|The Rushden Echo & Argus, 3rd October, 1941, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Wartime in Rushden - October 1941
Beating the Black-Out
New Postal Arrangements for Rushden
On and from Monday, October 6th, the hours of public business at Rushden Chief Post Office will be from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
All sub-post offices will be opened not earlier than 8.30 a.m. and will be closed not later than 6.0 p.m. Midday closing periods will be announced by means of a notice at individual sub-post offices. Where, however, a later opening than 8.30 a.m., or an earlier closing than 6.0 p.m. are now in force, the arrangements will remain undisturbed.
Local posting arrangements have recently been reviewed with the object of providing services which can be maintained during the winter months under black-out conditions and which, it is hoped, will suffer no more than incidental disturbance as a result of enemy action when such action is unusually violent.
In this connection it should be noted that posting by 4.45 p.m. at Rushden Chief Office will ensure delivery of correspondence over a wide area on the day following posting by first delivery from a high proportion of the traffic.
Please Leave It
Correspondence posted in time to be handled during daylight enables mails to be despatched by the trains before darkness falls. It is, therefore, suggested that when letters cannot be posted by 4.45 p.m. the public should consider whether they cannot delay posting non-urgent and less important correspondence until early next day, so reducing the volume of traffic which has to be dealt with during the hours of darkness. Printed paper matter prepaid 1d. is a case in point, as this class of correspondence posted after 5.15 p.m. at the Head Office is already normally held over to be dealt with the next day.
Much of the sorting office work is now done by temporary women staff, and every reduction in the evening and night loads reduces the number of officers who will have to commence or complete duty during black-out hours.
The main despatches of the day from Rushden Chief Office are:-
Weekdays 4.45 and 5.45 p.m.: London (1st delivery) and major part of country. 7.30 p.m.: General evening despatch and London (supplementary).
Sundays 3.45 p.m.: General despatch, including London.
3rd October, 1941
Children’s Flowers - Midlands Town Remembers Its Raid Victims
An East Midlands town remembers to-day its first visit from the enemy a vicious daylight attack from a plane which came out of low cloud, scattered its whole load of high-explosives and incendiaries across the town, and made off without pausing to survey the results.
Seven children at their lessons in a school classroom paid the full price of modern savagery. Four men nearby also lost their lives. Men, women and more children were taken away to the first-aid post and hospital.
Yesterday the children at the school brought flowers from their own gardens Michaelmas daisies, chrysanthemums, dahlias and teachers packed the blooms into four clothes baskets. The senior class carried the flowers to the cemetery, covered five small graves with them and left on each grave their simple message: “Playmates and teachers join in an act of affectionate remembrance.”
Graves of the two other children are in a town from which the little victims had been evacuated.
This morning the full school assembled and reference to the anniversary was made in prayers.
From another building in the town flowers were sent for the graves of the men, each wreath inscribed “In grateful remembrance of our fellow employees.
10th October, 1941
New Shelters Are Reliable But Building is Suspended
Shelters, sub-letting charges, the “raid” on ironwork and the victory of Rushden A.R.P. workers in a county competition were discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the Rushden Urban District Council.
A letter from the Regional Commissioner mentioned the withdrawal of building labour to more important areas and informed the Council that there could be no allotment of labour in Rushden for shelter schemes. No further schemes could be considered and no new shelters could be started. The Council should make the best use of the time at its disposal to complete shelters already begun.
The Chairman (Councillor T. W. Cox) said the position was that shelters already begun would be completed as far as possible.
Councillor Davies asked whether the roofs of the Rushden shelters were fixed securely. In the London area, he said, some flat roofs were blown up and killed people when they came down.
The Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) said the roofs were properly anchored, and the Rushden shelters were very different from previous jobs. There was no question of the roofs blowing off.
Councillor Capon said the Clerk had been informed by the County Controller that a Rushden A.R.P. first-aid party was placed first in the competition which was held last Sunday for first-aid parties in the county. Twelve teams competed, and the Rushden party comprised Mr. E. Twelvetree (leader), Messrs. R. Jaques, J. Bass and C. Newell. Mr. H. B. Selwood (party driver), Miss D. M. Cave (casualty car driver), Mr. O. Leeding, M.M. (ambulance driver), Mrs. Waller and Miss Bayes (ambulance attendants). The win enabled the party to compete in the regional competition at Nottingham next Sunday.
“We shall naturally look to them to give a good account of themselves,” added Mr. Capon, who then moved a vote of congratulation and good wishes for the team’s endeavour at Nottingham.
The Chairman said they had always been justly proud of the A.R.P. workers in the town, and this success had added lustre to their reputation. He thought it was right and fit that the announcement should be placed as a record on the Council minutes.
The resolution was carried.
