1948.31A | Coat

 
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Coat
Ede & Ravenscroft
1930-1935, 20th century
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
1948.31A
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

As the economic crisis known as the Great Depression tightened its grip on industrialized nations, Richard Bedford Bennett (1870-1947) became Canada's Prime Minister, achieving a lifelong goal just short of his 60th birthday. The richest Prime Minister and the only millionaire to hold office before Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919-2000), Bennett was perceived by the public, and even by some Liberals, as the logical choice in the federal election of 1930. They believed that his diligence and business acumen would straighten everything out. Meanwhile, a similar drama was unfolding across the border in the United States.

Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), the millionaire "Great Humanitarian," had swept the Republicans to the White House in 1928, promising a chicken in every pot and proclaiming the triumph of American capitalism. Less than a year later, the 1929 Stock Market crash began to unravel Hoover's staunch belief in rugged individualism. His claim that prosperity was just around the corner fell on deaf ears as despair enveloped the United States and spread to its neighbours.

Echoing that of his American counterpart Bennett's early response to the widening Depression was a call for individual initiative. The desire to achieve and succeed would conquer the desperate economic situation.

  • What

    The full regalia of this uniform include trousers, a belt, shoes, a greatcoat and hat, along with other smaller pieces.

  • Where

    While this ensemble came from Ede & Ravenscroft Ltd, London, during his early years in Calgary R.B. Bennett ordered all of his clothes from tailors in the Maritimes.

  • When

    R.B. Bennett wore this uniform on ceremonial occasions such as the opening of Parliament during his years as Prime Minister.

  • Who

    Ede & Ravenscroft Ltd., tailors since 1689, remains a prestigious London clothier; present-day clients include Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.