Antique commemorative silverware made for a former Mayor of Colchester has been returned to the borough, in a special ceremony at the Town Hall.
Colchester’s current Mayor, Cllr Nick Cope, was handed the silver casket and key by Sarah Bowler OBE, the great-granddaughter of Wilson Marriage who served four times as the Mayor of Colchester between 1892 and 1914. Sarah’s great-aunt Catherine Alderton also served the borough, becoming the first woman Mayor of Colchester in 1923.
The silver key, with the Arms of Colchester in enamel at the end of the handle, was presented to Mayor Wilson Marriage in October 1892 to commemorate the opening of Castle Park. The silver casket was presented to him on the 18 September 1918, when he received the Honorary Freedom of Colchester.
Both pieces were bequeathed by Sarah’s daughter, the late Isobel Bowler, who, before she passed away in 2016, served on Sheffield City Council and was Cabinet member for Culture, Sport and Leisure.
Speaking shortly after the presentation, the Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Nick Cope, said: “On behalf of the residents of Colchester I would like to thank Sarah, and Isobel especially, for donating such cherished heirlooms that not only have immense family significance, but are of great historical importance in Colchester’s civic story.
“It’s touching to know that Isobel wanted to see them on permanent display in the Town Hall, so they can be appreciated by visitors for generations to come.
Sarah Bowler OBE said: “It gives me great pleasure to present the casket and key as a bequest from my late daughter, Isobel Bowler, to the Borough of Colchester. Isobel wanted to restore her great-great-grandfather’s gifts from Colchester Borough Council to their place of origin.
“Our family, both in the past and in the present, has strong connections with Colchester. It therefore seems fitting for these particular family heirlooms to become part of the display in the Town Hall.”