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The Town in 1926

Duck Street
is one of the oldest streets, and was once on the main road from London. From the town boundary on the Bedford Road the road now goes to the Bypass.

In earlier times it came towards the Church, then dropped down into the valley, Duck Street, and on followed the Sidney Brook, and out to the junction of three parishes, Irchester, Rushden, and Irthlingborough.

When the railways came, a station was required where ever the line crossed a main road, and this was where Ditchford Station was built. There was no parish, just a very old bridge and a mill.

The growth of transport meant that traders could supply large areas, and shoemaking was now well established and drawing in people from the surrounding villages, and by 1890 the shoetrade was now supplying Army Boots, some for Boer War soldiers. By 1926 the map below was drawn, showing each building, and the growth was evident.

Alfred Street Schools lemon
Alfred Street yellow
Almshouses pale brown
Blousic Farm mauve
Church Street turquoise
College Street blue
Corby's leather works mid blue
Duck Street red
Fitzwilliam Street pink
John Street green
Thrift Cottages dark brown

The large boot factory of John Cave is on the north side of College Street.

Map 1926
Bottom right corner is 'Church Green' now memorial gardens, and on the other side of the road, Home Close and Wm Claridge's factory and home, with trees shown in his garden. Facing the trees was the old gas works.
The white area is now St Mary's Avenue, shown as a lane, and St Margaret's Avenue.

Rushden Echo, 26th February 1926, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Rapidly Goes Ahead
More New Shops in High Street
Increased Civic Powers?

The building of business premises in Rushden is proceeding at an unprecedented pace. Following the descent on the town of Messrs Woolworth’s emporium (to which we recently exclusively referred), there are to be coincidental changes which include another firm coming to Rushden. Side by side with the new Woolworth building will be new premises which will transform the unsightly boarded-in hollow which has long faced up Queen-street. Thus High-street is looking to its laurels against the rival claims of Rectory-road, mentioned in this paper not long ago.

The new branch premises will be those of the Sketchley Dye Works, and, on the same plot of ground, will be a new shop owned by the Maypole Dairy Co., whose present building at the bottom of Orchard-place, like that of Messrs Hooton, has to be vacated because of expiry of the lease.

Rushden is now, more definitely than ever, progressing faster that its larger neighbour, Wellingborough. Messrs Hooton are hoping to be in full swing with the business in their new and much larger shop next to the Post Office in a week or two, and at the height of the summer (according to chronology and not climatic vagaries!) the Woolworth emporium is expected to be in full working order, attracting residents of Wellingborough and surrounding towns and villages to Rushden. Messrs Yarde & Co, the Northampton seed merchants, already have a flourishing branch in this vicinity.

If the enterprise of big business firms is an officially-acknowledged criterion of development of the body corporate, the long-cherished dream of Mr John Spencer, J.P., for a full Petty Sessional Court at Rushden, and other facilities for the followers and breakers of the law, should soon be conceded by the powers to whom such ordinances are possible.

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