[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: July 5th, 1919]
So far as the peace celebrations are concerned, Luton children came into their own on Thursday evening, when the Council committee which is charged with the preparation of the programme of rejoicings decided to set apart two days as a festival for the juvenile element, though this portion of the rejoicings is necessarily deferred until a period subsequent to the official day – Saturday, July 19th. It was agreed to issue a public appeal for subscriptions to meet the cost, which is expected to be in the neighbourhood of £500.
The meeting was held at the Town Hall, and the Mayor (Councillor H. Impey) presided. Deliberations of the committee are not, in the ordinary way, open to the Press, but in view of the short time elapsing prior to the celebration, and to the greater public interest in the matter, the Town Clerk immediately agreed with our suggestion that the reporters should on this occasion be admitted, and the committee endorsed his view without hesitation.
A long agenda was discussed, the meeting extending over a period of about two hours, and the arrangements for the great day in Luton were carried a good step further.
A point that was emphasised was the necessity of assistance in carrying through the programme decided upon, in view of the period of time anticipated has been materially reduced in consequence of the Government decision to select Saturday, July 19th, as the “day of days”.
THE FIREWORK DANGER
The Town Clerk reported that a meeting of the Fireworks and Decorations Sub-Committee had been held earlier that (Thursday) evening, when the question of having a display of daylight fireworks was considered. The sum required by Messrs Pain was £50, and the committee came to the conclusion that it would be more desirable to expend £20 upon a balloon demonstration in the afternoon.
If daylight fireworks had been decided upon, said Mr Smith, pieces of the material would be dropping all over the place, and might create danger and excitement.
“I hope, in any case,” the Town Clerk added, “the committee will consider the question of issuing an official notice absolutely forbidding the discharge of fireworks in the Park and the streets on the day of the celebration.
“After last week's experience [of fireworks being thrown in crowded streets], it seems quite patent that something of the sort must be done, for on Saturday last I felt thoroughly ashamed of what happened in the street of Luton.”
The committee agreed with this expression of opinion, Alderman Arnold remarking that the indiscriminate discharge of fireworks in the public thoroughfares on Saturday last constituted a great public danger. It was decided to issue notices on the lines indicated.
CORN EXCHANGE ILLUMINATION
It was reported that, in reply to a request to illuminate the Corn Exchange, the Gas Committee (through Mr William Phillips) had written stating that they were regretfully forced to decline the task. This action was in no sense due to disinclination to assist the committee, but solely owing to the fact the mechanics who were needed for this class of work were still serving with the Forces.
The committee recommended that there should be placed on the Corn Exchange one big light, similar to that at the Town Hall, and this was agreed to.
It was reported that the procession (except the scholars) will assemble at Luton Hoo Park, by the kind permission of Lady Wernher, at 2pm and proceed to Wardown Park via Park Street, George Street, Manchester Street and New Bedford Road. It will be composed as follows:
Bands to be interspersed in positions to be fixed by Chief Marshall (the Chief Constable): Red Cross Band, Salvation Army Temple Band, Salvation Army No 2 Band, Central Mission Band, and Comrades of the Great War Band.
Police and Chief Marshall.
Dominions: Emblematic car which the political clubs have agreed to provide.
Navy: Contingent of 48 (including 12 to be selected by the Comrades of the Great War and 12 by the Luton and District Discharged Sailors and Soldiers Association.
Army: Contingent of 200 (including 75 to be selected by each of the Associations).
Air Force: Contingent of 48 (including 12 to be selected by each of the Associations).
Prisoners of War: Contingent of 48 (12 to be selected by each of the Association)
Volunteer Force: Contingent of 56 officers and men.
Friendly Societies: Contingent of 48.
Emblematic car provided by Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd.
YMCA: Contingent of 8.
Emblematic car provided by Fricker's Metal Co Ltd.
YWCA: Contingent of 8 wearing some distinctive dress.
Emblematic car provided by Skefko Ball Bearing Co Ltd.
Special constables: Contingent of 20.
Emblematic cars provided by Commercial Cars Ltd and Vauxhall Motors Ltd – contingent of 20.
Emblematic car provided by Thermo Electric Ltd.
N.A.B.C.: Contingent of 20 from Biscot Camp.
Emblematic car provided by Davis Gas Stove Co Ltd.
