Assizes trials judge, jury and lawyers

Sir Frederick Arthur Greer was a newly appointed High Court judge when he presided over the trials of Luton Peace Day riot defendants at the Beds Assizes in October 1919. The son of a Liverpool merchant, he had gained a first class honours degree in mental philosophy at the University of Aberdeen – potentially a significant factor in his verdicts at the trials.

Far from being afraid of re-igniting mob violence by his sentences three months after the riots - as some later accounts of the riot trials suggest – he seems to have shown some compassion for those before him.

Riot trials at Assizes: Prosecution case

[From the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: October 18th, 1919]

Mr Hollis Walker KC, in an opening statement as counsel for the prosecution at Beds Assizes on Friday, October 17th, 1919, reminded the jury of the Peace Celebrations which were arranged up and down the country in July, and reviewed the establishment of a Peace Celebration Committee by the Luton Town Council, to devise a scheme in accordance with the “desires, the views and the resources of the Borough”.

Mayor Impey moves to Northants

[Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph: October 7th, 1919]

We are authorised to state that the health of Mr Henry Impey, Mayor of Luton, is still such that he will be compelled to observe the strictest rest and quiet for some time to come. To that end he has taken over an old farmhouse in Northamptonshire and there, under country conditions, plenty of fresh air and new interests, he hopes in due time to regain his normal vigour.

Volunteers to disband

Members of Luton Volunteers 1917

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: October 4th, 1919]

The 2nd Volunteer Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment is to be disbanded, and discharges given to all members. This announcement was made by the Commanding Officer, Major H. Cumberland Brown, at a meeting at the headquarters of the Battalion in Castle Street last night.

Bailed riot accused in court for theft

[The Luton Reporter: Tuesday, September 30th, 1919]

George Albert Goodship, 42, fitter, of 129 Highbury Road – one of the riot prisoners committed for trial at the Assizes and admitted on bail – was brought before Mr A. B. Attwood at Luton Police Station on Thursday, charged with the theft of a piece of wood valued at two shillings, the property of his employers Messrs B. Laporte Ltd.

National rail strike threatens chaos

Rail strike heading1

At midnight, as Friday, September 26th, 1919, turned into Saturday 27th, Luton, like the rest of the country prepared for the effects of a national railway strike. Not only rail travellers were anticipating problems, but there were question marks over food distribution, postal deliveries, and coal supply shortages for gas and electricity generation that could result in factory workers being laid off.

New homes dispute between villages

[The Luton Reporter: Tuesday, September 23rd, 1919]

Something of a deadlock has been reached in regard to the housing scheme for Leagrave and Limbury. The Housing Commissioner has practically intimated that he will not recommend for sanction anything but a joint scheme for he two parishes and has strongly counselled the selection of a site in the Icknield Way, but both parish councils area against it.


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