YESTERYEAR: Queuing for two hours for ARP surplus goods

Queue outside High Town Methodist Church in 1946 7WYKRuU3iazLOUOPdn0F

Queue outside High Town Methodist Church in 1946 7WYKRuU3iazLOUOPdn0F

1
Have your say

PHOTO 1: It’s often said that queuing is a great British tradition and this Luton crowd, particularly the ladies in the foreground, seemed happy enough.

They were waiting for the doors to open at High Town Methodist Church in February 1946.

Luton News on sale at a Park Square news stand in November 1953. 4vv-bH_P_RkxQtsdadOQ

Luton News on sale at a Park Square news stand in November 1953. 4vv-bH_P_RkxQtsdadOQ

The Second World War had ended the previous year and the High Town Road church was the venue of a sale of ARP (Air Raid Precautions) surplus goods.

Housewives, some with their husbands, lined up for more than two hours before they were allowed in.

More than £800 was taken on the first day of the sale - a lot of money in those days.

Goods included 3,000 blankets - some of which are still in use today! - 1,000 towels and 500 mattresses.

Other items included tin baths, camp beds and kettles. Sleeping bags were a popular buy, destined to be cut up for tea towels or pillowcases.

Customers were escorted round by guides and similar sales were held throughout the year at other locations in Luton.

PHOTO 2: A newspaper seller with copies of the Luton News, then a broadsheet paper and priced three old pence - at his Park Square news stand in November 1953.