With no full town council elections having been held since before the war and at the end of a year of turmoil in which the Town Hall had been burnt down during rioting and ratepayers had unsuccessfully demanded the resignation of all sitting councillors, the scene seemed set for a major showdown in the November 1919 Luton local elections in which a third of the members of the council were legally required to seek re-election if they chose to do so. In its October 28th, 1919, edition, the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph, previewing the poll to be held on the following Saturday, November 1st, wrote:
Saturday next will be a great day in the annals of Luton, if only from the amount of interest taken in the municipal election. Ratepayers may grouse and grumble, but rarely do they display a great deal of interest in the important question of who is to represent them on the local governing body.
Recent events have, however, roused them from their lethargy, and we may expect to see a record crowd of electors proceeding to the polling booths on Saturday. No one will be able to claim that choice is limited with 17 candidates for six seats!
All shades and classes of opinion are represented in the “good men and true” who are placing themselves before the electorate, and the danger is rather with such a plethora of candidates for municipal favours that there may be some hesitation in deciding on the right one to favour with a vote.
It speaks well for the keenness displayed in connection with the election that there were no spoilt papers and no withdrawals. Objection was raised to several papers on the ground that the polling district had been indicated by a number rather instead of a letter, but the objection was ruled out as frivolous and was, as a matter of fact, afterwards withdrawn.
There will be 11 polling stations, four each in the North and West Wards, and three in the East Ward. Local government electors whose names are enrolled in the Register of Electors for polling district G will vote at the Waller Street Plait Hall and the Bury Park Congregational School, and those at H and I at St Matthew's School, Havelock Road, and Charles Street Council School respectively.
Electors in district J will go to St Mary's Hall, Church Street; K to Surrey Street Council School; and L to Langley Street Council School. For those in district M the polling station will be at Chapel Street School, while N will go to Buxton Road School, and O to Dallow Road Council School and Beech Hill Council School. In the case of districts having more than one polling station the streets in the particular area are divided between the two polling stations.
The poll will be opened at 8am in the morning and close at 8 o'clock in the evening. There wil be three counting stations, probably one in each ward, and in a separate announcement from each. In the absence of the Mayor, Alderman J. H. Staddon is acting as returning officer.
NORTH WARD CANDIDATES
Knight, Thomas Henry – 11 Spencer Road, Luton, engineer.
Linsell, Joseph John – Highbank, Milton Road, Harpenden, plait merchant.
Mabley, Walter John – 11 Whitby Road, Luton, engineer.
Osborne, Charles Haddon – Invergeldie, St Albans, straw hat manufacturer.
Unwin, John – 75 Clarendon Road, Luton, newsagent.
Strapps, Charles Henry – 46 Old Bedford Road, Luton, licensed victualler.
EAST WARD CANDIDATES
Attwood, Arthur Bennett – London Road, Luton, retired builder.
Mair, William James – 82 Ashton Road, Luton, foreman moulder.
Pitkin, Albert Joseph – 12 Church Street, Luton, master plumber and decorator.
Twort, William Alfred – 29 Cumberland Street, Luton, tailor.
WEST WARD CANDIDATES
Hinton, Percy Reginald – 26 Melson Street, Luton, artificial teeth maker.
McManus, Henry James – 9 Collingdon Street, Luton, fruit retailer.
Mullett, William Frederick – 142 Castle Street, Luton, straw hat manufacturer.
Neil, Philip Scobie – 76 Kenilworth Road, Luton, Co-operative insurance agent.
Stearn, Robert John – 15 Chatsworth Road, Luton, electrical engineer.
Tydeman, William Brice – 13 Kenilworth Road, Luton, master joiner.
Webb, John Henry – 21 Cardiff Road, Luton, chemist.