Object Title

Medal - East London Working Classes Industrial Exhibition

Medal - East London Working Classes Industrial Exhibition



Object Number



Purchased at auction, 9 June 2007. Baldwin's Auctions 'Argentum', The London Coin Fair, Holiday Inn, Coram St, London WC1. Lot no.143

Physical Description

A silver medal, awarded as a prize at the East London Working Classes Industrial Exhibition at St.Mary's School Whitechapel in 1865. On one side a view of the Tower of London, with manufacturers'/builders' tools in the foreground and shipping in the background. On the other side, the name Joseph Page and the date 1882 have been engraved rather crudely beneath a wreath framing the words Prize Medal 1865.


Dimensions: diameter: 51 mm


Places Britain


The East London Working Classes Industrial Exhibition was held at St.Mary's School Whitechapel from 12 July to 12 August 1865. 30 silver medals and 100 bronze medals were presented to successful exhibitors. The medals were made by Pinches & Co, Oxendon St. The exhibition was one of a number of such events in the late 1860s,the purpose of which was to showcase the skilled manual work of adults and children, in industrial employment and domestic handicrafts. Organized and financed by business people, gentry, and clergy, the aim was to encourage sober and productive habits amongst the working classes at leisure and in work. These exhibitions were popular - between 40,000 and 70,000 people were reported to have attended this event. See reports in the Times, 18 Aug 1865, and the Illustrated London News, 19 Aug 1865. Why the Tower of London features on this medal is not entirely clear, but it seems likely that it was chosen to represent in some way the East of London, and perhaps also to serve as an outstanding example of skilled manual work. It is also unclear why the date 1882 has been subsequently engraved on the medal and whether Joseph Page was the original recipient or not.