Object In Focus: Silver Agricultural Medal
A beautiful medal which has been crafted to show a typical Northeast farm scene. In the foreground there is a farmer using a plough being pulled through the fields by two horses. Obverse is inscribed with, ‘Northumberland Agricultural Society 1925’. The reverse reads ‘Awarded to B.H. Brown Esq for Best Collection of Farming Machinery.’ The engraving is surrounded by a border of wheat.
Benjamin Hillyard Brown was born in 1868 in Gosforth, which was the district of Northumberland during this time. He was a General Engineer who went into farming machinery. He was born to parents John Brown and Annie Harvey Lewins.
His father was a blacksmith earning enough for the family to employ a live-in servant by the name of Eliza. He was one of 5 children to John and Annie. Benjamin was the eldest followed by Joseph. A Brown (1871-1889), John Fenwick Brown (1874-1954), Kate Brown (1876-1943), and finally Gilbert Brown, (1878-1879) The family spent many years living in the parish of West Brunton in Northumberland.
When Benjamin was 26, he married Martha Duce at Morpeth, Northumberland. They later went on to live at Ormidale House, Kenton Bankfoot, Newcastle. In 1903 they had their only child. A daughter called Hilda Brown. Hilda lived until she was 93 passing away in 1996. Her father’s medal was passed down to her and upon her death was passed to a friend of the family who in turn donated it to Woodhorn Museum.
Benjamin founded an agricultural engineering firm that ran from Kenton Bankfoot in Newcastle upon Tyne. He was highly regarded in his field often giving reviews of other machinery in local and national papers. One such review can be found in the 1919 edition of The Cambrian news and Merionethshire Standard. He gave a positive review of The Cockshutt Plough.
He also made appearances at a variety of country shows, being held in high regard by his peers. He made appearances at many agricultural shows including Corbridge and Northumberland Agricultural Show over many years for which he was awarded this medal in 1925.
The medal is made of silver and the hallmark of both anchor and lion along with a capital A. This identifies the hallmark as the Birmingham Assay office dating the medal to 1925. It also has the maker’s mark showing it was crafted by Joseph Moore Die sinkers and medallists, Petsford Street, Birmingham.
Joseph Moore was part of an extensive line of medallists along with both his father and grandfather dating back to 1817 and earlier. Among their works is the Tercentenary of Shakespeare.
The medal was commissioned by Reid and Sons of Newcastle. Reid and Son’s Silversmiths was founded in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1788 by Christian Ker Reid. After his death in 1834 the business was continued by his three sons, William, David and Christian. The business has successfully continued until the present day, now trading as part of the ‘Goldsmiths Group.’
In 1838 Reid and Sons received a Royal Appointment from Queen Victoria, showing the prominent level of esteem for their work.
Blog post written by Collections Volunteer, Kelly Simpson.
Object researched by Collections Volunteer, Kelly Simpson.