The period immediately before, during, and just after World War One was a defining time for local newspaper The Luton News. From small beginnings in 1891 it had grown into the most widely read local publication in the town. And its files on microfilm now give a record of events and people of the time that are used in blogs on this site.
When the Luton News first went on to the streets on November 12th, 1891, there were already two well-established local newspapers - the Luton Times, first published on July 7th, 1855, and the Luton Reporter, first published on June 10th, 1874. Initially the Luton News was printed in St Albans and written and distributed from a small office at 6 Wellington Street, Luton. It moved in 1902 to 15 Manchester Street, in premises next door to the Liberal Club.
But the big move came in 1913, the year after the proprietors acquired a site between Lancrets Path and Alma Street on which to build offices and printing works. This building was to become a landmark for a little over 60 years, with the Alma Kinema being built later, in 1929, on the opposite side of Alma Street.
The new facilities allowed for expansion. On November 21st, 1914, a sister paper of the Luton News was launched, called the Beds and Herts Saturday Telegraph. Both publications were to prove popular during World War One, both at home and with soldiers at the front, carrying local news, lists of recruits, letters from men at the front and, sadly as the war ground on, a growing list of casualties, along with pictures.
But the pressure on rival publications was beginning to mount. In 1915 The Bedfordshire Advertiser, which had started as the Luton Times, was taken over by the Luton News with the object of turning it into a picture paper. However, problems with obtaining newsprint plus other difficulties made the venture short-lived and The Bedfordshire Advertiser title was simply incorporated into the Luton News masthead. The Luton Reporter continued to be published until 1924, when it closed down.
The Luton News stable strove on, however, launching a Tuesday Telegraph in 1919 that became the forerunner of the Tuesday Pictorial which was launched in late 1921.
[Sources include The Luton News, 30 Years of Progress (1921) and The Luton News, 40 Years of Progress (1931)]