Rents and Railings
Councillor Allen asked the chairman of the War Emergency Committee whether any cases of extortionate charges in the sub-letting of rooms had come to the notice of his committee, whether any action had been taken, and what course would be adopted in reference to any future complaints.
Councillor Capon replied that one case was reported, but the committee were satisfied that in the circumstances the charge was not excessive. The Clerk was prepared to receive particulars of complaints, and if they were justified the Council had power to prosecute.
A Highways Committee report showed that the Surveyor had been instructed to arrange a survey of unnecessary iron railings, gates, etc., in the town.
Councillor Weale said he did not think anyone need be alarmed at this procedure. It was undoubtedly a very important step in obtaining war material.
That’s The Spirit
The salvage report for September showed that 6 ton 11 cwt. of paper, 6 ton 14 cwt. of tins, 1 ton 3¾ cwt. of light iron, 7¾ cwt. of bones, 2 ton 14 cwt. of kitchen waste, 84 doz. bottles and jars, and quantities of other materials had been collected. The value was £46 8s, 2d.
The Surveyor said the Hon. District Adviser wanted to increase the amount of salvage, especially paper. The returns for Rushden compared favourably with those of many towns in the area, but there was still much room for improvement. It was hoped to arrange for a Salvage Week in the near future.
Councillor Davies said the W.V.S. had again been asked to canvass on behalf of the salvage campaign, but he did not know whether they had time for it.
Mrs. Muxlow: I think the only thing I can say is that the W.V.S. never refuse a job in which they can be of service. (Hear, hear).
A member: That’s the spirit!
A report on the internal decoration of Council houses mentioned the increasing difficulty in obtaining supplies, especially of wallpaper.
The Housing Committee stated that several 11-pole plots of spare land on the Irchester-road housing estates had all been let for cultivation as garden allotments. No applications have been received for the spare land on the Newton-road estate, and the Council has asked the War Agricultural Committee to cultivate this land.
The Surveyor reported that the water in the swimming bath had been bacteriologically examined with an excellent result.
Councillor Waring said that the swimming bath had now been closed for the season. One Rushden swimmer who used the bath as much as anybody had expressed his gratitude, on behalf of himself and others, for the wonderful facilities they had enjoyed.
“It is very nice when we get a bouquet,” said Mr. Waring, “and I pass on that bouquet to Mr. Lloyd.”
Building plans were as follows: Lavatory, John-street factory, Messrs. F. Corby, Ltd.; sanitary accommodation at 21, St. Mary’s-avenue, Messrs. John White, Ltd.; garage, 47, Prospect-avenue, Mr. H. Viccars; temporary milking shed, Hayway, Mr. John White; garage, Hall-avenue, Mr. W. Bold.
The Rating Committee gave details of the latest valuations and revisions, showing a total net increase of £6. The list included eight properties which have been demolished.
Councillor George, who has been elected chairman of this committee, said he supposed that any figure which showed an increase under present day conditions would be regarded as satisfactory.
It was resolved to serve a statutory notice on the occupier of 74, St. Margaret’s-avenue in respect of an accumulation of leather bits and other waste matter.
Asked for its views on an application from the Trade Union side for Rushden to be upgraded from Grace C to Grade B, the Council agreed to inform the East Midland Joint Provincial Council of its willingness to accept the change. Subject to adoption by the Joint Provincial Council the effect will be to increase the minimum pay of all labourers employed by the Urban Council from 1s. 2d. to 1s. 2½d. per hour inclusive of bonus.
Councillor Capon emphasized that this was only a recommendation at present.
A rate of 6s. 2d. in the £ for the half-year was sealed, the Clerk announcing that it amounted to £26,490 as against £26,488 in April.
Members in attendance were Councillors T. W. Cox, J.P. (chairman), W. J. Sawford (vice-chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., F. Green, J.P., Dr. R. W. Davies, Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. Spencer, J.P., J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring and E. A. Sugars.
10th October, 1941
Rushden Women’s War Work
A meeting of the executive committee of the Rushden W.V.S. Centre was held at the Waverley Hotel last Friday afternoon. Councillor Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, Centre Organiser, presided, supported by Miss Putnam, acting as secretary.
The Centre Organiser gave a comprehensive report of the summer’s work, stating that the present membership was 329, showing a gratifying increase on the numbers for the corresponding month in 1940 and 1939, which were 235 and 108 respectively. Several younger members had resigned on joining the various Services.
The equipment and number of Rest Centres had been increased in co-operation with the County P.A. Dept. Difficulties arising between house-holders and evacuees had in many cases been smoothed out and solved by the visit of a W.V.S. member, who had called at the house on the request of the Billeting Officer. Help had been given at the “Beeches” Hostel and the Agnes Parr Babies’ Home, and with the Penny-a-Week Red Cross Scheme. Toddlers’ respirators and babies’ gas helmets had been fitted and issued each week as usual.
