. John White.
In connection with A.R.P. arrangements Messrs. Bignells, Ltd., were authorised to run an overhead cable between their York-road and Crabb-street factories.
It was agreed to take advantage of the Emergency Public Health Laboratory Service and make an annual grant of £5 5s. towards the work.
The Council agreed to let their small-pox hospital to the East Northamptonshire Joint Isolation Hospital Board on a yearly tenancy.
During November the following waste materials were collected : Paper, 10 tons; crushed tins, 4 tons 4 cwt.; light scrap iron, 2 tons 10 cwt.; rags, 7 cwt. 2 qtrs.; bones, 11 cwt.; bottles, 144 dozen. The value was £46 16s., but the paper remains unsold, as the mills cannot take deliveries.
Chairman’s Bright View
Offering greetings for Christmas and the New Year, the chairman said he hoped that next year would be a better one for them. “I think,” he added, “the signs are very favourable at present that next year will be a brighter year for us.”
Members in attendance were Councillors J. Allen, J.P. (in the chair), T. W. Cox (vice-chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., F. Green, Dr. R. W. Davies, Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars and J. T. Richardson.
The Rushden Echo & Argus 20th December 1940, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Has The Christmas Spirit
Gifts for Troops, Children and Necessitous Residents
Evacuees in Luck
Rushden is already very much in the grip of the Christmas spirit, and amid the seasonable activities there is special thought for the evacuee children.
A grant from the L.C.C. has been received through the Clerk of the Urban Council, and enabled all the visiting schoolchildren to attend a special show at the Ritz Cinema to-day (Friday), the management of the cinema giving willing co-operation.
There is also a Christmas-box of 1s 3d for each evacuee child distributed at the schools to 936 scholars and by the W.V.S. to 334 children under school age.
Rushden Rotary Club, with the assistance of the young people’s brigades, has been collecting toys, and the club is taking a particular interest in the children of Service men. Between 500 and 600 were given in answer to the appeal, and the young people who collected them have helped to prepare them for disposal.
Next Tuesday the Rotarians will give a party at the Legion Hall for 175 children of Rushden Service men and the mothers too can go if they wish. A fairy has promised to distribute toys from a Christmas tree, and Mr. Ernest Elliott, of Market Harborough, will entertain. Rotarians’ wives are undertaking the catering.
Mr. Arthur Neal, the president, mentions that if anybody knows of a Rushden child who is not likely to receive a Christmas toy, the club will be pleased to receive an intimation. The remaining toys will be presented to evacuee children.
The Town Social Service Fund, of which Councillor W. E. Capon is secretary, has arranged for more than 300 residents to receive vouchers for groceries, coal and meat. These welcome presents will be delivered at the week-end by the ministers of the town, each covering a given district.
A hospital Boxing Day role has been undertaken by the Y.M.C.A., and clubs, churches and business firms have many “remembrance” schemes in hand.
Message to “Boys”
With the Christmas gifts of 5s. sent out by the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund goes a seasonable message from the townspeople. “Rushden,” it says, “is proud of the men and women who in its name are defending the cause of freedom. We have great confidence in you and in the final outcome of our common effort.”
More than 1,000 Postal Orders are being distributed, and to save expense they are being transmitted through relatives. Serving men on leave may obtain their gifts, if they have not already arrived, by calling on Mr. E. Bennett, of Co-operative-row, the secretary.