The largest straw hat in the world, c.1905 [Z1306/75/17/45]
Saturday 6th October 1917: A meeting of the Luton Chamber of Commerce was held last night at which a report was made on a proposal to introduce common working hours throughout the Luton hat trade. The suggested hours would begin earlier, have a fixed dinner hour, miss out the tea hour, and close earlier in the evening. The proposal was favourably received, but it was decided to refer it to separate committees for detailed consideration. The general principle of shorter hours was supported, but there was some concern that fixed hours would cause problems for companies with very few employees, where considerable overtime was often worked during busy seasons. Limiting hours might put some of these firms in a difficult position, and the loss of extra wages would be unpopular with their staff. In response to this concern it was pointed out that it was not right for any man to work from 4 a.m. until as late as 10 p.m., doing a fortnight’s work in a week.
Source: Luton News, 11th October 1917