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The Rushden Echo, 14th February, 1936, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

Regalia Presented To Rushden Council

Mr. Allebone’s Gift of Chairman’s Chain

Fire Chief Resigns

Contract Question Of Carters’ Wages

  A silver-gilt chain of office given by Mr. Arthur Allebone, J.P., C.C., for the use of future Chairmen made a surprise appearance after the Rushden Urban District Council’s meeting on Wednesday and was placed, despite the donor’s protests, on the shoulders of Mr. Allebone himself, Mr. John Spencer, J.P., the oldest member, performing the ceremony.

  No hint of the presentation had been given outside the Council circle, but it was disclosed that the idea of a civic chain was discussed some months ago when the proposal to adopt a coat of arms for the town (afterwards abandoned on the ground of expense) was before the members.

  The chain is of handsome design and bears a jewel on which the Council’s monogram in blue and red on a white enamel background is encircled by the inscription : “Chairman, The Urban District of Rushden.”  A smaller inscription reads: “Presented by Arthur Allebone, Esq., J.P., C.C., Chairman of the Council 1935-36, 12th February, 1936.”  There are 25 medallions on which the names of future chief citizens will be inscribed.

  The chain was produced by the Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) for inspection by the members, and a suggestion by Mr. Perkins that the present Chairman should use it was taken up generally, and with special emphasis on the part of Mr. Richardson.

  Mr. Allebone demurred, saying that the chain had been provided for future chairmen.  In reply to further persuasions he declared “The Council meeting is over, gentlemen.”

  At the suggestion of Mr. Perkins, however, the members called upon Mr. Spencer, as the oldest member, to decorate the Chairman forthwith, and Mr. Allebone could object no longer.

The Intention

  “It is with pleasure that I place this chain upon our Chairman,” said Mr. Spencer.  “I am sure it is very nice and will improve his appearance and be of value for the use of the various chairmen for years to come.  I notice there is a place to put the names on, and I think that is a very nice thing.”

  The members applauded the ceremony, and Mr. Allebone, replying said that the idea first arose when Mr. Capon suggested that Rushden should have a coat of arms.  Members thought something should be done to distinguish the Chairman of the Council, and now they had the chain he hoped it would have the desired effect.

  Mr. Richardson, who is the Vice-Chairman and therefore the Chairman-elect, observed: “Mr. Allebone had intended that I should be the first wearer of the chain, but I think it is quite right that he should be, and I am very glad it has been done.”

  On the proposition of Mr. Allen, seconded by Mr. Perkins, it was decided that the ceremony should be recorded on the minutes.


  The ordinary business of the Council included a discussion on carters’ wages, and the resignation of the Fire Brigade captain, an extension of Mr. John White’s bandstand gift, proposals for new dressing rooms at the swimming bath, and a sequel to the January road outcry.

  Mr. Sugars interposed on a resolution from the Highways Committee authorising the surveyor to obtain tenders for team labour for carting and stipulating a minimum wage of 35s. a week.

  “I see the minimum wage is to be 35s. a week,” said Mr. Sugars. “Is the committee quite assured that this is in keeping with what is done by urban authorities similar to our own in population?  Does that meet the minimum required?”

  Mr. Wilmott: There is no minimum wage for that class of labour, and we agreed with the Health and Sanitary Committee to fix it at 35s.

Wages And Rates

  Mr. Sugars: I think you will agree that it is rather low, and I am sure the Council doesn’t want the wage kept down for the sake of keeping the rates down.

  Mr. Sugars then referred to the schedule of the Local Authorities’ Non-Trading Services (Manual Workers), which specifies a rate of 10½d. per hour for road and general labourers and carters in urban districts with populations between 10,000 and 15,000.

  “If we had been 15,000 it would have been another ½d. an hour,” he said.  “I am sure we as a Council would like to be on a par with other urban authorities.”

  Mr. Wilmott: The statement wage for labourers is 30s.  There is no statement for this class.

  Mr. Sugars moved a reference back to committee.

  Mr. Allen: On a point of order, is the Council actually responsible for this payment of wages; is it not the contractors who are responsible?

  The Chairman: Yes, it is the contractors.  We simply contract for the carting of this material, but it is within the province of the Council to stipulate what shall be paid in respect of this team labour.  If the Council agrees to put any figure in, it is entitled to do so as long as the contractor knows before he contracts.

