ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
Members' Window # 107.2
by Alan Yates
(click on images to enlarge)


Some months ago ASCAS published my request of assistance for a little silver trowel:

...I wonder if you could assist me with a query relating to the history of Ladysmith?
I recently bought a charming little trowel in silver and ivory from a very reputable dealer in London (Image attached).
In my opinion it is a commemorative item but smaller than the usual commemorative trowels. The flat silver portion is only 115 mm long.
The inscription reads 'HEB 1882 Ladysmith '.
The Maker's mark is JH in a rectangular box.
Who was HEB? And what commemorative event took place in Ladysmith 132 years ago?
The maker was in all probability a South African silversmith.
I hope that you are able to enlighten me and I look forward to hearing from you.
Alan Yates
The little mystery was finally solved when I received the copy of the History of All Saints Church, Ladysmith in which it is recorded that the foundation stone was laid on 16 October 1882 by Sir Henry Ernest Bulwer, Governor of Natal.
In this page you can see the images of the cover of the booklet and the page with the relevant entry and the silver trowel.
I personally thought that Sir Henry Bulwer, Gov of the Natal Colony would be unlikely to have had his name and title inscribed as simply three initials only but I was wrong.
I should have thought that the date would have been day, month, and year, and not the year only but perhaps the parish had appointed the same firm who you used to build your house and so they took the precaution of avoiding the use of an exact day and month for the event and for the inscription and very wisely opted for the year only.
I think that the handle is marine ivory and not elephant ivory; but that wouldn't seem likely would it?
Donation required for the booklet was R1 in 1982. The equivalent of about 5 pence today.


Alan Yates
- 2015 -