The Rushden Temperance Society was formed in 1840 and owed much to the enthusiasm of Mr. Whittemore,

minister of the Rushden Old Baptist Church, who arranged for the Rev. J. Jenkinson , of Kettering, to deliver a temperance lecture.  The outcome of this was that fifteen people, led by the pastor, signed the pledge.

“We voluntarily agree to abstain from all intoxicating liquors except for medicinal purposes and in a Religious Ordinance.”

The Temperance Hall was built in 1868 and was opened with a sermon being preached.  During the following years the Wesleyans and the Salvation Army members rented the building at various times.

The Reform Act of 1867 gave the working class men the vote so it was thought necessary that the men should be educated in order to be able to vote wisely.  The population was increasing rapidly and the voluntary societies and the small private schools could not provide enough school places. The people were becoming aware that education was very important in an industrial society but at the time there was a lot of conflict between the Church Schools and the State Schools and when the Education Bill was passed in 1870 an application was made to form a School Board in Rushden but this was not successful.  In 1870 a National School was established, sponsored by Canon Barker and made possible by the gift of land by Mr. Sartoris.  Not to be out-done the non-sectarians started a voluntary school using the Temperance Hall as its premises.  This school was called “The General School,” and amongst those on the management were the Rev. R. E. Bradfield, Mr. Samuel Knight, junr., Mr. George Denton, Mr. William Colson, and Mr. Hadyn Packwood.  The school ran for about 5 years until the new school in Alfred Street was built.

The National School
The school opened on 8 April 1872 with 59 pupils mostly boys.  The children didn’t seem to need much of an excuse to stay away according to these extracts from the school log book for that year:-
 
June 19 A very heavy shower of rain at 2pm, consequently several of the scholars were late, and a few were absent all the afternoon.
Jul 5 Owing to Temperance Festivals and village annual Feast also being celebrated in the neighbouring villages, the attendance this week has been very bad, many of the scholars have been absent all the week, others have only attended about half the time. The number on the books is 92 and the average for the week only 64·4.
Sept 9 Resumed duty this morning, the number present being 59.
Oct 4 Remarkably cold all day. Gave the children exercise for 10 min (before commencing work in the morning) in marching, clapping, singing &c, after which they said they were much more comfortable, and could begin to work.
Oct 30 Very wet this morning – many of the children absent.

 

By 1879, and for the next three years the hall was being used for auctions.

Wellingborough News, 8 February 1879

Result of sale:-  PROPERTY SALE—Thirteen cottages and out-buildings were sold by auction by Messrs. Pendered and Son, in the Temperance Hall, on the 31st ult. The property, which is copyhold and known as Bayes’ Yard, realised £700. Mr. John Sargeant, jun., was the purchaser.

 Also, on 4 March, 1882 –

FREEHOLD AND COPYHOLD COTTAGES

Will sell by auction, at the Temperance Hall, Rushden, on Thursday Evening, March 9, 1882, at 5.30 precisely, subject to the usual conditions, in two Lots:-

LOT 1 – Two substantial and newly brick-built and slated cottages, with bay windows, situate in Alfred-street, Rushden, each having a 17ft. Frontage, and containing 5 rooms, pantry, coal cellar, wash-house, workshop, closet, and water cistern, and side entrance to yard and garden.

Alfred Street, Rushden
Alfred Street School
When the Public Hall was built in 1882 the Temperance Hall was sold.  During the following years it became a furniture shop, a leather store, and a carpenter’s shop.

The Rushden Branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association was formed in 1892 and after outgrowing several premises, when the Temperance Hall again came on the market in 1906 they purchased it at a cost of £450 from Mr. John Newman of Kettering.  The total cost, with renovations and furnishing, was nearly £1,000.  The renovations were carried out under the direction of Mr. H. Adnitt (architect) by Messrs. Harrison and Winsor (builders) and Mr. A. T. Nichols (decorator).   It was opened on 2 April 1907 by Lady Dorothy Howard.

By the early 1960s the Hall was empty and since then has been used as a store, a car showroom and is now a car accessories store.

The Temperance Hall in 2018

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