Shop windows targeted in Monday troubles

[From The Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph: July 22nd, 1919]

The police were out in force last night [Monday, July 21st] in groups of three, and crowds lined the streets from the Town Hall to Park Street. For the good order of the town the inhabitants should restrain their curiosity and refrain from congregating in the centre.

There was some rowdyism in front of the Corn Exchange about 11 o'clock, and things began to assume a serious aspect. A quarter of an hour later a large body of police marched from the station and formed into extended order in front of the Town Hall.

Every warning was given to people in the streets to make for home at once, and it was clearly intimated that there would be no respecting of persons when the crowds were forcibly broken up. Many took advantage of this advice.

It was approaching 11.30 when the guardians of law and order decided to disperse those groups remaining, and an effective charge soon scattered them. There were one or two attempts at resistance, and bruises and cuts were sustained by both sides.

The police soon had matters well in hand and, after breaking up the principal gangs, continued their clearing up drive round the lesser streets in the affected area, and met with very little resistance.

The Luton News on the following Thursday added more to the Monday night incidents. It reported that angry mob, which included many women, pulled down a brick wall at the corner of New Street and Chapel Street and another posse of police met them higher up. In their mad rush, the rioters threw bricks and other missiles through shop windows and windows of private houses.

The large plate glass window of the Halford Cycle Company's shop in Chapel Street was smashed by a flying cocoa-nut, and the shelves on which articles were arranged, crashed. The cocoa-nut was found in the window.

Other windows smashed, apparently with bricks, included those of Mr Brandon [straw hat manufacturer in Chapel Street] and Mr Rose [physician and surgeon in George Street West], and the shop next to the Bethel Chapel in Chapel Street, whilst a large plate glass window of a private house (formerly a shop) was also smashed. To replace the window of the Halford Cycle Company's shop alone will cost over £30.

In one instance a woman was found walking about with a brick under her coat. She did not carry the brick far when found!

The affair happened about eleven o'clock, and the prompt and commendable action of the police was distinctly successful.