Peace Day riots trials


Assizes calendar of prisoners

  • The Beds Assizes calendar of prisoners kept as a personal record by Insp (later Chief Inspector) Fred Janes, and reproduced here by courtesy of his grandson, Mr John Gillespie. Included are Fred Janes' hand-written notes.


Thirty-nine people were arrested following the Peace Day riots in Luton on July 19th-21st, 1919. Of those, 28 – including one woman - were sent for trial before a judge and jury at Beds Assizes the following October. Most were remanded in custody at Bedford jail while awaiting trial at the Assizes. Four made applications for bail from jail – a type-written copy of the successful application letter from Joseph Frederick Pursey and unsuccessful hand-written application letters from John Stanley Long and Stanley George Quince (letters now in the Wardown archives) can be viewed by clicking here and scrolling down.

Nine would be found not guilty and discharged, and two others were bound over to keep the peace. Sentences for the remainder ranged from two months imprisonment (variously with or without hard labour) up to three years penal servitude (14 years three months in total). The riot hearings had run from Friday, October 17th, to Friday, October 24th.


Riot sentencesThe accused at Bedford were (click on links in yellow for fuller individual reports):

Arthur Barrett, 58, labourer, 48 North Street.

William Battams, 48, labourer, 51 Hartley Road.

George Bodsworth, 35, painter, 12 Burr Street.

Harry Bowles, 34, labourer, 56 Tavistock Street.

George Buggs, 24, boxmaker, 52 North Street.

Charles Copley, 37, rag collector, 5 Langley Place.

Frederick William Couldridge, 38, watchman, 1 Buxton Road.

William Dixon, 43, boiler maker, 47 Hartley Road.

Stanley Dolby, 25, blocker, 8 Adelaide Terrace.

George Fowler, 21, carter, 6 Albert Terrace.

John Henry Good, 46, labourer, 73 Dane Road.

George Goodship, 42, fitter, 129 Highbury Road.

Ephraim Gore, 45, iron erector, 35 Windsor Street.

George Heley, 22, sailor, 25 Gloucester Road.

Charles Keen, 40, blocker, 73 Highbury Road.

Ernest Kempson, 43, hawker, 4 Taylor's Yard, New Town Street.

Maud Kitchener, 40, machinist, 14 Gaitskill Row.

Charles Lambert, 63, blocker, 37 Stanley Street.

John Stanley Long, 40, labourer, 19 Alma Street.

Robert Marshall, 18, moulder, 12 Butlin Road.

Henry William Miles, 38, cinema operator, 7 Gloucester Road.

Wilfred Henry Ovenell [Ovenall and Ovenhall on court records], 34, schoolmaster, 73a Ashburnham Road.

Frederick Plater, 27, labourer, 69 Chase Street.

Joseph Frederick Pursey, 26, attendant, 14 Midland Road.

Sidney George Quince, 29, labourer, 66 Hitchin Road.

James Robinson, 45, labourer, 3 New Street.

Albert Smith, 35, labourer, Adelaide Terrace.

William Trott, 34, labourer, 73 Ashton Road.


The assizes trlals resulting from the Peace Day riots began late on Friday, October 17th, with the prosecution stating its case - click here for details.

For details of the Judge, jury and trial lawyers - click here.

Initial defence questions - click here.

Closing statements in riot trials - click here.


Previous trials at magistrates court

Eleven other defendants – seven of them women - had previously been dealt with by magistrates in Luton in July after more serious charges involving rioting were withdrawn and they were tried for larceny or receiving stolen goods. Ten were fined, while charges against defendant George Saunders were withdrawn, although he was still bound over to keep the peace.


The accused were (click on links in yellow for fuller individual reports):

Ada Andrews, 23, housewife, 45 Cobden Street.

Rose Winifred Bacon, 21, 28 New Street.

Bertha Field, 47 machinist, 39 Duke Street.

Ellen Gilbert, 37, machinist, 11 New Street.

Emily Gilbert, 19, machinist, 11 New Street.

Amos Gooch, 38, blocker, 22 St Ann's Road.

Edgar Cecil Goodridge, 39, electrician, 63 Collingdon Street.

Ellen Louisa Goodridge, 34, cleaner, 63 Collingdon Street.

George Saunders, 30, labourer, 23 York Street.

Emily Tilcock, 49 Straw worker, 3 New Street.

Walter Wells, 52, labourer, 15 Mill Street.