Work in Ballroom
Mrs. L. Perkins reported on her attendance as W.V.S. representative at meetings of the National Savings Committee. A report on the Red Cross Hospital Supply Depot and Work Party was given by Mrs. W. Robinson, who also stated that owing to the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. John White in placing their ballroom at her disposal, it would now be possible for the Rushden Depot to help with the work of garnishing camouflage netting. The continued usefulness of the Clothing Depot was reported on by Mrs. Weale, who explained the working of the clothing coupon scheme with regard to this depot.
The Individual Knitting Wool Scheme was explained, and Mrs. F. s. F. Piper was thanked for undertaking the responsibility for the issuing of these vouchers. A very successful meeting closed with a report on the work of the Canteen in which W.V.S. co-operate with the Y.M.C.A., this being given by Mrs. S. Knight.
10th October, 1941
Less Pay Than Soldiers
About 70 men in the Rushden boot factories have received notice to start work in iron quarries next Monday morning, but some of them declare bluntly that they will refuse to go except under the decision of a court of law. The complain bitterly of being required to serve their country as labourers for less money than they would receive as soldiers.
Several of the men raised their grievances at Monday’s meeting of the Rushden Branch, Boot Operatives’ Union, presided over by Alderman A. C. Allen.
One man said he had tried on eight occasions to get into the Forces, and had also had two trade tests, but was prevented from enlisting because he was in a reserved occupation. Now, on being de-reserved, he was being “pitchforked” into the quarries.
The men are offered a weekly wage of £3 5s. 11d. and are informed that travelling expenses will be paid over and above 3s. In many cases, therefore, the net income will be only £3 2s. 11d., and as no hardship allowances are available it is declared that the financial position will be inferior to that of a soldier.
Want to Serve
“They want to serve and would be better off in the Services,” Alderman Allen informed our reporter. “They all want to do something for the country, and there is no sympathy for those who just want to dodge the column, but they feel the position is unjust.”
One man who attended the meeting said he was among eight on one particular operation in his boot factory. There were three younger men, and two of them were single, whereas he was married. “Why pick on me?” was his attitude.
Another member produced his household “budget” and convinced the Union officials that he would be in debt every week on his pay as a quarry worker.
While recognising the justice of such complaints, the officials made clear that the Union could take no organised action. They added, however, that an official typewritten statement giving the impression that the employers and the Union are co-operating in the call up was not justified by the circumstances. The two parties had agreed to co-operate in a voluntary scheme under which, they understood, a man who volunteered for the quarries would be treated in exactly the same way as if he had volunteered for the Forces, but their attitude was that in the event of compulsion the Government must shoulder the whole responsibility.
10th October, 1941
24th October, 1941
Rushden’s Share of Oranges
Delegates at the Rushden and District Trades Council meeting on Tuesday declared that oranges were sold on the open market at Wellingborough, yet at Rushden it was “a struggle” to get one for the children. The secretary (Mr. R. Hawes) was instructed to write to the Wellingborough Food Officer, asking him to see that in future Rushden got a better share of such luxuries, if only for the children.
Complaint was also made that the water supply in Queen-street had been cut off twice in two days without notice to householders. The secretary was asked to communicate with the authorities.
Steps were taken for setting up a committee in partnership with the Labour Party and Co-operative Society with a view to achieving maximum results in the Help for Russia Campaign. Messrs. W. Ainge, R. Hawes, H. Morris, R. Welsford and A. Wheeler were appointed to represent the Trades Council on this committee.
A supply of forms for reporting cases of alleged profiteering was received from the North Midlands Price Regulation Committee, and it was agreed to invite the public to report cases through any of the trade unions.
Mr. C. T. Smith reported on a meeting of the South Midlands Federation of Trades Councils.
Mr. R. Welsford was in the chair, and a large number of delegates attended.
31st October, 1941
Anything above half-standard is considered fairly good in the case of paper and metals, and Rushden usually manages more that 50 per cent but why not full-standard? There must be thousands of homes where a complete turn-out in aid of the national effort has not been attempted.
The Council is now running a special Salvage Week, and the response will no doubt be proportionate to the appeal, but a much livelier conception of vital national needs will be required in the future. Rushden is very backward in the saving of bones and kitchen waste.
Council freighters and lorries are picking up all they can find at houses and business premises, and the Surveyor’s foreman reports the salvage of useful materials in quantities well above the average. If residents have not been ready to make a big effort in Salvage Week they can easily make amends next week and then continue week by week.
Higham Ferrers also is making a special salvage “drive.”