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The town of Luton, is situated in Bedfordshire, England, and located on the River Lea. The town began in the 6th century when it was a Saxon outpost.

Locally, automobile production began in the first decade of the 20th century at the Vauxhall Motors factory in town. At that time, it was the largest car factory in the United Kingdom. For the most part, the factory closed in 2002, while the main office remained in Luton until May of 2019 when it was moved to the nearby village of Chalton.

During World War II, the factory stopped producing cars entirely and Vauxhall dedicated 100% of its time and labor to the war effort. Vauxhill manufactured Churchill tanks, which made Luton a target of the Luftwaffe. Although the company employed heavy camouflaged, Luton was not spared bombings and related deaths by the German Luftwaffe bombings.

On. 30 August 1940, more than 50 bombs were dropped on the Vauxhall factory in approximately one minute. Thirty-nine people died in the attack According to Andrew Duerden, Vauxhall archivist, “These victims were aged between 15 and 71, including one woman, and 50 more were more were injured.”

The town is also quite well-known for the straw hats manufactured in Luton beginning in the 17th century. Luton’s hat making industry had faced and overcome challenges including Napoleon’s blockades. At one time, there were more than 360 hat manufacturers in Luton, but as the industry declined, so did the hatmakers. Hatting, tradition, and plaiting, once mandatory learning in lower grades of school here, thereby drying up the younger generations of milliners.

The town is home to London Luton Airport was established in the summer of 1938, which was used during World War II by the Royal Air Force. General aviation training and commercial flights were built up in 1952, and by 1969, a full 20% of all holiday flights from the United Kingdom took off from Luton.



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