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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 38, September 23, 2007, Article 17

LONDON BLACKFRAIRS BRIDGE CORNERSTONE MEDALS

Paul Sherry writes: "While trying to research the Pitt Club I
stumbled across the following numismatic reference to the William
Pitt (the Elder) bridge in London (now named Blackfriars bridge)
and thought others would find it of interest.

The excerpt is taken from the book 'London' by Charles Knight,
published in 1842 by Charles Knight and Co. 'Erection of the Bridge'
appears on page 122.  The book is available for download from
Google Books at this URL: Google Books

"'The first stone was laid on the 31st of October by the Lord Mayor,
Sir Thomas Chitty, attended by the members of the Committee, and a
brilliant assemblage of other personages, when various coins were
deposited in the proper place, and certain large plates, of pure
tin, with an inscription in Latin stating that the work was
undertaken " amidst the rage of an extensive war," and ending with
the following glowing eulogy on the minister : " And that there
might remain to posterity a monument of this City's affection to
the man who, by the strength of his genius, the steadiness of his
mind, and a certain kind of happy contagion of his probity and
spirit (under the Divine favor, and fortunate auspices of George
II.), recovered, augmented, and secured the British empire in Asia,
Africa, and America, and restored the ancient reputation and
influence of his country amongst the nations of Europe, the citizens
of London have unanimously voted this bridge to be inscribed with
the name of William Pitt." Among the other medals deposited in the
stone was a silver one, which had been cherished as the memorial
of the young architect's first triumph, the medal given him by the
Academy at Rome.

"'Should some future antiquary, say in the year of Our Lord 5842,
have the rummaging of these stones, we may imagine the delight
with which he would arrive at this.'

Paul adds: "The first Blackfriars Bridge (the one the 'London'
book mentions) was built between 1760 and 1769.  It was replaced
between 1860 and 1869.  I have sent an email to the City Bridge
Trust enquiring if there are any records of what happened to
those numismatic items when the first bridge was replaced.  Were
they salvaged, or did they end up as landfill?

"I have identified the silver medal Robert Mylne entombed in the
bridge.  It was one of two medals awarded to him over a 5 year
period while he was a student at the Academy of St. Luke in Rome.
The chief prize in the highest class of architecture was the
first instance of a native of Great Britain obtaining that honor.
google.com/books

"The medals could have been made by the Hamerani family of medalists
in Rome and may have look something like this gold one:
Full Story

"Iím now trolling through the London Metropolitan Archives to see
if there are any references to the lost Mylne medal."

[The above Google Books reference is an 1862 work titled "Memoirs
of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in 1807-8".
The book also contains (beginning on p19) a section on Matthew Boulton.
It may tell us little new about a famous man like Boulton, but for
lesser-known figures in particular Google Books is a gold mine of
information waiting for numismatic researchers to dig into it.
-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

Google
 
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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
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