Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A poem by a poet called simply W.S.

“Lights Out at Newport Pagnell” - a poem penned by a local resident, regarding the Council’s decision not to undertake any street lighting of the town.

The very recent decision of the Newport Pagnell Urban District Council to economise in the matter of public expenditure, and to safeguard the town against.air raids by the enemy has prompted a local poet to pen the following satire on the resolution adopted by the "City Fathers " to keep the town in darkness - during the winter nights :—

Mr. Super, worthy councillors,
To your wisdom we submit,
But as little, struggling tradesmen,
Must admit we're being hit.

Did you plunge our town in gloom, sirs,
Just to save a fourpenny rate ?
Is it dread of German Zeppelins,
And a wish to save your pate?

When the rates are on the rise, sirs,
The tenant finds the pelf:
Will he get a slight rebate, or
Landlord pocket it him self ?

So much gloom must cause depression,
Accidents as well, I fear;
Think of drear and dull November,
When the frost and snow are here.

What about the early workman
Groping to his daily toil ?
Pitchy blackness-slipping, sliding -
Muttering curses all the while.

When a councillor-once and postman -
Slipped in Silver-street and fell -
He cried aloud : " Oh give jus light, sirs,"
And what else I dare not tell.

Light the lamps and let us see, sirs,
Give us that for which we pay,
If it's air raids that you're fearing
I will show a better way.

Build a watch-tower on the chambers-
Please don't thinks I wish to pun -
If a Zeppelin approaches
Fetch it down with Johnny's gun.

By W.S. published in the “Bucks Standard”,September 18th 1915

On a weekend leave a young soldier had arrived too late at Bletchley station to meet a train for Newport Pagnell, and so had to make the journey on foot through the night. Suddenly, on reaching Willen he heard a humming noise, and looking up saw a Zeppelin loom into view, whereupon he dived into a hedgerow and buried himself beneath a blackberry bush. Arriving in the early hours of Sunday morning he then recounted the tale to his parents at Newport Pagnell, where, with the incident seeming to reinforce this wisdom, during the month a decision was taken that where they were high the kerbstones would be whitewashed. In the interests of safety this was to make them more evident during the lighting restrictions, but at the meeting of the U.D.C. on Tuesday, October 5th 1915 the chairman, Mr. O. Bull J.P., moved that the resolution passed at the August meeting, that the street lamps should not be lit during the winter, be rescinded. He put forward the alternative “that an agreement be entered into with the Newport Pagnell Gas Company to light 24 specified lamps; eight of which shall be all-night lamps, and that the Lighting Committee be empowered to increase or alter the number when they consider the lighting necessity of the streets requires the same.” This was carried, and in consequence the Lighting Committee met on two occasions to consider a modified scheme. The Gas Company were duly approached to tender for an illumination which would render the streets safe to the public, but not offer a target for air raids, and by their reply they offered to light 18 lamps from November 1st to March 31st at a cost of £60. Yet with this having been rejected by the Lighting Committee, a meeting of the U.D.C. was held on the evening of Wednesday, October 27th 1915 to approve the decision or otherwise. The result was a rejection by four votes to three.

From a very interesting website which has one or two poems included: http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/mkha/mkha/projects/jt/newport/docs/newport-ww1.html