Ex-servicemen groups condemn the rioting

The local branches of the Federation of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers and the Comrades of the Great War both issued statements condemning the Peace Day violence.

In The Tuesday Telegraph of July 22nd, 1919, Mr H. C. Cooper, Secretary of the DS&S, issued a disclaimer that the branch was in any way responsible for the display of lawlessness which had been seen during the previous weekend.

Town Council and the Wardown question

In a notice published in the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph on July 15th, 1919, the local branch of the Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers Federation pointed out that they would be adhering strictly to a nationally-agreed policy of refraining from taking any part whatsoever in Peace celebrations and, while they had a deep grievance against the Town Council for the refusal of the use of Wardown Park for a sacred purpose, they did not want to cause a feeling among the general public that would be detrimental to their interests.

Mayor absent from Guardians' meeting

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

For practically, if not actually, the first time in the history of the Luton Board of Guardians, the proceedings of this public body were yesterday [Monday, July 21st] conducted under the presidency of a lady – Mrs A. Attwood, the Vice-Chairman. This was necessitated by the absence of the Mayor (Council Impey), who is Chairman of the Board.

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.

Few tears shed for old Town Hall

Town Hall on Peace Day

  • Old Town Hall on Peace Day, shortly before the rioting broke out.

Although words like “disaster” and “degradation” were applied by the local Press to the Peace Day riots, there appears to have been few tears shed over the loss of the Town Hall as a building. For instance, The Tuesday Telegraph (July 22nd, 1919), in giving a brief history, said:

Was the Riot Act read?

Was the Riot Act actually read during the Peace Day disturbances in Luton? The Luton Reporter newspaper questioned whether it had been, and no mention of a Riot Act reading was made in any court cases.

In its edition of July 22nd, 1919, the newspaper reported: “Matters got to such a pass after midnight that the reading of the Riot Act was seriously contemplated, and many assert this was actually done, but in official quarters reticence is observed on the subject.

Traders 'unjustly blamed for high prices'

Rising prices during the war had led to accusations of profiteering among shopkeepers and others. A meeting of the Luton Tradesmen's Association on Tuesday, July 15th, 1919, raised concerns that traders were being unjustly blamed for high prices.

Mr Charles Mares (President) said there was a great outcry in reference to the rise in prices, and it appeared the retailers stood in grave danger of being unjustly saddled with the responsibility. It was, he thought, quite obvious that this responsibility could not be laid at their account.

Labour call for Luton communal kitchens

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: July 19th, 1919 – published on July 18th]

Some time ago, Councillor Bone urged the Luton Town Council to take steps to establish a communal kitchen. His intentions were good, doubtless, but in the presentation of his case he referred to the wastage of good foodstuffs in provision shops, and incidentally dwelt on the qualities of the 'trimmings' which usually go under the counter.

The Peace Day story: part 4

Town Hall ablave 20-7-1919

[The Luton Reporter: Tuesday, July 22th, 1919]

According to all appearances the beginning of the night's trouble was with a gang of noisy young fellows who started pelting the Town Hall windows. Like all movements of this kind, it soon gathered force of numbers and prominent among the adherents were men in khaki and also women.


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