Luton's first May Day demonstration

Luton May Day demonstration 1919

  • May Day demonstration in Luton, 1919 (image from Luton News)

[From the Luton Reporter: Tuesday, May 6th, 1919]

Luton on Saturday [May 3rd, 1919] had its first Labour May Day demonstration, and it was quite a peaceful, orderly conducted affair. A procession started from the Moor in the afternoon and from the East Ward recreation ground in the evening, covering a large part of the town.

The procession was headed by the Red Cross Band, and included banners of the St Albans branch of the N.U.R. [National Union of Railwaymen], and the local branch of the National Union of Women Workers. Other displayed such mottoes as “Hands off Russia,” “Down with Conscription,” “Raise the Blockade” and “Workers of the World United”.

Meetings were presided over by Mr T. H. Knight on the East Ward Rec in the afternoon, and on the Moor at night. Resolutions were carried affirming faith in the International Association of Labour; calling on the Paris conference to put an end to protracted peace terms discussions; demanding the withdrawal of the Conscription Bill as unnecessary; and demanding gthat military interference should be stopped, with the withdrawal of British troops from Russia.

The afternoon speakers were Councillor Tom Kirk (N.U.R), of West Ham, Mr Will Twort (Workers' Union) and Miss Lees (National Federation of Women Workers).

Councillor Kirk again spoke at night with Mrs Holloway (London Workers' Committee) and Mr Willet Ball, making his first public appearance since his General Election defeat as Labour candidate for the South Beds constituency.