W.R.A.F: Contingent of 20.
Emblematic car provided by G. Kent Ltd.
Boy Scouts: Contingent of 24.
Emblematic car provided by Brown & Green Ltd.
Girl Guides: Contingent of 24.
Emblematic car provided by Hayward Tyler & Co Ltd.
St John Ambulance contingent.
Red Cross Society: Wardown V.A.D.
'Peace Enthroned' official emblematic car, provided and decorated by Messrs R. H. Marks, B. Deacon, S. Horn, A. Staddon, A. Strange and F. Webdale.
'Child Welfare' emblematic car. The Child Welfare workers have asked to provide this, and have agreed to do so.
Tradesmen's Association emblematic car provided by the Association.
'Allotments': Emblematic car, the Allotment Holders' Federation have been asked to provide this.
'Education': 24 boys and 24 girls each from the Modern School, Beech Hill, Chapel Street, Christ Church, Dunstable Road, Hitchin Road, Old Bedford Road, St Matthew's, Surrey Street, Tennyson Road; 24 boys each from Queen Square and Waller Street.
The girls will wear white dresses, and the committee will provide sashes for the girls, and bands for the boys' hats. The scholars will assemble at the East Ward Recreation Ground by not later than 1.40pm and then proceed to Park Street, where they will line up, witness the procession and join up at the end.
In connection with the Service contingent, it was left to the Chief Constable to take such steps as he considered desirable in order to bring them up to the required number.
Alderman Staddon mentioned that if the use of the lorries would be of any assistance, the two large vehicles owned by Messrs Vyse & Sons would be gladly placed at the disposal of the committee.
In refence to the children's contingent, Mr Percy Carter said the sashes and hat bands would be on hand in good time.
On the suggestion of the Town Clerk it was agreed that distinctive badges should be provided for the committee and other officials. “There may at times be need for committeemen to intervene, perhaps, and we don't want, in such event, to be forced to explain who and what we are. That is always a most unpleasant proceeding,” he said.
Mr A. Staddon, it was reported, had offered to take in hand the official programme, and said that from any profits accruing on its sale, a portion would be allocated to the Peace Fund. The Offer was accepted.
The Town Clerk presented a draft programme of a sports meeting at Wardown, during the afternoon and evening, drawn up by representatives of the Luton Cricket Club, the Luton Cricket League and the Luton Harriers.
£50 had been allocated for the purposes of prizes, and the sum of £47 10s had been utilised in this manner. First, second and third prizes were to be given for each event, the list of the latter being:
Mile, half mile, quarter mile, 220 yards and 100 yards flat handicap.
Half mile and mile scratch cycling races.
100 yards race for boys under 10.
220 yards for boys under 16.
100 yards veteran race, 40 years and over.
(For each of the above races an entrance fee of 6d will be charged).
Girls (under 15) egg and spoon race, musical chairs and skipping race.
Cigarette race for ladies and gentlemen.
Tilting the bucket.
Ladies' potato race.
The draft programme was approved. It was agreed that the sports commence at 3.30pm and that entries for the first ten events should close on Saturday next, 12th inst. Help in preparing the ground was asked for, and volunteers will be welcomed.
The committee resolved not to have any swimming events in the lake.
TENNIS AND BOWLS
It was decided to invite Messrs Durler, E. Shoosmith, Eling and Goodge to arrange a series of tennis competitions for the afternoon and evening, £10 being voted for the provision of prizes.
A similar resolution was adopted in regard to bowls contests, application to be made for this to be undertaken by the secretaries of the Beech Hill, Luton Town and Wardown clubs.
BANDS AND DANCING
The disposition of five bands was left in the hands of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Alderman Arnold and the Town Clerk.
Entertainment programmes were delegated to the Mayor, Chairman of the Parks Committee (Councillor Yarrow) and the Town Clerk.
Councillor Escott was asked to undertake supervision in regard to the dancing at Wardown at the close of the sports.
It was announced that, at a meeting held earlier in the evening, the Luton Choral Society had decided to abandon their proposed special performance in the Parish Church.
The Plait Hall was chosen as the venue for the subscription banquet, which is to be held on Monday, July 21st, and it was resolved that Messrs Webdale be asked to undertake the decoration of the hall.
The Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Alderman Staddon and Alderman Oakley were appointed an executive sub-committee in connection with this matter.