Luton WW1 diary: August 27th, 1914

Stories from The Luton News - Thursday, August 27th, 1914

Owing to the fact that troops are billeted in several schools in Luton, it will not be possible to have the use of those buildings when the children re-assemble on Monday. One or two will be cleared by the weekend, however, and the following alternative arrangements have been made by Luton Education Committee, based on Monday to Saturday schooling.Washing day in Waller Street

Old Bedford Road, Chapel Street, St Mary's Hall and Surrey Street children to attend their respective schools on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. St Matthew's scholars to attend Old Bedford Road School on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Christ Church to attend Chapel Street Schools on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Waller Street to attend St Mary's Hall on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Queen Square, Langley Street and New Town to attend Surrey Street on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Hitchin Road, Beech Hill and Dunstable Road Schools open as usual. Children, whether attending their own school or not, will be taught by their own teachers.

  • A meeting of manufacturers, materials merchants, lithographers and allied trades, called by the Chamber of Commerce, was held at the Melson Street Hall yesterday morning. The meeting largely consisted of those engaged in the manufacture and supply of materials in connection with the hat trade. It transpired that already in some factory departments employees are on short time, as is not unusual during the month of August, but that so far as the staffs of materials warehouses are concerned nothing has yet been done to curtail the hours.
  • The general opinion was that while business at present does not warrant keeping open after 5 or 6 pm, it was not desirable to do anything drastic in regard to the all-round reduction in wages. The opinion was expressed by some that they could not properly judge the state or prospects of the local hat trade in August, and it was decided to adjourn the meeting for three weeks.
  • One problem with having thousands of Territorials in town - getting their underwear washed. A Laundry Service Committee has been formed to deal with underclothing of the Territorials here who otherwise have a difficulty to get it done. Arrangements have been made for the collection of the underclothing from the large buildings in which men are quartered, to be taken to Union House (the old workhouse building in Dunstable Road) for washing and mending by unemployed women.The soldiers would be expected to pay a small charge for the service out of the halfpenny a day they were allowed for washing expenses. The Board of Guardians which runs Union House receives 3d per man per night for billeting and the employment of extra labour was suggested to keep the place scrupulously clean.
  • Forty Territorials billeted in Union House - with 60 more to come - believed they had better quarters in the former Workhouse than others accommodated in the town. The Master said he had given the soldiers their own quarters in a separate part of the building and also the privilege of using three or four baths. They were very pleased with the arrangements.
  • A refreshing bath was appreciated by those who attended an open-air church service at Stockwood Park in particularly oppressive Sunday morning weather. Several men fainted in the heat and had to receive attention from members of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
  • But Luton now has fewer Territorials in its midst. Some thousands of men in the companies billeted in the Wellington Street and Buxton Road area marched out of town during the weekend for fresh quarters at Harpenden, but there are sufficient remaining here for the streets to continue to be unusually crowded in the evening hours.
  • Considerable efforts have been taken to provide entertainments for the Territorials in their evening hours of leisure, but the various concerts etc which have been arranged have received only a very modest amount of support from those for whom they have been specially organised. The fine weather may have something to do with it, and matters may be different if we get some wet evenings. The first concert at King Street last week was fairly well patronised, and at the second on Thursday evening there were about 200 Territorials present. But on Friday, owing to a large force having to move to Harpenden, the numbers dropped very much. On Saturday night there were still fewer, and on Monday none at all.
  • The band of the 5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regt played at Wardown on Sunday afternoon, and they had a large audience. Owing to the fact that the Park is now closed at 8 pm, the performance of the Luton Red Cross Band was fixed for the unusual time of 6.15 to 7.30. The band of the 5th Leicester Regiment played at Wardown to a large audience last evening and were very popular.
  • Vauxhall Motors Ltd are to pay the wives of around 50 married employees on active service 10 shillings a week and one shilling per child. Any dependents of 30 or so single men involved will have their situation dealt with on merit.
  • The Bedfordshire Yeomanry, who on mobilisation went to their centre at Swindon [Wiltshire], passed through Luton on Thursday on their way back to a destination in the Eastern counties. The head of the column passed the Town Hall at about one o'clock on their way to Kimpton for the night. A brief halt made at Messrs J.W, Green's brewery was found very welcome. The Yeomanry went via Castle Street and Langley Street, in one gate of the brewery premises and out at the other. Mr J. W. Green, who has two sons in the Yeomanry, was in the yard, and every man was provided with a good cut of bread and cheese and Luton ale or minerals as their tastes dictated.
  • There were about 600 men in the party. They had been worked very hard but beyond this had nothing to grumble about. They have almost to a man volunteered for foreign service.
  • Mr William Henry Newman, a chauffeur in the employ of Mr Clutterbuck, of Putteridge Park, was seriously injured in a motor accident along the London road late on Saturday night and now lies in the Bute Hospital. The car was badly wrecked.
  • The British Red Cross Society is advertising for recruits for the Men's Voluntary Aid Detachment's Luton Division. Classes will be formed for first aid instruction.
  • Another church parade will be held at Stockwood on Sunday morning at 10.30, when a large body of Territorials will attend. An invitation is extended to the general public, entrance from Farley Hill. A collection will be taken for the local fund of Queen Mary's Needlework Guild.
  • Bailey Hill Wesleyan Church have sent their first batch of shirts to Queen Mary's Needlework Guild. Eighteen were sent on Thursday, and each one had a pocket handkerchief pinned in the pocket with a short message, "God bless you all", pinned on the outside of the pocket.
  • The final account for building the Women's Infirmary and the Nurses' Home at the Dunstable Road End of Dallow Road presented at the Guardians' meeting on Monday totalled £8,462 18s 7d.
  • There were 50 men and 33 women over 70 years of age in the Union House on August 8th, according to the report of the Master which was presented to the Guardians on Monday. As far as general figures are concerned there were in the House 130 men, 100 women and 14 children, total 241, this year as compared with 139 men, 88 women and 10 children, total 237, last year. The total of tramps for the six months was 1,308, which was stated to be a very large decrease.
  • A number of able-bodied men were ordered up "on the carpet" at the Guardians' meeting on Monday with the view to their being sent out to work for themselves. When the interview time came the Master reported that two or three had taken their discharge rather than come before the board. Four were prepared to face the ordeal.
  • The vacant position of organist at Chapel Street Wesleyan Church has been offered to and accepted by Mr John E. Pearson, who is at present organist of the Avenue Congregational, Southampton. Mr Pearson is conductor of the Southampton Free Church Choral Union.
  • We understand that the Committee of Management of the Luton Medical Institute has resolved to provide gratuitously medical attendances to wives and families of all members called to active service during the period of the war, and also to give medical and surgical attendances to Territorials during their stay here. A considerable number of cases have already been attended to.
  • Albert Sharp, of Luton, was summoned at Luton Borough Sessions on Saturday for having trespassed on the premises of the Midland Railway Company at Luton on August 20th. He was remanded at the previous day's court with a view to being taken in by the Army. Detective Bacon said he took the defendant to the Sergeant, who refused to sign him as he was not a fit man to be in the Army. Court Chairman (Lieut-Col Carruthers) said Sharp had been there so many times that it was evident he did not mean to do differently. The only thing to do in view of his long idle character was to fine him 20 shillings and six shillings costs or, in default, one month's hard labour. Defendant went to prison.