1948.24 | Salad set
Mappin & Webb
About 1930, 20th century
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Keys to History
While Prime Minister Bennett (1870-1947) engaged in Imperial discussions in the fall of 1930, the economy back home continued to unravel despite his early relief legislation. Wheat prices continued to decline during the fall harvest and unemployment numbers edged upwards. Domestic food prices dropped as Bennett visited the Royal Works at Sheffield, England, where he received a silver salad bowl with a pierced border and an elegant green glass liner and pair of servers. Milk fell to 10 cents a quart, bread to six cents a loaf, and potatoes to 45 cents a bushel. This was good news for consumers but not for producers, who watched the profits from their 1930 harvest evaporate. In December 1930, the Canadian delegation headed home to Canada to prepare for a new Parliamentary session and face the latest economic storms.
Seen as rather single-minded and independent, Bennett became a subject of ridicule in an amusing story that made the rounds of the capital: A visitor to Ottawa notices a man walking around and talking to himself. The visitor makes some inquiries and learns that it is the Prime Minister. "Why is he talking to himself?" he asks. The response: "He's holding a Cabinet meeting."
The salad set was presented with an accompanying leather case for storage and preservation.
Sheffield's location at the confluence of numerous waterways made it a natural place to locate water-powered mills for refining and manufacturing metalwork.
Sheffield mills began producing large amounts of cutlery in the 18th century, later expanding into the production of other fine metalwork pieces.
Mappin & Webb remains a prosperous and well-known retailer of silverware and jewelry in Britain.