Both police and firemen have been paid a meed of official and public recognition which everyone agrees they richly deserve for their gallant and heroic conduct against overwhelming odds in connection with Luton's notorious peace rioting, but the soldiers have been entirely left out of it all, and many who noticed the salutary effect of the soldiers' intervention consider they have cause to feel aggrieved at what can only have been an unintentional oversight.
[Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph: August 5th, 1919]
Luton seems very empty now. The big works are closed for the week, there is a general holiday in the straw trade for the week, and the shops are closed for part of the week. Thousands of people have gone away, and despite the crowded conditions of all the seaside resorts, they seem to have found places in which to make a home for the time being.
Two weeks after the Peace Day riots, the Luton Reporter newspaper (August 5th) gave its view of what it headlined “Luton's burden of debt and disgrace”. Its editorial read:
In spite of the visible scars and stains left by the disastrous happenings of a fortnight back, the town had become more or less restored to a normal condition of affairs in time for what has always been known locally as the holiday month. Unhappily there remains the burden of debt and disgrace.
Luton no longer stands alone in its unenviable reputation, said the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph of August 9th, 1919. The temporary lapse into riot on Peace Day has been eclipsed by Liverpool disturbances. Said the newspaper:
During the four days of magistrates court hearings resulting from the riots, prisoners were transferred by train between Bedford jail, where they were being held on remand, and the Luton courthouse in a “chain gang” system.
[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: August 2nd, 1919]
Last night, following a notice handed in, about ten men at the Luton Iron Foundry, High Town, came out on strike. Fortunately, the holiday week follows, and it is hoped that a settlement may be arrived at before the resumption on Monday week.
Insp Herbert Hunt and Pc Sear and Pc Silvester, three of the four members of Luton Borough Police Force so badly mauled by the mob in the peace rioting outside the Town Hall that they had to be treated for their injuries in the Bute Hospital, were discharged from the hospital on Monday evening [July 28th].
The vigorous action taken by the authorities to quell disorder in Luton has proved so effective that since the first two nights following the burning of the Town Hall there have been no signs of conflict between the public and the police, and the time spent by the outside police in Luton has been for them something of a holiday. Not a few of them have had their wives here to share it.
Estimates put the crowds in George Street and surrounding roads at up to 10,000 during the Peace Day celebrations in Luton and their fiery aftermath. Of those, just 39 were destined to appear in court for offences related to the disturbances.
George Saunders, aged 30, Laporte dye works labourer, of 23 York Street, Luton, was charged that: “On the 19th July 1919, together with divers other persons to the number of one thousand or more unlawfully and riotously did assemble to disturb the public peace, and then did make a riot and disturbance to the terror and alarm of His Majesty’s subjects there being, and against the Peace of Our Sovereign Lord and King, his Crown and Dignity.”
Walter Wells, aged 52, a labourer, of 15 Mill Street, Luton, first appeared before magistrates on Tuesday, July 29th, 1919, charged with riot, damaged to a boot shop and stealing two pairs of boots from the Manchester Street shop of James Neve Brown. He was remanded in custody.
Amos Gooch, aged 38, straw hat blocker, of 22 St Ann's Road, Luton, first appeared before magistrates on Wednesday, July 23rd, 1919, when he was remanded in custody for a week charged with rioting and stealing a quantity of toilet requisites, value 4s 3d, the property of Carl Caspers [hairdresser, 4 Bute Street].
Emily Tilcock, aged 49, a straw worker,of 3 New Street, Luton, first appeared before magistrates on Wednesday, July 23rd, 1919, and was remanded in custody for a week charged with stealing three odd slippers, value 7s 6d, between 19th and 20th July, the property of James Neve Brown [J. N. Brown & Co, boot and shoe merchant, 9 Manchester Street].