With building work largely on hold throughout the war, housing was in short supply by 1919. Luton estimated that it needed 1,000 new houses, but plans had been lost in the Peace Day riots fire at the Town Hall.
Mr H. W. Lathom, representing some of the riot accused, said in court during the remand hearing on July 30th, 1919, that all were impressed with the great sense of degradation which had fallen over the town, and the great sorrow that “to live in Luton” should now be a byword in England, simply because they did not know how to conduct themselves on a day when everybody should have acted with sobriety and quietness.
Frederick John Rignall, mace bearer and manager of the Luton Town Hall, gave formal evidence at the Borough Court on Wednesday, July 30th, 1919, about the Peace Day arrangements and the passage of the Peace Day procession to Wardown.
After the procession had gone, he said, the Mayor and others entered into the Town Hall and the crowd, which had been kept back by the procession, assembled in front of the Town Hall.
Chief Constable Charles Griffin's evidence to the Borough Court on July 30th, 1919, was reported in The Luton News, as follows:
The Chief Constable said that until the procession left the Town Hall, everything was orderly and, as far as he knew, everyone was in good humour. He went to Wardown, and between the Town Hall and the Park saw not the least sign of disorder.
In his opening statement which took about an hour [at the Borough Court on July 30th], the Town Clerk [Mr William Smith] said that on the day appointed for the official celebration of peace Luton desired to show its appreciation of the blessings of peace, and made ample arrangement for the enjoyment, at a reasonable expense, of all classes of the community, and especially the poor and the children.
The Town Council found themselves in the rather quaint position last Tuesday evening [July 22nd] of meeting in the police court with the Aldermen on the Bench and the body of the court improvised to resemble the stage picture presented on Council nights in the now demolished Council Chamber.
[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: August 2nd, 1919]
In a leading article on 'Peace and after,' the Northampton Independent says: “The peace celebrations passed off at Northampton with a subdued spirit that showed the futility of attempting to reproduce the exuberant relief of armistice day. A few gangs of irresponsible youths made it the excuse for rowdy revelry, but happily we were spared such outbreaks as have marred the fair fame of Luton, Coventry and Bilston, where rioting of an alarming character broke out.
Salvation Army journal 'War Cry' described how the No 2 Citadel building (pictured in 1908) in Manchester Street, adjoining the burned down Town Hall, had had a miraculous escape during the “regrettable disturbances” on Peace Day in Luton.
The decision of the Ministry of Food to reimpose rationing so far as certain articles are concerned was referred to at a meeting of the Luton Borough Food Committee last evening [July 28th, 1919].
The Committee also received from the Town Clerk a request that he should be relieved of his duties as Executive Officer at the earliest possible moment, owing to the extremely heavy pressure of other duties.
With the object of considering arrangements for giving the local men who have served “King, country and people during the Great War” a welcome home, a public meeting was held in the Norton Road Schools, Leagrave, on Monday [July 28th]. The programme, which was approved in principle by the large gathering, will suitably mark the event in the history of the two parishes – Leagrave and Limbury – as worthy recognition of the gallant service rendered by so many of its noble sons.
No finer testimony of the love and respect which the town has for Canon H. Coate, of St Matthew's Church, could have been forthcoming than the crowded and representative farewell service at the Parish Hall last night.