Straw hat stall at Luton market, 1920 [Z1306/75/17/43]
Thursday 31st January 1918: At a meeting of the Luton War Pensions Committee a strong protest has been made against the holding up of the scheme for training discharged men for the hat industry. The Committee appointed to oversee the scheme were almost on the point of resignation due to the procrastination of the two Government departments responsible, which apparently had a difference of opinion as to how it should be carried out. Rumour in the town blamed the manufacturers, on the one had for trying to make something out of the scheme, and on the other for holding it up because they could not make anything out of it! In fact the manufacturers were anxious for it to go ahead, not for profit but simply to assist in the good work of training the disabled. A minimum of twelve trainees was required for the scheme to start - there were currently eight applications from men hoping to be trained, but there had been many other enquiries which came to nothing because the work was not ready. The Committee agreed to protest strongly to the Government departments which were causing the delay.
Source: Luton News, 31st January 1918