Hours Of Work

  Dr. Greenfield wished to know how many days or hours per week the contractor put in on the Council work.  It seemed better, he said, that they should stipulate that when the men were employed on the Council work they were paid so much an hour.

  The Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) said the men ordinarily worked eight hours a day and four hours on Saturday.

  Dr. Greenfield: But are they engaged on carting the whole of the week?

  The Surveyor: Oh, yes.

  Mr. Allen seconded the reference back “in order that we may explore what is the correct rate of wages for labour of this description.”

  Mr. Perkins: I think we had a list before us stating what these contractors did pay, and we chose the highest, I believe.  Probably that 10½d. per hour refers to the ordinary workpeople of the Council who have to dig trenches in the streets now and again, and that must be fairly hard work compared with leading a horse round the town.

  The Chairman: I think this must be discussed by the committee, and then it will come to us again.

  The proposal to refer the point back to the Highways Committee was carried.

  A similar point in regard to labour for scavenging occurred in the report of the Health and Sanitary Committee.

  Mr. Perkins stated: “We asked for the amount that has been paid by other authorities, and took the highest, but if it is the wish of the Council that this should be put back, I will withdraw it.”

  This course was agreed to.

Bandstand Surround

Mr. White’s Further Gift

  The Parks Committee reported that Mr. John White, who is presenting the town with a bandstand at the Hall, would also bear the expense of a surround, the plans of which were approved.

  Grateful thanks were extended to Mr. White for this further act of generosity.

  Dr. Greenfield said that when Mr. White so generously gave the bandstand the committee felt that the turf round about the stand would inevitably become worn away.  They therefore considered paving a considerable space.  Now Mr. White had most generously included the paving with the bandstand, and the town would be very grateful indeed to him for enlarging his gift and making the bandstand so thoroughly beautiful, as they were sure it would be.

  A letter from the Mission Band inquired what arrangements it was proposed to make for the use of the new Hall bandstand, and the Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) was instructed to reply that the bands would, as before, be asked to meet and arrange their own dates.

Bath Improvement?

  Having met at the swimming bath to consider the Surveyor’s plan to widen the bath by 35 feet, the Parks, Baths and Hall Committee reported that in view of the great expense involved and the rarity of the occasions last year when a larger bath was desirable they did not feel able to recommend the Council to proceed with the scheme.

  A sub-committee consisting of Dr. Greenfield, the Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) and the bath attendant (Mr. T. W. Elliott) was appointed to inspect neighbouring baths with a view to the preparation of plans for better and more up-to-date dressing accommodation at Rushden.

  Dr. Greenfield said there had been a very great demand for the bath, but they had felt that next summer might not be so auspicious for bathing as the last two seasons had been.  They had found, however, that some private baths in the district, not so big as Rushden’s, had been able to deal with a great number of bathers because they had more favourable dressing accommodation.  The committee therefore hoped that by improving the dressing facilities they would improve the general accommodation.

  Dr. Greenfield intimated that the scheme under consideration would do away with the present dressing boxes.

Hanging Fire

  Minutes of the Council in committee showed that resolutions made at the January meeting had been suspended.  Mr. Allebone had reported that at a meeting of the County Council Roads and Bridges Committee he pressed for the provision of adequate footpaths in Bedford-road and Kimbolton-road.  To this the County Surveyor had replied that no provision for such work was included in the estimates, but he would be prepared to meet representatives of the Council, and discuss the whole question with them.

  In view of these statements the Council had deferred the dispatch of a letter to the Minister of Transport, calling attention to the Bedford-road danger.  They had also deferred the proposed application for delegation of road powers.

  Messrs. Richardson, Greenfield, Hornsby, Roe and Wilmott had been appointed to meet the County Surveyor.

Captain Resigns

  In a letter dated February 3 Mr. R. F. Knight wrote as follows:

  “It is with much regret that I now have to advise you that on April 1st next I shall have to resign from my position as Chief Officer of the Rushden Fire Brigade.  My only reason for taking this step is that on the above date my business will necessitate my leaving Rushden.

