Rushden man’s ‘labour of love’ set to be published soon

Rushden Hall in Hall Park

Rushden Hall in Hall Park

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A Rushden man will see years of time and research finally come to fruition with the publication of his book about a town landmark.

Rushden Hall by Clive Wood has been a ‘labour of love’ about the history of the hall, which dates back hundreds of years.

Clive Wood with Geoff Wiggins of Rushden and District History Society and Rushden mayor Tracey Smith at the unveiling of the plaque at Rushden Hall

Clive Wood with Geoff Wiggins of Rushden and District History Society and Rushden mayor Tracey Smith at the unveiling of the plaque at Rushden Hall

The book covers the history of the building and the families who lived there, the threat of demolition and eventual restoration up until the present day.

It also includes an interview with Mrs Ripley, the daughter of the last family to live at the hall in Hall Park.

Mr Wood said he has been collecting items which have all contributed to the book for about 60 years, but it is only now that it is being published.

He said: “I first became interested in Rushden Hall when I was 15, but it has taken until now to get it published.”

The plaque at Rushden Hall

The plaque at Rushden Hall

After years of gathering items about the hall, Mr Wood started compiling all the stories, photographs and original artwork last October and he recently had a draft copy back from the publishers.

Mr Wood, who has been giving guided tours of the hall since 1965, said: “The book is about the hall’s restoration, it’s present condition and it’s whole history or as much as we could get from about 1400 up to today.

“It’s a 300-page book and includes the sale of furniture, sale of contents and sale of the estate.

“It’s never complete, but it is as complete as we can make it.

“It has been a labour of love.”

Mr Wood said he believes the hall, which featured in HE Bates’ Love For Lydia, is in ‘as good a condition now as it has been’ and is unique because it had a squire even though it was built on the edge of a town rather than in a village or more rural setting.

A plaque was recently unveiled at the hall by Mr Wood as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations for Rushden and District History Society.

It carries details of the hall’s history and the families who lived there, including the Ripley family who feature in the new book.

Mr Wood said: “It all started with Mrs Ripley’s interview of 1971, she was a fascinating lady.”

The book, which Mr Wood was helped with by Kay Collins and Gill Hollis, costs £19 to buy.

Anyone who would like a copy needs to fill out a form and return it by June 15.

Forms are available from Rushden Town Council, Rushden Museum, Osborne’s Sports and Toys, Rushden Library and P W House Jeweller.

It is hoped that there will be an official launch of the book in early July.