Medal awarded by the Royal Humane Society, England, 1781
This medal, made of silver with an elaborate loop at the top, was awarded to Dr Houlston by the Royal Humane Society. It was recognition for ‘restoring’ to life a Mr W. Young on August 22nd, 1781. The Royal Humane Society was founded in 1774 as the ‘Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned’. It continues to reward bravery and the restoration of life by resuscitation. The medal features an image of a cherub with the Latin ‘LATEAT SCINTILLULA FORSAN’. This translates as ‘Perchance some small spark may lie concealed’. It is the motto of the Society. Dr Houlston was elected to the Royal Humane Society in 1774. He was instrumental in founding a ‘receiving house’ on Liverpool Docks. Those pulled from the docks, either because of local shipwreck or accident, were taken there to be seen by a physician. Money was given to members of the public who delivered bodies to the receiving house. A guinea was given if they survived and half if they did not. Perhaps Mr W Young was one such individual. The first man successfully resuscitated at the receiving house was a drunken cow herder who fell into the docks.
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Small pieces of metal, usually gold, silver, or bronze, bearing a relief design on one or both sides and having a commemorative purpose; not used as a medium of exchange. Medals may also be created to commemorate individuals or events or even as works of artistic expression in their own right.
Glossary: life saving