Peace mugs give town's children a reminder of momentous events

Honiton children receive their peace mugs in 1919

Honiton children receive their peace mugs in 1919 - Credit: Honiton Museum

It rained so much during Honiton Peace Day celebrations in July 1919 that the distribution of mugs to children had to be postponed until the following month.  

The event was held on the Recreation Ground, Allhallows School, (now Allhallows Field)  with the  permission of the Allhallows School Headmaster, Mr. F. J. Middlemist, M.A. 

The children of Honiton lined up to be given their  peace mug,  a gift from the Mayoress Mrs Seaborne William Hook. One thousand mugs were distributed and the few left over were given to young babies in the parish.  

The Mayor gave a speech where he said it was so not much the  value of the gift, but the reason which led to it,  which he hoped would be of interest in years to come when the children looked at the mugs, they might remember the great war which many of their fathers, uncles and brothers had taken their part.  He asked the children to be kind to their parents said that he hoped they would grow up to become healthy men and women and  to do good in the world.   

He explained the emblems on the mug, which illustrated ‘ From War to Peace’  and included a soldier going to the war, the flags of the Allies with the words "To Commemorate Peace, 1919," a laurel wreath and dove in flight with an  olive branch, a rural scene depicting a ploughman with his team tilling the land. The inscription on the base "Presented by the Mayoress of Honiton (Mrs. Seaborne W. Hook) to commemorate Peace, 1919." 

Photographs were taken by  William E  Berry, who had served in the Royal Engineers in France. After  the presentation,  all the adults and teachers who assisted the Mayoress with the distribution were entertained to tea.  

Mrs Seaborne William Hook was Mayoress when her husband was Mayor for two terms in 1910 and 1918. She was a generous benefactor to the  poorer people of Honiton. She often visited the Honiton  Workhouse and at Christmas time she donated tea, tobacco, cigars, oranges, and sweets which were to be shared between  the inmates. She also took the Workhouse children to see the pantomime in  Exeter and provided them with afternoon tea. 

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