Badsey Opening of the Coronation Memorial
An interesting ceremony was performed by Mrs. Eyres Monsell at Badsey on Saturday afternoon when the Coronation Memorial – an ornamental drinking fountain – was opened in the presence of a large concourse of spectators. Mrs. Eyres Monsell was supported by her husband, Mr. B.M. Eyres Monsell, M.P., Lord and Lady Lifford, Mr. J. Sladden, the Misses Sladden. Mrs. Rudge, Miss Rudge, Miss E.M Burlingham, Mrs. Ashwin and Miss Holmes.
The fountain is an exceedingly ornamental structure and reflects great credit upon the designers. It is a square structure of Gothic style, having sunk panels on each face with traceried heads, under gables with carved crochets and terminals. The roof is steepled with carved finial. The stone used is Cotswold Hill, except the troughs, which are of hard Handsworth stone. The front trough, which is for horses or cattle, is corbelled over from octagonal plinth. There are two small troughs for dogs, with larger ones over having taps and drinking vessels, the metal used being bronze. The plans were prepared and work carried out by Messrs. W. & H. Gardiner, of Evesham and the plumbing was done by Mr. A. Salisbury of Evesham. On the front panel is the inscription: “This fountain was erected by public subscription to commemorate the Coronation of King George V, June 22. 1911.”
Mr. J. Sladden, in opening the proceedings, said that as they were probably aware, it was the anniversary of Coronation Day and had been selected for the ceremony because the fountain had been erected as a permanent memorial of the Coronation of King George V. They generally did things pretty well in Badsey, if not very rapidly. (Laughter). They had an extremely successful Coronation festivity, and judging by the newspapers, they were inclined to think a more successful one than a great many other places in the neighbourhood had. (Hear, hear.)
Owing to the business ability of Mr Binyon and the finance committee, it was found that they had a small surplus after the Coronation celebrations, and it was decided to devote this to a permanent memorial. They opened a subscription list to add to this, and subscriptions came in so well that their ideas expanded considerably. (Laughter.) He hoped that the memorial would be generally approved and be useful. They were much indebted to Messrs W. and H. Gardiner of Evesham, who had carried out the work so well. He was very pleased to find they had got the old Cotswold stone, as granite would not have been appropriate in the Cotswold country. He hoped the fountain would stand for many years and be useful to man and beast.
It would be a memorial to future generations that there were, at any rate at one time, many loyal people in Badsey. Mrs. Eyres Monsell had kindly consented to open the fountain and he would therefore ask her to unlock the door and take the first drink of water and then she could give them an opinion as to its quality. (Laughter)
Mrs. Eyres Monsell then opened the door at the back of the fountain, the water was turned on, and she pressed the brass knob and fitted one of the cups from which she drank. Several other ladies also tasted the water.
Mr. C.A. Binyon said on behalf of the committee and others present he wished to express their thanks to Mrs. Eyres Monsell for coming over, especially to open their fountain. He hoped she would carry away pleasant recollections of her visit and retain a warm spot in her heart for Badsey. (Applause).
Mr. E. Mustoe seconded.
Lord Lifford, in supporting the motion, said it gave him great pleasure to do so, as he had known Mrs. Monsell ever since she was born. He was very glad to see her there as the wife of their Member. He must congratulate Badsey upon that exceedingly beautiful fountain. It was an extremely good thought to put the surplus money into a memorial of that kind. He had asked the ladies who had tasted the water and they said it was extremely good. If it had been port he might have been able to express an opinion. (Laughter).
There was nothing more refreshing than good spring water, and they could not do without it. This reminded him of the story of a temperance lecturer in Cork, who showed his audience a glass of water under a microscope, and revealed to them the creeping things in it. He then said “Ladies and gentlemen, - I will now show you the effect of alcohol upon animal life” and took some whisky and poured it into the glass of water and all the little animals immediately sank to the bottom and died. An old lady in the audience at once remarked: “Well faith, I’ll never take another drop of wather without some whisky in it.” (Laughter)
Mr. Eyres Monsell said his wife had asked him to reply on her behalf. He did not see why she should not reply herself. (Laughter) She told him it was because she did not have a vote and he was paid £400 a year for talking. (Laughter) He thought that if they had a little of that nice water, a bottle of whisky, and one of those cups the Badsey footballers had won, it would make a very nice combination. (Applause)
He had looked up the word “fountain” in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and found that fountains used to be erected to deities. One classical fountain was supposed to bring thunder and rain when it was required. A fountain of this kind would be useful in Badsey when the plums were beginning to get dry. (Laughter). He hoped they would always bear in mind that the fountain was erected in memory of the Coronation of King George V., and he trusted that every thirsty man who drank from that fountain would drink the King’s health in the words of the old toast: “The King. God bless him” (Applause)
Three verses of the National Anthem were then sung by the school children and a large company adjourned to Mr. Sladden’s garden where tea was served. After tea a programme of National songs and old English dances was gone through by the school girls dressed in white with red, white, and blue sashes and hair ribbons. The songs were tunefully sung and the dances very gracefully performed, and both reflected great credit on the careful training of their teachers, Mrs McDonald, Miss Byrd and Mr. McDonald. Miss McDonald played the accompaniments.
One could not help being struck by the prettiness and healthy appearance of the performers, and noting how golden or flaxen hair and blue eyes predominated, clearly indicating pure Saxon descent. Something of this kind must have struck Mr. Eyres Monsell, for at the conclusion of the entertainment, in proposing a vote of thanks to the teachers and children for the charming performance they had just witnessed, he said he must comment on the physique of the performers. Anyone wanting to start a band of Amasons could not do better than recruiting in Badsey. (laughter)
He congratulated the teachers and pupils and thanked them very heartily for their singing and graceful dancing, which had done such a lot to make the afternoon the great success it had been. (Applause)