H: 13.5 in / 34 cm | W: 20 in / 50 cm | D: 11 in / 27 cmDescription
A Fine Cased Travelling Drinking Set By George Betjemann’s and Sons
Constructed in coromandel, with gilt-brass strapping, with bronze carrying handles to the sides, the top bearing the arms of Congreve, and the initials of the owner, in gilt brass.
The lockable box is of domed form, the hinged lid and gate fascia opening to reveal fitted spirit, wine and cordial glasses, cut glass decanters, a serving tray and ashtrays. Signed by Betjemann on the lock.
General Sir Walter Norris Congreve VC, KCB, MVO, DL (1862-1927)
Serving in the Second Boer War, he was awarded the Victoria Cross, for his actions at Colenso, the citation reading:
‘At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted. About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire. Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out; and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter; but, seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall, badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot through the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places’. He later was employed on active service during the First World War, and was later appointed Governer General of Malta. He is commemorated there, the Congreve Strait; between Malta and Filifa named after him.
George Betjemann (1798-1886), the great grandfather of Sir John Betjemann, the Poet Laureate and broadcaster, was apprenticed to Gilbert Slater, a dressing case maker in 1810, and established himself as a dressing case manufacturer, initially in Clerkenwell, and later in 1859, in the Pentonville Road, where his substantial business employed 119 people. He had expanded into making and selling writing case, tantulus sets and tobacco cabinets, inter alia.REF No. 8853
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