1948.12 | Freedom of the City of Saint John

Freedom of the City of Saint John
About 1933, 20th century
5 x 34.5 x 27.3 cm
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

With meager results from the Imperial Conference, and its relief and tariff policies ineffective against the Depression, the Bennett government was on the brink of being completely swallowed by the whirl of events. Disillusioned Canadians sought solutions and action, any action that might appear to signal a change. Out West, a new political party by the name of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) emerged in 1932. Made up of farmers, labour and white-collar social democrats, the CCF presented a socialist platform. In the West, Bennett's very name increasingly evoked bitter feelings of resentment.

In the East, meanwhile, New Brunswick set out to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1783 landing of United Empire Loyalists. The province's founding in 1784, and the incorporation of the City of Saint John in 1785, were also to be fêted. In May 1933, organizers presented Prime Minister Bennett (1870-1947), the province's most famous son, with a silver gilt box along with the Freedom of the City of Saint John.

  • What

    The coat of arms on the lid of the box is that of the City of Saint John, NB.

  • Where

    The manufacturer of the box, the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company, was located on Regent St. in London, England.

  • When

    The Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company was one of the leading names in silver retailing in early 20th-century Britain.

  • Who

    James W. Brittain served as the Mayor of Saint John at the time the Freedom of the City was presented to the Prime Minister.