  “After the very long period of nearly 60 years, during which my late father and I have been associated with the Brigade, I can assure you it is a matter of very sincere regret that I now have to sever my connection with the Brigade.  It is, however, gratifying to know that on account of the foresight and generosity of the Council in supplying the Brigade with up-to-date equipment, and also the energy and enthusiasm that has always been rendered by every member of the Brigade, I am able to report to you that everything connected with the Brigade is in a very satisfactory state.

  “As stated in my report for the year 1935, there certainly is an urgent need for a new combination motor pump and escape, and if this extra equipment can be supplied, I can confidently say the Brigade will be in a position successfully to cope with any outbreak of fire which may occur.

  “I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Council, and its officers, for the kind consideration and attention that has always been given to everything pertaining the Brigade during the many years that my late father and I have been connected with it.”

  The letter was formally referred to the Fire Brigade Sub-Committee.

Houses Unfit

Owners to Meet Council

  Under the Housing Act, 1930, Nos. 69, 71, 73 and 75, Duck-street, were reported as being unfit for human habitation.  Mr. Perkins and Dr. Greenfield were asked to inspect No. 29, Duck-street.

  Mr. Perkins explained: “We have to recommend the demolition of some houses, and the owners are requested to meet the committee.”

  Mr. Hornsby said he wondered if the Cemetery Sub-Committee had had their attention called to a large elm tree close to the Cemetery Lodge.  In his opinion the tree was dangerous.  In a very high west wind it might fall down on the house and kill someone.  If he lived there he would feel nervous on a windy night.

  Mr. Allen said the Sub-Committee had considered the matter, and the Surveyor had been recommended to pull the tree down.

  The Housing Manager (Mr. H. C. Allen) reported that 129 applicants were provided with houses last year – 82 with new houses under the 1925 Act, 19 under the 1930 Act, and 28 by the filling of casual vacancies.

  The Manager explained that an increase in rent arrears was due to the Christmas holidays.

  Two tenants to whom letters of warning had been sent had failed to pay off their arrears, and the Council decided to take proceedings for possession of the houses.

Library Issues

  A Library Committee Report For The Quarter Ended December 31 Showed That 10,449 Books Were Issued, Against 9,530 For The Corresponding Part Of 1934.  There Was A Slight Reduction in the issue of books of fiction, and a large increase in the non-fiction issue.  The Librarian (Miss M. Perkins) was authorised to attend the Library Association Conference at Margate.

  Mr. Spencer said the Library was very satisfactory and was kept in very good order.

  Building plans were as follows: Two houses, Park-avenue, Messrs. A. Sanders, Ltd.; two houses, St. Peter’s-avenue, Mr. R. Marriott; house, Park-avenue, Messrs. A. Sanders, Ltd.; extensions to house, Kimbolton-road, Mr. John White; shops and flat at corner of church-street and High-street, Mr. A. e. Hill; garage, Sartoris-road, Mr. H. Knight; showroom, Wellingborough-road, Mr. F. Caswell; steel framed building, Irchester-road, Messrs. Radburne and Bennett, Ltd.; garage, Allen-road, Covallen Engineering Co.

  Purvis-road was declared a public highway repairable by the inhabitants at large.

Harborough Road

  Messrs. G. Selwood and Co. invited the Council to consider making the path from Harborough-road to Pightles-terrace suitable for vehicular traffic.  Their letter mentioned that lorries were unable to turn in Harborough-road.

  Owing to the great expense, however, the Highways Committee could make no recommendation.

  Attention was called to the dangerous state of the old building adjoining Messrs. Robinson’s garage in High-street South, and the surveyor informed the Highways Committee that he had been in communication with the owners.  Arrangements had been made for the building to be razed as soon as possible.

  Mr. Richardson was re-appointed to represent the Council on the tuberculosis After-care Sub-Committee.

  Mr. Richardson and the Clerk were appointed to represent the Council at the Urban District Councils’ Association conference at Weston-super-Mare in June.

  In consequence of the death of King George V, the Council had agreed in committee to postpone sine die the calling of a town’s meeting to organise a charity fete.

  Members in attendance were Messrs. A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., (Chairman), J. T. Richardson (Vice-Chairman), J. White, J. Roe, T. W. Cox, F. Green, D. G. Greenfield, M.D., L. Perkins, M.B.E., J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. S. Denton, A. Wilmott, J. Spencer, J.P., J. E. Dilks, W. J. Sawford, J. Hornsby and E. A. Sugars.

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