In the midst of war, Luton received a Royal visit on Monday, April 10th, 1916, when Princess Victoria Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, opened the YMCA hut for troops at Biscot Camp.
In keeping with the times, said The Luton News, the visit was devoid of pomp and splendour but it was of paramount importance to Luton. The townsfolk forsook the counting-houses and workshops and their domestic affairs for a glimpse of Royal flesh and blood.
Keeping thousands of visiting troops entertained in their leisure time was one of the big challenges in Luton. While churches organised concerts for the troops, it was the YMCA that looked after their everyday welfare.
Luton's first YMCA marquee appeared on the Moor, off New Bedford Road, within two weeks of the declaration of war and as the North Midlands Division Territorials arrived in town.