Rushden

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Rushden is a town and civil parish in the county of Northamptonshire, England. The parish of Rushden covers an area of some 3,777 acres (15.28 km2) and is part of the district of East Northamptonshire. The population of Rushden was estimated at around 28,368, making it the fifth largest town in the county. The Rushden-Higham urban area, which includes the adjoining town of Higham Ferrers, has an estimated population of 35,572.

Rushden lies on the A6 mid-way between Bedford and Kettering. The southern limits of the town border on the county of Bedfordshire, and to its north lies the River Nene (locally pronounced Nen) which flows into The Wash. Rushden lies in a small valley, with a stream or brook known as Sidney Brook flowing through the centre of the town. During the Late 1990s this stream has been culverted to prevent flash flooding. From whichever way Rushden is approached, the streets and roads can be seen stretching out in the valley, with the spire of St Mary’s church prominent above its rooftops.

Rushden’s growth has resulted from a number of industries, including lacemaking and farming, and especially shoemaking and associated trades. In the mid-1900s there were well over 100 boot and shoe factories in Rushden but today there are only four shoemaking companies left in Rushden. One of the most renowned is Sanders and Sanders, which makes boots for the British Army and several other defence departments throughout the world. Some of the redundant factories have been converted into flats, and MPs support for government help has been limited.

Today, as with many towns in England, industry in the town is varied, and mostly situated in an out-of-town industrial estate. As with the industry, town centre shopping in Rushden has changed considerably although there are still many shops. Rushden has the oldest toy shop in the county. In 1893 a short branch line railway opened linking Rushden and Higham Ferrers with the Midland Main Line. The line was closed in 1959 and dismantled. In 1991 the trackbed was converted into a pocket park.

The former Rushden railway station is now owned by the Rushden Historical Transport Society, which operates a museum and real ale bar. The society often holds special events, including an annual 3-day transport cavalcade. The society aims to rebuild the branch line from Higham Ferrers to Wellingborough.

There is also a privately owned museum in Rushden which is situated in the town’s Hall Park. It is open between the months of May and October.

Rushden Hall is the oldest domestic building in the town, once owned by many families throughout the years including the Sartoris family and the Pembertons family. The hall now functions as the head office of the town council and some rooms are available for hiring. It lies in 32 acres (130,000 m2) of land which now is a public park (Hall Park).

The 1970s ITV Police Drama series Hunters Walk was filmed on location in Rushden and the surrounding villages.

In late 2010 Rushden began to undergo a regeneration project, with the aim to making the town centre a more spacious and attractive place to shop. Rushden Splash Pool on station road and the Pemberton centre, slightly out of town were planned to move to a new site to make room for in the town centre from the move of Splash and a knock on move of Alfred street school to the Site of the Pemberton centre. Plans were drawn up for a move to Manor Park, an open space out of town to the south side of Rushden. This however was put on hold in 2010 due widespread local opposition and the economic downturn.

In early 2011 Improvements to the High street began with regeneration on the ‘southern gateway’ and a creation of a town square in the middle of the high street.

Also a greenway cycle and foot path was created joining existing footpaths with a new one along the old railway line through the town. This linked Ferrers School to Rushden town centre and then out of Rushden to Crown Park, a small out of town retail/business Park with a DIY store and Waitrose Supermarket.

Plans are afoot for a new £40 million out of town leisure and shopping centre to be known as Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre. The proposed development would situated near Waitrose just off the A45 on the site of a former dry ski slope which has been derelict for some years. The development would include shops, hotels, a leisure centre and a marina, with a link to the River Nene.

Rushden has many supermarkets and convenience stores. Once Rushden was home to one of the five Safeway megastores in the country until they were bought by Wm Morrison; the store was then bought by Waitrose and turned into one of its 5 Food and Home stores which included a selection of home products from John Lewis. In 2006 ASDA announced they would build a new £40m superstore near the town centre; it was opened in late 2006 and is now one of the biggest supermarkets in the town. In May 2007 Budgens announced it would be closing its store in the town because of the loss of trade to the new ASDA, the former Budgens site is now a Wilkinson store.

At present, Rushden is one of the largest towns in the country without an operational railway station. However, there are proposals by The Association of Train Operating Companies to build a new railway station on the Midland Mainline (to the West of Rushden) to be known as Rushden Parkway. This is supported by local transport campaigners. The heritage Rushden, Higham and Wellingborough Railway currently operate services from Rushden’s station.

Rushden is bypassed by the A6 which has connections to Kettering (Northbound) and Bedford and Luton (Southbound). The A45 connects Rushden to the East coast as well as Northampton and the M1 motorway westbound.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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