A rare Victorian silver Watering Can for the Opening of Coulsdon Common, London.
A Victorian silver commemorative Watering Can, London 1882, by David and George Edward for Edwards of London and Glasgow. The top of the can is engraved with the coat-of-arms of the City of London, and on one side the can with a coat-of-arms apparently for Halse [a variant of the documented arms of the Halse family], and on the other with an inscription: ‘Presented to Mrs. Halse at the Dedication of Coulsdon Commons to the Public Use 19th May 1883.‘ The inscription incorporates a cap of office above a crossed sceptre and sword with a blank scroll. The sprinkler on the end of the can is removeable.
The event commemorated was extensively reported in the newspapers of the period and resulted in the preservation of an extensive area of common land for the public after the Corporation of London had bought the commons for £7,000.
The ‘Morning Post‘ of May 21st 1883 carried the following report:
‘Dedication of Coulsdon-Commons. The Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, as well as a large number of the members of the Corporation, left London-bridge Station on Saturday by special train for Caterham Junction, en route to the Coulsdon commons. The company, on arriving at Caterham Station, which was decorated with flags, proceeded in carriages by way of Caterham-valley, passing Riddlesdown, where the City flag was hoisted, to Kenley Bridge. At the bridge a guard of honour of the Surrey Volunteers was in attendance, accompanied by the band of the regiment, which preceded the company to Kenley-common, where memorial trees were planted. On arriving at Couldson commons the City Solicitor handed the deed of conveyance of the property recently purchased by the Corporation to the Lord Mayor. After and address read to the Lord Mayor by the Rev. D.D. Stewart, rector of Coulsdon, had been responded to, Mr. Shaw Lefevre, M.P. (the Chief Commissioner of Works), at the request of the Lord Mayor, declared the commons opened to the public for ever, and said – In compliance with the request of the Lord Mayor of London, I have the honour and privilege to announce to you that the corporation of the city of London have acquired by purchase all the rights of the lords of the manor in and over the Coulsdon-commons, consisting of four separate commons – namely, that of Fairdean, consisting of 121 acres; Riddlesdown, of 78 acres: Kenley common of 70 acres; and Coulssdon-commons, of 77 acres – in all amounting to 340 acres. They acquired these commons with the sole object of securing them against all possibility of enclosure for all time to come, with a view also to their being enjoyed by the public as a natural park and recreation ground, and with this object the commons will be placed under proper regulations for the maintenance of order and their preservation in all their natural beauty. On behalf, then, of the Corporation of London, I now declare these commons to be henceforwards dedicated to the use and enjoyment of the public. I feel certain that all here present, and, indeed, the whole of the public of London will join in thanking the Corporation of London for their benificent, public spirited, and wide-seeing action [Applause].’
‘The right hon. gentleman then planted a memorial tree, as also did the Lady Mayoress and others.
The civic part, on leaving Coulsdon common, drove in view of Farthing Downs, where a second flag was hoisted. They then returned through a most picturesque country to Caterham Junction, and the special train conveyed them to the Crystal Palace, where dinner was served in one of the small halls. Mr. Halse, chairman of the Coal, Corn and Finance Committee, presided at the dinner.’ [Details of some of the speeches and toasts given in the article]. Another report in ‘The Standard‘ of the same day notes that those who planted memorial trees on Kenley Common comprised ‘the Lady Mayoress, Mr. Shaw Lefevre, Mrs. Halse, and Mrs. Henry Hicks.’ Richard Clarence Halse was, as the article stated, the Chairman of the Coal, Corn and Finance Committee of the Corporation of London and presided at the dinner in the Crystal Palace. He died in 1897.
The first image shows the can superimposed on a view of Kenley Common where the trees were planted. For this and other views see https://www.croydonist.co.uk/kenley-common/
Good with some light wear to the engraved arms of the City -of- London and part of the inscription. Both remain entirely legible.
Height – 16.50 cm.; Width – 23 cm.; Depth – 9.70 cm.; Weight – 374.10 gms.