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Articles and photos by Paul Wright, April 2023
New Look High Street?

It was April 2023, and builders were making a start on a change of use to the former Lloyds bank near to Boots the chemist in the High Street.

It did seem rather strange when I asked the workmen what it was going to be used for; they seemed to want to ask me what I would prefer it to be?

Not that this was going to be a survey to influence the shape of Rushden High Street for years to come.

One of the more cheeky chaps did make a few suggestions, some of which were not for displaying on this page.

My more guarded reply was that we don't need another barber's shop, nail bar, or charity shop surely? So at that moment in time, we would have to carry on to 'watch that space'.

That particular team of men, said they were employed to strip the building out, and maybe they genuinely did not know the actual future use?

A couple weeks further on, and I did ask the same question to a chap fitting UPVC windows at the side of the building, he seemed to be in the same position as the first group of workers. And claimed not to know who, or for what he was working towards.

I had spoken to other people in the High Street, and reckoned they were not kept up to speed with this mystery establishment. But had observed certain tell tale signs of shop fitting equipment. But let's not jump to too many conclusions at that stage.

Why all this secrecy? Nothing could be that taboo surely, but it was all rather hush-hush it would appear.

So fast forward by four weeks and I could now tell you just what all the mystery was about, as we moved in to mid May 2023.

Brace yourselves, as we can now reveal it is going to be another 'Barber's shop'. What a surprise I can imagine some people exclaiming. Certainly can't be any demand for another one, surely the longer established places can cope?

Further down the High Street one of the recent Barbers shops has been and gone; previously that building had been a shoe shop, and at one stage a place selling musical equipment. 

And that is now sporting the name of 'Rushden Home Decor', situated over the road to West End DIY.

The shop next to Hamblin Court

As yet I have not seen the doors open, so what is happening exactly I am at a loss for now? [see below in June]

West End DIY took up home in the infamous West End Club building. The company have numerous stores across a wide area, stretching from Rushden, Kettering, Northampton, Wellingborough, and out to the Fens in the town of Chatteris. The Seasons Garden Centre in Burton Latimer is part of the group too.

A survey in 2023 by the Northants ET did state unsurprisingly that Rushden High Street did have a high proportion of businesses associated to keeping various parts of our anatomy in shape etc.

June 2023

Where does one start? And what can we say about the High Street in 2023?

A sign next door to the former Feathers public house, proclaims that Rushden is in the 'heart of the Nene Valley', but listening to some of the accents, I would not blame anyone for making an assumption that it had moved to the Carpathian mountains these days.

former Feather's Inn
Former Feathers Pub.

So many commercial premises are now boarded up and empty, with signs stating that they are “For Sale, or To Let.”

more closures
Mac's key cutting, closed.

“Mac’s” key cutting and shoe repairer has closed, this was next door to the Oriental Gourmet. Opposite side of the High Street is signage saying “Europe Food” [in the forner WH Smith shop] plus, this is next door to “Thing-Me-Jigz, which is still open and going strong.

now opened
Opened Summer 2023 having been shuttered for more than two months....

Several units have names on the frontage, but do not really look like any sort of activity is going on?

Like this shop next to Coffee Tavern Lane ..............

These shutters seem to have been there since February but now the facia board shows RUSHDEN FOOD CENTRE and it will supply:-

Off Licence, Organic Products, Grocery - fruit/veg, Bakery,
Halal butcher and International food.

This is a snap shot of Rushden High Street in the Summer of 2023.

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