Lady Wernher saves the day

Hoo service July 20

The decision made by some Parks Committee members on July 7th, 1919, to refuse the Discharged Sailors and Soldiers Federation permission to use Wardown Park for a drumhead memorial service was not made public until the Saturday Telegraph hit the streets five days later.

The result was general public condemnation of the decision, as indicated in the letters column in following Thursday's Luton News. But in the meantime Lady Wernher at Luton Hoo had instructed her Steward, Mr James Baker, to contact the DS&S to offer her grounds for the occasion.

The DS&S were able to politely tell the Council on July 15th that, thanks to the Lady of the Manor, their co-operation was no longer needed. They held a meeting with Mr Baker on July 17th to discuss their requirements for the following Sunday (as advertised above), complete with a parade to the Hoo Park.

But following the weekend riots, the Hoo service was postponed for a week until Sunday, July 27th, with a more constrained programme. However, Lady Wernher, who had said she would not be available to attend on the 20th, was present on the 27th.

The July 27th service was advertised as below, with an emphasis that there would be no procession, at the request of the Chief Constable. Other adverts called on those attending at the Hoo to behave, or, as it was put, “to refrain from any action which may tend to result in damage to trees, railing etc at the Luton Hoo Park...We are confident that this appeal will not be issued in vain.”

And so a time often seen as one of class division saw the upper class (represented by Lady Wernher) and the working class (represented by the DS&S) co-operating and the middle class (represented by the Mayor and Town Clerk) left out.

Hoo service July 27