1957.139 | Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
26 January 1939, 20th century
25.4 x 27.5 cm
Gift of the Howard P. Robinson Estate
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Keys to History
In declining health and with the last family and social ties to his homeland disappearing, R.B. Bennett (1870-1947) chose to leave Canada permanently in 1939. The previous year, he had sailed to England with the intention of finding a place to live. He chose an estate in Surrey, England, near his old friend from Chatham, New Brunswick, Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook (1879-1964). Upon his return to Canada, Bennett found himself a celebrity of sorts once again, with invitations to speak and visit before his final departure. He embarked on a tour, traveling from Vancouver to Halifax, fêted and appreciated as a political lion and hero of the Conservative Party. On board his ship in Halifax harbour, just prior to sailing, Bennett officially resigned his Calgary seat in the House of Commons on January 28, 1939.
World War II followed within a few months of Bennett's arrival in his new home. His wartime service included work on numerous committees and boards, but certainly not any high-profile activities. In 1944 he experienced a personal loss with the death of his two nephews, killed in action in Normandy.
At Beaverbrook's instigation, Bennett eventually received an appointment to the British House of Lords, becoming Viscount Bennett of Mickleham, Calgary and Hopewell in the summer of 1941.
The photograph inscription says, in part, "To my friend kinsman Howard Robinson / with all good wishes / 26 January 1939 R.B. Bennett."
Viscount Bennett's Surrey mansion and estate was called Juniper Hill, the first and only home he ever owned.
While this photograph is dated January 26, 1939, it was probably taken several years earlier, perhaps during a visit to New Brunswick in the early 1930s.
Howard Robinson (about 1874-1950), whose name appears in the inscription, was born in Albert County. Like Bennett, he was a notable business leader in mid-20th- century New Brunswick, where he was involved in media, telecommunications and manufacturing.