Eric Gill 1882 – 1940

A controversial character but a wonderful sculptor, printmakers and typeface designer.  I have worked on a couple of his prints before but I recently had the pleasure of working on a rare certificate and medal designed by Gill for Industrial Heroism.

It was a private civil award given by the Daily Herald newspaper to honour examples of heroism carried out by ordinary workers. Many of the 440 awards were posthumous.

The Order was instituted in 1923[1] by the Daily Herald specifically to recognise the deeds of valour of those who had saved their fellow workers from danger or death. It was popularly known as the “Workers’ VC.[2]

The institution of the medal was prompted by an incident in which four dockworkers helped control a major fire in the Liverpool docks, thereby saving the docks, shipping and a large part of the city, but were offered a reward of only £17, provoking a public outrage.[3]

The Daily Herald was the official organ of the Trade Union Congress and one of the world’s best-selling newspapers at the time.

The award was presented up to 1964, when the newspaper closed.


After dry cleaning and testing the pigments the certificate was washed and deacidified.  The medal ribbon was very fragile and I supported it at the pin with a melanex tab and at the ring that the medal hangs from with linen string.  The board was cut  so that the medal would sit inside the rebate.  The verso of the medal could be viewed by lifting the middle board and therefore not touching the metal.

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