Henry Impey's Mayoral year

Mayor Henry Impey and Frederick Rignall

Henry Impey's year of office was the most traumatic that any Mayor would not want to experience. From a high with the announcement of the signing of the November 1918 armistice after more than four years of war, his term reached a low with riots and the burning down of the Town Hall at the end of peace celebrations in July 1919.

Henry Impey, his health impaired, was smuggled out of Luton following the riots and made only a small number of return visits before resigning from the Town Council at the November 1919 elections. He died in Lincolnshire on April 17th, 1930, and is buried at the General Cemetery, Rothesay Road, Luton.

Below is the start of an evolving calendar (with much more to come) about some of the significant happenings and personalities during Henry Impey's Mayoral year (the links in yellow are to more in-depth related items based on reports in local newspapers):

 

1918

Saturday, November 9: Saturday Telegraph reports the abdication at 4.45pm of the Kaiser in Germany.

Saturday, November 9: Henry Impey invested with the insignia of office of Mayor of Luton in a public ceremony. He had been unanimously elected after previously winning nomination by 11 votes to 10 and one blank paper.

Monday, November 11: Armistice Day. At 11.10am Henry Impey announces to Luton from the Town Hall balcony that Great War hostilities had ceased at 11am.

Tuesday, November 12: Public holiday declared to celebrate the armistice.

Tuesday, November 12: Civic thanksgiving service held at St Mary's Parish Church.

Saturday, November 16: Rev J. L. Barkway inducted to the living of Christ Church by the Bishop of St Albans.

Wednesday, November 20: Mr Willet Ball formally adopted as Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the South Beds Division, including Luton, for the December 14 General Election.

Friday, November 22: Alderman Edwin Oakley resigns as long-term President of the Luton and South Beds Liberal Association in opposition to the Lloyd George Coalition (Lib-Con) Government.

Saturday, November 23: MP Cecil Harmsworth adopted as Liberal-Conservative Coalition Candidate for the South Beds Division for the December 14 General Election.

Saturday, November 23: Victory celebration party for 1,000 guests at George Kent's works at Chaul End.

Thursday, November 28: Souvenir last edition printed of the 'N-T-F' magazine, first published in June 1916 to raise funds to help prisoners of war.

Thursday, November 28: Farewell dance for girls of the Admiralty depot, Bute Street, at the Castle Street Hall.

Saturday, November 30: Vauxhall Motors Fuze Department farewell evening.

Tuesday, December 3: 'N-T-F' magazine acquired by the Luton News and published for the first time as the 'N-T-F & Tuesday Telegraph'.

Saturday, December 7: DS&S Ivy Leaf Club in Park Street officially opened.

Thursday, December 12: 100 Army horses sold at auction at Luton Cattle Market, including 23 to Messrs G. Powdrill & Son.

Saturday, December 14: General Election polling day – the quietest on record in Luton and South Beds, according to The Luton News.

Saturday, December 14: Davis Girls' Club at Davis Gas Stove Co (Diamond Foundry) entertained wounded soldiers from Wardown and Wheathampstead in works mess room.

Monday, December 23: Christmas party given by Luton branch of the Discharged Sailors and Soldiers Association at Winter Assembly Hall for 450 local children left fatherless by the war.

Saturday, December 28: Cecil Harmsworth (Lib-Con Coalition) retains the South Beds seat in General Election.

1919

Wednesday, January 1: Over 1,000 men of the Royal Field Artillery stationed at Biscot Camp entertained at a New Year party in the Princess Victoria YMCA Hut.

Tuesday, January 7: Eminent and controversial Russian violinist Edvard Soermus concert with Bolshevik speeches at the Winter Assembly Hall, sponsored by the Luton branch of the Independent Labour Party.

Thursday, January 9: Order of the British Empire, for services in connection with the war, awarded to Mrs Nora Kathleen Durler, Joint Commandant, Wardown Auxiliary Hospital, Wardown.

Friday, January 10: Tramcars No 1 and No 11 collided head-on in darkness on Beech Hill with two passengers slightly injured. Tram No 11 was badly damaged at the front and underneath.

Saturday, January 11: Victory bonfire and fireworks display, Mr Arthur Panter's Meadow, Stockingstone Lane, Round Green, organised by Young Leaguers Union on behalf of Harpenden Sanitorium for Children (National Children's Home).

Monday, January 13: Mr Charles Mares unanimously re-elected President of Luton Chamber of Commerce at AGM at Franklin's Restaurant, George Street.

Tuesday, January 14: Tuesday Telegraph reports that Biscot windmill is about to lose its sails and be converted to gas power.

Wednesday, January 15: Death of Mr Alfred Thomas Loose, long-serving keeper of Luton Town Hall.

Wednesday, January 15: Annual meeting of local branches of the National Union of Women Workers at Luton Public Library unanimously passed the resolution: “The Luton Branches Nos 1 and 2 of the N.F.W.W. call upon the Government immediately to establish at a national factory a centre for the teaching of straw work, the local industry, to local girls desirous of learning the trade, and to pay them a minimum of 30 shillings per week whilst learning.”

Thursday, January 16: Roof of Messrs Balmforth's factory damaged by fire, presumed to have been caused by sparks from a core-drying stove.

Thursday, January 16: Winding up dance of hockey club formed while Chaul End munition works were in operation.

Saturday, January 18: Memorial to 2nd Lieut Alexander Pigott Wernher, youngest son of Lady Wernher, of Luton Hoo, unveiled at Luton Parish Church.

Saturday, January 18: Mr Albert E. Wray announced his resignation as Luton Tramways Manager.