1948.9 | Freedom of the City of London

 
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Casket
Freedom of the City of London
About 1930, 20th century
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
1948.9
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

While at the 1930 Imperial Conference in London, Prime Minister Bennett (1870-1947) hoped to achieve a partial solution to the economic problems within the Empire. He proposed a scenario of trade within the empire, with preferential trading status going to member nations. But the United Kingdom government of Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937) disapproved of Bennett's plan, favouring a free-trade tradition.

Bennett appealed to the British public in a BBC radio broadcast, but to no avail. To save face, he proposed that economic discussions be put off until a meeting in Ottawa the next year. His proposal won unanimous approval. Not quite defeated, Bennett remained optimistic that his plan would eventually be accepted.

In the midst of these discussions, he received the gift of an 18-carat gold casket bearing the coat of arms of the City of London, and containing a scroll-shaped certificate granting him Freedom of the City. Back home in Canada, meanwhile, economic distress mounted.

  • What

    "Casket" is a term used to describe a fancy decorative box for valuables.

  • Where

    The casket was made by the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. Ltd. of London.

  • When

    The casket and the Freedom of the City certificate were presented to Prime Minister Bennett on November 4, 1930.

  • Who

    In 1930 Sir William Alfred Waterlow (about 1871-1931) was Lord Mayor of London, an ancient one-year position distinct from the elected position of Mayor of London.