Lady Wernher's gift to Luton

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United Kingdom

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The Luton News , 31st July 1919

[The Luton News: Thursday, July 31st, 1919]

Lady Wernher has made a magnificent offer to the Luton Corporation of the free gift of 11 acres of land between Tennyson Road and Trapp's Lane [Cutenhoe Road] for use as a permanent recreation ground, and in commemoration of peace. The land is close to the water tower and is that which has previously been in use as a playing field for the Luton Modern School.

The offer was contained in a letter from Lady Wernher, who stated that as the Luton Hoo Estate was vested in trustees, she would charge herself with payment to the trustees of the value of the site, and so be able to offer it as a free gift to the town, subject only to the Corporation undertaking to make it suitable and maintain it for the purpose for which it was given. Her desire was that it should be a permanent memorial of a glorious peace, and also a mark of her own interest in the welfare and happiness of the people of Luton.

Councillor W. J. Primett, in moving at its meeting on Tuesday night that the Council gratefully accept this very kind offer, said some members of the Corporation had tried unsuccessfully to get a recreation ground for that part of the town. Lady Wernher's gifts were always practical, and this recreation ground was a gift which was very much needed.

It would serve a most densely populated area, and one where at present there was not a square yard of spare ground on which the children could play. It was a gift which would be valued not only by the people in that part of the town, but by all the residents of the borough, and he would like to see some provision made there for tennis and bowls, as at Wardown.

The Deputy Mayor (Councillor C. Dillingham), in seconding, described it as a most generous gift. Lady Wernher, he said, had always been a true friend to Luton, and was always willing to help where her help was needed. This gift was a most gracious act, and would benefit the whole town.

Councillor G. Warren, supporting the acceptance of the offer, mentioned that some years ago he tried very hard to persuade two landlords to part with some land for this purpose, but without success. Lady Wernher had a very kind feeling towards Luton, and they were deeply indebted to her for many kindnesses which were shown, and still more so for many kind acts of which there was little public knowledge.

Councillor A. B. Attwood, also supporting, said this gift was in a part of the town where it must be acknowledged it was badly wanted, and as it had been in use as a playing field it would to some extent be ready for use. There would be two approaches to it, and he hoped that when the Council were laying it out they would not “spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar”.

Alderman E. Oakley described the land offered as a valuable asset to the town. He remembered when Wardown was acquired the objection was raised the the south-eastern portion of the town had not a recreation ground of any description. The Town Council promised that as early as possible one should be acquired.

Efforts by the Town Council to acquire land had failed. This splendid gift of Lady Wernher came at a time when some other assets had been destroyed, and would be a valuable asset that could not be destroyed.

It was unanimously decided that the thanks of the Council should be conveyed to Lady Wernher for her very generous gift.

 

On December 10th, 1922, Lady Wernher unveiled a memorial in the park to commemorate the victory of the Allies in World War One, and to her son Alex Pigott Wernher (1st Welsh Guards), who was killed in action in 1916, and to all other Lutonians who gave their lives in the war.

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Author: Deejaya

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