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Lady Wernher offers sports and tea at Hoo

In a letter to Mr H. C. Cooper, the Secretary of the DS&S, expressing pleasure that his organisation would make use of Luton Hoo Park for the purpose of holding a divine service in memory of fallen comrades, Lady Alice Wernher made a second offer.

The letter, reprinted in the Luton News (July 24th, 1919), said: “I shall consider it a privilege as well as a pleasure if the sailors and soldiers of Luton will accept my invitation to sports and tea in Luton Hoo Park on Saturday, August 16th, in celebration of Peace.

Peace Day riots bits and pieces

Events in Luton on the afternoon of Peace day – prior to the evening violence - took a very similar form to what had happened at Doncaster, Yorks, on the previous Thursday night. The Saturday Telegraph (published a day early on July 18th) reported that, as a protest against the abandonment of a part of the Peace celebration programme there, a crowd of roughs had assembled in front of Doncaster Mansion House, where a charity ball was in progress, and broke a number of windows. The police charged the crowds, using their batons, and dispersed them.

Thirteen more in court after riots

Thirteen prisoners appeared before Alderman T. Cain and Mr W. J. Mair at the Luton Borough Court yesterday morning [July 25th, 1919] when, for the third day in succession, charges arising from the riotous proceedings at the Town Hall on Saturday night and Sunday were preferred by the police.

The Chief Constable (Mr Griffin) said he proposed, as in the cases heard on the previous two days, to offer only sufficient evidence to justify remands.

Seven more in court after riots

Luton Magistrates Court pre-1937

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: July 26th, 1919]

Eleven charges were preferred at the Borough Court on Thursday [July 24th] against seven prisoners who were charged with being concerned in the actual rioting on Saturday night, as distinct from the looting of shops, which was the subject of charges against other persons on Wednesday.

Extended school holidays for children

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: July 26th, 1919]

On Wednesday [July 23rd, 1919], at a meeting of the Luton Education Committee, a letter was read from the Board of Education informing the Committee that the King had expressed a desire that in commemoration of the peace some extension of the school summer holidays should be granted to the schoolchildren.

A riot of colour ahead of the riots

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: July 26th, 1919]

Luton colour scheme last Saturday (writes a member of our staff) was suggestive of the spirit of the town during those momentous hours of the weekend. Many terms of description have been applied by admiring crowds to the decorations, ranging from “Blimey, matey, ain't it lovely” of the ragged street urchin, to the “Yes, quite effective – quite a pleasing tone about it” of the art connoisseur.

The spectre of Bolshevism

Bolshevism film ads

When Town Clerk William Smith began the prosecution case against alleged Peace Day rioters at Luton Borough Court on July 30th, 1919, he said the magistrates would find the outbreak was nothing more than Bolshevism, anarchy, drunkenness and criminality, and the extreme penalty for riotous demolition of buildings was penal servitude for life.

Ex-servicemen groups condemn the rioting

The local branches of the Federation of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers and the Comrades of the Great War both issued statements condemning the Peace Day violence.

In The Tuesday Telegraph of July 22nd, 1919, Mr H. C. Cooper, Secretary of the DS&S, issued a disclaimer that the branch was in any way responsible for the display of lawlessness which had been seen during the previous weekend.

Town Council and the Wardown question

In a notice published in the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph on July 15th, 1919, the local branch of the Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers Federation pointed out that they would be adhering strictly to a nationally-agreed policy of refraining from taking any part whatsoever in Peace celebrations and, while they had a deep grievance against the Town Council for the refusal of the use of Wardown Park for a sacred purpose, they did not want to cause a feeling among the general public that would be detrimental to their interests.

Mayor absent from Guardians' meeting

[From the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph: July 22nd, 1919]

For practically, if not actually, the first time in the history of the Luton Board of Guardians, the proceedings of this public body were yesterday [Monday, July 21st] conducted under the presidency of a lady – Mrs A. Attwood, the Vice-Chairman. This was necessitated by the absence of the Mayor (Council Impey), who is Chairman of the Board.


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