The County Council election in Luton on Tuesday was a very unexciting affair, wrote The Luton News, of Thursday March 6th, 1919. The weather conditions may have had something to do with it, or it may have been wholly the indifference of the electors, of whom only about 15 per cent went to the polling booths.
As the Labour Party had found candidates to contest six of the nine Luton divisions a keener interest might certainly have been expected. But somehow County Council elections never do excite a very great amount of feeling locally.
Is Luton dancing mad? The headline was on a contributed item written by 'D' in the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph (March 1st, 1919). It read:
Just a few lines to all you young folk of the lightly tripping order with the object of calling attention to a phenomenal phase in our local history.
When I say that my honest opinion is that a large section of Luton's youth is amusement-craving, especially in the form of a dancing craze almost to the verge of being 'dancing mad,' I realise at once that I enter into a controversial field.
With the retirement of Mr George Wistow Walker from the headmastership of the Old Bedford Road School, which takes effect tomorrow [February 28th, 1919], the boys of that part of Luton will lose the services of one who has been a real friend to them, wrote The Luton News (February 27th, 1919).
The future of Wardown House was again making front page headlines in the Saturday Telegraph of February 22nd, 1919, following further Council debate the previous Tuesday. And the newspaper kept up its uncompromising attack, although it saw a possible change of attitude on he part of the prime mover, Council Primett, Chairman of the Maternity and Chid Welfare Committee. It wrote:
Second Lieut Charles Samuel Irons, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, attached to the 9th East Surreys as Battalion Signalling Officer, was awarded the Military Medal, as recorded in a supplement of the London Gazette on April 2nd, 1919.
He was the only son of Samuel and Beatrice Irons, living with his mother's parents, Arthur and Sarah Furrell, at 60a Park Street, Luton.
The medal of the Order of the British Empire has been awarded to Mr Ernest Hansell for bravery during an explosion of the Chaul End Munition Works. The intimation is contained in a letter from the Home Office which states that the Lord Lieutenant of the County will communicate with Mr Hansell with reference to the actual presentation of the medal.
Mr Hansell has been engaged in mixing and drying high explosives at Chaul End for something like three-and-a-half years, a most extraordinary man on a job highly dangerous and also injurious to health.
An application was made some time ago by the Luton Corporation for a share in the mementoes of war, said the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph of January 11th, 1919. Mayor Henry Impey had since received the information that the gun awarded was a trophy won by the Bedfordshire Regiment and had been allotted by the regiment.
Reconstruction was a keyword in post-war Luton, and with it the prospect of industrial progress. One consequence was an attempt to start new industries in the town. One such, The Luton News of February 13th, 1919, revealed, was The Trident Manufacturing Co Ltd.
We told the public on Tuesday that the battle for Wardown House was half-won, and that members of the Council were 'climbing down'. Half- won is well begun, but the battle is not yet over, said the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph of February 15, 1919.
With the end of wartime production in which Luton had played a huge part, firms in the town were turning their attention to reverting to their peacetime roles. In munitions factories it would mean a loss of a huge number of jobs that no longer required and the welcoming back of ex-servicemen former employees with special skills. But the overall feeling among employers was one of optimism for the future.
The Luton News devoted space to interviewing bosses about their war work and to get an impression of how they saw their firms' futures in a new era of peace.
A sad fatality occurred yesterday at the Kingsway chemical works of Messr B. Laporte Ltd, reported the Tuesday Telegraph (February 11, 1919).
It appears that Horace Wilson, aged 15½, who lived with his parents at 20 Ash Road, was employed by the firm, and between 10 and 11am he was in a gang of six - in charge of the foreman, Harry Minney, of 49 North Street, Luton - engaged in moving a truck of coke a distance of only six feet.
Few, if any, soldiers could have received more expressions of gratitude from his fellow prisoners of war than Pte Henry J. Turner, of the Bedfordshire Regiment. No fewer than 425 warrant officers, NCOs and men signed a letter to the Army Council at the War Office in London in recognition of his unselfishness and untiring devotion to duty on their behalf.
Under the above headline, the Tuesday Telegraph on February 11th, 1919, wrote that it was with pardonable pride that it referred to the subject of Wardown House. The news that day was good. The Maternity Committee was busying itself looking about for an alternative scheme – in other words, Councillor Primett and his colleagues were climbing down. The report went on: